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Start Date: 2019
Completion Date: 2021


The Cape Cod Commission developed a model coastal resiliency bylaw in partnership with the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston; Noble, Wickersham, and Heart, LLP; and Woods Hole Group. "Responding to Climate Change: Promoting Resilient Local Action" was funded by a Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Planning Assistance Grant. 

The model bylaw identifies strategies to mitigate and adapt to coastal changes, working directly with four partner communities: Bourne, Sandwich, Brewster, and Eastham. The project developed natural resource protection, flood protection, and land use strategies that provide coastal and climate resiliency through mitigation and adaption to protect the natural, built, and community systems of Cape Cod.  

Model Bylaw

A model Coastal Resilience bylaw was developed that focuses on the Commission’s goals of promoting natural resource migration and reducing risk in the floodplain due to sea level rise. The model bylaw has been drafted to be inserted, on a stand-alone basis, as a self-contained article within an existing local wetlands bylaw. Towns can adapt the bylaw to fit their needs, including having the Conservation Commission adopt certain elements (such as performance standards) as Local Regulations, rather than as part of the Bylaw.  

The model bylaw has been drafted in anticipation that MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will soon issue proposed draft regulations, providing performance standards for Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage (LSCSF). The model bylaw has been structured to be consistent with the anticipated DEP regulations, while allowing expansion of the Towns’ jurisdiction beyond the limits of DEP jurisdiction, utilizing local Home Rule authority to protect LSCSF. 

Model Coastal Resilience Bylaw

Communications Frameworks

Commission staff developed a communications framework for the four partner towns, in order to facilitate outreach around the Coastal Resiliency Bylaw. The framework suggests communications best practices, defines key terms, helps frame goals and objectives, and identifies types and methods to reach out to key audiences. It also provides a set of free education and communications resources, including Cape-specific content created by the Commission, to help illustrate the region’s coastal resiliency challenges and how the bylaw can help mitigate them.  

Bourne | Brewster | Eastham | Sandwich

Best Management Practices 

The project team developed a catalog of regulatory and non-regulatory best practices for management of development in coastal floodplains and migration of natural resources.

Best Management Practices Catalog


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