Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

News, Features, and Information for Buzzards Bay and the NEP

NEP 2015 Water Quality Management Grants RFP Issued

The Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Estuary Programs have each issued a request for proposals for nutrient, pathogen, and stormwater management projects under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) Southeast New England Program ("SNEP"). Projects that address fresh or marine water quality degradation from nutrients (phosphorus or nitrogen), pathogens, and stormwater will be considered. Each NEP will award up to $900,000 in grants. This grant program supports the U.S. EPA's SNEP mission to protect and restore the southeast New England ecosystem by connecting communities through collaboration and partnerships throughout the region; fostering and promoting innovative approaches; and engaging public stewardship.

The solicitation for projects in the Buzzards Bay watershed is open to Massachusetts county, municipal, and local subdivisions of state government, tribes, non-profit organizations, and research and educational institutions of higher learning. For-profit organizations and executive state agencies are not eligible, but they may subcontract or partner with the grantee. The deadline for pre-proposals is September 15, 2015. The deadline for invited full proposals is November 6, 2015. Applicants must provide a non-federal match that will equal or exceed 25% of requested funds. Projects are anticipated to end either June 30, 2016 or June 30, 2017 as proposed by the applicant. Go to our SNEP grant application page for more information.

Wetland and Habitat Restoration and Protection Grants Solicitation Released

The Buzzards Bay NEP, through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), is making available $154,000 in federal funds as part of the Buzzards Bay municipal mini-grant program. This grant round will exclusively focus on the protection or restoration of wetlands, uplands, and important habitat. Go to our grant funding page for more information.

Severe Ice In Buzzards Bay

During much of February and early March 2015, sea ice was extensive in Buzzards Bay, covering at its maximum, nearly the eastern third of Buzzards Bay. The level of icing caused the Coast Guard to recommend that vessels avoid the Woods Hole Passage. The Northeast Marine Pilots adopted the following measures for applicable vessels transiting the waterways of southeastern New England: daylight-only transits and minimum one nautical mile visibility in all serviced harbors, and through the Cape Cod Canal. The MODIS satellite false color image below from February 28, 2015 shows the extent of icing in Buzzards Bay and areas of Cape Cod.

Sea Ice in Buzzards Bay, 28 February 2015 MODIS

Southern New England Program 2014 Funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received a second year of funding to implement an initiative called the Southern New England Program (SNEP; formerly Southern New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program). The goal of this initiative is to bring together public and private stakeholders to collaborate on initiatives to protect, enhance, and restore watersheds along southeastern New England. The geographic area of the program includes the coastal waters and watershed lands spanning from Westerly, Rhode Island to Pleasant Bay, Massachusetts. The watersheds of Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, the south side of Cape Cod and the Islands face similar opportunities and challenges. The program's goal is to help promote and develop innovative and effective approaches to preserve and restore the region's critical resources.

This summer, the Buzzards Bay NEP and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program are again assisting EPA in disbursing funds related to this initiative. In last year's funding, the SNEP focus was on the critical issue of nutrient pollution (nitrogen loading to impaired coastal waters and habitat and phosphorus loading to impaired fresh waters and habitat). This year's focus will be expanded to include water quality degradation from pathogens. Stormwater conveys both nutrients and bacterial pathogens so stormwater projects will be broadly eligible. Both large and small proposals are encouraged.

Last year we received 19 nutrient management proposals totaling $3,082,379 from 12 entities (3 non-profits and 9 governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth) by the June 9, 2014 pre-proposal deadline. We were able to fund six projects totaling $728,459. For more information about the SNEP activities in the Buzzards Bay watershed, go to our website For projects in the Narragansett Bay watershed, which includes areas of Massachusetts in the Blackstone, Ten Mile, and Taunton River watersheds, go to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission website, as they are administering the funds for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.

Other Popular Pages and Downloads

Information on past Wind Farm proposals for Buzzards Bay

Looking for information about the South Coast Offshore Wind Project? Read about meetings, and the information we posted about a similar 2002 proposal for Buzzards Bay that explains many of the regulatory and environmental issues that would need to be addressed for siting wind turbines in Buzzards Bay on our Wind Farms page. Have you noticed a windmill to the south as you have crossed the Bourne Bridge? We have a photo of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy wind turbine that began operation in 2006, as well as information on the water turbines proposed for Vineyard Sound.

Massachusetts Estuaries Project reports for Buzzards Bay

Reports for West Falmouth Harbor and Phinneys Harbor / Back River complex have been released. Other reports will become available in the coming years. We have provided some support for this effort for selected subwatersheds as described on our Subwatershed Land Use and Nitrogen Loading page.

WETLAND LOSS MAPS available for viewing.
We have updated our wetland loss page to include new maps we produced based on DEP's wetland change maps sent to Buzzards Bay municipalities in 2004. Click the link to read more.

Bouchard No. 120 Oil Spill in Buzzards Bay
On April 27, 2003, an oil barge, carrying 4.1 million gallons of No. 6 fuel oil, spilled an estimated 98,000 gallons of oil into Buzzards Bay, the second largest spill in the bay's history. More than 93 miles of coastline were affected, and hundreds of birds killed. Click the link above to see recent cleanup summary reports. Other popular pages and links include our page US Coast Guard: 98,000 gallons best estimate of oil spilled, the New Bedford Standard Times Op Ed article on how the Buzzards Bay NEP helped in this determination, and our Oil Spill Legislation page.

Living Resources of Buzzards Bay: Synthesis reports produced for the 1991 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, 2013 Redux, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program Technical Report, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, October 18, 2013. 98 pp.

Have you confused us with another Buzzards Bay organization?

In the 1980s, the Buzzards Bay NEP had a "Citizen Advisory Committee" or CAC that was part of the program and was helping with the evaluation of pollution and identification of management options to protect and restore Buzzards Bay. This CAC broke off from the Buzzards Bay NEP and eventually became two independent, not-for-profit organizations. The first organization called itself The Coalition for Buzzards Bay. It was a '501(c)3' educational and outreach a citizen-based group. The second became the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, a non-profit organization composed of municipal officials, that has become more involved with state, local, and federal legislative and regulatory issues. Today, both organizations are on the Buzzards Bay NEP's Steering Committee, and both have adopted as one of their major goals, the implementation of recommendations contained in the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

The views or information contained here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the US EPA.