Climate Ready Charlestown Enters Into Phase 2 This Month

Though Boston Harbor and the Mystic River are quite visible from most of Charlestown, few thought about the idea of that water infiltrating the Town until just recently when Climate Ready Boston drew attention to the matter, and now the effort is ready to kick off Phase 2 of their efforts in Charlestown – efforts that will reach out to the community and inform them of so many areas that are vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal surges.

Flooding and climate resiliency have become a key topic in the Town over the last couple of years, and Peyton Siler Jones of Climate Ready Boston said the effort is now beginning its second “wave” of activity.

“In Phase 1 we really looked at specific areas of Charlestown, like Ryan Playground, Sullivan Square and the Schrafft’s Center,” she said. “Phase 2 is similar but for all the geography not covered in 2017. We’re about one-third of the way through the work. We’ve modeled flooding in the neighborhood and know which areas are vulnerable. We engaged our Community Advisory Board (CAB) and we’re ready to start reaching out to start the process.”

One of the key issues is looking at the waterfront areas of the Mystic River, and wrapping around to Boston Harbor for the Navy Yard and Menino Park. One of the first things that will be shared in the coming weeks is the flood modeling.

“We’re working with the Woods Hole Group again on the project,” she said. “They’re doing the modeling. We’re not at the point to share the results of that just yet…There are many parts of the neighborhood that are vulnerable. The goal here is to find vulnerabilities and create solutions with residents to protect residents.”

One of the ways to protect is to also entertain – potentially investing in open space and recreation areas and HarborWalks along the waterfront that would serve the dual-purpose of holding flood water storage during extreme events.

“We see it as an opportunity to re-connect people with the waterfront in places that have not seen investments,” Jones said. “Some of that investment to protect residents could be open space and HarborWalks.”

There are three ways to participate right now in Phase 2 through online information gathering, and there will be two open houses coming in the spring – likely also online.

The three ways include:

•Climate Ready Story project – this is a storytelling opportunity for residents to relay personal experiences with flooding and climate resiliency. The project has its own web page at www.boston.gov/departments/environment/climate-ready-story-project.

•Virtual Mapping Tool – This piece allows residents to show on a CoMap areas where they have seen or experienced flooding or surges, and also places where they often use the waterfront. (comap.sasaki.com/crsboston/)

•Coffee Chats – Finally, residents can sign up for Coffee Chats with members of Climate Ready Boston. Visit their page for a link to sign up for those online events.

Jones said they expect to produce a final report for Phase 2 in the early fall and expect the process to take six months.

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