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Parker-Ipswich-Essex Rivers Restoration Partnership

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Ipswich River Resiliency Project team members examine several areas of coastal bank erosion along the Ipswich Riverwalk trail near Town Hall and along Water Street near the Green Street bridge.

The Project

The Town of Ipswich and its partner, Ipswich River Watershed Association have been awarded a 2016 Coastal Resiliency Grant from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. The grant funds will support a one-year pilot project to identify vulnerable areas along the Ipswich River between the Ipswich Mills dam downtown to the Town Wharf on Water Street. A team of coastal geologists and engineers has been hired by the town to inspect erosion and other areas that have deteriorated due to both tidal and inland flooding. The focus of the study will be areas of the river bank adjacent to town infrastructure such as water, sewer, and roads.

The project will also consider the long-term impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and heavier storms, in its recommended improvements, prioritizing “nature-based solutions” to combat the erosion and provide long-term stabilization of the bank. The Ipswich River Watershed Association will partner with the Town to further public education on these topics, through signage and public presentations next spring. Additionally, the team will assess the feasibility of constructing a public access area for launching non-motorized boats behind the Ipswich Town Hall.

Partners in the project include: the Town of Ipswich, the Ipswich River Watershed Association, the Horsley Witten Group, and Coneco Engineers.

January 2017 Update

Contractors Horsley Witten and Coneco have completed their assessments of the Ipswich River bank on municipal land between the Ipswich Mills dam and Town Wharf. To view their findings, click on the below reports:

February 2017 Update

A letter describing the project was sent from Ipswich Conservation Administrator Alicia Geilen to residents of the project area neighborhood on February 16, 2017.

April 2017 Update

In February and March, Contractors Horsley-Witten and Coneco completed further analyses of the six Areas of Concern (AOC) along the northern bank of the Ipswich River in downtown Ipswich, MA. These AOCs are areas where bank erosion is occurring, as described in the January 2017 reports posted above. The reports below describe proposed bank stabilization projects and stormwater improvement projects for those six AOCs. The reports were completed to provide a basis for the Town and the project Steering Committee to prioritize the AOCs and proposed projects, and select which AOCs to focus on for further design as part of this project.

May 2017 Update

In early May, the Town of Ipswich mailed the informational pamphlet posted above to residents who live near the downtown stretch of the Ipswich River, describing the River Bank Project. Included in the mailing was the announcement and invitation to a Public Informational Meeting on May 24, 2017. Conservation Administrator Alicia Geilen and Ipswich River Watershed Planner Kristen Grubbs presented the Project Team’s findings of the year-long assessment including priority focus areas and recommendations for next steps in the effort to preserve and restore the river bank in this downtown area.

The public meeting attracted more than 40 Ipswich residents, many of who live along the Ipswich River, and included a time for discussion and questions. For more information on the meeting, read this news article. You may also view the slides from the presentation, here.

The Project Team also presented information to students at the Ipswich High School on May 19th. View presentation slides here.


For more information, contact:
Alicia Geilen, Ipswich Conservation Administrator, aliciag@ipswich-ma.gov, 978-356-6661
Kristen Grubbs, Planner, Ipswich River Watershed Association, kgrubbs@ipswichriver.org, 978-412-8200

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