January 2015 – January 2017
- Community Involvement
- Science and Prioritization
- Monitoring and Technical Support
- Land Protection and Management
- Habitat Restoration
- National Wildlife Federation
- Eight Towns and the Great Marsh
- Ipswich River Watershed Association
- Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
- University of New Hampshire Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
- Mass Audubon
- Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
Project Contact: Chris Hilke (NWF)
Northeast Regional Center – Montpelier, Vermont
About the Project
We know that the coastal communities we live and work in experience damage from storms. Flooding, erosion, and sea level rise are inevitable along the coast, and can result in loss of homes and businesses, power outages, and road closures. These climate impacts jeopardize public health and safety, and can be debilitating.
We also know that climate patterns are changing: storms are more intense; rainfall is heavier. The science is clear: the sea level is rising and will continue to do so for generations, and stronger storms are bringing more frequent and destructive flooding to our neighborhoods. Communities recognize that coastal hazard impacts and associated emergency management, debris removal, infrastructure repair, and post-storm recovery costs are escalating.
In the Great Marsh, the coastal communities and the environments we depend on for quality of life and commerce are increasingly vulnerable to chronic impacts from climate events. Our current approaches to addressing storms may not be sufficient to protect our communities in the future. How can we better prepare for the future?
In June 2014, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced a $2.9 million grant award to support coastal resiliency planning and ecosystem enhancement projects in the Great Marsh and its coastal watersheds. The project, funded through the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program and led by the National Wildlife Federation, includes five separate sub-projects aimed at increasing the resiliency of the Great Marsh and PIE-Rivers Region.
The project components are being implemented by the Great Marsh Resiliency Partnership (GMRP), a working group that includes local conservation groups, regional planning entities, state and federal agencies, and local communities working to protect the Great Marsh. Major partners include the Ipswich River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program, Merrimac Valley Planning Commission/Eight Towns and the Great Marsh, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, the University of New Hampshire, and Mass Audubon.
Together, these groups will undertake the following projects:
- Barrier beach restoration through dune nourishment and native vegetation planting (dune grasses and eel grass)
- Native salt marsh habitat restoration through invasive species removal
- Hydrological barrier assessment and prioritization
- Hydrodynamic and sediment transport modeling, and
- Great Marsh Resiliency Planning Project
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Press about award
National Wildlife Magazine article, The Great Marsh: Nature’s Flood Insurance: How NWF and its partners are bolstering coastal Massachusetts’ best defense against natural disasters
Boston Globe article: $2.9m in US aid brightens future of Great Marsh.