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Boston & Ipswich, MA – August 6, 2018 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) and Town of Ipswich (Town) are pleased to announce that the Town has been awarded a $156,155 Coastal Resilience grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) to help fund an important climate change adaptation project planned for Argilla Road, a key point of access for over 350,000 visitors to The Crane Estate each year. Owned and managed by The Trustees, the Crane Estate is a complex of three properties—Castle Hill, Crane Beach, and Crane Wildlife Refuge—of significant historical and ecological importance, community value, and the local economy.
Photo from CZM Awards Ceremony on August 1, 2018 in Ipswich, MA
Argilla Road and Crane Beach, along with many other coastal communities, have faced increasing challenges due to the effects of more frequent and severe storms including ongoing flooding and infrastructure damage.
With 120 miles of coastline in its care, second after the Federal Government, and 37 coastal sites, The Trustees, in partnership with The Woods Hole Group, conducted an extensive coastal vulnerability assessment (CVA) in 2017 which underscored and highlighted the accelerated vulnerability of this essential road and the surrounding landscape to climate change impacts. The CVA was the first of its kind and scale to be conducted by a conservation organization.
The CZM grant will help the Town and The Trustees develop design plans for nature-based, green infrastructure approaches to help protect Argilla Road from increased flooding and climate change impacts. Totaling $213,221.61, the $156,155 CZM grant will cover a large portion of the costs. The Town and The Trustees will be contributing in-kind match along with additional financial support from The Trustees to cover the remaining $57,066.62. The Trustees and Woods Hole Group will oversee much of the work.
The Argilla Road project, entitled “Building Resilience through Argilla Road Adaptation Designs – Phase I, Ipswich, MA,” includes studies to support a design and planning process to help adapt Argilla Road to withstand flooding and erosion. The process, scheduled to be complete by June 30, 2019, will ultimately inform the final adaptation project which will include a combination of raising the road bed within engineering and existing footprint constraints, adding green infrastructure designs to protect the side slopes of the road, and, after reviewing the results of a culvert assessment (hydrodynamic model), determine how best to manage the flow of water under the road to restore the adjacent wetland.
“We are thrilled to see the Town of Ipswich receive this grant to help us move our partnership forward on this important project and are grateful to the CZM for its support of coastal resiliency projects statewide,” says Tom O’Shea, Trustees Program Director for Coast & Natural Resources. “We are equally invested in protecting our coastline in Massachusetts and The Crane Estate is an important regional asset that we hope residents and visitors will continue to enjoy and have access to for generations to come.”
During the March 2, 2018 storm this past winter, The Trustees Eastern and coastal properties experienced widespread tree and structural damage, as well as coastal erosion due to the storm surge, with overwash particularly significant on its Crane Estate and Island properties. Locally, beach access was temporarily closed from flooding of roads and entrances to Crane Beach and the Crane Beach Gatehouse had to be lifted nearly 12 inches to avoid damage from entrance flooding. Trustees staff worked tirelessly to document, clean up, and repair the damage.
“We know that climate change will continue to have increasing impacts on all of our properties, with severe storms especially affecting our coastal sites which are so vulnerable,” adds Barbara Erickson. “We hope this is just the beginning of additional support we will receive from the CZM as well as other municipalities, generous donors, and partners to help us move forward with this important adaptation project at the Crane Estate and our other beloved coastal sites in the future.”
The Town of Ipswich was also awarded $66,010 for Phase 11 of their Ipswich River Coastal Resilience and Bank Stabilization Project, a partnership with the Ipswich River Watershed Association to develop permit ready plans for stabilizing an eroding section of the coastal bank along the Ipswich River to protect a sewer pipe outfall and other infrastructure.
“The Town of Ipswich is excited for the opportunity to move forward with Phase II of our Ipswich River Bank Stabilization Project, and the Argilla Road project,” says Anthony Marino, Ipswich Town Manager. “The continued support for these important coastal erosion and flooding projects by the Baker-Polito Administration is greatly appreciated at the local level. Ipswich looks forward to working with the management team at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and The Trustees as we complete these important projects to enhance our coastal resiliency.”
The Baker-Polito Administration announced on August 1, 2018, more than $3.2 million in funding to support local efforts to proactively plan for and adapt to coastal storm and climate change impacts, including storm surge, flooding, erosion and sea level rise.
More about The Trustees
Founded in the City of Boston by landscape architect and open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the nation’s first and the Massachusetts’ largest preservation and conservation nonprofit with a mission to preserve and share places of natural and historic significance and beauty with everyone, forever. With 117 natural and historic sites located from the Berkshires to the Cape and the Islands, Trustees sites range from barrier beaches and coastal landscapes to working farms, designed landscapes and gardens, historic homesteads, and urban and community parks. Supported by generous members, donors, volunteers and supporters, The Trustees welcomes millions of residents and visitors to its properties each day and offers thousands of engaging experiences and programs designed to inspire a deeper connection to nature and the outdoors, conservation, community, and culture. www.thetrustees.org.