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Climate Ready Dorchester

In 2020, we developed a plan to protect Dorchester from coastal flooding due to climate change.

The Climate Ready Boston (2016) report identified current and future climate change impacts across Boston. Coastal Resilience Solutions for Dorchester (2020) focused on developing distinct coastal resilience strategies for the neighborhood 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 into one accessible, continuous waterfront.

Please note: Webpage update coming soon!


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

The plan studied the waterfront in Dorchester along Dorchester Bay, Morrissey Boulevard, and the Neponset River. These include Columbia Point, Clam Point and Tenean Beach, Port Norfolk, Neponset Circle and Adams Village, and Neponset Riverfront.

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.

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.

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