Workshop focuses on beach climate resiliency 

By Adam Swift

Climate resiliency and the future of Revere Beach and the city’s coast were the focus of a Metropolitan Beach Commission and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay hosted workshop held at City Hall last week.

Residents and city officials discussed ways the city’s coast could be best used, as well as ways to protect the future of the beach and protect those who live near the ocean.

The workshop was part of a  series of workshops this spring that are being held from Nahant to Hull to aid in the creation of an upcoming report with recommendations for climate resiliency for the region’s public beaches. 

State Representative Jessica Giannino, who sits on the Metropolitan Beach Commission, and Mayor Patrick Keefe offered words of welcome to those attending, and both pointed to the rich history and importance of Revere Beach.

“When we talk about the city of Revere, we talk about its vital resources and we think about its people and its industry,” said Keefe. “But we sometimes tend to forget that we are a beach community and it is certainly one of our most valued resources.”

Keefe noted the importance of having state leaders like Giannino, state Representative Jeff Turco, and state Senator Lydia Edwards that value the history of the beach and are stewards for its future.

“But we all have to be champions and stewards of our environment, as well,” said Keefe. “We have to understand the footprint that we leave behind and we need to make sure that we are continuing to protect our resources, whether it is the beach, Riverside, or our salt marshes, we have a huge obligation to make sure we protect our beaches and our natural beauty for lifetimes to come.”

Turco noted that the Healey-Driscoll administration is committed to environmental justice communities like Revere, and that the region will benefit from that. Over the past several years, Turco said that the majority of calls he receives are about either housing or climate issues.

“When you look at what is happening to Beachmont, you look at what’s happening in all sections of Winthrop, which is completely surrounded by water – the most basic of storms are now causing massive flooding,” said Turco. “I think it is really eye-opening for everyone, even the most ardent skeptic has to open their eyes and say we need to fix this.”

Giannino said she has worked with Save the Harbor since she got to the State House in 2021, and praised the work the organization has done for more than 30 years, starting with the cleanup of Boston Harbor. 

Recently, she said the group has expanded its efforts to cover public beaches from Nantasket to Nahant.

“Revere is a barrier beach, one of the very few on the North Shore, and it is incredibly important to our ecosystem,” said Giannino. “We are surrounded by Rumney Marsh on one side of us, and Belle Isle to the other side.”

Giannio said the MBC and Save the Harbor would be taking all the comments and input from Revere and other communities as part of the climate resiliency report.

“This is the first step of a process that we started last week when we did a workshop in Lynn at the Lynn Museum,” said Save the Harbor Executive Director Chris Mancini.

Mancini noted that Save the Harbor’s most recent published report was on increasing accessibility and equity at the region’s public beaches. This summer, he said people will see some of the results of that work, from multilingual signs to mobility mats at the beaches.

Now, Mancini said, the focus of the next report will be on how the region adapts to climate change and protects the future of those beaches.

During the workshop, there were several breakout groups where attendees discussed how they use the beach, as well as steps they would like to see to protect and improve the beaches.

“We are really coming at this from the lens of how do we think about the beach itself, and how do we adapt … and if at all possible save these resources for the next many generations,” said Mancini.

Ward 5 City Councillor Angela Guarino-Sawaya stressed the importance of climate resiliency measures for Revere Beach and the surrounding coastal areas.

Guarino-Sawaya said the flooding facing residents living near the coast is an immediate concern.

“Water is coming up at such extremely high tides that a coastal resiliency study that was done six or seven years ago is now obsolete,” she said.

Councillor-at-Large Juan Pablo Jaramillo advocated for natural barriers that can help keep residents safe from coastal issues, while still keeping the beach accessible.

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