WETLANDS PPA SUMMARY AND WORKPLAN by 46N1BT9

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									                         WETLANDS PPA SUMMARY AND WORKPLAN
I. Regulation

Summary

Indicators:

    # Wetlands Regulatory Filings Reviewed
    # New regulations, policies, guidance issued
    # Enforcement inspections, cases
    % Staff time on permitting, compliance & enforcement

Why is this important?

MassDEP’s Wetlands Program protects wetlands to preserve the important
environmental functions that wetlands provide, which include:
    the protection of ground and surface water quality,
    the prevention of flooding and storm damage,
    pollution prevention, and
    the protection of aquatic, shellfish and wildlife habitat.

A strong regulatory program allows us to reduce wetland loss and preserve wetland
function in Massachusetts. MassDEP’s Wetlands Program ensures the protection of
inland and coastal wetlands, rivers and floodplains by implementation of the Wetlands
Protection Act (Chapter 131 Section 40), the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations, and
the 401 Water Quality Certification Program (Water Quality Regulations).

How are we doing?

Regulatory Filings

Calendar Year                # NOI Filings    SOC’s        #401’s
                             reviewed         issued       issued
2005                         8480             *            *
2006                         7952             *            *
2007                         7040             *            *
2008                         5755             *            *
2009                         5334             177          107
2010 (through 6/30)          2726             88           31

*Data not available



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Through MassDEP’s strong permitting program, we review of thousands of permit
applications each year. The permit process results in the avoidance, minimization and
mitigation of wetlands alterations. Approximately 3-5% of the permits issued by
Conservation Commissions are appealed, and MassDEP experts decide on the
controversial issues presented in each appeal through the issuance of superseding
permit decisions.

Regulations, Policies, Guidance

The Wetlands Program is very active in developing improved regulations, policies and
guidance to keep current with emerging science and new technologies. Some of the
accomplishments during the past year include:

Accomplishment                               Detail
Ocean Planning                               Final Plan promulgated December 2010.
    Sediment Management Workgroup           Final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan
    Regulatory Workgroup                    Regulation development to implement the
                                             Ocean Plan is uderway;
                                             Regulatory changes planned winter 2010-
                                             2011.
                                             Coordination with Division of Marine
                                             Fisheries and communities located on
                                             Cape Cod to better implement Time of
                                             Year (TOY) restrictions to protect fisheries
                                             when conducting dredging projects.
Web-based tool to determine if a stream is   Stream Stats now includes improved
perennial subject to the Rivers Protection   capability to identify perennial rivers and
regulations                                  stream
Asian Longhorn Beetle regulation             Updated emergency regulations to
                                             permanent. Additional area of infestation
                                             identified and notification of applicability
                                             of the beetle control regulation is being
                                             disseminated to the stakeholders in the
                                             new areas.
Mosquito Control BMP Manual                  MassDEP participated in the development
                                             of a mosquito control BMP manual to
                                             ensure consistency between mosquito
                                             eradication efforts and wetlands
                                             protection




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Enforcement Inspections, Cases

Enforcement investigations are initiated through several means, including aerial
photography that accurately tracks areas of wetlands loss, (See Wetlands Loss Mapping
Summary), permit site inspections, phone calls, and other contacts with stakeholders. In
Federal FY 2010 the number of investigations has decreased, but the number of Higher
Level Enforcement Actions is approximately the same as 2009 and MassDEP can
attribute this decline to the following causes:

   1) Aerial photogrammetry for wetlands loss mapping is obtained once every 3-5
      years and investigations are conducted in the intervening years. Many sites with
      the best enforcement potential have been acted on or are pending;

   2) Publication of the aerial surveillance and enforcement actions have served as a
      deterrent to potential violators and provided opportunities for enforcement by
      Conservation Commissions;

   3) The Wetland Information Resource (WIRe) project required time from many staff
      in MassDEP’s regional and Boston offices to ensure that we have a successful
      data management system that will accommodate and improve future wetland
      protection efforts.

   4) Resources have decreased due to budget cuts.

Enforcement Statistics
Year   #               # Higher                   Acres     Linear               # sites        # sites where
       Inspections Level                          ordered   ft. bank             with           construction-
                       Enforcement                restored* restored             resource       related
                       cases                                                     areas          erosion/
                                                                                 restored       sedimentation
                                                                                                prevented
SFY06         1101                 130                8.7           1,880        @ 40           @ 20
SFY07         1155                 122               24.2           7,543        82             33
              1029                  86               10.7           1790         57             10
SFY08
SFY09         1131                  76               14.5           3,425        52             6
SFY10          961                  74               19.5            727         42             13

   *Restored resource areas includes Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVW), Isolated Vegetated Wetland (IVW),
   Bordering Land Subject to Flooding (BLSF), Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage (LSCSF), and Riverfront Area
   (RA). Does not include Land Under Water (LUW).




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Staff Time on Permitting, Compliance, Enforcement

Our regulatory program is influenced by MassDEP’s innovative wetlands loss mapping
program (See Wetlands Loss Mapping Summary). This program and one-time
Conservation Commission file review in 2002, shows there was a much higher
percentage of unpermitted than permitted wetland alterations representing a high
potential for significant illegal wetlands loss. As a result of this finding, MassDEP made a
conscious decision to increase time and effort on enforcement. Since the last aerial
imagery was obtained in 2005, most enforcement cases identified through the wetland
loss mapping have been investigated. We anticipate increased enforcement effort in the
upcoming year as the new wetland loss mapping becomes available. In order to be
successful, we also obtained grant funding to develop a new data management system
called the Wetland Information Resource (WIRe) to help us in future enforcement cases
by geospatially integrating our permitting, enforcement and wetland loss databases.
WIRe development is nearing completion (See WIRe Summary).


Task              FY 2004 FY 2005 FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010
Permit Review-                                            44.5 46.1        41.0
                   46.1      43.7      42.8      42.8
% of staff time
Enforcement-%                                             13.3 14.3        10.7
                   14.0      16.6      14.7      14.3
of staff time
Compliance-%                                               6.4   5.4       5.1
                    7.0       8.4      6.8       5.8
of staff time
Grant Projects
(WIRe,
                    NA        NA        NA       NA     NA       NA        9.1
Monitoring and
Assessment)



Maintaining Strong Performance
The Bureau continues to search for and evaluate innovative ways to achieve
environmental results and meet the challenges of reduced resources by increasing our
own efficiency and prioritizing work on the most important environmental problems.

MassDEP continues to support the needs of the town Conservation Commissions and
the regulated community by identifying issues that may need clarification or improving.
One need identified for improvement was the ability to tabulate and report on current
available data. To address that need, MassDEP has launched a system that integrates
permitting as well as compliance and enforcement databases (see WIRE). We are
currently working to improve performance so that we can increase electronic
submission of permit applications to improve our database. Our enforcement efforts



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against violators of the Wetlands Protection Act are a high priority and a new state
wetland loss flyover is underway.

Improving results

Detailed work plan

In Federal Fiscal Year 2011, we hope to make progress on the following regulatory goals:

   1. Development of a Coastal Wetlands Restoration Policy that focuses on tidal
      restrictions in coordination with the Executive Office of Energy and
      Environmental Affairs Wetlands Restoration Program has not advanced due to
      resource constraints. MassDEP has facilitated restoration by appointment of a
      point of contact who has worked closely with the restoration program to
      expedite over 45 restoration projects this year (See Wetland Restoration
      Summary).

   2. MassDEP has worked closely with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone
      Management to draft a Coastal Resource Delineation Manual that will inform the
      public on matters related to coastal resource areas (e.g. how to delineate, what
      is allowed). The final manual has been delayed due to resource constraints and is
      now scheduled to be published in the Fall of 2010.

   3. An update to the recently published Stormwater Handbook is being developed
      to include new research and to provide guidance on converting water quality
      volume necessary for sizing BMP’s to an equivalent flow rate for water quality
      separator sizing. The need for this update was identified by MassDEP staff,
      Conservation Commissions, proprietary BMP manufacturers and the regulated
      community and is currently scheduled to be published in March 2011.

   4. MassDEP’s goal to post Important Wildlife Habitat Maps referenced in “Wildlife
      Habitat Protection Guidance for Inland Wetlands” (March 2006) for inland
      wetland resource areas in the remaining 239 towns in Massachusetts to website
      www.masscaps.org in Spring 2010 was delayed due to resource constraints. If
      resources permit we hope to accomplish this in the upcoming year.

   5. Continue substantial outreach is underway to increase the number of towns and
      applicants using new eDEP forms so that we can collect data electronically (See
      WIRe Workplan). Wetlands Information Resource (WIRe) project for external
      users was launched in November 2009 and we are currently working to improve
      performance of the system. Resource constraints have delayed efforts on this.




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6. Wetland Protection Act regulatory revisions regarding Intermittent Streams;
   Oceans and other matters have been delayed due to resource constraints and
   are now scheduled to be published in the winter 2010-2011.

7. MassDEP participated in a workgroup with the Division of Marine Fisheries to
   develop time of year restrictions on Cape Cod to more efficiently protect
   fisheries while managing dredging and other water related activities. DMF is
   expected to finalize guidance by Fall 2010.

9. MassDEP is reviewing revisions to the Massachusetts Stream Crossing
   Standardsundertaken by the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.




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II. Wetlands Loss Mapping

Summary

   Indicators:

   Percent of state with wetlands loss data from aerial photogrammetry;
   Acres of wetlands loss per flight
   # of Wetlands Loss Polygons
   Acres of Wetlands Loss per year
   # Wetlands loss enforcement cases
   Causes of Wetlands Loss

   Why is this important?

   MassDEP’s Wetlands Loss Mapping Project has accurately located and mapped
   wetlands using an innovative GIS-based computer program and a wetlands mapping
   database compiled since 1990. By comparing changes over time, these maps can
   identify those wetlands that have been filled. This effort has developed reliable and
   verifiable data on location, acreage and causes of freshwater wetlands loss beyond
   what MassDEP’s permitting records reveal. By using the wetlands loss maps, we
   have focused on enforcement and outreach efforts to improve wetlands protection.




How are we doing?

Percent of State with Wetland Loss Data from Aerial Photogrammetry; Acres of
wetlands loss per flight; # of Wetlands Loss Polygons; Acres of Wetlands Loss per year

Analysis of 2001 imagery showed that over 850 acres of wetlands at 3,244 sites were
filled between 1990 and 2001. These data were collected from available aerial photos



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for 70% of the state. While this loss is a relatively small portion of the total wetlands in
the state, it is far more wetlands loss than is acceptable. In 2005, a new flight covered
the remainder of the state and identified wetlands loss that occurred between 2001
and 2005. Analysis of this information identified a loss of 482 acres at 1,473 sites.
Depending on the region of the state, the rates of wetlands loss have remained the
same, or been slightly reduced over the two periods of 1990-2001 and 2001-2005.
Wetlands Loss by Flights

 Years Compared                      % of State w/           # Wetlands Loss               Acres Lost
                                     Wetlands Loss           Polygons
                                     Data1

 1990-2001                           70                      3244                          840*

 2001-2005                           100                     1473                          482

 2005-2009                           100 (flown)             Due to be                     Due to be
                                                             completed Fall                completed Fall
                                                             2010 (See below)              2010 (See below)

    *70% of the state (At same rate of loss, 100% would be 1200 acres)
 Wetlands Loss Comparison by Region
                               Acres lost               Acres                 Acres lost               Acres
      Region
                               1990-2001                lost/year             2001-2005                lost/year
      NERO*                           222                   20-28                     87                     22
      SERO*                           545                   49-68                    264                     66
      CERO**                           73                     24                      81                     20
      WERO                         no data                 no data                    49                     12
      Total                           840                  93-120                    432                    108
*NERO and SERO were initially flown between 1990 and 1993 and so the analysis represents an 8-11 year period.
**CERO was initially flown in 1999 and so the analysis represents a 3-year period.

Wetland Loss Enforcement Cases
MassDEP pursues enforcement actions for confirmed violations found through
wetlands loss mapping. These efforts have resulted in substantial penalties for


    1 Numbers include permitted loss which is likely to have been replicated under permitting criteria. MassDEP is

currently building the capability to identify projects with replication into our data management system, WIRe.
When finished, we will be able to better identify which wetland loss sites were permitted and include replication.




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violators, and restoration of the wetlands that were destroyed. Because the
continuing mapping effort permits us to identify violations in a timely manner,
restoration efforts are likely to be more successful. MassDEP has publicized successful
enforcement cases to let people know that MassDEP has the ability to track wetlands
change through aerial photogrammetry in hopes of deterring future violations.
MassDEP also uses the photography and resource delineation to provide additional
evidence in cases that are identified by complaints rather than aerial photography
analysis. In FY 2010, enforcement of wetland loss cases decreased to the lowest
number since the program began. This is because the new wetland loss mapping has
been delayed due to resource shortage.
Enforcement cases identified through aerial imagery program

 Date                       # Wetlands Loss Cases            Penalties*          Acres Restored
 7/1/03- 6/30/04                     10                      $ 650,750                 23.52
 7/1/04 - 6/30/05                    12                      $1,104,100                21.41
 7/1/05 - 6/30/06                    8                       $ 102,500                  3.35
 7/1/06- 6/30/07                     11                      $ 186,500                  5.68
 7/1/07 – 6/30/08                    9                       $ 104,225                   1.87
 7/1/08 – 6/30/09                    12                      $ 792,082                   5.11
 7/1/09 – 6/30/10                    3                          $130,500              1.23**

 TOTALS                                  65                                              62.17 acres
                                                             $3,070,,657***
* includes $300,000 AG penalty
**Note that data in this column does not include Land Under Water, however, an additional 74 acres were
ordered restored by MassDEP’s Southeast Region.

***includes $711,442 in suspended penalties, $212,000 in SEPs, and SEPs with as-yet undetermined value.



Causes and Disposition of Wetland Loss
Using wetlands loss mapping, MassDEP has also identified what types of activities
account for the most change. In the 2001 imagery analysis, residential and commercial
activities accounted for approximately 41% of wetlands losses. In the 2005 imagery
analysis, these sectors continue to be a large cause of wetlands loss, representing in
combination 32% of identified losses, and loss from agricultural and cranberry bog
activities dropping from 32% to approximately 17%. By understanding the most
significant contributors to wetlands loss MassDEP is able to target compliance,
enforcement, outreach, and training to those sectors in order to prevent future losses.
Causes of Wetland Loss



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 Wetlands Loss Type                         2004 %(1)             2006 %(2)
 Agriculture                                32.3                  7.2
 Commercial Development                     18.7                  12.5
 Cranberry Bog Activity                     See agriculture       9.6
 Other                                      21.0                  22.4
 Gravel Operation                           5.5                   5.6
 New Road                                                         2.9
 Dock or Pier                                                     .08
 Residential Development                    22.5                  19.3
 Transportation Infrastructure                                    2.3
 Clearing - Unknown reason                                        16.4
 Filling - Unknown reason                                         1.6
 Total Acres                                637                   482
(1) 75% of total Wetlands Loss in SERO, NERO and CERO from 2001 imagery (637 acres of loss between 1990-2001in
the 92 towns where permitting files were reviewed)
(2) 100% of Massachusetts from 2005 imagery (482 acres of loss between 2001-2005)


The analysis of the 2001 data had the benefit of a labor-intensive 92-town file review
to gain data on causes of wetlands loss and whether these losses were permitted or
illegal. The most significant finding from the 2001 analysis is that a very large portion
of the identified fill was unpermitted or likely unpermitted.




While that effort gave MassDEP invaluable data, the method was too inefficient and
labor intensive to repeat. As a result, MassDEP has developed the Wetlands



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Information Resource (WIRe) Project that will substantially improve our ability to
determine the permitting status of wetlands loss on an ongoing basis (See WIRe
Workplan). This data will be updated once the new wetland loss mapping is available
and investigated.



Maintaining Strong Performance
The Bureau continues to search for and evaluate innovative ways to achieve
environmental results and meet the challenges of reduced resources by increasing our
own efficiency and prioritizing work on the most important environmental problems.

New aerial imagery was flown in April of 2009. Wetlands baseline mapping is currently
being updated and a “cross-walk” has been developed between our wetlands mapping
classification and the Cowardin wetland classification system used widely across the
country. Updated wetland loss maps are also under development and are a major
component in MassDEP’s effort to protect the state’s wetlands. MassDEP is also
continuing eelgrass mapping and has updated approximately 20% of the coastline.
http://www.mass.gov/portal/index.jsp?pageID=mg2searchlanding&sid=massgov2&colle
ctorName=EOEAxMGISx&searchMassGov=2006+eelgrass

Wetland loss investigation is underway from the April 2009 imagery and results
presented below are preliminary as they only represent a portion of the southeast and
northeast regions (See below).




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Wetland loss investigations to date have yielded the following data.

Wetlands Loss Identified by Aerial Photography

 Years/Region               # Wetlands Loss      Acres Lost
 Compared                   Polygons



 2005-                      137                   26.01
 2009:NERO(Partial)

 2005-2009:                 548                  192.05
 SERO(Partial)


Causes of Wetland Loss
                              Wetland Loss Acres Wetland Loss Acres
 Wetlands Loss Type           2005 -2009         2005-2009
                              NERO(Partial)      SERO(Partial)
 Agriculture                  3.11                18.54
 Commercial Development       4.69                20.42
 Cranberry Bog Activity       0                   64.14
 Other                        2.12                20.59
 Gravel Operation             .08                 1.62
 New Road                     1.45                8.64
 Dock or Pier
 Residential Development      14.32               47.73
 Transportation
                              0                   2.48
 Infrastructure
 Clearing - Unknown reason .25                    7.06
 Filling - Unknown reason     0                   .83
 Total Acres                  26.01               192.05




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Wetland Loss      NERO Acres        SERO Acres
Type              Lost 2005-2009    Lost 2005-2009
                  (Partial)         (Partial)
Bog               0                 0.446
Coastal Beach     0                 0.732
Coastal Bank      0.231             0
Bluff or Sea
Cliff
Salt Marsh        0.112             0
Cranberry Bog     0                 0.228
Deep Marsh        0                 13.555
Open Water        1.337             9.986
Shallow Marsh     6.363             11.171
Meadow or Fen
Shrub Swamp       1.337             23.729
Wooded            0.146             1.034
Swamp
Coniferous
Wooded            16.960            82.850
Swamp
Deciduous
Wooded            1.107             48.610
Swamp Mixed
Trees
TOTAL             27.593            192.341

The following schedule is anticipated for the completion of the baseline, wetland loss
and eelgrass mapping

Location          Date Mapping Scheduled to be
                  Complete
Baseline          September 30, 2010
Mapping:
Eastern
Massachusetts
Baseline          July 31, 2011
Mapping:
Western
Massachusetts
Wetland Loss      Late Summer 2010
Mapping:
Eastern
Massachusetts


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Wetland Loss      Late Fall, 2010
Mapping:
Entire State
Eelgrass          20% of state’s coastline to be updated
Mapping           this summer; Final Mapping complete
                  January 2011


Improving Results

MassDEP has developed the Wetlands Information Resource (WIRe) Project that will
substantially improve our ability to determine the permitting status of wetlands loss
on an ongoing basis (See WIRe Workplan). This data will be updated once the new
wetland loss mapping is available and investigated.


Detailed Work Plan

   1. MassDEP is currently updating the wetlands baseline mapping and updated
      maps are expected to be available for the entire state by the end of 2010.

   2. Investigation of wetland loss polygons will begin once the wetland loss mapping
      is completed. The timeframe for investigations will depend on the number of
      wetland loss polygons that need to be investigated but may take several years.

   3. New wetlands loss data will be made available to Conservation Commissions and
      the general public via the internet.

   4. DEP is currently acquiring new digital eelgrass mapping imagery that will cover
      over 20 embayments in the southeast region of the state, including: entire south
      coast of Cape Cod, entire north coast of Nantucket and Nantucket Harbor, the
      eastern Buzzard’s Bay area, Monomoy and the Pleasant Bay area and Billingsgate
      Shoal. The resultant analysis and final mapping data from this project should be
      completed and available by January 2011.




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III. Wetlands Information Resource (WIRe) project

Summary

The WIRe project, a data management system that gives MassDEP the ability to collect,
store and analyze data was initiated to accomplish the integration of MassDEP’s
permitting, enforcement and wetland loss databases. Using eDEP, which is an
electronic permit application and electronic permit issuance system, the WIRe
database is easily populated with information that allows staff to more easily
determine the extent of wetland alteration/loss, the history of enforcement actions on
the site, and systematically record and calculate data received through permitting and
enforcement actions. The new information system has also improved MassDEP's ability
to determine whether wetland losses identified through aerial photogrammetry are
permitted or illegal, to prioritize enforcement actions, and to quickly take corrective
action to address the loss. Prompt action is more likely to result in successful wetland
restoration where wetlands were illegally filled, or successful wetland replication when
constructed areas fail or are never built. In the long-term, this new wetland data
management system will allow MassDEP to reduce wetland loss by deterring illegal
filling.




Indicators:

Indicator                     Result                         Comment
Whether current,              Yes                            Internal WIRe module
comprehensive, and                                           launch completed June
accessible tracking                                          2009; eDEP Component
database exists                                              launched November 2009;
                                                             Enhancement project under
                                                             development.
Staff time expended in FY10 28 MassDEP staff spent           Significant effort required
                            5238 hours (2.91 Full Time       for development, testing
                            Equivalents)                     and outreach for eDEP
                                                             components and
                                                             enhancements for internal
Acres of impacted wetlands    *97.78 acres of BVW loss in    Note: some alterations
(wetlands loss)               FY10                           reported as loss are not
                                                             complete loss (i.e.
                                                             vegetation management)
Linear ft. of impacted        123,761 linear feet Bank in    Note that linear feet are


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stream (each side of Bank)               FY10                                   per bank, so total miles of
                                                                                stream loss/alteration =
                                                                                11.7 miles
Acres of wetlands replaced               85.16 acres of BVW                     Replacement may not be
                                         proposed to be replaced in             required for projects
                                         FY10                                   involving alteration but not
                                                                                loss such as vegetation
                                                                                management
Acres of wetlands restored               Not yet available                      The ability to report
                                                                                restoration will be
                                                                                complete by December
                                                                                2010
Linear ft. of stream                     116,761 linear feet in FY10            Note that linear feet are
replaced                                                                        per bank, so total miles of
                                                                                stream replaced/restored =
                                                                                11.05
Whether MassDEP can                      Yes                                    Resource data entered into
report no net loss/net gain                                                     WIRE represents a fraction
                                                                                of actual number
# entities using database                398                                    See Breakdown of entities
for wetlands management                                                         using database below in
purposes                                                                        this section
Acres of avoided wetlands                Numbers not yet available
impacts
Net change in total                      Numbers not yet available.
wetlands acres


*Resource data in the Indicator table above represents a percentage of the total (i.e. data that has been submitted
electronically). MassDEP will be phasing in additional data entry in FY11.


Why is this Important?

For years, Wetinfo was MassDEP’s main system to track basic permitting information
under the Wetland Protection Act. It was determined that Wetinfo was outdated and
had too many limitations, which necessitated the development of an enhanced data
system. Some of those limitations include:

     1) With 5,000-9,000 filings under the Wetland Protection Act per year and limited
        resources, MassDEP's ability to maintain complete and accurate data on
        permitted projects was limited. DEP offered electronic filing forms (eDEP)
        however, use of the forms was very low due to limitations in the system. Also,
        the system was not developed to tabulate the data obtained electronically.



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   2) The four MassDEP regional offices maintained inspection and enforcement
      database(s) using different tracking systems and metrics, making preparation of
      a statewide report very time consuming.

   3) Aerial wetland loss data was only integrated with permit and enforcement data
      through intensive staff effort and investigation. The new WIRe system has been
      designed to allow for easier reporting on wetland loss polygons.

   4) The three databases were not integrated and thus, the system was inefficient.

How are we doing?

Whether current, comprehensive, and accessible tracking database exists; Staff Time
Expended in FY 2010

The new WIRe system now has six major components completed:

   1. New internal system for MassDEP staff to track permit information and more
      efficiently interact with applicants (“Internal Permitting Module.”)
   2. New internal system for MassDEP to comprehensively track the status of
      wetland loss polygons identified from aerial photography (“Internal Wetland
      Loss Module.”)
   3. New internal system for MassDEP to track enforcement information and more
      efficiently monitor enforcement actions (“Internal C&E Module.”)
   4. A new Map Viewer that allows applicants and Conservation Commissions to
      easily locate the geographic locations of projects on the landscape. WIRe’s Map
      Viewer also allows MassDEP to view projects and enforcement actions
      geographically for more efficient follow-up action and strategic planning. Also,
      the Map Viewer allows MassDEP to look at wetland loss polygons and other GIS
      overlays (such as rare species mapping) in context with specific project and
      enforcement data. Note that the new map viewer is integrated into the four
      components described above.




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5. New internal system for reporting on wetland permits, enforcement actions,
   wetland loss polygons information and wetland loss and gain information.

6. New web-based forms for use by applicants and Conservation Commissions.
   Note that Conservation Commissions are the issuing authority for the majority
   of wetland permits in Massachusetts, while MassDEP plays a role in reviewing
   and commenting on all applications and deciding on appeals. The benefits of
   filing permits and permit applications electronically for applicants include
   paper, time and postage savings; payment can be made electronically, ability to
   view wetland and rare species map overlays on new map viewers, and quicker
   communication with MassDEP. Benefits for Conservation Commissions include
   pre-populated permit forms with data from WIRe resulting in less data entry, a
   special conditions “pick list” that makes preparing permits easier, availability of
   GIS maps with wetlands, wetland loss, rare species and other layers, and
   postage savings since permits no longer need to be mailed if filed electronically.
   Improvements in these forms and a major outreach campaign conducted
   through the Wetlands Circuit Rider program to increase the numbers of
   electronic filings will ultimately result in improved data collection on permitted



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       wetland loss and gain, and provide the ability to perform other strategic
       planning analyses.




               New eDEP NOI form

Substantial progress has been made in the past year. In June of 2009 MassDEP
completed the launch of the internal WIRE system including the permitting, wetland
loss, compliance and enforcement, and reporting modules. In November of 2009, we
launched the external eDEP component of WIRE with the goal of obtaining a high
percentage of electronic filers to off-set the amount of data entry required of
MassDEP’s wetland specialists. This will not only allow staff to focus on other important
tasks, but will also result in a more complete data management system. The eDEP
component of WIRE includes an electronic Notice of Intent (NOI), Order of Conditions
(OOC), Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD), and Order of
Resource Area Delineation (ORAD). Performance improvements for the internal system
are ongoing and require staff effort to report performance problems and test the
changes that are made to the system in response.




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Acres of Impacted Wetlands; Linear Feet of Impacted Stream; Acres of Wetlands
Replaced and Restored; Linear Feet of Stream Restored;

The WIRe system now allows us to report on the indicators for this metric (See table
above). However, the numbers reported represent only a fraction of the total because
we are continuing to build the database capability with limited resources.

MassDEP actively worked to develop and implement a significant outreach program to
increase the percentage of applications filed electronically (See below, and Coordination
with Other Water Programs Section). Outreach has been successful but is still in early
stages and thus, we currently have approximately 6.2% of NOIs and 16% of OOCs filed
electronically. MassDEP staff have been entering basic information on all applications
including applicant name and project location however, resource impact data has not
been a required data entry requirement yet as we have been trying to accomplish a
greater percentage of electronic submission of NOIs and OOCs before requiring
additional data entry from staff. In the upcoming year, MassDEP staff will begin to enter
key resource data into WIRe for all permits applications that are not filed electronically
and we expect the data to be more robust in FY11.

Whether MassDEP Can Report No Net Loss/Net Gain

As described above, we plan to improve the WIRe database so that it is more robust in
FY11 but we can use the numbers in WIRe to inform us as to the overall success of our
program. The wetland impact numbers entered into MassDEP’s database (See Indicator
Table above) include both wetland alteration and wetland loss. They also include
impacts from beneficial/public projects referred to as “limited projects.” Many projects
that do not involve complete loss, such as vegetation management, can represent large
acreage in the impact numbers. Conservation Commissions and MassDEP may not
require full replacement since the wetland still remains, albeit with reduced function.
Limited projects may be approved by Conservation Commissions or MassDEP without
full replacement, although we recommend that wetland loss be fully replaced. Also,
restoration projects increase the acreage and functional loss experienced by projects,
closing the gap between loss and gain. We would like to make improvements to our
database to better depict the data but do not currently have the resources to do so and
hope to scope this in the near future.




                                                                                       20
Entities Using Database for Wetland Management Purposes

Entities using the database are as follows:

Entity                        # WIRe Users
MassDEP Offices (Boston       5 100%
and Regions)
Municipalities (Registered)   260 72%
Municipalities (Using         69 19%
WIRe)
Applicants/Representatives    64 N/A
(Using WIRe)
Other Agencies                (MNHESP, ACOE, MASSDOT, DMF trained
                              – use unknown to date)




The following graphics depicts the increase in entities using WIRe this year.




                                                                                21
Maintaining Strong Performance
The Bureau continues to search for and evaluate innovative ways to achieve
environmental results and meet the challenges of reduced resources by increasing our
own efficiency and prioritizing work on the most important environmental problems.

MassDEP’s Wetlands Program Staff from Boston and all four regions, and staff from the
Bureau of Resource Protection, Information Technology, and GIS have worked together
to design a system that will accurately track wetlands data for the purpose of better
protecting wetlands. A full-time Data Manager was assigned on July 1, 2009, and has
been extended for another year to continue system development. The role of the data
manager is to improve our ability to report data from WIRe and respond to what the
data is telling us, and resolve problems encountered by Program staff, applicants and
conservation commissions while using the new system.

Improving Results

MassDEP is continuing to develop and implement a significant outreach program to
increase the percentage of applications filed electronically (See ‘Coordination With
Other Water Programs’ Section). Deadlines will be established for the entry of key data
by MassDEP wetlands staff into WIRe for all permits applications that are not filed
electronically. While outreach efforts have been very successful to date, the entire
MassDEP data management system has been experiencing performance problems
which are affecting usage. Additionally, MassDEP’s information technology unit has


                                                                                       22
been merged into a centrally run state entity resulting in competing priorities for IT staff
and affecting timeframes for problem resolution.

Additionally, MassDEP is developing a package of system enhancements that will be
implemented by the end of 2010. Enhancement needs have been prioritized to include:
    Design of ‘Determination of Applicability’ module;
    enhancement of ‘Personal Responsibility List’;
    Extended GIS functionality including geospatial depiction of wetland replication,
       wetland restoration and stream crossing projects; and
    Development of fields that will capture data on wetland restoration.


Detailed Workplan FY11

   1. Completion of WIRe enhancement project by December 2010;
   2. Ongoing improvements to performance and correction of system bugs;
   3. Continued major effort of outreach and training;
   4. Phased in resource data entry by MassDEP Staff as electronic submissions
      increase.
   5. Identification of additional enhancements needed.




                                                                                         23
         IV. Wetlands Restoration

         Summary

         Indicators:

         # policies, regulations, reports or task forces issued or participated in
         # projects participated in
         # Acres Restoration permitted

         Why is this important?

         We protect wetlands to preserve the important functions they provide:
            recharge and protection of public and private water supply & groundwater;
            storm damage prevention and flood control;
            prevention of pollution; and
            providing food, shelter, overwintering and nesting/spawning habitat for
               fisheries, shellfish, and wildlife habitat.

         In addition to these statutorily recognized functions wetlands are very important
         “carbon banks” or “sinks” that sequester or absorb carbon, and are therefore important
         to preserve for a variety of reasons in responding to climate change. Destroying
         wetlands also destroys the functions those wetlands serve, but wetlands can also be
         harmed in other ways. For example, fragmentation of wetlands can interfere with the
         wildlife habitat functions of those wetlands far more than the few square feet of fill
         involved. Restoration of destroyed or degraded wetlands can successfully provide the
         important ecological functions and services described above, and can be accomplished
         with a commitment among agencies to work together to streamline permitting, provide
         technical assistance, and obtain funding.

         How are we doing?

         MassDEP has demonstrated its commitment to wetlands restoration by participating in
         a number of efforts designed to facilitate and improve wetlands restoration projects.

Effort                            Detail
          Aquatic Habitat         The Final Report of the Task Force: Charting the Course: A
          Restoration Task        Blueprint for the Future of Aquatic Habitat Restoration in
          Force                   Massachusetts, January 2008.

          Wetlands                Ongoing - Provides expertise and helps to streamline
          Restoration             review of restoration projects



                                                                                               24
 Workgroup
 Coordination with       Facilitation of Dam Removal and wetland restoration
 MA Division of          projects to restore aquatic habitats
 Ecological
 Restoration

Through these workgroups, MassDEP has been extremely active in promoting wetland
restoration by providing expertise and assistance to advance approximately 25 projects
that are in pre-application stages, as well as an additional 21 projects that are detailed
below.

           Restoration Projects Participated In FY09
Stage of Project                             #Projects
Pre-application                              13
Permit Under review or issued                12
TOTAL                                        25

Project Name     City/Town           Project Type    Status         Restoration
                                                                    Potential
Hall Brook       Adams               Dam             Permit         ½ mile
Dam Removal                          Removal         issued and     stream
- Hoxie Brook                                        project        habitat
Restoration                                          completed      restored
Herring River    Wellfleet           Removal of      Pre-           1,100 acre
Restoration                          Tidal           application    salt marsh
                                     Restriction                    restoration
Stewarts         Barnstable          Removal of      Pre-           14 acre salt
Creek                                Tidal           application    marsh
Restoration                          Restriction                    restoration
Nonquitt Salt    Dartmouth           Removal of      Pre-           80 acres salt
Marsh                                tidal           application    marsh
Restoration                          Restriction                    restoration
Bird Island      Mattapoisett        Seawall         Pre-           1.5 acres
Restoration                          construction    application    endangered
Project                                                             roseate tern
                                                                    habitat
                                                                    potential
Ram Island II    Mattapoisett        Tern Habitat    Pre-           Tern Habitat
                                     Restoration     application
West Island      Fairhaven           Removal of      SOC issued     20+ acres
Beach                                Tidal                          salt marsh
Restoration                          Restriction                    restoration
Marsh Island     Fairhaven           Fill Removal    Permit         14 acres salt


                                                                                        25
Restoration                                 review       marsh
                                                         restoration
Eel River        Plymouth     Dam           Permit       60 acres
Restoration                   Removal,      (401)issued, restoration
                              Stream        project      of cranberry
                              restoration   under        bog to
                                            construction Atlantic
                                                         White Cedar
                                                         Swamp &
                                                         other
                                                         habitat
Town Brook       Plymouth     Dam           Pre-         Fish passage
Restoration                   Removal       application restoration
Straits Pond     Hull         Removal of    Permit       90 acre salt
Restoration                   Tidal         issued (401) pond
                              Restriction                restoration
Sippewissett     Falmouth     Removal of    3 permits    20-30 acre
Marsh                         Tidal         issued (401) salt marsh
Restoration                   Restriction                restoration
Malden River     Malden       Riverine      Pre-         15 acres
Ecosystem                     Restoration   application restoration
Restoration                                              riverine
                                                         habitat
Thissell Marsh Beverly        Removal of    Permit       2 acres salt
Restoration                   Tidal         issued (401) marsh &
                              Restriction                tidal creek
                                                         restoration,
                                                         invasives
                                                         removal
Ballard Street   Saugus       Fill removal, Pre-         25 acres salt
Restoration                   removal of    application marsh
                              tidal                      restoration
                              restriction,               & flood
                              flood control              control
Little River     Gloucester   Culvert       Permit       Anadromous
Restoration                   Replacement issued         Fish Run
                                            (401)        restoration
Ox Pasture       Rowley       Dam           Permit       Anadromous
Brook                         Removal       issued (401) Fish Run
                                            – project    restoration
                                            complete
Town Creek       Salisbury    Removal of    Permit       Salt marsh
                              Tidal         review       restoration


                                                                         26
                                   Restriction
Wingaersheek Gloucester            Fill Removal    Pre-           2 acre
Beach                                              application    restoration
Restoration                                                       of salt
                                                                  marsh
Green River     Greenfield         2 Dam           Pre-           ¾ mile river
Restoration                        Removal         application    restoration
Mill River      Taunton            Dam             Pre-           Restoration
Restoration                        Removal         application    of fish
                                                                  passage
Wapping         Kingston       Dam                 Permit         Stream
Road Dam                       Removal             review         restoration
Parker River    Newbury/Rowley Salt Marsh          Pre-           5 acre salt
National                       remediation         application    marsh
Wildlife                                                          restoration
Refuge                                                            project
Weir River      Hingham            In river        Pre-permit     2 acres
                                   anadromous                     habitat
                                   fish                           restoration
                                   spawning
                                   habitat
                                   restoration
Stony Brook     Brewster           Tidal           Permit         Restore 22
                                   restriction     issued and     acres of
                                   removal         under          tidally
                                                   construction   restricted
                                                                  marsh


When the new WIRe database is fully functional, a new feature will allow us to track
bordering vegetated wetlands and salt marsh restoration acreage beyond mitigation
projects.

Maintaining Strong Performance
The Bureau continues to search for and evaluate innovative ways to achieve
environmental results and meet the challenges of reduced resources by increasing our
own efficiency and prioritizing work on the most important environmental problems.

MassDEP is continuing to look for opportunities to improve wetlands restoration efforts
in Massachusetts by providing expertise on specific projects and providing regulatory
changes and policies to streamline permitting.

MassDEP is also working closely with the Massachusetts Wetland Restoration Program
to develop a new wetlands restoration policy that promotes efforts to remove tidal


                                                                                       27
restrictions that are adversely affecting coastal wetlands. A draft policy was developed
and is under review by the EOEEA Wetlands Restoration Program.

Improving Results

Through strong advocacy and interagency coordination, MassDEP will continue to
encourage wetlands restoration to the maximum extent possible.

Detailed Workplan

   1. Continued involvement in the Wetlands Restoration Work Groups to provide
      technical support and permit streamlining for restoration projects.
   2. Use CAPS (See Monitoring and Assessment) and WIRe to depict environmental
      improvement from restoration projects in Massachusetts – June 2012
      (dependent on resources)




                                                                                       28
V. Wetlands Monitoring & Assessment

Summary

MassDEP has been working on assessing and monitoring the “health”, resiliency, or level
of ecological functionality of wetlands in Massachusetts. Degraded wetlands do not
provide all of the potentially beneficial ecological services of these resources, described
as interests of the Wetlands Protection Act. In collaboration with UMass, we are
developing methodologies to assess and monitor the ecological health of our wetlands.

Indicators:

 Metric                 Detail FY09            Detail FY10            Detail FY10 Salt
                        Forested               Forested               Marsh
 # Sites Investigated   110                    230                    Approx. 75
 # Sites Fully          68                     149 (75 sites in       45
 Sampled                                       Concord, 74 sites in
                                               Millers); 30 upland
 # Watersheds           1 (Chicopee)           2 (Millers, Concord)   7 (Merrimac,
 Assessed                                                             Parker, Ipswich,
                        FY 08 Research:                               North Coastal,
                        Deerfield (Forested                           Boston Harbor,
                        Uplands), Westfield                           Charles, Cape Cod)
                        (Wetlands)
 # Types of Data        9 (Algae,              10 (Algae,             4 (Vegetation,
 Collected              invertebrates,         invertebrates,         Habitat Complexity,
                        lichens, bryophytes,   lichens, bryophytes,   Invertebrates,
 (See Table below       earthworms,            earthworms,            Human
 for further details)   plants,                plants,                Disturbance;
                        microtopography,       microtopography,       salinity)
                        water chemistry,       water chemistry,
                        human                  human
                        disturbance)           disturbance; adding
                                               soils Fall 09)
 # Condition Data       1 ‐ preliminary –      Invasive plants,       Not applicable yet
 types that             earthworms and         other species of
 correlates with        terrestrial CAPS       plants, diatoms;
 CAPS data              data                   earthworms;
                                               earthworm
                                               middens
 #Coastal CAPS          NA                     NA                     1 - Tidal Ditching
 Metrics Completed


                                                                                           29
 # programmatic        1 (Important           1 - UMass was           Not applicable yet
 decisions using       Wildlife Habitat       contracted to use
 CAPS                  Maps – 112 towns       CAPS for scenario
                       posted to web; 365     analysis on South
                       maps done –            Coast Rail
                       change to 310 CMR      Transportation
                       10.00 needed           Project by MBTA
                       before statewide
                       posting)
 # programmatic        Not applicable yet     Not applicable yet      Not applicable yet
 decisions using
 verified/calibrated
 CAPS maps


Why is this Important?

MassDEP has identified the need to monitor and assess wetlands condition as part of a
comprehensive wetlands program as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA). Loss from dredge, fill and removal activities in wetlands identified through
permitting or enforcement action has been the primary focus of the MassDEP Wetlands
Program for years. Wetlands degradation, however, can also extend beyond the
footprint of a project, or be caused by activities beyond wetlands jurisdiction, having
significant effects on wetlands health that are much more difficult to regulate. For
example, increased development and stormwater runoff originating beyond wetlands
jurisdiction can result in significant water quality and hydrological alteration, affecting
wetlands health. Also, as buffer zones shrink due to land development, wetlands health
may continue to degrade since buffer zones play an important role in preservation of
the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of adjacent wetlands.

The Massachusetts wetlands monitoring and assessment strategy was developed to
validate and/or better direct the program to protect the physical, chemical and
biological integrity of Massachusetts’ wetlands. Implementation of this monitoring and
assessment strategy will increase understanding of wetlands health through the
development of criteria that assesses wetlands condition, and collection of monitoring
data that validates our findings. Our strategy will allow us to report on the status and
trends of wetlands across the state, while developing more intense assessment of
wetlands condition in specific watersheds, chosen for rapid assessment and monitoring.
It is our goal to better protect wetlands through regulation, policy & additional outreach
using the tools developed through these efforts.




                                                                                           30
How are we doing?

Sites and Watersheds Investigated and Fully Sampled

MassDEP’s goal of implementing a comprehensive wetlands monitoring and assessment
program led to collaboration with the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in late
2006 to develop a monitoring and assessment strategy. The central feature of this
strategy is the Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS), a landscape-
level assessment model that has been under development by UMass for several years,
and was adopted by MassDEP in 2006 to identify potentially important wildlife habitat.
CAPS was also used in 2009 by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency (MBTA) to
evaluate alternatives for the South Coast Rail Transportation Project in Southeastern
Massachusetts.

Key components of CAPS are land cover mapping derived from GIS mapping and satellite
imagery and 21 integrity metrics developed by expert teams, combined in a model that
calculates a value between 0 and 1 for every 30m2 point in the landscape. The CAPS
value represents the index of ecological integrity or prediction about the ability of the
wetlands to sustain its ecological condition in the long term and to recover from stress.
CAPS does not assess ecological conditions on the ground, nor does it use field-based
information in the CAPS models. Site-Level Assessments (SLAMs) and the subsequent
development of Rapid Assessment Methods (RAMs) provide information about the
ecological condition for a large number and wide range of wetlands. This is essential for
testing and validating the CAPS predictions and modifying (as needed) the CAPS models.




                                                                                      31
Toward this goal, MassDEP, UMass-Amherst and Coastal Zone Management have
sampled 218 forested wetland sites and 45 salt marsh sites since the summer of 2008
(preliminary research was done during the summer of 2007). Watersheds sampled are
depicted below.




Types of Data Collected

The overarching goal of the data analysis is to determine whether CAPS IEI and the
component ecological integrity metrics (e.g., habitat loss, connectedness, etc.) are
related to observed ecological conditions, and to further quantify the magnitude and
nature of those relationships. To accomplish this goal, a comprehensive relational
database was developed that includes over 40 tables containing the CAPS metrics and
ecological settings variables and the field ecological data representing four major
ecological communities and 565 sites distributed throughout Massachusetts (See Table
Below).




                                                                                   32
Field ecological data compiled to date.

 Ecological            Taxonomic group       Number of sites        Number of taxa
 community
 Forested uplands      vascular plants       98                     404
                       lichens               98                     51
                       earthworms            98                     Tbd

 Forested wetlands     vascular plants       218                    457
                       lichens               218                    Tbd
                       bryophytes            218                    Tbd
                       algae                 221                    217*
                       earthworms            218                    Tbd
                       insects               220                    283**
                       Hydrology; Water      149 (HOBO and          NA
                       Chemistry and Soils   ibutton temp
                                             recorders; Surface
                                             water depth and
                                             transects recorded;
                                             groundwater wells
                                             installed & depth to
                                             gw recorded)
                       Soils                 149                    NA
 Riverine              invertebrates         385 (previously        606
                                             obtained by
                                             MassDEP Division of
                                             Watershed


                                                                                     33
                                                Management)

 Salt marsh            vascular plants        45                       Tbd
                       invertebrates          45                       Tbd
                       Habitat complexity     45                       NA
                       Human Disturbance 45                            NA
                       Salinity               45                       NA
 *Taxa identified for 70 sites sampled in 2008; identification for 150 sites sampled in
 2009 is incomplete.
 **Taxa identified so far; specimens from 2008 still being identified; does not include
 150 sites sampled in 2009

Correlating Condition Data with CAPS data

Based on the database compiled to date, an analysis is being conducted by UMass-
Amherst that includes three different strategies:

1. Pseudo-validation—The first strategy is to “pseudo-validate” CAPS IEI by regressing
   the existing IEI against several published biotic integrity metrics/indices. A significant
   relationship between CAPS IEI and one or more published metrics will confirm that
   CAPS IEI is at least consistent with other integrity metrics, although this does not
   confirm that either represents true ecological integrity. Currently, a suite of biotic
   integrity metrics has been compiled for riverine systems and metrics for the other
   ecological communities are currently being compiled in preparation for the analysis.

2. Verification.—The second strategy is to “verify” that CAPS IEI (and each component
   metric) does in fact reflect a real gradient in the biotic community by constructing an
   index of ecological integrity from the field biotic data (predicted IEI) that is
   maximally related to our GIS-based IEI and confirming a strong relationship.
   Specifically, UMass is using likelihood-based statistical models to predict CAPS IEI
   from the field biotic data. Briefly, this procedure involves first fitting non-linear
   statistical models to predict each species’ abundance based on CAPS IEI, and
   subsequently using these fitted models to predict CAPS IEI for each site based on
   each species recorded abundance at each site (a procedure known as statistical
   “calibration”). The final predictions are based on a suite of species selected to
   optimize the relationship. Currently, UMass has developed the software for
   conducting the statistical analysis and has applied it to the upland forest data and
   the riverine invertebrate data with moderate success. The figure below depicts the
   relationship between CAPS IEI (x-axis) and the predicted IEI (y-axis) based on the
   field data for vascular plants in upland forests. The statistical method to optimize
   performance is being refined and will shortly be applied to each of the field data sets
   described in the table above.




                                                                                          34
       Linear regression of CAPS IEI against predicted IEI derived from field data
        on vacular plants from 98 forested uplands in the Deerfield watershed.

Calibration.—The third strategy is to “calibrate” CAPS IEI by adjusting the
parameterization of each component metric to optimize the relationship between CAPS
IEI and the predicted IEI (from the verification method above). Briefly, this computer
intensive procedure will involve adjusting the parameters of a component metric to
improve the “verification” fit of that metric, and adjusting the weights of each
component metric in the composite IEI to improve the “verification” fit for IEI. In this
manner, we aim to optimize CAPS IEI to the predicted IEI

CAPS can be used to assess the ecological integrity of wetlands for purposes of:

      Assessing wetland condition and better understanding the causes;
      Reporting to EPA under Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act;
      Developing tiered aquatic life use models to better monitor resource
       improvement; and
      Developing policy guidance and regulation.




                                                                                      35
It is hoped that at the conclusion of this effort, the CAPS model will be an important
scientifically based decision-making tool that can withstand challenges. See Improving
results and detailed workplan sections below.

Development of Coastal CAPS Metrics

Concurrently with the sampling and analysis work, the development of CAPS metrics to
characterize coastal resource areas has been ongoing. The following metrics were
identified and are currently under development for inclusion in the CAPS model:

Metric                                         Description
Tidal Restrictions                             Measures the magnitude of hydrologic
                                               alteration due to tidal restrictions
Tidal Ditching                                 Measures the magnitude of open water
                                               habitat loss during mid to low tides based
                                               on density of drainage ditches
Human Disturbance                              Measures intensity of boat traffic; ORV
                                               traffic and pedestrian traffic on coastal
                                               wetlands
Beach Hardening                                Measures proximity of cell to manmade
                                               jetty/groin


In FY10, tidal ditches were digitized to serve as one indicator affecting ecological
integrity of salt marshes (i.e. low density ditching indicates high ecological integrity and
high density ditching indicates low ecological integrity).




                                                                                          36
Work in FY 10 also focused on development of the beach hardening metric by digitizing
all beach structures at a very course scale, sufficient to characterize structure density
and compare beach areas. Hardened structures will serve as another indicator affecting
ecological integrity of coastal resource areas (i.e. low density of structures indicates
higher ecological integrity and higher density of structures indicates lower ecological
integrity). This metric is near completion.




The tidal restriction metric will show restriction severity affecting salt marshes in
Massachusetts. Effort in FY10 included obtaining field measurements of 50 tidal
restrictions during spring high tide to inform a more comprehensive effort to assign
severity values to tidal restrictions using aerial photography and modeling. Tidal
restrictions are being modeled using the following steps. First, the tidal regime is
estimated based on interpolated data from NOAA tide stations and 5m DEM to inform
logistic regression (this step is to estimate the probability that a site is intertidal and
thus salt marsh). Next, potential tidal restrictions are identified using existing data. The
severity of those restrictions is then estimated by calculating the ratio of the area of salt
marshes (from MassDEP wetland maps) above a potential restriction to the area of tidal
regime estimated above the restriction. This ratio is the proportion of salt marsh that
has not been lost. Assuming that tidal restrictions are driving much of the loss, a linear
regression is used to predict the restriction height and assign a severity value.




                                                                                           37
In the upcoming year work will focus on a human disturbance metric which includes
pedestrian, boat and ORV traffic.

Maintaining Strong Performance

The Bureau continues to search for and evaluate innovative ways to achieve
environmental results and meet the challenges of reduced resources by increasing our
own efficiency and prioritizing work on the most important environmental problems.
In the Spring of 2010, additional efforts were made to prepare for the 2010 field season
where we will sample 45 salt marsh border sites and 70 inner salt marsh sites. QAPP
preparation was completed, including and a new SOP for salt marsh border sites.

In the Summer of 2011, forested wetland sampling will be conducted at 30-40 sites in
the Taunton River Watershed basin and salt marsh sampling will be conducted at 25
sites.

In FY11 Coastal metric development will be completed and species identification and
analysis will continue.

MassDEP continues to participate in the New England Biological Assessment Wetland
Workgroup hosted by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
as well as the National Wetland Condition Assessment coordinated by EPA
Headquarters.

Improving Results

In 2006, MassDEP issued a guidance document for wildlife habitat protection entitled
“Massachusetts Wildlife Habitat Protection Guidance for Inland Wetlands”
http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/laws/wldhab.pdf. As part of that guidance, MassDEP
adopted use of CAPS maps to identify habitat of potential regional or statewide
importance for use in Wetlands Protection Act permitting. These important habitat
maps utilize the CAPS assessment to depict polygons representing 40% of the
undeveloped landscape with the highest potential wildlife habitat value. The polygons
depicted on the maps identify areas where a detailed wildlife habitat evaluation should
always be conducted. MassDEP and UMass have posted important habitat maps for 112
cities and towns to a website for public use www.masscaps.org. The remaining cities
and towns have been mapped but not yet posted to the web. MassDEP is considering
formalizing use of the maps through a regulatory change prior to posting the complete
statewide series. Resource constraints have resulted in substantial delay of this task.

Additionally, efforts are underway to assess wetlands for purposes of reporting to EPA
under Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act. Consideration is focused on strengthening
buffer zone protection and assessing wetland gain through restoration efforts. MassDEP
is also evaluating CAPS for use in developing a tiered aquatic life use model and will


                                                                                       38
produce a preliminary report in January 2011. The CAPS model is being evaluated to
help identify and validate reference sites for future river and stream data collection. A
river and stream expert team may be formed to help refine the CAPS model to better
reflect the effect of rivers and streams on ecological integrity.

Detailed Workplan

   1.  Summer 2010: Sample 50 Border Salt Marsh and 70 Inner Salt Marsh sites.
   2.  FY 11: Complete Forested Wetland and Salt Marsh SLAMs.
   3.  FY11: Complete coastal metric development and incorporate into CAPS model;
   4.  FY11: Continue specimen ID and statistical analysis to calibrate CAPS;
   5.  January 2011: Preliminary report on Tiered Aquatic Life Use or other assessment
       methods;
   6. FY11: Continued analysis of river and stream data;
   7. FY11: Development and testing of CAPS software for scenario analysis;
   8. Spring 2011: Revised QAPP for summer 2011 sampling;
   9. Summer 2011: Sample Forested Wetlands in Taunton River Watershed;
   10. Summer 2011: Sample additional Salt Marsh sites
   11. Implement policy, guidance or regulatory revisions (no timeframe)




                                                                                            39
VI. Coordination with other Water Programs


Summary

Indicators:

# phone calls/emails;
# ConCom coordination meetings and site visits;
# network meetings /workshops/trainings;
# task force meetings & conferences;
#Organizations/Agencies coordinated with

Why is this important?

MassDEP has a substantial outreach program that targets:

       Local Conservation Commissions,
       applicants and representatives,
       local non-profit environmental groups,
       other state and federal regulatory and resource agencies,
       and the general public.

MassDEP’s outreach effort is critical in providing accurate and updated information to
all stakeholders on issues related to wetlands and water quality protection. MassDEP’s
Wetlands Circuit Rider Program is an integral part of the larger outreach effort that
provides technical, administrative, and regulatory assistance to municipal officials,
consultants, and the volunteer Conservation Commissions charged with the
administration and enforcement of the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA). Routine
interactions between Circuit Riders and stakeholders over the years have established
solid working relationships and fostered communication and cooperation in reaching
MassDEP’s goals for wetlands and water quality protection.

How are we doing?

The Wetlands Circuit Riders have contacted every Conservation Commission in the state
and are invaluable resources for Conservation Commissions. Circuit Riders are praised
by the Conservation Commissions and regulated community for their outreach efforts,
their informal hands-on approach, and their ability to tailor training to the needs of the
commissions. MassDEP also undertakes a substantial training and outreach effort each
year for the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions’ Annual
Environmental Conference. Unfortunately, MassDEP lost 3 Circuit Riders in the past
year and currently has only 3 of 7 positions filled. However, the success of this program



                                                                                        40
has continued despite the reduced resources. The following table details MassDEP’s
FY10 effort.


FY10 – Circuit Rider Program Outreach Activities
Outreach Task                    Detail
#Phone call/emails               5440
# ConCom Coordination             230
Meetings/Site Visits
#Trainings/# Network               36/20/27 (Total 83)
meetings/ workshops (not
WIRe related)
#Trainings WIRe                  142
# Task Forces or Conferences     6 - MACC Annual and Fall (2), AMWS Annual Meeting;
Participated in (partial list)   Northeast Chapter of the International Erosion Control
                                        Association Annual Conference on Stormwater
                                        Management in Massachusetts in October 2009; MACC
                                        Erosion & Sediment Control Technical Advisory Committee
# Organizations/Agencies                Mass. Assn. of Conservation Commissions;Mass. Assn of
Coordinated with (partial list)         Municipal Conservation Professionals; Association of Mass.
                                        Wetland Scientists; Mass. Assn of Land Surveyors and Civil
                                        Engineers; Boston Society of Civil Engineers; Mass.
                                        Department of Transportation; Mass. Natural Heritage and
                                        Endangered Species Program; U.S. Army Corp of
                                        Engineers; Mass. Marine Fisheries; Mass. Department of
                                        Conservation Resource’s Area of Critical Environmental
                                        Concern Program; Mass. Office of Coastal Zone
                                        Management; Northeast Chapter of the International
                                        Erosion Control Association Annual Conference on
                                        Stormwater Management in Massachusetts



The FY10 Circuit Rider Program outreach effort continued to focus extensively on
MassDEP’s planned transition from paper to electronic wetland permitting. The goal
has been to inform communities and wetland professionals throughout the State of the
proposed changes to the wetland permitting process and to facilitate registration and
ultimate use. The new electronic wetland forms went live in November of 2009 and the
following figures depict successes in registration and electronic filing.

Accomplishment                    Number
#Towns Filed OOC Using            69
eDEP
# Consultants Trained             >70
#Towns Registered                 260


                                                                                               41
#Towns Trained to Use          136 + 6(Boston)=142
eDEP
#Filings made electronically   151
(NOIs, ANRADS)
#Permits issued                274
electronically (OOCs,
ORADs) 11/18/09-6/15/10



Maintaining Strong Performance
The Bureau continues to search for and evaluate innovative ways to achieve
environmental results and meet the challenges of reduced resources by increasing our
own efficiency and prioritizing work on the most important environmental problems.

MassDEP actively maintains a web site that includes the most up to date regulations,
policies, forms, guidance documents, reports, maps and other relevant information
(http://www.mass.gov/dep/). In addition to the web sites updates, the Circuit Riders
actively bring the regulation changes, policies, guidance documents, etc, to all
stakeholders through informational seminars and training sessions on each topic.

A major outreach effort is continuing to educate Conservation Commissions, applicants
and representatives on the use of MassDEP’s electronic filing system in the new WIRe
data system (See WIRe Summary & Workplan).

Improving Results

The goals for eDEP WIRe outreach are to establish electronic wetland permitting as the
State Standard and to reach 100% participation among conservation commissions and
applicants. The result is expected to be less data entry by staff, improved data accuracy
and reporting capabilities, and improved resource planning.

Detailed Timetable for WIRe Outreach
   1. Ongoing outreach efforts – Small Group/Individual Commission and Consultant
       Training Meetings including a renewed effort in the Fall of 2010.
   2. Additional training on regulatory subjects.
   3. Workplan is limited due to resource constraints.




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