Friday, March 2, 2018

Massachusetts Takes on Another Nor'Easter-- Climate Adaption in Seaport

On only the second day of March, media outlets were flooded with coverage of a massive nor'easter predicted to bring serious damage. While all of Massachusetts is dealing with rain, snow, and high speed winds, coastal communities are facing the full force of the storm. Due high tides at noon increasing flooding expectations, coastal towns and cities are reviewing evacuation plans and preparing for the worst.
The Fish Pier, home to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, sits directly next to Boston Harbor.
This is not 2018's first nor'easter. After seeing the results the "bomb-cyclone" in January, when high tides filled the Seaport streets with sea water, MassPort is taking important steps to prepare the Boston Fish Pier (home to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay) from potential devastating effects of the next storm.

A crew of MassPort employees were hard at work yesterday installing portable barriers, called AquaFence, around the Fish Pier’s generator and buildings in order to protect it from flood waters. These barriers are a major component of MassPort's preparation for water levels that may rise high enough to cover the Fish Pier and Seaport streets.

MassPort installing AquaFence around the Fish Pier's generator- a great way to prevent flood damage
AquaFence is a barrier that can be rapidly installed before impending storms and are easily removed after. They are sold worldwide, and can be seen installed around many different buildings, such as Atlantic Wharf in Boston. They are made out of marine grade laminate, stainless steel, aluminum and reinforced PVC canvas, so they have the strength to withstand the force of massive flooding. 

AquaFence is great for buildings because they can be installed around curves and they are strong barriers
against the force of flooding.
MassPort is taking strong steps towards adapting to these sudden weather "snaps", or drastic changes in weather. Climate change is causing weather patterns to get increasingly unpredictable- think back to the sudden extreme freezing temperatures in November 2017 (the coldest it had been at that time of the season in over 100 years) or two weeks ago when temperatures sky-rocketed to a cozy 70 degrees, and then quickly plummeted soon after. These severe storms are another byproduct of climate change, and in order to deal with these changing environments, coastal communities need to think strategically about climate resiliency: the ability to adapt to and absorb the external stressors of severe weather.

A size comparison. AquaFence is around a 4 foot barrier. (Individual is 5'3)
We're grateful to and proud of MassPort for taking these steps to be resilient in the face of today's nor'easter, and want to thank the dedicated employees who spent their Friday installing AquaFence to preempt any damage from storm flooding. It's through resilience and adaptation that we can preserve and protect coastal communities from the serious effects of severe weather.

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