City hosts Phase II Climate Ready East Boston workshop

The City’s of Boston’s Environment Department continued its series of workshops to help kickoff Phase II of the Climate Ready East Boston/Charlestown project.

Boston Environment Department Project Manager Catherine McCandless gave an update on the work being done to develop a thorough plan for future protection and recovery from coastal flooding in Eastie. Attendees of the workshop were encouraged to take the Climate Ready Charlestown survey at

McCandless said Eastie is already seeing the impacts of climate change with seeing extreme temperatures. There has also been more extensive precipitation, sea level rise, and coastal storms. Those three things coupled together are leading to more storm water flooding inland in areas that redients wouldn’t think would be subject to flooding because they’re away from the coast.

At the workshop different scenarios at the three Eastie locations were presented that could help protect the neighborhood against future flooding.

For example a drawing of Constitution Beach showed raised pathways and flood walls that would still allow for recreational activities while providing additional protection to the neighborhood. There was also a scenario of adding better sand and reinforced dunes to the neighborhood’s only public beach.

Over at Belle Isle March there were scenarios that ranged from adding raised berms around the pathways to raised roads, pathways and adding a seawall.

Over at Chelsea Creek the team presented a plan to add raised Berms with ecological restoration as well as adding raised roads with a floodwall.

Climate Ready Eastie was first launched in 2016 and in 2017 the city conducted the first phase of Climate Ready Boston in East Boston/Charlestown.

 Eastie and Charlestown were chosen because segments of these two communities are already prone to flooding and in 50 years, if climate change continues, will experience more coastal and inland flooding as sea levels rise.

McCandless said we’re expecting to see about 40 inches of sea level rise by 2070. So in the next 50 years, if we don’t intervene by adapting to climate change impacts and coordinating climate change impacts by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions there will be more flood entry points into the neighborhoods. These low lying areas in the neighborhood are more susceptible to flooding, both during extreme weather events, such as hurricanes or rain events, but also gradual sea level rise. Some of these entry points are issues now whereas others will become an issue over time.

McCandless said the city’s aim with the project is to look at the temporal nature of climate change impacts between now and 2070 and what the flooding scenarios will look like over time in different situations.

McCandless said the Climate Ready East Boston project is specifically looking at coastal solutions along the waterfront here to build a more resilient Boston.

The Phase II study in Eastie will focus on areas of coastline not addressed during the Phase I study in 2017. The study area includes Constitution Beach, Belle Isle Marsh and Chelsea Creek.

In consultation with the Climate Ready Boston team, the project team developed draft “intention

statements” to help center the project on common ground and ensure that the team, community

members, and project stakeholders are frequently reminded of the project’s overarching goals and areas of focus. These statements will be further refined with the project’s Community Advisory Boards and with other community members.

Throughout Phase II planning the City will work closely with the community to co-develop a series of layered flood defense and coastal adaptation approaches that provide protection from rising sea levels and storm surges.

With help from Eastie residents the City will draw on prior planning and local knowledge to propose buildable projects and responsive policies and programs with lasting social, environmental, and economic benefits.

The City will then produce a coastal resilience roadmap that protects and creates value for the community.

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