Friday, September 18, 2020

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $4 Million to Improve Coastal Resilience

The Baker-Polito Administration announced $4 million in grant funding to support local and regional efforts to proactively plan for and reduce coastal storm and climate change impacts, including storm surge, flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The grants, funded by the Office of Coastal Zone Management’s (CZM) Coastal Resilience Grant program, were awarded to municipalities and nonprofits pursuing projects across the Commonwealth. 

The grants were announced by state and local officials as part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s celebration of Climate Week in the Commonwealth. “Massachusetts’ coastal communities coast face increasing damages from increasingly severe storms, sea level rise and erosion,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As we celebrate Climate Week in Massachusetts, we’re proud to support local efforts to protect residents, businesses and infrastructure from climate change impacts.”

“Massachusetts’ coastal communities are making climate adaptation a local priority and reality,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Through these grants, cities, towns, and nonprofits gain financial and technical assistance to explore options to manage flooding and erosion, enhance the natural environment, and support other public benefits like recreation along the coast.”

Including the grants announced, the Baker-Polito Administration has now invested $18.9 million in 107 coastal resilience improvement projects through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program since 2015.

“With these funds, our Administration is proud to support the continued leadership and commitment at the local level to making progress year after year toward a more climate resilient future,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These projects provide many benefits to the residents and businesses in coastal communities, and demonstrate the value of investing in resilient solutions for a changing climate.”

CZM’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program provides financial and staff support 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 shorelines. Grants may fund feasibility assessments, public outreach, design, permitting, construction, and monitoring of projects that enhance or create natural buffers to erosion and flooding.

“Effective resilience means planning, investing and acting now,” said State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “These grants join together local vision and state resources to get projects done that will respond to significant vulnerabilities in a meaningful way.”

“We need to take substantive steps now to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the North Shore, the Commonwealth, and our nation,” said State Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “I appreciate these badly needed grants that will buttress the beautiful coastlines of Beverly and Salem that help to drive the economies and quality of lives that people in both cities enjoy.”

“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for understanding and addressing the unique challenges our coastal communities face,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “I’m proud to see Ipswich taking the lead by protecting our vulnerable coastline and riverine areas.”

Feasibility Assessment and Conceptual Designs for Green Infrastructure and Resilience Improvements at Obear Park - $58,340

The City of Beverly will assess feasibility and develop conceptual designs for nature-based improvements at Obear Park, a coastal park along the Danvers River, to withstand impacts from flooding, erosion, and sea level rise. The study will investigate potential living shoreline techniques, culvert alterations, and relocation and retrofits to existing park facilities.

Vulnerability Assessment and Feasibility Study for the Beverly Pump Station on Water Street - $135,445

The City of Beverly will conduct a vulnerability and feasibility assessment of the Beverly Pump Station on Water Street, a sanitary sewerage facility serving Beverly, Danvers and other entities. The analysis will evaluate alternatives to address both short- and long-term risks of flooding and sea level rise.

Elevation of Apple Street Roadbed for Alternate Transportation Route - $27,282

The Town of Essex will develop design plans for elevating a low-lying section of Apple Street, which is vulnerable to flooding during coastal storm events. Apple Street provides an alternate north-south transportation link in Essex when the primary route, the Essex Causeway (Route 133), is flooded during storms.

Essex County Greenbelt Association-
Essex County Coastal Resiliency Outreach and Planning Project - $41,312

Essex County Greenbelt Association will assess infrastructure improvements and management options and produce a Climate Adaptation Management Plan for their headquarters at the Cox Reservation, which is vulnerable to coastal storm flooding and sea level rise. Greenbelt will also host a free film and lecture series for the public on coastal resiliency and climate change.

Ipswich River Coastal Resiliency and Bank Stabilization Project: Phase 3 - $39,860

The Town of Ipswich and its partner, Ipswich River Watershed Association, will finalize design plans for stabilizing an eroded section of coastal bank along the Ipswich River, located near the County Street Bridge and along a well-traveled trail adjacent to the river, in downtown Ipswich. The project team will also develop plans for stormwater management improvements, acquire necessary permits, and prepare bid-ready plans and specifications for future construction.

Building Climate Resilience through Adaptation at the Crane Estate, Argilla Road Adaptation Phase 3 - $85,000

The Town of Ipswich, in partnership with The Trustees of Reservations, will continue to advance design plans and permitting for elevating a vulnerable portion of Argilla Road that crosses a salt marsh and stabilizing the side slopes of the roadway using nature-based techniques.

Coastal Resilience at Collins Cove, Monitoring and Maintenance of the Restored Salt Marsh - $62,825

This year’s Climate Week marks four years since Governor Baker signed Executive Order 569 which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. More recently, the Administration has committed to investing $1 billion in climate resiliency by 2022 and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.The Commonwealth is working to determine how best to achieve this emissions limit through its 2050 Roadmap, a nation-leading quantitative and qualitative planning effort that will chart multiple technical and policy pathways by which the Commonwealth can equitably and cost-effectively achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and will conclude with the publication of a long-range 2050 Roadmap report. Additionally, the Administration is working with municipalities throughout the Commonwealth to prepare for the impacts of climate change through the nation-leading Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which has now enrolled 89 percent of cities and towns.

“CZM is excited to continue working collaboratively with our local community and nonprofit partners to identify climate vulnerabilities, raise public awareness, and advance shoreline management efforts,” said CZM Director Lisa Berry Engler. “We look forward to another successful round of projects that contribute to a more resilient coast.”

The Massachusetts Office 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.