Final Report

Dorchester Resilient Waterfront Project Final Report (includes Executive Summary and Appendices)

Summary & Goals


The Dorchester Resilient Waterfront Project at Tenean Beach / Conley Street is a catalytic project identified in the 2020 Climate Ready Boston (CRB) Coastal Resilience Solutions for Dorchester report. Given this near-term need to address coastal flooding from sea level rise and storm surge, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) took the lead in advancing this project by applying for and receiving a Coastal Resilience Grant from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. The team was ultimately awarded this grant, whose aim is to advance the conceptual project in Climate Ready Boston to 30% schematic design. While the Boston Planning & Development Agency took the project management lead, the City of Boston’s Environment Department was the project management partner. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the landowner of Tenean Beach, has also been a key partner thus far.

This project begins to illustrate the complex nature of resilient design options for the City of Boston. The city’s 47-mile coastline falls under ownership by various public and private partners. The City of Boston’s objective, as laid out in the CRB reports, is to develop designs to respond to all areas of the coastline effectively while protecting and enhancing our sacred and valuable waterfront public realm. No design or project is intended to use the public realm as sacrificial zones for flooding. Rather, the intent is to strengthen those areas for the public benefit and use in the long term.

Tenean Beach, owned by DCR, is also abutted by other State entities, such as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), who have also been involved in the development of the schematic design options for this grant-funded project. Tenean Beach is also the site of several outfalls which the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) control, and their technical expertise has been extremely valuable to this project as well.

Besides our governmental partners, the Resilient Dorchester Project at Tenean Beach / Conley Street would not have been possible without the technical expertise of our consultant team led by SCAPE Landscape Architecture.

The community has also played an important part in helping to develop this project. We would like to thank and acknowledge everyone who provided valuable feedback and insight that helped refine the proposed designs, including the Port Norfolk, Dorchester, and Boston at-large communities, the people representing various community-based organizations and nonprofits, and the elected officials that represent this area of our city.

The schematic design created as a result of this grant is only the beginning of what is to come on this property. Continued collaboration and cooperation between the City and State are needed to fully deliver the final implementation of this project for the future protection of Dorchester. We are hopeful that this project acts as a lesson for future CRB implementation, and we will continue to use this as an example for not only ourselves but for other municipalities across the region and beyond.

Project Goals

  1. Provide flood risk reduction to inland neighborhoods as well as DCR’s Morrissey Boulevard during:
    1. larger/rare flood events,
    2. tidal flood events.
  2. Preserve, protect, and enhance waterfront access and recreation by providing flood risk reduction to DCR’s assets at Tenean Beach.
  3. Preserve, protect, and enhance local ecology and open space.
  4. Improve or be compatible with adaptation efforts of critical transportation infrastructure, such as (1) the Southeast Expressway, (2) MBTA Rail Line, and (3) evacuation routes from Port Norfolk.
  5. Improve or align with adaptation efforts of stormwater infrastructure.

Project Phase

30% Schematic Design

Government Partners

*Project management partner
**CZM funded the 30% schematic design phase through their Climate Resilience Grant program FY23
***DCR is the landowner of Tenean Beach

Consultant Team for 30% Schematic Design

SCAPE Landscape Architecture DPC (lead), Tetra Tech, Woods Hole Group, Dawood

Community Engagement

Past Engagement

Community Workshop #2 | Wednesday, May 24, 2023

This virtual workshop focused on reviewing the conceptual design options for Tenean Beach/Conley Street in development that have been informed by both community and other stakeholder feedback. This was a follow-up to a workshop held on March 30, 2023.

Recording | Presentation - English | Presentation - Haitian Creole | Presentation - Spanish | Presentation - Vietnamese

Community Workshop #1 | Thursday, March 30, 2023

This virtual workshop focused on reintroducing the community to Climate Ready Dorchester as well as providing basic information of conceptual locations for flood resilient strategies at Tenean Beach / Conley Street in order to manage current and future community flooding.

Recording | Presentation - English | Presentation - Haitian Creole | Presentation - Spanish | Presentation - Vietnamese


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