North Shore Geographic Response Plan (GRP) Project   

Welcome to the North Shore GRP Project webpage. This site was used to compile information during the development of geographic response plans for the North Shore of Massachusetts.

This project was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and facilitated by Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC. The process used to develop the North Shore GRPs was similar to that used for the Cape and Islands GRP project.

The North Shore GRP Project was initiated and completed during 2009.  This website contains the work group record of meetings and information about site selection and site surveys.  The Final GRPs for 32 sites in the North Shore region are included below.  These GRPs have been approved by the Plymouth to Salisbury Area Committee and adopted into the Area Contingency Plan by the U.S. Coast Guard, MassDEP, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

To learn more about the GRP process, please visit the MassGRP FAQ Page.

Click on the following links to be taken directly to that section of the webpage:

North Shore GRP Region
Site Selection Information
Site Survey Information
North Shore GRP Meeting Schedule




Nineteen coastal towns are included in the North Shore Region.  GRPs were developed for coastal sites based on environmental sensitivity criteria reviewed by the work group and entered into a site selection matrix.  GRPs have been developed for 32 sites in the North Shore Region, as shown in the map below.  
To download a combined .pdf of all the North Shore GRPs, click here. (150 pages, 18.3MB)

index map

NS01 Upper Merrimack River

NS02 Newburyport*

NS03 Merrimack River Entrance

NS04 Plum Island River

NS05 Parker River

NS06 Egypt River

NS07 Rowley River

NS08 Eagle Hill River

NS09 Ipswich River

NS10 Plum Island Sound Entrance

NS11 Essex River

NS12 Essex Bay

NS13 North Annisquam River

NS14 Rockport Harbor

NS15 Long Beach

NS16 Good Harbor Beach

NS17 South Annisquam River*

NS18 Gloucester Inner Harbor

NS19 Gloucester Outer Harbor

NS20 Black Beach

NS21 Manchester Harbor

NS22 Beverly Shoreline

NS23 Danvers River

NS24 Beverly Harbor and Salem

NS25 Salem Harbor

NS26 South Salem Harbor

NS27 Marblehead Harbor

NS28 Swampscott Shoreline

NS29 Lynn Harbor

NS30 Saugus River

NS31 Pines River

NS32 Nahant

*Revised based on 2012 GRP exercise and testing.




A site selection matrix was developed to summarize the environmental sensitivities and human use considerations for the 32 sites selected for GRP development. 



Site surveys were conducted for all North Shore GRP sites, with each survey team including a representative of MassDEP, the U.S. Coast Guard or NOAA, and one or more local agencies (typically, harbormasters or natural resource managers). Below is a table of the site survey schedule.


Location Date Time Status
Merrimack River Area May 20 0800 Complete
Rockport & Cape Ann May 20 1230 Complete
Plum Island Sound May 21 0800 Complete
Essex Bay May 21 1230 Complete
Manchester Bay May 27 0900 Complete
Danvers River May 27 1300 Complete
Beverly Harbor June 2 0800 Complete
Salem Harbor June 2 0930 Complete
Marblehead Harbor June 2 1230 Complete
Swampscott Shoreline June 2 1530 Complete
Nahant Bay & Harbor June 3 0800 Complete
Lynn Harbor June 3 1100 Complete
Gloucester Harbor & Annisquam River June 26 0800 Complete
Saugus & Pines River July 9 1230 Complete


Vessel support for the North Shore GRP surveys was provided by: Beverly Harbormaster, Danvers Harbormaster, Gloucester Harbormaster, Ipswich Fire and Rescue, Lynn Harbormaster, Manchester Harbormaster, Marblehead Harbormaster, Mass Division of Marine Fisheries, Nahant Harbormaster, Newburyport Harbormaster, Rockport Harbormaster, Rowley Harbormaster, Rowley Shellfish Warden, Salem Harbormaster, Swampscott Harbormaster, USCG Station Merrimack River , USCG Station Gloucester . Thanks to all of the towns, individuals, and organizations who participated in the North Shore GRP surveys.





A Work Group was formed to oversee the GRP development. Members of the NSGRP Work Group represent state and federal agencies, local governments and organizations, stakeholder groups, the oil industry, and spill response professionals. The Work Group wass co-chaired by the following organizations:

  • MassDEP Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup
  • NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
  • Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (North Shore Region)
  • U.S. Coast Guard. Sector Boston

Planning Group meetings were held several times over the life of this project. Meeting announcements, agendas, handouts, and meeting minutes were posted here as they were developed, to provide public access to the Group’s record.

The Work Group process was open to the public and public participation was welcomed and encouraged. For additional information regarding this GRP project, please contact:





Plymouth to Salisbury Area Committee Meeting


DATE: November 24, 2009
TIME: 9:00 – 12:00 a.m.
LOCATION: US Coast Guard Base Support Unit (BSU) Boston
427 Commercial Street, Boston, MA

The North Shore GRP is an agenda item at this meeting.  The GRP will be presented to the Area Committee for review and adoption into the Plymouth to Salisburay Area Plan for Oil Spills and Hazardous Materials Response.  Work group members are welcome to attend this meeting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 – Draft GRP Review Meeting 


*1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

*Parker National Wildlife Refuge Classroom

6 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA


* Agenda

* Meeting Materials:

          - Draft GRPs for 34 sites (see list above)

          - Revised site selection matrix and key

          - GRP Tactics Powerpoint Presentation

*Meeting Summary

*Directions to Meeting Site


Thursday, May 14, 2009 – Site Selection Workshop

    * 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    * NOAA Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office

55 Great Republic Drive

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 01930-2276

Telephone: (978) 281-9300

* Directions to Meeting Site


Wednesday, April 29, 2009 – North Shore GRP Kick-off Meeting

    * 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    * NOAA Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office

55 Great Republic Drive

Gloucester, Massachusetts, 01930-2276

Telephone: (978) 281-9300

    * Agenda

    * Meeting Materials:

          - Map of NSGRP area

          - Draft site selection matrix

          - Site Selection Matrix Key

          - GRP example – Cape and Islands GRP, Nantucket Harbor

    * Directions to Meeting Site


    *Meeting Summary