Chelsea/Everett Island End River CZM Coastal Zone Resiliency
Weston & Sampson and our team–One Architecture & Urbanism, Woods Hole Group, Chelsea GreenRoots, and the Mystic River Watershed Association–worked with neighboring gateway cities Chelsea and Everett to build resilience through modeling, planning, and the design of flood protection measures in the Island End River area, a substantial area of filled tidal zone and wetlands tributary to the Mystic River. This project was funded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) via a grant awarded to evaluate current and future flood risk and identify short- and long-term plans for resiliency in the area. The Island End River area required a coordinated regional approach because the relevant areas subject to inundation and flood pathways spanned substantial portions of both Chelsea and Everett.
Our team modeled projected inundation and evaluated flood pathways, considered land use and infrastructure, evaluated mitigation options and prospective location/alignment of protective measures, and developed a draft design for a flood barrier section in Chelsea. These measures would protect against current and design events and enhance the public realm with open space creation, wetland restoration, pedestrian seating, and lighting. Our design sought to maintain the public right-of-way and access to the waterfront and considered livability, walkability, connectivity, and alignment with social and neighborhood context. The barrier types considered for potential alignments through Everett include berms with raised grades, walls of varying construction, and hybrid combinations.
This project will support both the Environmental Justice populations in both communities by mitigating flooding and improving waterfront public space, and our proposed nature-based solutions can help mitigate the urban heat island effect. Additionally, the proposed flood barrier will help protect commercial and industrial businesses, including the New England Produce Center, the primary supplier of fresh produce for New England and eastern Canada, as well as critical public health, transportation, and education facilities in the floodplain. The cities have secured a Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grant to implement the next phase of this project, which will involve ongoing community engagement, regional coordination, engineering design advancement, permit application preparation/submittal, and advancing easement and land acquisition.