UMass Boston

Completed Projects

UHI collaborated with a variety of partners to complete the following select projects. Note: This list is not comprehensive; rather, it is intended to highlight UHI’s skills and expertise across a wide-range of projects. For more information on any of these projects, please contact us.

Municipal Perspectives on Managed Retreat

As coastal municipalities work to address the impacts of climate change, they need access to a variety of strategies. One under-utilized option is managed retreat. To better understand benefits and barriers to retreat, UHI conducted a survey of staff in coastal municipalities throughout Massachusetts. Responses from 47 municipalities showed that while some have considered retreat as a way to mitigate flooding and sea level rise impacts, few are implementing the strategy. The findings of this research, including open-ended responses in the appendix, can guide development of tools and resources to advance managed retreat.  Read more about Municipal Perspectives on Managed Retreats  »

Exploring Short-Sea Shipping as an Alternative to Non-Bulk Freight Trucking in Southeastern MA

Most non-bulk freight is transported to and from Martha’s Vineyard through Woods Hole in Falmouth, MA. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) hired UHI to identify other ports in southeastern Massachusetts that could be activated to support this shipping based on factors such as existing and planned infrastructure and proximity to Martha’s Vineyard. As part of this analysis, UHI evaluated the emissions and traffic congestion impacts associated with shifting a portion of the non-bulk freight through New Bedford, MA and reducing the volume of freight passing through Woods Hole. This work was conducted with assistance from Flagship Management.

Fallon Pier Ferry Study

Building off of prior studies by Boston Harbor Now and GEI Consultants, UHI worked with the UMass Boston Department of Marine Operations to understand the range of operational considerations for a potential ferry route serving the Columbia Point area of Dorchester, MA. Researchers gathered information on schedules, ticket-pricing, routes, potential riders, and other aspects of ferry operations through web-research, interviews, and a survey of potential ferry riders. Funding for this project was provided by the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council. Read more about Fallon Pier Ferry Study »

Profiles and Analysis of the Massachusetts Commercial Fishery

UHI, working with MA Division of Marine Fisheries and the Cape Cod Commercial Fishing Alliance, assessed commercial fishing resources and infrastructure in Massachusetts ports. This project aimed to document current conditions while engaging harbormasters and commercial fishermen in determining infrastructure needs and opportunities for improvement. Read more about Profiles and Analysis of the Massachusetts Commercial Fishery  »

Economic Value of Cape Cod Harbors

UHI assisted the Cape Cod Commission with a survey aimed at better understanding the economic value of Cape Cod harbors, and how the operations and maintenance of harbors influences these values. UHI distributed the survey to commercial business owners around six pilot harbors in four towns on Cape Cod: Chatham (Stage Harbor and Fish Pier), Provincetown Harbor, Dennis (Sesuit Harbor), and Falmouth (Inner Harbor and Great Harbor). The survey results will inform how the local commercial businesses interact with these harbors, including understanding current and potential impacts of coastal hazards and capital planning needs. Read more about Economic Value of Cape Cod Harbors  »

Eastham Municipal and Harbor Waterways Plan

UHI was hired by the Town of Eastham, MA to assist with developing their first ever municipal waterways management plan, which will also include an engineering study conducted by the Woods Hole Group. Funding for this plan was provided by the Seaport Economic Council. Read more about Eastham Municipal and Harbor Waterways Plan  »

Padanaram Harbor Management Plan

The Town of Dartmouth initiated the development of a Harbor Management Plan for Padanaram Harbor. Funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, oversight for this project was through the Town Planning Department, with support from the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston. This 2 year effort produced a document that focuses on the management of the Harbor and its immediate surrounding area. Read more about Padanaram Harbor Management Plan »

2018 Provincetown Harbor Management Plan

The Town of Provincetown, led by the Harbor Committee and the Office of the Harbormaster, with support from the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, updated the 2012 Provincetown Harbor Plan. The Harbor Plan serves as a guide for public and private decision making on the future of the harbor and waterfront. The plan sets forth a vision for the harbor that maintains its historic character while seeking to improve water-dependent commercial and recreational uses, increase access for the public, and protect the natural resources. Read more about 2018 Provincetown Harbor Management Plan  »

Massachusetts Harbormaster Training Curriculum

Harbormasters perform many varied duties including maintaining safe conditions on waterways, ensuring that their communities’ boating infrastructure needs are met, managing moorings and waiting lists, and responding to marine medical emergencies. The Massachusetts Harbormaster Training Council was established in order to ensure that harbormasters undergo training required to meet the diverse demands of the job. As part of their efforts, the Training Council hired UHI to develop course material covering topics including marine medical emergencies, laws pertaining to harbormasters, and marine theft. UHI partnered with graduate students in the University’s Instructional Design program, harbormasters, and other experts to develop and test these courses, which complements existing trainings and provides harbormasters with important skills and knowledge. Read more about Massachusetts Harbormaster Training Curriculum  »

East Gloucester Rezoning

The City of Gloucester, assisted by UHI, considered revisions to its zoning ordinance for the area of the East Gloucester waterfront removed from the state Designated Port Area (DPA) in 2014. The objectives and requirements of the City’s Marine Industrial (MI) zoning district are consistent with the Chapter 91 regulations for DPAs. Since most of the East Gloucester waterfront is no longer subject to the DPA standards, which prioritize marine industrial use, the City explored revisions to its zoning that would both reflect this change and guide future development to achieve the city’s desires for development compatible with existing neighborhood character and promote marine commercial uses that take appropriately advantage of the harbor and increase public access to the waterfront. Read more about East Gloucester Rezoning  »

Tisbury Waterways Regulations

UHI provided technical support to the Tisbury Waterways and Harbor Planning Committee in the review and revision of their Waterways and Moorings Regulations. As part of the project, UHI conducted a review of municipal regulations from around the country pertaining to houseboats, liveaboards, and floating businesses. In particular, the analysis focused on strategies to address safety concerns, water quality impacts, and conflicts with other harbor users. UHI also implemented a survey to gather input from waterway users, residents, and businesses in the community. The survey asked respondents about the existing conditions of amenities and public access, types of allowable uses, and perceptions of houseboats and floating businesses. Through a series of public meetings, the Committee proposed regulatory changes and is working with the Harbor Management Committee to finalize those changes before they can be formally adopted.

Flood Protection System Feasibility Study for Boston Harbor

UHI was part of a team led by Paul Kirshen and the Sustainable Solutions Lab at the University of Massachusetts Boston that conducted a preliminary feasibility study of harbor-wide barrier systems for Boston Harbor to protect the city and region from coastal flooding and sea level rise. More specifically, this study investigated the practicality of different configurations of harbor-wide barriers and analyzed the environmental, social, and economic impacts of these systems. This study was sponsored by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, funded by the Barr Foundation, and fulfills a recommendation identified in 2016 Climate Ready Boston. In addition to UMass Boston’s Sustainable Solutions Lab, Urban Harbors Institute and School for the Environment, Arcadis, Woods Hole Group and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute were all part of the project team. The final report is now available. Read more about Flood Protection System Feasibility Study for Boston Harbor  »

Building the Massachusetts Seafood System

While the volume of Massachusetts-landed groundfish has declined in recent years and foreign imports have put downward pressure on ex-vessel prices, there is significant economic potential in the state’s seafood economy going forward. Funded by the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, the Urban Harbors Institute and partners researched economic development strategies and potential needed investments in fishing ports and coastal communities to help strengthen local fishing operations in Massachusetts. The primary project output is a final report that summarizes recommendations on how to maximize the growth and development of the MA local seafood industry. Read more about Building the Massachusetts Seafood System  »

Massachusetts Offshore Wind Ports & Infrastructure Assessment

In order to maximize economic development opportunities in Massachusetts associated with the emerging offshore wind industry, MassCEC contracted with UHI, Ramboll, Apex, and Tufts University to complete the Massachusetts Offshore Wind Ports & Infrastructure Assessment. The main objective for this assessment was to provide detailed property information to guide the offshore wind industry in their decision-making process when selecting sites to manufacture, stage and service offshore wind components for the offshore wind market in Massachusetts and along the East Coast. Read more about Massachusetts Offshore Wind Ports & Infrastructure Assessment  »

2017 Plymouth Harbor Management Plan

Located on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Plymouth Harbor is known nationally for its historical significance, with two popular attractions – Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II – located right on the shore of its harbor. In addition to its historical significance, Plymouth Harbor also supports activities such as recreational boating, commercial fishing, whale watching, and aquaculture. UHI worked with the Plymouth Harbor Committee, local officials, town departments, harbor users, and other stakeholders to develop a harbor management plan for Plymouth Harbor. The plan covered topics such as dredging, public access, tourism, natural resources, and climate change. Read more about 2017 Plymouth Harbor Management Plan  »

Town of Southampton Water Protection Plan

Located on Long Island, the Town of Southampton, NY has vast cultural, historical, and natural resources, which contribute to its popularity as a tourist destination. As with many coastal communities, Southampton works hard to promote growth while preserving and enhancing its resources. The Town of Southampton hired UHI to develop a waterfront plan that includes recommendations about the use and protection of the waters of the Town, the waterfront area, and the associated resources. Among the issues that the plan addresses are climate change and sea level rise, public access, and water quality. The plan was adopted by the Town and the Town is considering its options for approval at the state level.

2015 State of Our Harbors

Coastal harbors throughout Massachusetts play an integral role in the region’s recreational and commercial water uses such as ferry transportation, recreational boating, commercial fishing, shipping, and safety/security; however in many harbors, the ability to support these types of uses requires dredging to keep the waters safe and navigable. On behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the Urban Harbors Institute prepared an update to the 1990 The State of Our Harbors report, which provided information about dredging needs in Massachusetts and documented economic benefits associated with safe navigable harbors. The report update documents the current public dredging needs of the harbors, as well as the public dredging needed in the next 5-10 years. Additionally, the report presents data documenting the economic value of dredging to the state and local economies. Data for the report were gathered 1) through surveys of harbormasters in the 73 coastal municipalities in Massachusetts, and 2) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) database. UHI created maps of boating facilities and dredging sites for each harbor, and work is currently underway to design a system for efficiently updating the data gathered for this report. Read more about 2015 State of Our Harbors  »

Marshfield Harbor, Rivers, and Waterways Management Plan

UHI assisted in developing the Marshfield Harbor, Rivers, and Waterways Management Plan. This plan provides recommendations to address safe navigation, natural resource protection, improvements to public access, safe recreational boating, protection of working waterfronts and related infrastructure, improvements to water quality, preparation for impacts from changes in sea level and climate, opportunities for collaboration, and clarification on fiscal issues with regard to waterways management. Read more about Marshfield Harbor, Rivers, and Waterways Management Plan  »

Gloucester Harbor Plan Update and Development of a Master Plan for the Designated Port Area

In collaboration with David Terkla of the UMass Boston Economics Department, UHI was contracted to work with officials and stakeholders from the City of Gloucester MA, to update and revise the 1999 Gloucester Harbor Plan and to develop an expanded Master Plan for the City's Designated Port Area. Read more about Gloucester Harbor Plan Update and Development of a Master Plan for the Designated Port Area  »

Plymouth-Carver Sole Source Aquifer Regional Open Space

UHI assisted with the development of a comprehensive plan of action for land protection in the seven communities of the Plymouth-Carver Sole Source Aquifer. Working with an advisory committee of representatives of the municipalities, the state and land trusts, the institute is conducting an outreach campaign, correlating municipal goals and policies, compiling natural resource data, and preparing a regional map and plan for protecting aquifer through open space protection.

Conservation Mooring Study

Most boaters who moor their vessels in Massachusetts waters have traditionally employed free swinging moorings that use heavy bottom chain. In important sensitive habitats such as eelgrass beds, these types of moorings often have negative impacts on the benthic habitat – from the circular movement of the chain around the anchor point, and/or from the anchor itself. This document objectively describes the different characteristics of conventional moorings versus conservation moorings designed to minimize disruption to the benthic habitat. Read more about Conservation Mooring Study  »

Enhance MARCO Mapping and Planning Portal with Recreational Use and Other Data to Support Regional Ocean Planning in the Mid-Atlantic (2013-2014)

UHI and the Center for Survey Research assisted the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) with a study of recreational boating in the Mid-Atlantic states of NY, NJ, MD, DE and VA. UHI provided overall guidance on design and conduct of the study, refining methodology, and detailing the specifics of each step of the survey, advised on development of the survey instruments, outreach to government and industry stakeholders, strategies to recruit and maintain boater participation, and interpretation of data. CSR generated the stratified random sample from the registered and documented boat databases, developed the initial survey to recruit participant boaters and the survey to collect demographic and boat characteristics, managed the monthly survey, created sample files for response data, and weighted the sample. Funded by Monmouth University and the Coastal Services Center.

Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space Use Conflicts and Potential Mitigation Measures

On behalf of the US Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formerly the Minerals Management Service) and in collaboration with; Industrial Economics, Incorporated; MIT Sea Grant; Oregon State Sea Grant; California Sea Grant; Oregon State University; and Research Planning, Inc., UHI worked to identify Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space Use Conflicts and Potential Mitigation Measures. Read more about Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space Use Conflicts and Potential Mitigation Measures  »

Nantucket Shellfish Management Plan

In collaboration with the Center for Economic and Environmental Development at Roger Williams University and the UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station, UHI worked with the Town of Nantucket to develop a shellfish management plan. The project is being funded by the Nantucket Shellfish Association. Read more about Nantucket Shellfish Management Plan  »

Boston Harbor No Discharge Area Application

At the request of the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Program, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, UHI coordinated the process for and prepared the application to designate Boston Harbor as a No Discharge Zone under the Clean Water Act. Convened representatives of the 10 communities surrounding Boston Harbor, stakeholders such as the Mass. Marine Trades Association, Massport, tug and ferry operators, and federal and state officials to secure support for the proposal, conducted necessary research and compiled data on the natural resources, vessel usage, and pump-out facilities and prepared the application for approval by the US EPA.

Downtown - Waterfront Master Plan for the City of Belfast, Maine

In collaboration with MRLD Landscape Architecture + Urbanism, Smart Mobility, Scott Simons Architects and Fore Solutions, UHI developed a downtown-waterfront master plan for the City of Belfast, ME.

Digital Coastal Habitat Atlas for Boston Harbor

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Bays Program, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Neponset River Watershed Association, UHI developed a digital atlas of habitats in and around Boston Harbor. The work was funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.

South Florida Workforce Development

UHI in partnership with the UMass Boston Center for Survey Research (CSR) assisted Florida Atlantic University's Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions to design and conduct a workforce needs assessment for the marine industries in the tri-county area of Southeast Florida. UHI and CSR were responsible for developing the sampling methodology and design, the questionnaire, and the statistical analysis.

2011 Ecosystem Health Indicators Conference

The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP) contracted UHI to assist with the 2011 Ecosystem Health Indicators Conference. More specifically, UHI conducted interviews with regional indicator programs to determine an appropriate conference agenda. Additionally, UHI assisted in facilitating the conference and developed the conference summary report. The conference was hosted by the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS) and the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP) in Boston, MA. More than 50 representatives from northeastern (Long Island Sound to the Gulf of Maine) monitoring, indicator, and resource management programs gathered to improve familiarity with indicator programs in attendance; share indicator communication methods; share lessons learned regarding end-user satisfaction of indicators and impacts on planning, policy and management decisions; explore strategies for improved short and long-term indicator program collaboration; and create a strategy for improved collaboration. Read more about 2011 Ecosystem Health Indicators Conference »

Linking Socio-economic and Coastal Environmental Indicators

Prepared a research report for the Korean Maritime Institute on the use of socio-economic indicators to detect human-induced changes in the coastal environment for purposes of informing and improving management responses. Developed a framework for identifying and ranking indicators associated with coastal management program goals. Funded by the Korean Maritime Institute, South Korea.

An Assessment of the Coastal and Marine Economies of Massachusetts

UHI was part of a research team led by the University of Massachusetts' Donahue Institute that produced an analysis of the economic value of the state's coastal and marine economies. The research report presented an overview of employment, wages, business activities and trends in key sectors of the Massachusetts marine economy: commercial seafood, marine transportation, coastal tourism and recreation, marine science and technology, and marine-related construction and infrastructure. Funded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management.

City of Bridgeport Harbor Management Plan

In collaboration with Apex Environmental, Inc., UHI worked with the City of Bridgeport's Harbor Commission to develop a Harbor Management Plan.

Town of Salisbury Harbor Plan - Phase I

UHI worked with the Town of Salisbury's Harbor Commission to develop the initial phase of a Harbor Management Plan.

Massachusetts Marine Trades Workforce Needs Assessment

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA), UHI was contracted to conduct a survey of the marine industries and businesses in the South Coastal Region of Massachusetts to better understand the current status of the industry and to determine the future needs of those involved in marine trades within Massachusetts.

Coastal WEB Initiative: Resource Management Planning for Parker River/Essex Bay ACEC

In partnership with Mass Audubon North Shore and Eight Towns and the Bay Committee, the state's ACEC Program, and Office of Coastal Zone Management, UHI was contracted to initiate a regional resource management planning process to assist local officials with local and regional planning and protection efforts within the Parker River/Essex Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Public outreach and analysis aimed to identify common issues, a needs assessment, and strategies for resource management development.

Incorporating Benthic-Pelagic Linkages into Marine Protected Area Design

In collaboration with their Senior Associate Jeff Benoit and John Ebersole of the UMass Boston Biology Department, UHI was contracted to assist NOAA's National Marine Protected Areas Center Science Institute in evaluating scientific issues relating to the design of MPAs. Specifically addressing to what degree benthic habitats and communities in various U.S. marine ecosystems are linked ecologically with pelagic and other fish species swimming above them and how these linkages inform the design of restrictions on extractive uses in MPAs.

Emerging Technologies and Operational Arrangements in the International Container Trade

On behalf of Senior Associate Jim Coleman, UHI provided technical advice to the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils. The research focused on the emerging technologies and operational arrangements of the international container trade, with particular reference to East-Coast Australia and how these might influence a proposed expansion of the Port Botany Container Terminal in Australia. Funded by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, Australia.


UHI coordinated the annual coastal cleanup effort in Massachusetts. COASTSWEEP is part of an annual international campaign to encourage citizens to volunteer to remove debris from their local coastline and nearshore marine areas. Funded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. Read more about COASTSWEEP  »

Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey 2010

In collaboration with the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership, the Center for Survey Research (UMass Boston), the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences (UMass Boston), Marine Consulting Services and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, UHI is undertaking the Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey 2010. A sample of Massachusetts' recreational boaters are participating in the survey to assess recreational uses of coastal waters and boaters' spending in Massachusetts. The information gathered will ensure that boaters' favorite routes and destinations receive appropriate attention when management decisions are made about Massachusetts' ocean waters. Read more about Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey 2010  »

New Bedford/Fairhaven Municipal Harbor Plan

In collaboration with Fort Point Associates, Apex Companies and FXM Associates, UHI assisted the City of New Bedford and the Town of Fairhaven update their harbor management plan.

Florida Boating Access Facilities Inventory and Economic Study

In collaboration with the Recreation Marine Research Center at Michigan State University, the Catanese Center for Urban & Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University, the Planning & Zoning Center, Inc., Bordner Research, Inc., and Resource Economics Research LLC, UHI was contracted to assist the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with a comprehensive statewide inventory of recreational boating access facilities, develop economic models to forecast future boater demand and document the economic impact of recreational boating for the State of Florida, as well as prepare a model for site suitability analyses of future boating facilities.

Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan

The Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan presents the community’s goals, objectives and recommendations for guiding public and private use of the land and water of its harbor areas and establishes an implementation program to achieve the desired outcomes. The plan was prepared under the auspices of the Nantucket Board of Selectmen and guided by the Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Plan Review Committee. The 2009 plan is an update of the first action plan, which was prepared in 1993, and as such is meant to complement the original plan. The 1993 plan contained extensive background material, much of which is as relevant today as it was when written. The background material in the 2009 plan was prepared with the intent to build upon the original plan rather than to reproduce it. The 1993 plan also included a number of goals and action items that aimed to address the issues at that time. Many of these items were successfully implemented, while some are on-going and others were never implemented. The 2009 plan includes a number of recommendations from the 1993 plan that remain important. In addition, the 2009 plan includes new recommendations that address issues that have arisen in the intervening years. Read more about Nantucket and Madaket Harbors Action Plan »

Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space Use Conflicts and Potential Mitigation Measures

On behalf of the US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service and in collaboration with; Industrial Economics, Incorporated; MIT Sea Grant; Oregon State Sea Grant; California Sea Grant; Oregon State University; and Research Planning, Inc., UHI worked to identify Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Space Use Conflicts and Potential Mitigation Measures.

Identifying Indicators to Assess the Effectiveness of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan

On behalf of the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership, UHI assisted the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to develop a suite of indicators to assess the effectiveness of the Massachusetts Ocean Plan.

Development of Planning Framework Options for Integrated Multi-use Management in Massachusetts

UHI, together with experts from several institutions and organizations including the University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston University, the University of Rhode Island, the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, WHOI's Marine Policy Center, Good Harbor Consulting, and MRAG Americas researched and developed a set of planning framework options that the Commonwealth can consider as it moves forward with implementing a Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. This research was conducted with funding from the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP), an independent, public-private partnership supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Green Harbor Mooring Plan

UHI prepared a mooring plan for Green Harbor, in Marshfield, to optimize the number of commercial and recreations berthing spaces in following dredging of the harbor by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Funded by the Town of Marshfield, MA.

Green Pond Management Plan

In collaboration with Senior Associate Steve Bliven, UHI worked with the Town of Falmouth's Coastal Ponds Management Committee to develop a harbor management plan for Green Pond, Falmouth. Funded by the Town of Falmouth, MA.