Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

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

April 17, 2014 Workshop: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning Study for New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Acushnet

SeaPlan will hold a workshop on their findings and recommendations of their climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning study for water quality infrastructure in New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Acushnet. The target audience will be municipal employees and staff of New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Acushnet, and waterfront users of the three communities, but other interested federal, state, regional, and local partners are encouraged to attend to help guide the discussion and formulate priorities. Please go to our Fairhaven-Acushnet-New Bedford climate assessment and planning study page for more information and to register.

Updated Buzzards Bay Management Plan Approved

In November 2013, the Buzzards Bay NEP steering Committee approved the 2013 update of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The original CCMP, developed in 1991, became a blueprint for NEP and its partners in their forthcoming efforts to protect and restore the water quality and living resources of Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed. The CCMP introduced many new concepts to local government including the need to establish watershed limits on the discharge of nitrogen from wastewater (especially septic systems) and other nitrogen sources, the importance of stormwater discharges as a cause of bathing beach and shellfish bed closures, and the recognition that the climate was changing. The Buzzards Bay NEP has now updated the Buzzards Bay CCMP to reflect progress achieved, new problems facing the bay and its surrounding watershed, and the ongoing unresolved problems that remain since the original plan was finalized. This updated Buzzards Bay CCMP includes existing, new, and revised goals that relate to 21 key issues facing the bay and watershed. In each of the 21 "Action Plans," we identify strategies for government, citizens groups, and the public to employ to meet the continuing challenges we face.

The document is posted online and hard copies of the updated management plan will distributed to local libraries and municipal boards in early 2014. Go to our New CCMP page to read the document.

Buzzards Bay NEP Undertaking Sea Level Rise study

The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (BBNEP) and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management are evaluating the potential expansion of the existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100-year floodplain using Flood Insurance Rate Map base flood elevations for Buzzards Bay municipalities. The floodplain will be expanded with 1-foot, 2-foot, and 4-foot scenario increases in sea level. The existing floodplain will be extrapolated upward based on the FIRM base flood elevations. Using a recent assessor's data set, the number of buildings, their assessed values, and municipal structures are being enumerated within these various sea level rise expansion scenarios for each Buzzards Bay municipality. Go to our Flood Zone Expansion with SLR page for more information about the project and to read 6 new draft reports for Buzzards Bay towns.

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.

Other Popular Pages and Downloads

1980s Historical Eelgrass GIS Coverage Posted

On our eelgrass page we have posted links to download GIS data showing the distribution of eelgrass mapped in Buzzards Bay during the 1980s. In most of Buzzards Bay, eelgrass reached it post-1930s wasting disease peak abundance in this decade. In the coming weeks we plan on disturbing new GIS coverages, maps, and georeferenced aerial photographs showing eelgrass abundance in the 1940s, 1960s, and 1970s for selected parts of Buzzards Bay.

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.

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.