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Climate Ready Dorchester

We’re developing a plan to protect Dorchester from coastal flooding due to climate change.

Dorchester has lower exposure to sea level rise impacts today. But, the neighborhood will see a big jump later in the century. This is due to the area's low-lying coastline and exposure to flooding from the Neponset River.

"Coastal Resilience Solutions for Dorchester" expands the vision for the future of the Dorchester shoreline. The plan offers strategies to adapt to and reduce coastal flood risk. It also establishes a framework to connect the waterfront parks, beaches, and marshes in Dorchester. We want to transform them into one accessible, continuous waterfront.

Coastal resilience solutions

The strategies outline a roadmap for near- and long-term solutions to:

  • protect from coastal flooding
  • increase access and open space along the waterfront, and
  • enhance public-private collaboration.
Read Dorchester report

Near- and long- term solutions

Morrissey Boulevard is an at-risk and heavily used roadway. Our proposed solutions transform Morrissey into a resilient, multi-modal corridor. Morrissey Boulevard will become a critical component of our flood protection solution. This will be true not just for Dorchester, but for the City as a whole.

Our efforts here will be key to Dorchester’s long-term resilience. By making combined investments in multi-purpose infrastructure, we can can provide flood protection while addressing other community needs. These include increased mobility and multi-modal transportation opportunities.

Resilience Projects:
  • Moakley Park and Carson Beach (project in the pipeline)
  • Moakley to Bayside Connection
  • Bayside Development (project in the pipeline)
  • Harbor Point Harborwalk
  • UMass Calf Pasture II Site Development (project in the pipeline)
  • Morrissey Boulevard (North) 
  • Resilience of Morrissey Boulevard (Phase II)
  • McConnell Park Redesign (project in the pipeline)
  • Building-Level Adaptation
Teanean Beach

Coastal resilience solutions at Clam Point and Tenean Beach will:

  • enhance existing waterfront destinations for the neighborhood
  • create new open space resources, and
  • address near- and long-term coastal flood risks.

We're focusing on the key points of access to the waterfront, which are also two of the three flood pathways in the area. We plan to enhance key connections from the inland neighborhoods and establish continuous public access along the waterfront. We can reduce risk to nearby infrastructure and neighborhoods:

  • by enhancing open spaces and ecosystems, and
  • through structural solutions.

The nature of flood risk at Port Norfolk is fringe flooding and tidal flooding coming from all directions. For that reason, we're planning a phased, layered approach of adaptation strategies.


Raise Roadways:

Raise perimeter roadways, including:

  • Conley Street
  • Lawley Street
  • Ericsson Street, and
  • Walnut Street.
  • Improve pedestrian and bike access along perimeter roadways.
Building-Level Adaption for Port Norfolk Phase I: 

Adaptation measures are needed for about 40 buildings vulnerable to near-term coastal flooding.

Open Space and Ecosystem Enhancements:

By adapting Joseph Finnegan Park, we will reduce risk in frequent storm events as sea-levels rise. These enhancements may include:

  • strategic raising of the park
  • improvements to stormwater management
  • living shorelines, and
  • additional programs and improved public access to enhance everyday use.

The coastal resilience solutions for this area are located on two main sites:

  1. the Neponset Circle waterfront site, and
  2. Davenport Creek.


Davenport Creek Tide Gate:

A tide gate at Davenport Creek will reduce flood risk in Adams Village.  

Pope John Paul II Park Geotechnical Study:

A study to determine the best adaptation strategies for the capped landfill. 


Neponset Trail Adaptation:

As the flood pathway at Neponset Circle widens, the flood protection alignment along the Neponset River Greenway expands and ties into high ground.

The coastal resilience solutions propose a framework for monitoring and preserving tidal wetlands to:

  • reduce risk and adapt buildings
  • raise roads to secure evacuation routes and emergency access, and
  • in some cases, explore strategic retreat from vulnerable areas. 


Building-Level Adaptation Phase I:

Adaptation measures are put in place for about five buildings vulnerable to near-term coastal flooding.

Strategic Road Raising:

Select road raising to secure evacuation routes. 

Neponset River Wetlands Monitoring and Preservation Program:

Begin the process of gathering data and monitoring marsh response to sea-level rise in the near term. 

Mattapan Trolley and Butler Station Adaptation:

Resiliency measures to ensure the functionality of the rail and station by 2030. 

Cedar Groves Adaptation Study:

The Cedar Grove Cemetery is vulnerable to future coastal flooding. Future studies are required to determine flood adaptation strategies for this area


Building-Level Adaptation Phase II:

Adaptation measures for about 25 additional buildings vulnerable to long-term coastal flooding.

Neponset River Reservation Park Improvements:

Includes elevating portions of the part to +12.5 feet NAVD88 to reduce flood risk of vulnerable buildings in more frequent storms.


The Climate Ready Boston report identified challenges facing Dorchester. The Climate Ready Boston Dorchester Plan will focus on this neighborhood's distinct resiliency solutions.

Dorchester is one of the most diverse and largest Boston neighborhood. Residents and local businesses depend on a resilient waterfront to thrive. This project will develop near-term and long-term coastal resilience strategies for coastal flooding and sea level rise. It will also address existing concerns of connectivity, accessibility, and equity.

Dorchester focus area

The Dorchester focus area is made up of several neighborhoods along Dorchester Bay, Morrissey Boulevard, and the Neponset River. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ashmont
  • Adams Village
  • Cedar Grove
  • Savin Hill
  • Columbia Point
  • Clam Point
  • Neponset Norfolk
  • Lower Mills
  • Fields Corner
  • Upham's Corner
  • Codman Square
  • Jones Hill
  • Grove Hall
  • Bowdoin/Geneva

Climate Ready Dorchester common questions

What does resilience mean in Dorchester? What areas of the neighborhood will be impacted? When will it happen? Get the answers to these questions and more.

Planning process and community input

Community Input
Community survey

We’re asking people who live, work, and commute in Dorchester for their thoughts about this project. We're launching community outreach starting October 2019.

Take our survey

Get updates

The project team kicked off in summer 2019 and will run until the end of 2019. We'll be holding two open houses and four focus group meetings about the project. They are open to the public and start in fall 2019.

This is a community planning process. Please sign up for the newsletter to get up-to-date notifications on events and ways you can provide your input:

Sign up to receive updates

Open House: September 25, 2019

At our first community open house, attendees told us where they had experience flooding in the past. They also chose their top evaluation criteria and gave ideas for future open space resilience strategies. 

Resilient Harbor Vision

The Resilient Harbor Vision plan, released in 2018, identified coastal waterfront resilience opportunities. This climate adaptation plan for Dorchester creates a more detailed plan. Learn about our climate-ready vision:

Resilient Boston Harbor
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