Sea level rise is an increasing environmental issue that the city of Boston is taking very seriously.

After a series of superstorms in the past few years, such as Hurricane Sandy, that hit parts of New York and New Jersey, or the "Snowmageddon" of 2015, that brought immense amounts of snow to the North East, Boston is preparing to meet the rising sea levels. The city of Boston is no stranger to flooding during high tides and storm surges. Places like Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester experience this yearly. Since Hurricane Sandy, the city of Boston has pushed forward in planning and combating inevitable sea level rise.

“Climate Ready Boston” works to protect infrastructure, people and property from increasing sea levels. Many areas of the city will be drastically affected by increasing sea levels, such as South Boston, East Boston, and the Seaport district. According to an article on Science News published on August 6, Boston is the “fifth most vulnerable coastal city to flooding from sea level rise in the United States—after Miami, New York City, New Orleans and Tampa—and the eighth most vulnerable city in the world.” 

What does that mean for Boston’s Seaport district? It means that during storm surges in the near future extreme flooding will occur more often in the seaport.

The city of Boston is moving forward in planning for the future by mapping out where there will be increased flooding and which areas of the city will be hit the hardest from rising sea levels. “In April, Mayor Martin Walsh pledged 10 percent of the city’s $3.49 billion capital budget in 2020 to fund resiliency projects, such as raising major roadways and replacing existing concrete structures and pavement along coastlines with floodable green spaces,” according to Science News. 

The Seaport has boomed with lots of office buildings, apartments and shops for tourists and locals in the past five years; but the increasing threat of sea level rise poses a new problem for the Seaport. Buildings in the area will have to work on combating the effects of rising sea levels, such as “waterproofing lower levels, raising electrical equipment and installing pumps to remove floodwater” (Science News). While on a city level, Boston will have to look at its coast and its topography in order to plan accordingly with the predicted sea level rise.

The total effects of sea level rise will impact daily life for citizens in Boston in more ways than just flooding. Boston will have to work on incorporating emergency services, public transportation, and other services on top of working on keeping buildings dry and managing flooding. The city of Boston is continuing research into all of the aspects related to sea level rise and is researching more into storing storm water by looking into, “existing natural depressions in the landscape and even parking garages, so that saltwater does not get into the wastewater treatment plants and wreak havoc on the microbes that help process that waste” (Science News). 

Many areas of the city are going to have to incorporate the research being done on sea level rise: the Seaport is one of those areas. With the increased urbanization of the area, it will also have to deal with the environmental issues headed its way in order to stay afloat.

 

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/boston-adapting-rising-sea-level-coastal-flooding

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