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For hundreds of years, people have been traveling down Argilla Road to access the rich coastal environment around Castle Hill and Castle Neck, home of the Crane Estate. Today, Argilla Road is a key point of access for over 350,000 annual visitors to the Crane Estate, for the Ipswich residents who live along the road, and for dozens of fishermen and clammers accessing the abundant coastal waters and mudflats found in the area.
Argilla Road and Crane Beach, along with many other coastal sites around Massachusetts, are facing increasing challenges because of rising sea level exacerbated by more frequent and severe storms, which lead to more flooding and resulting damage to the road and other infrastructure. In fact, this essential road and the surrounding landscape were identified as one of The Trustees’ properties most susceptible to climate change impacts by an extensive climate vulnerability assessment (CVA) carried out in partnership with the Woods Hole Group in 2017.
As a result, working closely with the Town of Ipswich, The Trustees have begun the first phase of a project to raise an approximately half-mile stretch of Argilla Road between the Castle Hill and Crane Beach entrances. This phase is funded by a Coastal Resilience Grant from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). Along with raising the level of the pavement, the team is planning for nature-based designs to protect the side slopes of the elevated road from erosion, and also to replace a culvert under Argilla Road with a larger design that will allow for greater exchange of tidal water in the salt marsh. CZM views the project as a statewide priority, and an opportunity to pilot an innovative approach that will provide a roadmap for building resilience in similar coastal roads across the state.
Explore our Storymap below to learn more about the road, the problem, and our project.
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