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City announces tribal and government partnership for an archeological climate action plan

The City of Boston has received a grant that will fund the creation of our first plan for Harbor Islands that are experiencing the effects of climate change and erosion.

The Environment Department is pleased to announce the City of Boston's Archaeology Program received a $100,000 grant from the Community Preservation Commission to begin an archaeological climate action plan for Boston Harbor Islands.

Boston is already experiencing and working to address the effects of climate change: increased heat and flooding due to sea level rise and intensified storms. Our 2019 Climate Action Plan update outlines steps to reduce carbon emissions to lessen the impacts of climate change. As we work towards carbon neutrality by 2050, we are simultaneously working to adapt to and prepare for these effects. Climate Ready Boston is our initiative to prepare our infrastructure and communities for short and long term climate resilience. We’ve completed five neighborhood-scale plans in the areas most vulnerable to coastal flooding: Charlestown, Dorchester, Downtown/ North End, East Boston, and South Boston.

Located just minutes from Boston's coastline, the 34 Boston Harbor Islands and peninsulas spread over 50 square miles. The City's Archaeology team has been working closely with Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag and National Park Service thus far, but the project will collaborate with additional partners as we proceed. This collaboration will include island stewards, native communities, environmental scientists, and archaeologists to create a management plan for the Harbor Islands’ archaeological resources at risk of erosion due to the effects of climate change.

“The funding from the Community Preservation Commission is an opportunity for the City of Boston to expand our climate resilience planning from our mainland to the Harbor Islands,” says Joe Bagley, City of Boston’s Director of Archaeology. “We are excited to take a proactive approach to address climate change and protect Boston’s archaeological and culturally significant sites for years to come.”

This first year of the project will focus on the first archaeological surveys at the most vulnerable archaeological sites. The Archaeology Program and other teams in the Environment Department will work to create a plan that will preserve the Harbor Islands’ current and past cultural significance, ecological importance, and public enjoyment.

The Boston Harbor Islands are a hub of history, ecology, and culture. They are a source of joy for Boston residents, native communities, and beyond. We are thrilled to move forward with the funding from the Community Preservation Commission to address the need for climate resilience and preservation for our Harbor Islands' archaeological sites.

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