On August 16, 2021, 17 resilience grants totaling $4 million were awarded to 16 coastal Massachusetts communities—plus one scientific institution—to help them prepare for severe weather events and the impacts of the climate crisis, including storm surge, flooding, erosion and sea level rise.
The funding, awarded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Coastal Resilience Grant Program, will support projects in Braintree, Chatham, Dartmouth, Edgartown, Falmouth, Gosnold, Hingham, Hull, Ipswich, Marblehead, Marion, Mattapoisett, Orleans, Salem, Tisbury, Wareham, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“Climate change presents challenges for Massachusetts coastal communities, which face increasing storm damage and flooding risks during high tides and coastal storms,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration remains committed to providing necessary financial and technical support to proactively protect coastal infrastructure from these increasing threats, which is why we have proposed nearly $1 billion in funding for critical environmental initiatives like climate resilient infrastructure through our federal ARPA spending plan.”
CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program provides financial and technical assistance for local efforts to analyze vulnerabilities to climate impacts, increase community awareness and understanding of these issues, plan for changing conditions, redesign vulnerable community facilities and infrastructure, and restore shoreline systems. Grants may fund feasibility assessments, public outreach, design, permitting, construction, and monitoring of projects that enhance or create natural buffers to erosion and flooding.
“Through the Coastal Resilience Grants, municipal and nonprofit partners are able to reduce flooding and erosion impacts and provide environmental and recreational benefits along the state’s coastline,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Importantly, this program creates a true collaboration with the state to address climate change impacts in innovative and effective ways.”
Including these grants, the Baker-Polito Administration has now invested $23 million in 155 coastal resilience improvement projects through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program since 2015.
“The Coastal Resilience Grant Program is a great example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to foster strong partnerships with municipalities and regional partners to maximize our resiliency investments,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Identifying areas that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and implementing strong resilience measures is a top priority, which is reflected in the Administration’s proposal to invest ARPA funding in critical environmental and climate resilience initiatives.”
Funding through the program has supported on-the-ground efforts including infrastructure retrofits and shoreline restoration projects to reduce wave energy, erosion, and flooding impacts.
“CZM is very pleased to support on-the-ground construction of shoreline restoration projects this year, along with planning and design projects that will contribute to a more resilient Commonwealth in the future,” said CZM Director Lisa Berry Engler. “We congratulate all of the Coastal Resilience Grant recipients, and look forward to another year of successful projects.”
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management is the lead policy and planning agency on coastal and ocean issues within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Through planning, technical and grant assistance and public information programs, CZM seeks to balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources. The agency’s work includes helping coastal communities address the challenges of storms, sea level rise and other effects of climate change; working with state, regional and federal partners to balance current and new uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and promoting sustainable economic development; and partnering with communities and other organizations to protect and restore coastal water quality and habitats.
The 19 projects receiving a total of $4 million in Coastal Resilience Grants are:
Construction of Watson Park Shoreline Erosion Mitigation and Coastal Resiliency Improvement Project, $772,580
The Town of Braintree will construct a nature-based shoreline restoration project to mitigate erosion and flooding at Watson Park, including fringing salt marsh restoration, natural coastal bank stabilization, an earthen berm and additional stormwater management measures.
Use of Temporary Flow Training Structures and Beach Nourishment to Mitigate Coastal Erosion, $107,844
The Town of Chatham will evaluate the use of temporary tidal flow re-direction structures combined with beach nourishment along the Stage Harbor barrier beach and inlet system. This approach was previously identified as the preferred alternative to mitigate erosion and shoaling over the next 10-20 years. Through this year’s project, the design for the preferred alternative will be created, and feedback on the design will be obtained from environmental regulatory agencies.
Chatham, on behalf of the Pleasant Bay Alliance
Pleasant Bay Living Shorelines: Jackknife Beach Salt Marsh Restoration, $141,675
The Town of Chatham, on behalf of the Pleasant Bay Alliance, will complete permitting and prepare construction documents for a fringing salt marsh enhancement project to protect the popular Jackknife Beach recreational area.
Assessment, Design and Permitting to Improve the Coastal Resiliency and Function of Apponagansett Park/Arthur Dias Town Landing, $107,255
The Town of Dartmouth will assess alternatives and develop resilient nature-based and structural design strategies for addressing the failing seawall around the perimeter of Apponagansett Park and Arthur Dias Town Landing, which regularly experience flooding during spring tides and coastal storms.
South Beach Bathhouse Relocation and Dune Restoration Project, $240,674
The Town of Edgartown and The Trustees of Reservations will relocate the South Beach bathhouse 50 feet landward, remove an asphalt surface and restore the primary coastal dune on South Beach and adjacent Norton Point Beach with compatible dredge material and native plants. The project will also move the current over-sand-vehicle trail more landward, which currently runs through the dune overwash area.
Feasibility Assessment for Addressing Increased Erosion along the Eel River Inlet Shoreline Due to Barrier Beach Migration, $64,170
The Town of Falmouth will assess a full range of management alternatives for providing protection for the shoreline along the western side of the Eel River entrance channel over the next 30-50 years. The evaluation of alternatives will also consider protection of infrastructure landward of the barrier beach system, navigation safety and estuarine water quality.
Gosnold Fuel Resilience Project, $212,000
The Town of Gosnold will evaluate, design, permit and install a preferred alternative for an above-ground fuel storage facility on Cuttyhunk Island. The project will incorporate coastal storm and sea level rise considerations when replacing the recently removed underground tanks.
Climate Resilience Redesign of Hingham’s Broad Cove Pump Station and Force Main, $165,000
The Town of Hingham will analyze site conditions and develop design options for the replacement of the deteriorating and vulnerable Broad Cove Pump Station sewer force main as well as protective measures for the station, which services 95% of the town’s north sewer district flow.
Restoring a Continuous Primary Dune along Beach Avenue – North Nantasket Beach, $70,055
The Town of Hull will design and permit the restoration of the primary frontal dune at two remaining large openings in the North Nantasket Beach primary dune system, as well as conduct stakeholder engagement activities to enhance storm damage protection to buildings, critical roadways, utilities and recreational infrastructure.
Building Climate Resilience through Adaptation at the Crane Estate: Development of Single Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) and Notice of Intent Application (NOI) for Argilla Road Adaptation, $75,642
The Town of Ipswich and The Trustees of Reservations will complete the SEIR, prepare and submit the NOI and renew the Order of Resource Area Delineation for the Argilla Road Adaptation project, which aims to elevate Argilla Road and build resilience using innovative nature-based designs to provide a storm-resilient transition to the adjacent wetlands and restore upland wetlands to full function through increased tidal exchange.
Marblehead Municipal Light Department and Adjoining Public Lands Coastal Resilience Implementation and Expanded Analysis and Design, $131,705
The Town of Marblehead will conduct a detailed vulnerability assessment of the Municipal Light Department, Hammond Park and adjoining public infrastructure and develop alternatives to mitigate flooding and sea level rise impacts. The project will advance the implementation of near-term floodproofing measures, while also working to identify long-term adaptation strategies with stakeholder input.
Front Street Pump Station Resiliency Improvements and Force Main Evaluation, $148,500
The Town of Marion will conduct preliminary design work of additional flood protection measures as the Front Street Pump Station, evaluate the sewer force main pipe that carries flow from the pump station to the Marion Water Pollution Control Facility, and design, bid and construct a bypass connection in the event of a pump station failure.
Reopening Old Slough Road for Vehicle Travel in Emergencies, $29,400
The Town of Mattapoisett and the Mattapoisett Land Trust will complete engineering design and survey work to reopen Old Slough Road as an emergency access route for vehicles traveling to and from the Point Connett and Angelica Point communities, which are currently accessed by a low-lying roadway that is vulnerable to coastal storm and sea level rise impacts.
Eel Pond Sewer Force Main Replacement – Permitting and Final Design, $158,765
The Town of Mattapoisett will complete final design and permitting necessary to implement the Eel Pond Sewer Force Main Replacement Project along the barrier beach and under the West Channel. The preferred approach for the new force main route is to use horizontal directional drilling to install the force main deeper and farther from the ocean than the existing force main to protect the main from flooding, erosion and beach migration over the design life.
Nauset Beach Parking Lot Phased Retreat Construction Project, $1,000,000
The Town of Orleans will complete bid documents and construct a parking lot, septic system leaching field and other associated infrastructure improvements at Nauset Beach landward of the existing parking lot and flood zones. The phased retreat plan includes reducing the size of the existing vulnerable parking lot in the future and allowing landward migration of the dune.
Climate Change Deep Dive Model, Alternatives Analysis and Targeted Outreach and Engagement Project, $168,750
The City of Salem will conduct a detailed vulnerability assessment of the Palmer Cove area of the Point neighborhood, which is at risk to severe flooding and climate change impacts. The project will develop a model of the area’s current and future climate risks, provide an alternatives analysis and adaptation measures and conduct an intensive multi-lingual outreach and engagement campaign in the community.
Public Outreach, Design Assessment and Permit Level Plan Preparation for Coastal Storm Protection along the Vineyard Haven Harbor Shoreline, $169,272
The Town of Tisbury will continue to increase public involvement and outreach, refine conceptual designs and initiate permitting activities for flood protection for downtown Vineyard Haven, including beach and dune nourishment, roadway elevation and construction of a berm.
Elevated Generator Platform at Salt Works Road Pump Station, $127,000
The Town of Wareham will construct an elevated platform that incorporates coastal storm and sea level rise projections to protect an emergency generator at the Salt Works Road Pump Station. The pump station is located 100 feet from the shoreline and is part of a critical infrastructure system that protects public health and the environment.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Resilient Woods Hole: Private-Public Investment to Ensure the Future of a Seaside Community and Blue Economy Village, $199,841
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in partnership with the Town of Falmouth, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Marine Biological Laboratory, will identify flood pathways and vulnerabilities to public and nonprofit institutions, local businesses, natural resources and residents in the village. The project will include proactive engagement with the community, schools, businesses and visitors to build support for the implementation of long-term strategies.
In June 2021, the Baker-Polito Administration re-filed its plan to immediately put to use part of Commonwealth’s direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support key priorities including housing and homeownership, economic development and local downtowns, job training and workforce development, health care, and infrastructure. As part of the Administration’s proposal to jump-start the Commonwealth’s economic recovery and support residents hardest-hit by COVID-19, such as lower-wage workers and communities of color, Governor Baker would direct $900 million to key energy and environmental initiatives, including $300 million to support climate resilient infrastructure.
The funding would be distributed through programs like EEA’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program and would fund priority climate adaptation projects and investments aligned with the priorities identified in the state hazard mitigation and climate adaptation plan. Investments that would be supported through the funding include the acquisition of land specifically targeted at reducing flooding and the Urban Heat Island Effect.
Photo of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts by Kate Honish from Pixabay.