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Over 50 people attended a North End / Waterfront community meeting, “Preparing for the Rising Tide,” featuring a presentation by Julie Wormser, Executive Director of The Boston Harbor Association (TBHA). The meeting was held on June 19, 2013 at the Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel.

Hurricane Sandy was a wake up call for Boston (See: Flooding and Rising Sea Levels During Hurricane Sandy), even though most of the storm’s devastation was near landfall in New York and New Jersey. But, it begs the question, what will happen when the center of a future storm hits Boston?

Fortunately, the awareness raised by Sandy coincided with a new 2013 research published by TBHA. The study identified vulnerabilities in Boston, including flood areas in the North End / Waterfront.

Sea level rise adaptation was a primary topic at the meeting including how property owners and public agencies can prepare and plan for water to enter the city, such as purposefully creating floodable zones. Secondly, the necessary infrastructure projects and solutions can create new opportunities, including recreational and social spaces, while providing protection for neighborhoods during severe weather events.

Video timeline and subject topics:

00:00 Welcome and introduction – Matt Conti, Editor of NorthEndWaterfront.com

03:20 Preparing for the Rising Tide – Julie Wormser

08:50: What Floods in the North End / Waterfront – Now and Projections of Sea Level Rise

20:00 What Can We Do? – Adaptation Strategies

33:30 Living With Water – How other cities do it and some creative ideas

42:15 Summary of Findings

44:00 Questions and Answers – Discussion Topics

  • Levees vs. floodable zones
  • What happens to the MBTA T and transportation infrastructure?
  • Seawalls, permeable structures and storm systems
  • Sea dams across Boston Harbor Islands?
  • What happens to the Big Dig?
  • How roads can be used as flood gateways
  • Upcoming research plans with property recommendations

Slides from the presentation: Preparing for the Rising Tide (pdf)

Executive Summary, Full Report, Boston Sea Level Rise Maps at TBHA.org

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