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Preparing for the Rising Tide Report

Photo Credit: Steve Hollinger


Events such as Superstorm Sandy highlight the growing relevance of climate change and draw attention to the importance of taking steps today to be prepared for the likely events of tomorrow.  Preparing for the Rising Tide provides policy makers, planners and property owners with site-specific examples of how to assess vulnerability and increase resilience to coastal flooding over time. 

Preparedness plans need to be robust enough to handle any future condition, and/or flexible enough to change over time to meet needs as they arise.  Ideally they include “no-regret” and co-benefit” solutions that extend beyond flood control goals.  Cost-effective preparedness plans will result in both “here and now” and “prepare and monitor” actions based on threshold triggers such as sea level rise.

Previous reports have described a range of large-scale adaptation strategies.  This report takes those recommendations and applies them to specific properties in Boston.  Some cities such as Seattle, WA and Charleston, SC are developing “floodable zones” that preserve the city’s access to its waterfront while minimizing damage when periodic flooding occurs.  This concept of “living with water” is an option to consider in Boston as well.

Download Full Report

Download Executive Summary

Download 2010 Boston Sea Level Rise Maps

We still provide the full set of 2010 maps for download because they provide broader neighborhood coverage and information on the depth of flooding.  Although similar, these earlier maps differ from the maps developed using the 2013 GIS data for Preparing for the Rising Tide in three ways:

1) The 2010 maps were developed using 2005 MassGIS LiDAR data; the 2013 maps used 2009 City of Boston LiDAR data.

2) The 2010 maps excluded buildings from the flooding analysis; the 2013 maps considered buildings.

3) We did not update the 2010 high tide plus 2.5 foot study as it was not useful to the Rising Tide analysis.  

Download 2013 GIS Data and Metadata 

These datasets include the horizontal spatial extent of five-foot and seven-and-one-half-foot coastal floods above mean higher high water in the City of Boston. The project report does not predict any specific levels over time, but describes a suite of coastal flood scenarios that could result from a combination of factors (sea level rise, storm surge, astronomical high tides, etc.)

Download Press Release

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