Long Range Planning for Sea Level Rise

Scituate, Marshfield and Duxbury Coastal Hazards Adaptation Study

Coastal communities in the Boston region enjoy access to the scenic and recreational amenities of being along the ocean shores. There is also a unique set of challenges that these communities face, specifically impacts from ocean’s power both in normal and in storm conditions. Adding to this issue is the potential for sea level rise and more intense storms that are associated with a changing climate.

The Scituate, Marshfield and Duxbury Coastal Hazards Adaptation Study is an effort to assess the general changes in coastal hazard impacts that could occur due to climate change, primarily the impacts from sea level rise and changes in storm intensity and frequency. The project explored:

  • Current and potential future coastal vulnerabilities
  • A range of possible adaptation options
  • Resources that could support local actions and strategies.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) worked on the project in partnership with the Towns of Scituate, Marshfield and Duxbury and with support from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). The final report can be downloaded below.

South Shore Coastal Adaptation Public Workshop

A public workshop was held on the evening of October 27, 2011 at the Marshfield Senior Center to share information about the study and key outcomes. The workshop was attended by more than 60 people, with participants from Scituate, Marshfield and Duxbury as well as other municipalities on the South Shore.

The workshop included a set of panel presentations about coastal planning and climate change adaptation in addition to a presentation about the Coastal Hazards Adaptation Study. The panel included:

  • Jim O’Connell, a former coastal processes specialist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant Program and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, and now the Conservation Agent for Scituate, on changes to coastal landforms, geology and sea level rise that have occurred from the past and up to the present.
  • Julia Knisel, from the MA Office of Coastal Zone Management, on the recently released Massachusetts State Climate Change Adaptation Report. (Presentation)
  • Anne Herbst, the Conservation Agent for the Town of Hull, on a coastal inundation study conducted for Hull which looked at how possible sea level rise scenarios could impact public facilities. (Presentation)

MAPC concluded the workshop with a presentation (parts 123, and 4 – including keypad poll slides) about the study and its findings, and brought together many of the key themes of the other panelists: how the coastline continues to change, how storms and sea level rise present challenges to vulnerable locations, and how to plan for the future in a manner that makes the towns more resilient.