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Letters: Push is on to shore up the imperiled Mass. coastline (The Boston Globe)

Letter from Senior Advisor for Resilience Bud Ris highlights how “Boston can protect vulnerable areas cost-effectively.”

Sabrina Shankman’s Jan. 19 article on coastal flooding comes at a critical time for Boston and the Commonwealth. Although Boston did not suffer significant impact from the recent storms, the Harborwalk flooding should serve as a wake-up call for policy makers.

The City of Boston is working on coastal resilience plans that show how vulnerable areas can be protected cost-effectively, but efforts must be accelerated and coordinated with the state and private property owners. Unlike other coastal communities, the concept of “managed retreat” is probably not applicable to the inner Boston Harbor for two reasons: The waterfront doesn’t receive the kind of destructive wave action that we see in places such as Scituate, Plum Island, or the outer Cape, and we already have an acute housing shortage, which would only be exacerbated by the relocation of existing residents.

However, we don’t need another storm to persuade the private and public sectors to move faster. We need a contiguous line of coastal protection, not a parcel-by-parcel approach, and we need it now. Boston and Massachusetts have the right plans in place, but the time has come for rapid implementation to protect residents, businesses, and our way of life.

Bud Ris


The writer serves as senior advisor for resilience to the Boston Green Ribbon Commission.

Read the letter and additional responses as published by The Boston Globe:

Read more about the City of Boston’s coastal resilience plans:

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