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  • Duxbury Beach Reservation

DBR is Looking Forward to its Second Century with Large-scale Planning Work

In 2019 Duxbury Beach Reservation (DBR) embarked on a long-term, comprehensive plan to better protect and preserve Duxbury Beach. Many who are familiar with Duxbury Beach have seen it hit by storms over the years. We know this will continue and likely worsen due to the impacts of climate change. What many people don’t realize is that protecting and preserving is becoming more and more difficult. For many years, FEMA refunded the large-scale repair work that had to happen on Duxbury Beach after storms. This all changed about a decade ago. Duxbury Beach Reservation no longer receives FEMA funds to do work on Duxbury Beach. The non-profit must rely on generous supporters and grants to do repair and preparedness work.

For the past several years DBR has been fortunate to receive a Coastal Resilience Grant through the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). These CZM grants have allowed DBR to implement some of the planning, permitting, and construction projects vital to protecting and repairing Duxbury Beach. Unfortunately, these projects are costly and time consuming and construction can only be done during certain times of the year. With storms ever increasing in frequency and intensity, DBR and CZM knew that a more holistic and flexible approach would serve the beach better.

Through a 2020 CZM Coastal Resilience grant in the amount of $131,000, DBR is working with Woods Hole Group (WHG), an environmental engineering firm, to submit for an Expanded Environmental Notification Form ( This process will move DBR forward on the permitting and design process for several types of projects: dune and beach renourishment, salt marsh restoration, bayside cobble berms, and road repair work in many different areas of the beach.

Submitting for one permit may seem like a simple project, however it is anything but. This project is divided into several tasks that will span over ten months. The first step for the project is to document existing conditions. Then comes assessing alternative solutions. From there WHG will work on engineering designs for the projects and writing up the permit. Throughout the process, DBR and WHG will work together to share progress through public outreach and to manage the project tasks.

Beginning at the end of September, the focus has been on documenting existing conditions. There are many steps to documenting existing conditions because the permit spans multiple types of projects all over the beach. First up was a Beach Profiles and Topographic Survey which was completed last month by a professional surveying team. The team captured topographic data along 15 transects up and down the beach. Woods Hole Group has also completed the Intertidal/Rocky Intertidal Survey of the bayside and oceanside to map resource areas including the saltmarsh and dunes. Additional tasks include Sediment Sampling and Analysis, Shellfish Survey, Essential Fish Habitat Assessment, Endangered Species Assessment, and Land Use Evaluation.

Preparing and receiving an Expanded ENF will be a huge step towards completing these projects, however, it is not the only step. We will have to work with numerous other agencies including Duxbury Conservation Commission, MA Dept of Environmental Protection, MA Office of Coastal Zone Management, and Army Corps of Engineers to secure different permissions depending on the scope of individual projects as they move to the top of the priority list. In addition to permits, DBR is constantly working to secure funding for beach projects so we can address weak areas before they are breached and respond quickly to new storm impacts.

Interested in learning more about coastal resilience work on Duxbury Beach? Email

Images courtesy of: Adam Bolonsky, Woods Hole Group

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