EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This 5-Year Watershed Action Plan will serve as the strategic environmental planning document for the North Coastal Watersheds (NCW) Team for calendar years 2004-2008. It is intended to provide a long-term vision for the watershed and to describe a set of overall goals and objectives. The goals of the NCW team and the Action Plan are:

1. Open Space: Foster Sustainable Development (people-oriented).

2. Habitat: Conserve habitat and wildlife (nature-oriented).

3. Water Quality: Improve water quality and water-related human health.

4. Water Quantity: Better water management / flood control.

5. Recreation: Foster recreational use of natural resources and economic growth related to recreation.

6. Outreach: Local capacity building, outreach, and education.

The Action Plan was developed in conjunction with representatives of a wide array of public watershed interests, via input at public meetings, on a website (www.NorthCoastal.net), through newspaper articles, and through videotaping at public events. The Action Plan identifies existing conditions and unresolved issues, and then develops priorities for action.

The Action Plan recommends concrete actions for the next five years to work towards those goals. Formerly, EOEAs Massachusetts Watershed Initiative would have overseen the implementation of the Action Plan. With the dissolution of that Initiative, implementation will be accomplished in a more decentralized manner primarily via local watershed groups, with some oversight and input from EOEA and other Watershed Team representatives. For the NCW, the Watershed Team still meets, as an information-sharing source for its constituent watershed groups, and EOEA continues to embrace the Watershed Initiatives goals and methods via the NCW Watershed Team. The Action Plan in that context becomes a reference source for use in grant applications by the local watershed groups. The recommendations of this Action Plan are:

         A. Study and rehabilitate closed coastal shellfish beds

         B. Initiate and develop a salt marsh recreational and ecological survey

         C. Reinstitute beach maintenance & develop area beach management plans

         D. Expand river and lake cleanups

         E. Publicize and reduce contaminated stormwater runoff

         F. Restore and Protect Water Quality/ Reduce Pathogens

         G. Protect, evaluate, and restore sensitive habitat

         H. Maintain natural water flow regime

         I. Restore anadromous fish habitat

         J. Watershed-wide flood planning

         K. Watershed-wide open space planning

         L. Preserve and protect farmland

         M. Implement the Grow Smart North Shore Open Space Plan

         N. Direct outreach to communities / build sense of stewardship

         O. Liaison for grant opportunities

         P. Meet watershed goals via other projects

The protection and restoration of the North Coastal Watersheds resources will take the combined efforts of many communities: citizens, local governments, environmental groups, state and federal agencies, and business. The success the Watershed Team has in bringing these communities together will in large part determine the success of the North Coastal Watersheds Action Plan. The 5-year Watershed Action Plan should thus be considered a living document that will change as new issues and needs are identified, and new partners join the Watershed Team.

The results of the Action Plan include a 30-minute video intended for distribution to high schools, libraries, and local cable TV stations. For those interested in reading more than the brief video can provide, this Action Plan will be distributed to the same locations.. In addition, the website www.NorthCoastal.net contains a record of numerous public input as well as a reference library of numerous relevant documents. That website will be maintained indefinitely.

 



NCW 5-Year Action Plan: Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY................................................................................................. 5

Political Boundaries / Transportation Map.......................................................................................................... Insert 1

North Coastal Wetlands Map.............................................................................................................................. Insert 2

North Coastal Open Space Map.......................................................................................................................... Insert 3

North Coastal Land Use Map.............................................................................................................................. Insert 4

1. INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................... 6

1A. NORTH COASTAL WATERSHEDS: Physical and social setting.................................................................... 6

Ecoregions....................................................................................................................................................................... 6

Physical Features............................................................................................................................................................ 7

Social Setting................................................................................................................................................................... 8

1B. HISTORICAL CONTEXT......................................................................................................................................... 9

1C. THE MASSACHUSETTS WATERSHED INITIATIVE..................................................................................... 10

2. ISSUES AND STRATEGIES.................................................................................... 11

2A. Open Space: Sustainable Development...................................................................................................................... 11

2B. Habitat Conservation.................................................................................................................................................. 11

2C. Water Quality Improvement...................................................................................................................................... 12

2D. Water Quantity Management..................................................................................................................................... 13

2E. Recreation as Economic Resource............................................................................................................................... 14

2F. Capacity Building & Outreach.................................................................................................................................... 14

Public Input Process......................................................................................................................................................... 15

3. PUBLIC INPUT............................................................................................................ 16

Waterways........................................................................................................................................................................ 17

Non-point sources............................................................................................................................................................. 17

Non-point sources (continued)......................................................................................................................................... 18

Development..................................................................................................................................................................... 18

Marine............................................................................................................................................................................... 18

Marine (continued)............................................................................................................................................................ 19

Wastewater........................................................................................................................................................................ 19

Water supply.................................................................................................................................................................... 19

Water Supply (continued)................................................................................................................................................. 20

Land Use........................................................................................................................................................................... 20

Invasive Species................................................................................................................................................................ 20

Ecology.............................................................................................................................................................................. 21

Outreach............................................................................................................................................................................ 22

4. RECOMMENDATIONS............................................................................................. 23

4A. Study and rehabilitate closed coastal shellfish beds................................................................................................... 23

4B. Initiate and develop salt marsh recreational and ecological survey............................................................................. 23

4C. Reinstitute beach maintenance & develop area beach management plans.................................................................. 23

4D. Expand river and lake cleanups.................................................................................................................................. 24

4E. Publicize and reduce contaminated stormwater runoff............................................................................................... 24

4F. Restore and Protect Water Quality/ Reduce Pathogens.............................................................................................. 25

4G. Protect, evaluate, and restore sensitive habitat.......................................................................................................... 25

4H. Maintain natural water flow regime........................................................................................................................... 26

4I. Restore anadromous fish habitat.................................................................................................................................. 26

4J. Watershed-wide flood planning................................................................................................................................... 25

4K. Watershed-wide open space planning........................................................................................................................ 26

4L. Preserve and protect farmland.................................................................................................................................... 27

4M. Implement the Grow Smart North Shore Open Space Plan...................................................................................... 27

4N. Direct outreach to communities / build sense of stewardship.................................................................................... 27

4O. Liaison for grant opportunities.................................................................................................................................. 28

4P. Meet watershed goals via other projects.................................................................................................................... 28

A VISION FOR THE WATERSHED............................................................................. 29


Appendix A: Organizational Background................................................. 30

A1. The Massachusetts Watershed Initiative................................................................................................................... 30

A2. Watershed Teams and Community Action................................................................................................................ 31

A3. Watershed Team Structure and Process..................................................................................................................... 31

A4. North Coastal Watersheds Team History.................................................................................................................. 32

A5. Seven Years in Review............................................................................................................................................... 33

Appendix B: NCW Team Members...................................................................... 35

Community Groups................................................................................................. 37

Appendix C: Issues Background.................................................................... 39

NCW subwatershed list.................................................................................................................................................... 39

C1. Saugus River subwatershed ....................................................................................................................................... 39

C2. Nahant Bay subwatershed ......................................................................................................................................... 40

C3. Salem Sound subwatershed ........................................................................................................................................ 40

C4. Cape Anne subwatershed .......................................................................................................................................... 40

C5. Salisbury/Amesbury subwatershed ........................................................................................................................... 41

C6. Lake Quannapowitt.................................................................................................................................................... 41

C7. Chebacco Lake............................................................................................................................................................ 41

C8. Town Line Brook....................................................................................................................................................... 42

C9. Lynn Woods............................................................................................................................................................... 42

C10. Saugus Iron Works.................................................................................................................................................... 42

C11. Water Supply Boards............................................................................................................................................... 43

C12. Contaminated stormwater issues.............................................................................................................................. 43

C13. Impervious Surface runoff........................................................................................................................................ 44

C14. Wastewater issues.................................................................................................................................................... 44

C15. Blue Line Extension.................................................................................................................................................. 45

C16. Agricultural Impacts................................................................................................................................................. 45

Appendix D: Previous Goals............................................................................. 47

Goal 1: Restore and Protect Water Quality...................................................................................................................... 47

Objective 1.1 Minimize point sources of pollution throughout the watershed............................................................ 47

Objective 1.2 Identify and minimize nonpoint sources of pollution throughout the watershed.................................. 47

Objective 1.3 Remediate and prevent the spread of invasive species........................................................................... 48

Goal 2: Build a Sense of Stewardship............................................................................................................................... 48

Objective 2.1 Expand the membership of the North Coastal Watersheds Team.......................................................... 48

Objective 2.2 Strengthen regional and local watershed advocacy groups and activities............................................... 48

Objective 2.3 Promote environmental education and awareness.................................................................................. 48

Goal 3 Improve Physical Functions.................................................................................................................................. 49

Objective 3.1 Reduce flooding events........................................................................................................................... 49

Objective 3.2 Improve and enhance ecosystem functions............................................................................................ 49

Goal 4 Support Sustainable Growth................................................................................................................................. 49

Objective 4.1 Continue regional land use planning....................................................................................................... 49

Objective 4.2 Plan for adequate water supply to meet growth in demand................................................................... 50

Objective 4.3 Redevelop abandoned and under utilized properties.............................................................................. 50

Goal 5 Implement the Grow Smart North Shore Open Space Plan.................................................................................. 50

Objective 5.1 Preserve open space and BIO Map core areas....................................................................................... 50

Objective 5.2 Provide for regional recreation opportunities......................................................................................... 50

Appendix E. Accomplishments of previous years.............................. 51

E1. Open Space............................................................................................................................................................... 51

E2. Habitat....................................................................................................................................................................... 53

E3. Water Quality........................................................................................................................................................... 54

E4. Water Quantity......................................................................................................................................................... 59

E5. Recreation................................................................................................................................................................. 60

E6. Local Capacity Building.......................................................................................................................................... 60

E7. Outreach and education.......................................................................................................................................... 62


Appendix F. Impaired Waters............................................................................ 67

Massachusetts Category 2, 3, 4, and 5 Waters - 2002...................................................................................................... 67

North Coastal 303d list 1998............................................................................................................................................ 67

North Coastal 303d list 1996............................................................................................................................................ 72

Appendix G: Funding Sources.......................................................................... 76

Previously Funded Roundtable Projects (FY99-02)......................................................................................................... 91

Appendix H. Subwatersheds and Municipalities................................... 93

Appendix I. Surface Water Quality Standards..................................... 96

Appendix J. Designated Uses........................................................................... 98

J1. AQUATIC LIFE USE................................................................................................................................................. 99

J2. FISH CONSUMPTION USE................................................................................................................................... 100

J3. DRINKING WATER USE....................................................................................................................................... 100

J4. SHELLFISHING USE............................................................................................................................................... 101

J5. PRIMARY CONTACT RECREATIONAL USE................................................................................................... 101

J6. SECONDARY CONTACT RECREATIONAL USE.............................................................................................. 102

J7. AESTHETICS USE................................................................................................................................................... 103

Appendix K. Permits and Registrations................................................... 104

K1. North Coastal NPDES permits................................................................................................................................ 104

K2. Water Management Registrations and permits........................................................................................................ 108

Appendix L: Relevant Government Agencies....................................... 110

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)................................................................................................................. 110

Watershed Management plans........................................................................................................................................ 110

National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).......................................................................................... 110

Section 303d: impaired waterbodies................................................................................................................................ 110

FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency........................................................................................................... 111

CZMA Coastal Zone Management Act......................................................................................................................... 111

MEPA Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act......................................................................................................... 111

WMA Massachusetts Water Management Act.............................................................................................................. 111

State Sanitary Code......................................................................................................................................................... 111

Title V, Department of Environmental Protection.......................................................................................................... 111

Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention Act (MGL 21E)................................................................................. 112

Executive Office of Environmental Affairs..................................................................................................................... 112

Department of Environmental Protection....................................................................................................................... 112

Department of Environmental Management................................................................................................................... 113

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).................................................................................. 113

Department of Fish and Game (DFG)............................................................................................................................ 113

Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)...................................................................................................... 113

Independent Programs.................................................................................... 114

The Massachusetts Watershed Initiative........................................................................................................................ 114

MEPA Unit..................................................................................................................................................................... 114

Coastal Zone Management.............................................................................................................................................. 114

Division of Conservation Services.................................................................................................................................. 114

Office of Technical Assistance........................................................................................................................................ 115

Water Resources Commission......................................................................................................................................... 115

Wetlands Restoration Program........................................................................................................................................ 115

Appendix M: Potential buildout statistics............................................ 116

Appendix N: MAPC Survey................................................................................. 117

Appendix O: Bibliography................................................................................. 121

Appendix P: Glossary......................................................................................... 125

Acknowledgements........................................................................................... 132





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