Metro Boston watersheds and habitats

September 10, 2017 – We are currently seeking a graphic designer with experience with ESRI products to help advise development of an updated Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas. For the complete RFP for this short consultancy, please click here.

According to the Massachusetts Bays Program Estuary Delineation and Assessment Report (Geosyntec, 2012) there are eight watersheds delineated in the MassBays Metro Boston region, which stretches from Revere to Hull.  They are:

  • 2014-12-04 13.48.11Saugus River/Pines River/Lynn Harbor
  • Belle Isle Creek/Winthrop Bay
  • Chelsea Creek/Mystic River/Charles River/Boston Inner Harbor
  • Neponset River/Dorchester Bay
  • Blacks Creek/Quincy Bay
  • Back River/Fore River/Hingham Bay
  • Weir River/Straits Pond
  • Boston Harbor

The Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas characterizes seven core habitats for the region: intertidal flats, nearshore submerged, rocky intertidal, salt marsh, seagrass beds, shellfish beds, and diadromous fish.  A summary of each, as well as the condition, extent, and protection/restoration activities in each, are presented in the Boston Harbor Habitat Atlas, an interactive online mapping tool developed in 2011.  Access to relevant Metro Boston layers for these habitats are accessible via the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), which is produced by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management.

A number of factors are negatively impacting these habitats, many of which are human-induced and directly related to the urbanized nature of the region. Some of these stressors are high intensity land use, extent of impervious cover, stormwater and wastewater discharges, tidal restrictions, barriers to fish passage, arrival and spread of invasive species, and extreme weather events.