Don't get too cozy by the fire this winter -- MassBays is offering a whole suite of opportunities to learn, share, and take action for the estuaries. Plus, reports from summer investigations regarding salt marsh health highlight the need for habitat protection and restoration.
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Free Grant Writing Workshop

MassBays and MA Department of Environmental Protection are teaming up with Bay State Roads (a MA Department of Transportation program) to present a one-day training workshop for municipal and nonprofit staff interested in applying for state grant funds. 

Registration for Proposals for Cleaner Water: A Grant Writing Workshop is free thanks to funding from the 319 nonpoint source program. For more information and to register, visit the Bay State Roads home page
Winter into Spring:  The herring should be swimming upstream in early April, will you help us count them? Trainings begin soon, contact the MassBays Regional Coordinator near you for details.
Wednesdays, February through March: Water Watch Lecture Series, Norwell
February 9: Lecture: Keeping Current: Ocean Drifters in the High-School Classroom, Nahant
February 10: MassBays Management Committee meeting, Boston
February 24: Lecture:  Rising Tide: Planning for Boston’s Uncertain Future, Boston; register after February 10.
March 15: Lecture: The Fascinating Life History of Pacific Rockfish, Nahant
March 18 & 19: Save the Date: Salem Sound Coastwatch 25th Anniversary Symposium: Finding Solutions to Our Coastal Challenges, Beverly & Salem; join their mailing list for more details about required registration.
March 22: Grant writing workshop, Taunton (see above)
March 30: Grant writing workshop, Lawrence (see above)
April 7: Grant writing workshop, Sturbridge (see above)
photo of a green crab
Photo: Maine Dept. of Marine Resources; Link: MA Coastal Zone Management invasive species card.

Cape Cod Salt Marsh Migration Study

Final report identifies high-potential sites

Salt marshes, which need tidal ebb and flow but cannot survive permanent flooding, will diminish and disappear with sea level rise unless they can migrate landward (i.e., inland). Many of the wetlands in the MassBays planning area are bounded by development, cut off by tidal restrictions and road crossings, or degraded by filling and draining, making landward migration all but impossible. This wetland loss not only impacts habitat and water quality, but reduces the natural capacity of the the coastal ecosystem to resist storm surges, mitigate wave energy, and absorb floodwaters.
This past summer APCC’s Salt Marsh Intern Carl De Puy, and MassBays Cape Cod Regional Coordinator 
Dr. Jo Ann Muramoto, used Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis and the Cape Cod Commission’s Sea Level Rise Viewer to identify degraded marshes across the Cape, that, with restoration, might have the potential to migrate inland as water elevations rise. The five marshes with high potential for landward migration identified in the study are adjacent to low-lying open space, have very few barriers to marsh migration (e.g., roads, undersized culverts and developed areas), and would be able to continuously migrate landward for up to 6 feet of sea level rise, putting them at the top of the list for restoration efforts. For details, visit APPC’s website, download the final report, or contact Jo Ann Muramoto 
photo of a Cape Cod abandoned bog
The Cape's abandoned cranberry bogs could accommodate inland migration with restored connection to the tides.
Photo: Carl De Puy, 2015

Green Crab Investigations Spreading

Regional coordinators document invasive crab's impacts on the South and North Shores 
The invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenes) has been a destructive force in the northern Gulf of Maine for several years, clearing estuaries of eelgrass as they dig up clams, and destabilizing marsh banks with their burrows. Over the past few years, the MassBays Regional Coordinator for the Upper North Shore (Peter Phippen) helped develop monitoring protocols to track the crabs and evaluate their impact in Massachusetts – protocols now in use by Regional Coordinator Sara Grady and her team on the South Shore. Preliminary data from a burrow survey on the North and South Rivers (in six Scituate, Marshfield and Norwell salt marshes) show similar results to the North Shore, with hole diameters ranging widely from 0.5cm to 6.9cm, and most burrows in the 1-2.5cm size range (data depicted in the histogram below).
bar chart showing number of burrows per a given diameter
Figure provided by Sara Grady, NSRWA
Meanwhile, Spring 2015 trapping efforts in the Great Marsh (Plum Island Sound and Essex Bay) on the North Shore revealed the green crab populations were significantly diminished from 2014 levels, possibly due to the combination of an extremely cold and ice-laden 2014/2015 winter and extensive late-season (2014) trapping effort by area communities. Green crab populations began to recover through Summer 2015 (see graph below), culminating in a crab-per-trap average for December of double that of the often more prolific season of late Summer/Fall.  The South Shore region is hoping to transfer and test some of the Upper North Shore's trapping protocols this coming summer on a limited basis.
graph depicting rising average number of crabs over 2015
Figure provided by Peter Phippen, MVPC
screen capture NEU webpage
Northeastern University Marine Science Center, MassBays’ Metro Boston Regional Service Provider, has launched a MassBays/Metro Boston section of its website. Still a work in progress, the site will be expanded over time to include an updated Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas, current events, educational programs and opportunities, a list of partners, and more. Regional Coordinator Carole McCauley will also launch a new e-newsletter this winter to help the Boston Harbor Habitat Coalition share Metro Boston region news and opportunities. To subscribe, please click here.
Regional Coordinators & Service Providers
The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program is a cooperative venture of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Charlie Baker, Governor; Karyn E. Polito, Lieutenant Governor
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs - Matthew A. Beaton, Secretary
Office of Coastal Zone Management - Bruce K. Carlisle, Director
Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program - Pam DiBona, Executive Director
Copyright © 2016 Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership, All rights reserved.

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