Cape Cod Region
We envision a network of healthy and resilient estuaries, sustainable ecosystems that support the life and communities dependent upon them.
The Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program is dedicated to protecting, restoring, and enhancing the estuarine ecosystems of Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay. We facilitate partnerships to prompt local, state, and federal action and stewardship, by convening stakeholders on the local and regional level, providing scientific basis for management decisions, and working with decisionmakers to identify problems and solutions.
MassBays is one of 28 National Estuary Programs designated by EPA under the Clean Water Act to protect and restore estuaries of national significance, in this case Ipswich Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and Cape Cod Bay. It is one of the largest NEPs in the nation, encompassing 50 communities and more than 1,000 miles of coastline from the Commonwealth’s border with New Hampshire to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. To facilitate effective local partnerships, it is divided into five regions (Cape Cod, South Shore, Boston, Lower North Shore, and Upper North Shore), each with its own regional coordinator.
MassBays operates as a federal-state-regional-local partnership, with support provided by EPA to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management which houses the central MassBays staff. MassBays contracts regional service providers in the five regions, typically regional organizations such as the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. Significant leveraging is provided by local, state and regional partners.
Since 2006 the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) has served as the regional service provider for the Cape Cod region. The Cape Cod region includes 11 towns on Cape Cod Bay (Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Eastham, Orleans, Brewster, Dennis, Yarmouth, Barnstable, Sandwich and Bourne). The Cape Cod region focuses on:
- Promoting management of stormwater and wastewater to improve and protect water quality and aquatic ecosystems;
- Restoring coastal habitat (e.g., fish runs, salt marsh, shellfish habitat);
- Monitoring and assessment of coastal resources (e.g., herring runs, ponds, salt marshes);
- Helping communities to build coastal resilience to adapt to the effects of changing climate and sea level rise; and
- Building local capacity to advance coastal protection and restoration.
Examples of our work are provided below.
Regional facilitation and assistance
- Grantwriting assistance: Since 2006, the Regional Coordinator has provided grantwriting assistance that has brought in over $4 million in grants for Cape Cod towns and organizations to conduct projects involving restoration, protection and coastal resilience.
- Barnstable County Coastal Resources Committee: The CRC is the County’s advisory committee on coastal issues and is also the Local Governance Committee for the Cape Cod region. The Regional Coordinator provides staff support for the CRC.
- Helped towns to obtain stormwater grants, provided workshops on stormwater utilities, surveyed municipal stormwater managers to determine needs, convened the Cape Cod Stormwater Managers group to plan for an EPA stormwater permit, and partnered with the Cape Cod Commission and Stormwater Managers Group to form the Cape Cod Stormwater Coalition
- Designation of No Discharge Areas in Cape Cod Bay and Cape coastal waters: Led the working group that nominated Cape Cod Bay and other coastal waters as No Discharge Areas for boat sewage, and obtained funding for boat sewage pumpouts in Dennis and Provincetown.
- New programs for pond protection and State of the Waters: Cape Cod are planned.
Monitoring and Assessment
- Herring Run Monitoring: Initiated a Cape-wide volunteer monitoring program to conduct herring counts to obtain population estimates and document success of restoration projects. This program involves more than 200 volunteers who monitor 19 runs (8 on Cape Cod Bay) in 12 towns.
- Stony Brook salt marsh and fish passage restoration, Brewster: Helped the town to restore 41 acres of salt marsh and fish passage to 386 acres of spawning habitat, through grant-writing, project management and monitoring. Obtained $1.7 million+ from NOAA, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Gulf of Maine Council, and other sources for plans, permitting, design and construction. APCC received a Coastal America Partnership Award for this project.
- Upper Shawme Pond Fish Ladder Restoration, Sandwich: APCC helped the town to obtain $78,000+ in grants to install a new fish ladder to Upper Shawme Pond, restoring fish passage to 21 acres of spawning habitat, after 30+ years of non-functional passage;
- Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project (CCWRRP): This Congressionally-approved NRCS project will restore 24 tidally-restricted salt marshes, 24 impaired fish runs and remediate at least 24 stormwater outfalls to restore or protect shellfish beds over a 10-year period. Initial funding of $6.5 million was used to remediate 19 stormwater discharges, 6 tidally-restricted salt marshes and 6 impaired fish runs. APCC assisted with advocacy and selection of projects.
- Cape Cod Restoration Coordination Center: After identifying over 140 restoration projects, APCC formed the Cape Cod Restoration Coordination Center (RCC) to help communities to plan and implement successful ecological restoration projects.
- Impacts of sea level rise and Cape Cod’s aquifer: APCC initiated and obtained funding for the U.S. Geological Survey to model the effect of sea level rise on the Cape’s groundwater and is developing policies for adaptation to inundation of septic systems, stormwater and infrastructure.
For more information, contact Dr. Jo Ann Muramoto, MassBays Regional Coordinator for Cape Cod, at (508) 619-3185 or email@example.com .