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Planning in the Face of Climate Change

The Future of Duxbury Beach

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Permitting and design project process

Design and Permitting for Nature-Based Storm-Damage Protection Measures for Duxbury Beach 

Historically following large storms Duxbury Beach Reservation mobilized construction crews and volunteers and headed to the beach to repair hard-hit areas. While these reactive repair projects will always be an important part of the Reservation’s work, today the organization is approaching things differently with a focus on proactive planning to increase the resilience of Duxbury Beach before the storms hit.


Blueprint for Coastline Protection

Duxbury Beach Reservation’s comprehensive plan to strengthen and maintain Duxbury Beach spans oceanside to bayside and along almost four miles of the barrier beach. The Reservation worked with Woods Hole Group and MA Coastal Zone Management to identify adaptations that would be both feasible and impactful on Duxbury Beach.


  1. Oceanside beach and dune nourishment (covers northern border to Duxbury/Plymouth town line)

  2. Bayside cobble nourishment (located between bridge and Crossover 1)

  3. Powder Point Bridge abutment cobble berm (located at east end of bridge)

  4. High Pines road elevation (located around the curve at High Pines)

  5. Storm water drainage features (located throughout the site)

Steps of constructing a resilience project:

  1. Identify areas of greatest need and impact

  2. Secure funding through organizational budgeting, community donations, and grants

  3. Update engineering plans based on updated surveys and current conditions

  4. Communicate project needs, benefits, and timeline to project stakeholders

  5. Work with qualified contractors to build resilience features

  6. Monitor project results to determine success and opportunities to improve 

  7. Plan for regular maintenance of the project to ensure it continues to perform as designed

For years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursed DBR for repair work following detrimental storms. With this funding no longer available to Duxbury Beach, it is vital that DBR strengthens the barrier now and stands ready to respond to future storms. An example of this proactive work was the dune restoration between Crossover 1 and 2 in 2018-2019.

The project was a multi-year process – starting with the design, then permitting, and finally construction. Duxbury Beach cannot afford to wait multiple years to address vulnerabilities and perform vital restoration. The success of the Crossover 1-2 project proved the value of proactive restoration and was an important catalyst in undertaking comprehensive planning and permitting of resilience projects for Duxbury Beach. The time has come to work smarter to make real headway in strengthening the beach. 

Flexible & Comprehensive

Following three years of intensive effort DBR secured multiple permits at the municipal, state, and federal levels covering 3.8 miles of Duxbury Beach. The suite of permits spans up to 10 years and allows DBR to construct several different types of nature-based resilience projects to address erosion, flooding, and storm water concerns.

This comprehensive plan is a launching pad to strategically maintain and protect Duxbury Beach over the next decade and as a roadmap for the future. The plan provides the flexibility to respond to new and existing vulnerabilities backed by extensive data collection and scientific modeling to ensure funds and resources go to critical areas. 

Want to learn more? Check out some of the project webinars and presentations below!

View the PACTV presentation given by DBR's Executive Director, Cris Luttazi, and Woods Hole Group's Elise Leduc on June 24, 2020 here!


Missed the Future of Duxbury Beach event on February 12, 2020?  Don't worry!  Check out the Woods Hole Group presentation here!

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