The Patrick Administration announced nearly $1.3 million in funding to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, erosion and sea level rise through natural and nonstructural approaches called green infrastructure.
The funding for this first ever round of Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grants was made available through Governor Deval Patrick’s $50 million investment in climate change initiatives. Grants will be awarded to Barnstable, Brewster, Chilmark, Duxbury Beach Reservation, Gosnold, Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, Newbury, Plymouth and Scituate.
“These grants allow us to work collaboratively with local partners in their efforts to effectively protect coastal property, roads and other development while preserving public beaches and other natural resources that define Massachusetts coastline,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan. “These community-based pilot projects reflect the Patrick Administration’s commitment to increase preparedness for a changing climate using innovative approaches that meet future challenges.”
The Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grants Program, administered by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), provides funding and technical resources for natural approaches addressing coastal erosion and flooding problems. Grants can be used for planning, feasibility assessment, design, permitting, construction and monitoring of green infrastructure projects that use natural approaches instead of hard structures like seawalls and groins. Projects funded this year include building and enhancing dunes and beaches, planting beach grass and other erosion-control vegetation, building ribbed mussel reefs and implementing bioengineering techniques that stabilize eroding shorelines. Results of these pilot projects will provide valuable information for ongoing implementation and evolution of living shoreline and green approaches.
“The proposals we received from our coastal cities, towns and nonprofit organizations show their commitment to finding innovative ways to address current and future erosion and storm damage issues while maintaining natural shoreline systems,” said CZM Director Bruce Carlisle. “From restoring beach and dune systems to creating new mussel reefs, these green infrastructure approaches will reduce erosion and storm damage to developed areas, while enhancing the capacity of beaches, dunes and other natural shoreline systems that provide habitat, recreational value and so much more. In addition to benefiting communities today, these pilots will be a great resource for the Commonwealth as we continue to identify best practices for addressing the threats of climate change.”
The following projects will be funded through the first round of the Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grants Program:
Town of Barnstable
Project: Shoreline stabilization of North Barnstable public beaches using bioengineering solutions, $186,500
The town will stabilize Blish Point-Millway Beach using sand-filled coir bags, native plantings and sand fencing to protect substantial public access infrastructure and an engineered containment basin that has been used to store dredged sediments.
Town of Brewster
Project: Brewster green infrastructure project – coastal resilience at Breakwater Beach, $155,000
The town will remove an asphalt parking area at Breakwater Landing; restore dune habitat with sand, native vegetation and fencing; provide a seasonal boardwalk for beach access; and relocate 30 parking spaces to a less vulnerable location.
Town of Chilmark
Project: Squibnocket Town Beach expansion and restoration, $280,000
The town will add sand and other sediment to build up the Squibnocket Town Beach and construct a beach parking area that is naturally protected from erosion to provide enhanced public access and protection for a coastal road.
Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc.
Project: Cobble berm restoration, construction of nurseries for native beach grass cultivation and Japanese Knotweed eradication, $86,947
The Duxbury Beach Reservation, in partnership with the towns of Duxbury and Kingston, will restore an eroded cobble berm along a critical access road, construct two beach grass nurseries to provide dedicated local sources of native vegetation and eradicate invasive Japanese knotweed that is competing with native beach grasses.
Town of Gosnold
Project: Improving the coastal resilience of Barges Beach on Cuttyhunk Island, $205,875
The town will evaluate beach nourishment, dune restoration and other green infrastructure options for Barges Beach on Cuttyhunk Island. Engineering plans and specifications will then be developed for the recommended alternative and advanced through permitting and selection of a contractor for construction.
Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, Inc.
Project: Demonstration of living shoreline technology and development of ribbed mussel seed production to protect and restore salt marsh in coastal Massachusetts, $35,262
The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, with many partners including the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury, will conduct preliminary investigations into the hatchery production of ribbed mussels and test living shoreline techniques (using ribbed mussel, coir log and marsh grass for shoreline protection) at four pilot sites in embayments on Martha’s Vineyard.
Town of Newbury
Project: Building capacity for resilience of human and natural communities in the dune system of Newbury, $145,000
The town will restore dunes and public access paths using beach grass, fencing, invasive species removal and possibly other approaches with technical assistance from the University of New Hampshire.
Town of Plymouth
Project: Long Beach restoration/enhancement, $75,000
The town will redesign the Long Beach system using an offshore berm, beach nourishment and possible realignment of the mouth of the Eel River to protect a critical emergency evacuation route.
Town of Scituate
Project: North Scituate Beach nourishment, $118,000
The town will conduct sediment sampling, design and permitting for a beach nourishment project along Glades and Surfside Roads.
Earlier this year, Governor Patrick announced a strategic plan to address the present and future impacts of climate change in Massachusetts. The investments will assess and address vulnerabilities in public health, transportation, energy and the built environment. Today’s announcement is part of $10 million in investments for critical coastal infrastructure and dam repairs. The plan also includes a $40 million municipal resilience grant program that will enable cities and towns to harden energy services at critical sites using clean energy technology.
“These funds are critical to protecting and sustaining the Commonwealth’s natural coastlines, as well as reducing the harmful effects that erosion and storm damage have on our communities,” Senate President Therese Murray said. “I’m happy to see that Long Beach in Plymouth was among the list of projects chosen for the first round of awards through the Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Pilot Grants Program, and I thank the Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Patrick Administration for their efforts to increase our state’s investments in green infrastructure.”
“This support from Secretary Sullivan and Governor Patrick to the Commonwealth’s coastal communities is extraordinarily significant,” said Senator Dan Wolf. “We know we face new environmental challenges, as our climate changes. We also know we can meet those challenges with smart, innovative, green strategies. I’m very pleased that the state is such a strong partner in that effort.”
“This grant is the result of the continued hard work and strong partnership between our local Scituate officials – including Kevin Cafferty of our DPW – and state leaders,” said Representative Jim Cantwell. “Promoting green infrastructure will help sustain the natural systems that protect our property and public infrastructure from encroaching seas and extreme storms. I am pleased that the Governor and Secretary Sullivan have come in person to witness the need for this type of investment and have responded with much needed financial support to enhance our coastline’s resiliency.”
The 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 anticipate and plan for sea level rise and other effects of climate change, working with cities and towns and the federal government to develop boat sewage no discharge areas and partnering with communities and other organizations to restore coastal and aquatic habitats.
Press Release, June 2, 2014; Image: Wikimedia