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Marblehead, MA / CC BY-SA 4.0 / File:Marbleheadma1649.jpg, Created: 27 July 2018

Massachusetts: Marblehead Gets State Coastal Resiliency Grant

Facilitating Climate Adaptation Strategies for Marblehead and its Harbor

The Town of Marblehead has been awarded a Coastal Resiliency Grant from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. In 2018, Marblehead developed a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan. The development of a more resilient, cohesive response to protecting coastal assets in Marblehead, while addressing some very real and immediate threats, was set as a high priority.

This grant funds several project components, including community engagement, data gathering, modeling of sea level rise through 2070, and an engineering study that includes a conditions assessment and adaptation concepts of public seawalls within the harbor. The project will conclude with a public forum on climate change.

As part of the community engagement, Barbara Warren, Salem Sound Coastwatch Executive Director, who worked with the Town to develop its MVP Plan, will meet with stakeholders who work and live along the Harbor to gather and share information.

The goal is to engage the community – residents and businesses, public and private property owners, commercial and recreational boaters - in dialogue throughout the project, in order to gather information, build the community’s understanding of the Town’s climate change vulnerabilities, and become better prepared for informed planning and adaptation design decisions. For successful adaptation strategies to be implemented, it will be important to establish public/private partnerships. We are reaching out to these groups, including neighborhood associations that border the harbor, commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, business community, and various community organizations as well as town boards and departments.

1. Stakeholders will be asked to share their current concerns and provide information on the condition of the land-water interface in Marblehead Harbor.

2. Woods Hole Group will make a public presentation on the detailed coastal flood modeling results for the Town and Marblehead Harbor, under changing climatic conditions (present, 2030, 2050, 2070) in January.

3. Stakeholders will be reconvened to discuss the high-resolution, hydrodynamic storm surge and sea level rise modeling.

4. The Marblehead Harbor Forum: Visualizing the Future (2030 through 2070) will be held in April at which “experts” working on coastal resilience and adaptation will present adaptation possibilities. Information gathered at the stakeholder meetings will summarized and shared with the presenters, as well as a new Town seawall assessment so that speakers are familiar with Marblehead’s harbor–ocean interface.

5. Stakeholder input will be gathered after the Forum to help guide future planning and adaptation decisions, develop preliminary strategies for public/private partnerships to protect the Harbor assets from intense storms and sea level rise.

See Town press release.