Coastal Community Development

Objectives:The goal of this program is to work with coastal communities and marine industries to improve water quality in Massachusettsí oceans and coastal watersheds. Specific objectives include: (1) Characterize and identify sources for pollutants (e.g. nutrients, heavy metals, or organic compounds) generated from terrestrial surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and other urban or suburban landscape features. Identify the fate of these contaminants in the coastal ocean, and work with state and local offices to reduce pollutant loads through source control and structural best management practices. (2) Improve the capacity of coastal communities to identify, monitor, and reduce impacts of pollution to the coastal ocean, including both conventionally regulated substances and emerging contaminants.Methodology:To implement these goals, MITSG will work in collaboration with managers of point sources of pollution, such as wastewater treatment plants, hospitals, nursing homes, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, to identify, quantify, and develop practices to control pollution at the source. In addition, we will work on a locally specific basis with smaller communities to improve their capacity for monitoring, identification, and reduction of non-point sources of pollution (i.e., stormwater).Rationale:The New England coast is densely populated, and human populations in coastal areas are still increasing. The development activities of these populations can have dramatic, negative effects on the ecology and resilience of both terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans adjacent to them. Questions such as the amount and timing of delivery of stormwater from land to ocean, or interactions between coastal and adjacent terrestrial habitats, require immediate and rigorous attention. Further, there is a critical need for dissemination of the information we do have about these ecosystems/problems in order to both mitigate the impacts that can be controlled or altered, and adapt to changes that are beyond local control.