Climate study: State must get strict with flood controls

BOSTON – A day after the Conservation Law Foundation warned in a report that 37 acres of open space in Boston will face flooding risks due to climate change, Boston’s environment commissioner described it as a “very useful contribution” that echoed many of the city’s findings.

The report released this week outlined challenges Boston faces as sea levels are set to rise in the coming years and how regulations should be updated in response. CLF examined 62 sites covered by the state’s Public Waterfront Act and found that between 61 percent and 94 percent of them will face new flooding risks.

For Carl Spector, Boston’s environment commissioner, the group’s findings did not come as a surprise.

“The broad conclusions are very consistent with work that we’ve already done here in the city,” he said. “It’s a very useful contribution to further analyzing regulatory responses and preparing the city and Commonwealth of Massachusetts for climate change. It’s going to involve continued discussions between the Commonwealth, between the city and other municipalities along the coast.”

Spector said city officials have been planning for years to deal specifically with changing sea levels given the proximity of harbors and waterways to major areas of Boston. The city has already prepared maps of what floods might look like in 2070 and resiliency studies for individual neighborhoods.

Last year, Mayor Marty Walsh unveiled his Resilient Boston Harbor plan, which recommends investments in waterfront parks, raised landscapes and flood-resistant buildings.

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