Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts Action Plan: Planning for a Shifting Shoreline and Coastal Storms

The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program updated their 1991 Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) to implement strategies to reduce the severity of impacts of future storms and sea level rise on the coast and on existing and future coastal development. The Plan includes new or updated goals, objectives, and management solutions to meet the environmental needs for Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed throughout the next decade.

"Action Plan 18: Planning for a Shifting Shoreline and Coastal Storms" is one of many actions plans in the CCMP.  Action Plan 18 includes the following objectives:

  • To incorporate sea level rise, increased frequency and intensity of coastal flooding, and shoreline change phenomena into all relevant planning and management programs.
  • To develop a comprehensive strategy for handling existing structures in areas that will be affected by future shoreline changes and other coastal hazards.
  • To adopt regulatory and non-regulatory measures for guiding growth and development in areas that will be influenced by coastal flooding and new shorelines.
  • To restructure the flood and hazard insurance programs in threatened areas to decrease the financial burden on the public.
  • To adopt emergency response plans to reflect additional needs and constraints caused by reduced access and increased flooding potential of developed coastlines.

This plan reviews the history of development pressures, adaptation measures, and general climate change impacts in the area - with reasoning for adaptive planning for future storm damage impacts to minimize the financial and ecological impacts of coastal development. 

Management approaches are delineated with suggested required changes in regulations, policies, and activities at all levels of government, especially public spending for infrastructure and program policies that promote development in high risk areas. The plan also suggests restructuring of flood insurance programs as well as the federal government actions required in the aftermath of disasters such as relief aid. 


Publication Date: October 24, 2012

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  • Adaptation plan

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