The North Shore’s Great Marsh Coalition kicked-off its Living Shoreline Project by hosting the first in a six part workshop series at the Salisbury Public Library last Friday. Through an interactive community workshop, the Coalition and several partnering organizations built upon the Great Marsh Symposium which took place earlier in the month.

As a guest speaker, I worked with residents and the Salisbury Planning Board to explore the community’s expansive coast through a mapping exercise highlighting the risks and hazards which currently exist in the face of sea level rise. Once each team identified their vulnerable infrastructure, landmarks, and environmental treasures, we collectively looked at how an enhanced and healthy ecosystem along with proactive land use planning could strengthen the town’s resilience to coastal storms.

Many of the participants were surprised when we compared results of the same risk and vulnerability exercise at a regional scale. Seeing the impact to distribution and supply channels, as well as emergency support networks, sparked the conversations needed to start change. The Coalition plans to host similar workshops in the neighboring communities of Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, and Essex over the next few months and hopes to create a collaborative movement throughout the network of cities and towns that call the Great Marsh their home.

Topics: Resiliency, Sustainability