Edgartown Memorial Wharf Waterfront Rehabilitation Project

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $3.8 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to support nine projects in eight communities. These grants will help advance the Seaport Economic Council’s mission of providing support for working waterfronts, local tourism, coastal resilience, maritime innovation, and the Commonwealth’s robust Blue Economy. The grants were approved by the Seaport Economic Council, chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, at today’s virtual meeting.

“Our administration is proud to invest a total of $57 million in the Commonwealth’s unique maritime assets, supporting a wide variety of projects located in more than half of our coastal communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “From modernizing infrastructure to improving resiliency and expanding capacity, these investments ensure that our coastal assets will continue to support our maritime industries and position these key sectors for success long into the future.”

“Since re-launching six years ago, the Seaport Economic Council has played an important role in driving growth across the Commonwealth, and will continue to be a key part of our economic development toolbox as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Polito, Chair of the Seaport Economic Council.  “Our administration remains committed to helping coastal communities leverage their unique assets, in order to support maritime industries and foster the continued growth of the Blue Economy.”

With today’s awards, the Seaport Economic Council has awarded a total of approximately $57 million in grants to 48 coastal communities since the Baker-Polito Administration re-launched the Council in 2015.

Through a total of 122 individual grants, these investments have funded projects ranging from local priorities to Commonwealth-wide initiatives.

“As part of our continued focus on investments in coastal infrastructure, these grants will help preserve and strengthen the assets that make Massachusetts unique,” said Undersecretary for Community Development Ashley Stolba.  “Whether it’s enhanced recreational opportunities or unlocking potential for our maritime industries’ commercial activities, the Seaport Economic Council looks forward to continuing to partner with our coastal communities to find a path forward to supporting those objectives.”

In the round of grants approved today, the Council is awarding more than $3.4 million to support coastal infrastructure projects that range from design and permitting work to construction activities associated with upgrading commercial fishing piers, expanding dock capacity, and improving resiliency.

This round of grants also includes more than $465,000 in awards for the design of an environmentally sound solution for the disposal of dredging material, testing the health of shellfish harvesting areas, and the expansion of an innovative platform that supports the development of ocean sensing technology.

Today, Lt. Governor Polito also formally announced the opening of this year’s round of the Massachusetts Dredging Program.  Established to promote the strength and sustainability of the Commonwealth’s coastal harbors and Blue Economy, the Dredging Program awards grants on a competitive basis, with a focus on shovel-ready projects that contribute to the economic vitality, recreational value, public safety, and resilience of coastal harbors.

Applications for the 2021 grant round are due March 17, 2021, and all Massachusetts coastal municipalities are eligible to apply. Eligible applications require a minimum of 50 percent non-state matching funds.  Applications will be evaluated by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) in consultation with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

Since 2019, the Massachusetts Dredging Program has awarded over $11 million for 13 public projects, leveraging more than $16 million in matching funds. These projects have expanded or preserved the use of over 5,800 moorings and dockage slips, improved navigation for over 500 commercial vessels, and supported the livelihoods of more than 50 private boatyards, marinas, yacht clubs, and other harbor-dependent enterprises.

Learn more at mass.gov/massachusetts-dredging-program.

Seaport Economic Council Grant Recipients

City of Beverly: $140,000
Feasibility Assessment of Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) for Bass River Dredge Sediments
This grant will facilitate the city of Beverly’s process of identifying a suitable dredge sediment disposal option for the Bass River Maintenance Dredging Project.  Dredge sediment from this project has been determined to be unsuitable for unconfined offshore disposal at the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site (MBDS) and has therefore delayed the dredging project.  This feasibility study will allow the city to explore the possibility of constructing a Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) cell within the limits of the Bass River.  If feasible, a disposal cell could be an economically viable and environmentally sound method for sediment disposal, allowing the dredging project to resume, and ultimately restoring safe and reliable navigation within the river system for commercial and recreational boating.

Division of Marine Fisheries/Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute: $128,266
Innovative Genetic Tools to Ensure Public Health Safety and Promote the Shellfish Economy of Massachusetts’ Coastal Communities
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) are seeking funds to develop a new method of testing shellfish harvesting areas for viral presences.  The funding would allow for an extensive sampling and testing to determine factors that influence viral presences in harvest areas.  This information has the potential to affirm the current standards of the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) or be useful in determining whether any adjustments are necessary.  Ultimately, an improved understanding in this area could prevent unneeded closures of harvest areas and avoid the loss of associated economic output, strain on the shellfish industry, and loss of jobs.

Falmouth EDIC/MRECo: $197,063
Massachusetts Ocean Sensor Testbed (MOST)
This grant will assist MRECo and the Falmouth EDIC with the establishment of the Massachusetts Ocean Sensor Testbed (MOST), which will result in extending the MRECo Bourne Tidal Test Stand’s (BTTS) capabilities as a marine sensor testing platform by connecting it directly to power and broadband, which are factors that have hindered BTTS usage.  Addressing those factors will strengthen BTTS’s value as a testbed for ocean sensors, a key enabling technology for all aspects of the Blue Economy.  Completing this extension is expected to trigger a decrease in costs for sensor and instrumentation developers, and enable more cost-effective and faster development-to-market readiness, resulting in a positive impact on the Blue Economy as a whole.

Town of Chatham: $400,000
Design and Permitting Waterfront Improvements Project at the Municipal Fish Pier   
This funding will support a Supportive Coastal Infrastructure Project Grant for design and permitting waterfront improvements at the Municipal Fish Pier located at Aunt Lydia’s Cove in Chatham Harbor.  With preliminary engineering already completed, the Seaport Economic Council Grant will fund final design, permitting, and bid phase services for the project that will ultimately result in reconstruction of the southern portion of the facility (aka South Jog); the relocation of diesel and gasoline fuel services to the filled pier; utility relocation and other site improvements for coastal resiliency; replacement of existing public stairways; and the installation of a new sidewalk and access corridor to address safety deficiencies in separation of public use from commercial fish-offloading activities.

Town of Edgartown: $1,000,000
Edgartown Memorial Wharf Waterfront Rehabilitation Project
This grant will support the Edgartown Memorial Wharf Waterfront Rehabilitation Project, which is a shovel-ready coastal infrastructure improvement project that will support economic development opportunities.  The overall goal of this project is to replace portions of the wharf and pier that have reached the end of their service life and provide needed maintenance to other structural elements that are stable but require service to maintain structural integrity and public safety standards.

Town of Manchester by the Sea: $132,000
Commercial Fishing Facility at Morss Pier
This grant will support Phase 1 pre-construction design, engineering, and permitting to expand the docking facilities for commercial fishermen at Morss Pier in historic Masconomo Park.  The project’s plans seek to allow for unfettered access to gear, bait, and unloading of the catch, which are vital to the area fleet’s commercial success.

Town of Manchester by the Sea: $811,504
Tuck’s Point Docks
This funding will allow for the enhancement and expansion of the public access docking facility at Tuck’s Point, which includes the installation of an 80-foot-long ADA-compliant ramp.  In October 2019, a major storm caused a catastrophic failure at the town docking facility at Tuck’s Point. When the facility was condemned, the town decided to redesign the facility to better accommodate all current users, such as the Manchester Sailing Association and various fishing and sailing charter companies. The new facility will also continue to serve as a dinghy tie-up facility for more than one hundred mooring holders.  Completion of this project will also provide an additional seventy-five feet of vessel tie-up space.

Town of Plymouth: $1,000,000
Rehabilitation of Town Wharf Bulkhead
This award will facilitate the repair and reconstruction of a bulkhead, timber pier structure, and boardwalk in Plymouth Harbor, located between the Lobster Hut and Wood’s Seafood. The existing structure, which is in poor condition, is in need of replacement in order to maintain current parking availability as well as improved pedestrian access with features including improved lighting. This project entails the complete replacement of the boardwalk structure in this area, as well as installation of new piles, encasing the bulkhead in concrete, and new pile caps.

Town of Swampscott: $80,000
Town Pier Improvements Phase I
This grant funding will be used for the reconstruction and upgrading of the Town Pier located in the iconic Swampscott Harbor at Fisherman’s Beach. The town’s recently completed Harbor and Waterfront Plan identified this project as a time-sensitive and critical coastal resilience and economic development project.  This grant funding will allow for the start of design and permitting, with the ultimate goal of a reconstructed pier that is resilient, mitigates adjacent flooding and provides protection for the Fish House.