Boston — Kleinfelder completed a coastal resiliency plan for the City of Boston that focuses on mitigating flood risk in East Boston and Charlestown, two sections of Boston that are considered to be at greatest risk of dangerous flooding as a result of rising sea levels. The plan was completed by the Cambridge, Mass., office of Kleinfelder, a leading climate resiliency engineering firm.
“This is an important step in protecting Boston from the threats posed by climate change and rising sea levels,” said Nasser Brahim, Senior Climate Change Planner for Kleinfelder. “It’s estimated that Boston’s sea levels will rise by at least 9 inches by 2030 and as much as 36 inches by 2070. These levels will cause extraordinary damage if they go unchecked, and the measures we’ve outlined in the plan will play an important role in protecting East Boston and Charlestown.”
The coastal resiliency plan is the result of a six-month process during which Kleinfelder’s planning team worked closely with the City of Boston and local residents to identify at-risk areas of East Boston and Charlestown and design near- and long-term actions to mitigate the risk of rising water levels. In addition to Kleinfelder’s climate change experts, the planning team also included professionals from Stoss Landscape Urbanism, One Architecture, and Woods Hole Group.
The climate resiliency plan calls for significant mitigation efforts in East Boston and Charlestown to create a series of elevated parks, harborwalks, docks, and nature-based barriers to provide coastal protection while introducing new open space and waterfront access. The City of Boston will begin implementing the plan immediately, beginning with Installation of a 7-foot high deployable flood wall across the East Boston Greenway and the elevation of sections of Main Street in Charlestown.
When completed, the climate resiliency plan will protect over 13,200 residents, 310-plus businesses and many critical facilities in East Boston, while preventing an estimated $1.3 billion in damage from a single flood event. In Charlestown, the plan will protect approximately 1,000 residents, 100-plus businesses, and critical transportation, public safety, and water infrastructure, while preventing $229 million in losses caused by anticipated flooding.
“Unfortunately, climate change is a reality that’s not going to go away,” said Brahim. “The flooding that is already resulting from rising seas costs American cities billions of dollars, and it will only get worse as water levels continue to rise. Cities need to take action now, and this plan should serve as a model for other cities that are at risk.”