Blog - Charles River Watershed Association

Mayor Walsh Resiliency Announcement: Good Start But Much More to Do

Posted by Emily Norton

10/17/18 12:25 PM

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Contact: Emily Norton, (508) 397-6839, 

Boston -- Today Boston Mayor Marty Walsh annouced a Climate REasy plan for South Boston as part of a broader "Resilient Boston Harbor” initiative which will include similar plans for Downtown, the North End, and Dorchester. He described this initiative as a transformative vision that will invest in Boston’s waterfront to protect the City’s residents, homes, jobs, and infrastructure against the impacts of rising sea level caused by climate change.

In response Charles River Watershed Association Executive Director Emily Norton issued the following statement:

Mayor Walsh's vision to protect residents and businesses from the impacts of climate change is commendable. As he notes, investing in resilience in the form of parks and wetlands brings many co-benefits to residents in terms of open space and recreational opportunities, and, we would add, water quality. However this is only the beginning. Funds need to be allocated and tough decisions need to be made about development - where it happens and how. For example there are still not requirements on developers in terms of investing in resilience, there is only a voluntary checklist. We would also strongly urge the Mayor and his planning staff to take a more regional approach to flooding and resiliency, as decisions made about development and land use far upstream from Boston will have consequences here in the City - in terms of cost and public safety. The northeast is already seeing a significant growth in rainfall, and that will only increase, as well as rising average temperatures and more extreme heat events. Comprehensive planning is necessary to identify solutions that will protect us, not only from the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge, but also riverine flooding, extreme heat and drought, and ecosystem collapse. As the Mayor noted these plans are expensive, but doing nothing to prepare for the impending impacts of climate change will be far more costly. We look forward to working with the Walsh Administration in the months and years ahead to build the political will to invest in climate resiliency and ecological restoration to protect public health, our economy, and our planet.”

Charles River Watershed Association employs science, advocacy, urban design and education to promote resilient communities and a healthy river ecosystem. Since its earliest days of advocacy, CRWA has figured prominently in major clean-up and watershed protection efforts that have dramatically improved the health of the Charles.

Topics: Advocacy

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About Charles River Watershed Association:

One of the country's oldest watershed organizations, Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) was formed in 1965 in response to public concern about the declining condition of the Charles. Since its earliest days of advocacy, CRWA has figured prominently in major clean-up and watershed protection efforts, working with government officials and citizen groups from 35 Massachusetts watershed towns from Hopkinton to Boston. Initiatives over the last fifty years have dramatically improved the quality of water in the watershed and fundamentally changed approaches to water resource management.