BBNEP and MCZM StormSmart Coasts Information

Private and public development and redevelopment continue to expand in the flood prone areas of coastal communities. Simultaneously, due to the impacts of climate change, the frequency and intensity of coastal storms is projected to increase over the coming years. When combined, these two factors portend a significant increase in the potential harmful impacts to people and property in coastal communities. With this in mind the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) has developed a suite of ideas, strategies, and case studies to help communities improve efforts to manage coastal floodplains within their town. This information can be found on MCZM's StormSmart Coasts website. The site was created to support local efforts to improve the management of coastal floodplains in Massachusetts.

MCZM StormSmart Coasts Website

MCZM has created a superb website for local officials and residents with information to minimize the adverse effects of storm damage and sea level rise. Click on the StormSmart Coasts Logo above to go to their website.

The 2008 changes to MA Building Code for Flood Resistant Construction

The Massachusetts Basic Building Code 780 CMR 120.G, Appendix G, Code for Flood Resistant Construction in Coastal Dunes and Flood Hazard Zones, was revised and became effective January 8, 2008. In the summer of 2008, the Mass DEP Circuit Rider Program presented free educational workshops for conservation commission members, staff, building inspectors, and other municipal officials. Here is a DEP prepared brochure on the workshop and changes. Various changes in construction standards were implemented in the code changes. One of the most important was the two-foot freeboard requirement for new construction in the velocity zone.

Build with Freeboard

Freeboard is the height above the minimum required floodplain elevation at which a structure is built. In other words, when you build a new home in the flood zone, you might have to raise it a few feet above ground level to be above the 100-year flood plain. If you choose to go even higher as a safety precaution, you have just added "freeboard." There are dramatic financial benefits to constructing homes with freeboard as illustrated by the diagrams below. More information about freeboard, and a more detailed explanation of these graphics is available at the MCZM StormSmart Coasts website. While the new state building standards now require two feet of free board for new construction in the velocity zone, there is nothing to prevent a property owner from exceeding this freeboard amount. Property owners in the A-Zone can elevate their foundation through the use of fill to create freeboard to eliminate the need for flood insurance or to plan for expansion of the flood zone that may result from sea level rise or changes in intensity of storms.

house free board cost scenario 1
house free board cost scenario 2

Hazard Mitigation Plans

Municipal Hazard Mitigation Plans, make towns eligible for certain pre-disaster mitigation grants. These plans, together with the adoption of the FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) program, can reduce insurance premium costs of residents in the flood plain. In 2007, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted a statewide FEMA approved Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan recognized the importance of the local government in defining patterns of development and redevelopment, and placed an increased emphasis on the creation of local mitigation plans. Since then, the state provided increased funding and technical assitance to regional planning agencies and municipalities to create these local plans. As of 2009, however, only 25% of the communities in Massachusetts had a local Hazard Mitigation Plan, and by 2011, many of these had expired. These issues are discussed in the new Buzzards Bay CCMP's Shifting Shorelines Action Plan.

LOSS STATISTICS MASSACHUSETTS since 1978 AS OF 02/28/2009NFIP Policy Statistics for Massachusetts as of January 31, 2009.
COMMUNITY NAMETOTAL LOSSESPaid lossesunpaid lossesTOTAL PAYMENTS$ per claimNo. of PoliciesTotal Insur. cover.Annual Premiums PaidHazard Mitigation
Plan Status
CRS partic.
BOURNE45937782$5,435,069$14,4171143$240,108,100$1,677,292exp 3/9/10no
DARTMOUTH1227646$778,988$10,250516$113,612,000$539,568exp 1/28/10no
GOSNOLD110$2,215$2,2157$2,055,700$7,895to exp 5/13/13no
NEW BEDFORD512724$635,184$23,525224$65,282,400$325,253exp 1/28/10no
PLYMOUTH34825494$4,127,976$16,252445$100,790,800$429,518to exp 8/23/11no
ROCHESTER000$0$01$350,000$388exp 1/28/10no
WESTPORT1077829$1,112,631$14,265293$71,013,400$316,012exp 1/28/10no

EPA Climate Ready Estuaries Initiative

EPA's Office of Oceans, Wetlands and Watersheds has launched an initiative to assist National Estuary Programs adapt and prepare for the effects of climate change. For this Climate Ready Estuaries Initiative, NEPs will assess the vulnerabilities of coastal resources and infrastructure, review local governance, prepare adaptation plans, and increase local awareness of the problems and potential solutions. The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program is adopting many of these strategies in our updated Management Plan for Buzzards Bay. In our original Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Buzzards Bay, the BBNEP was far ahead of its time in recognizing the impacts of sea level rise and global warming. Please review our updated Planning For A Shifting Shoreline Action Plan that will help Buzzards Bay municipalities plan for a shifting shoreline in the coming decades.