The Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project is a coastal flood protection project to provide a very high level of protection to the Cities of Everett, Lynn, Malden and Revere, and the town of Saugus, Massachusetts. The region is five (5) miles north of Boston and is the most vulnerable area along the Massachusetts coast to storm surge flooding and sea level rise, and possibly along the US coast.
The US Army Corps of Engineers New England Division investigated solutions to the problem with 5 Steering Committees over 4 years ($2.6 million). The Recommended Regional Project includes a Floodgate structure at the mouth of the Saugus River with nine (9) gated openings, designed to provide safe passage for navigation and the natural tide levels and flushing in the 1,650 acre tidal Estuary landward of the gates. The Estuary would be purchased and managed to protect its flood water storage and environmental resources. The gates would be tied to 3.1 miles of shorefront improvements along Lynn Harbor, Point of Pines and the Revere Beach Reservation. It would protect 5,000 buildings, 8,000 housing units, 10,000 residents, 20,000 employees and 400,000 commuters in the region against the worst coastal storm likely to occur and against sea level rise, estimated damages at $ 1.3 billion.
A 2.5 year final design effort ($6 million) completed most investigations and the modeling of the Floodgates and shorefront improvements. The project would cost an estimated $230 million (2020 p.l.) and be cost shared with the Federal Government. A narrow opening in an abandoned I-95 embankment restricts tidal flows to 500 acres in the upper Estuary deteriorating the wetlands. The project has the opportunity to breach the embankment and restore the wetlands as requested by resource agencies.
Although the US Congress authorized the Project for construction, a new State Secretary of Environmental Affairs in the fall of 1993 was opposed to construction along the Massachusetts coast and stopped it, and since it has been de-authorized. Currently, renewed interest in the Project by the communities, along with the Governor’s interest to help communities facing flooding from sea level rise, may help to restart the Project.
Now that the "New Study Start" process has been initiated, Revere and Saugus officials are both pursuing actions to request their Congressional Delegation to sponsor a resolution to "Re-Authorize" the Regional Project, which if successful would by-pass the need for a "New Study Start". In preparation for possible meetings with the Delegation, the Governor, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and State Representatives, a Brochure on the project was completed on 9-14-20 to explain the Regional Project. The Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project would protect the region from coastal flooding and sea level rise. Proposed to be included is the breaching or removal of the abandoned I-95 embankment to restore the natural tide levels and flushing to 500 acres of the upper estuary and enhance the wetlands and resources. This was initially requested by Federal & state agencies and town of Saugus.
11-24-20 The city of Revere initiated a request to Senator Markey to Re-authorize the Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project, possibly in the pending Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA), currently a bill before the US Senate--this approach is a long shot. WRDAs are initiated by the Environment and Public Works Committees which include the Corps of Engineers' projects. Senator Markey, a member of the Committee, was responsible for initially getting the project Congressionally Authorized in WRDA 1992. Reauthorization could save an estimated 9 years of restudy effort and $6 million.
10-8-20 EPA's Ed Reiner advised the Project Manager (PM) that the MA Water Resources Authority was planning a major water line across the Saugus River which would conflict with the Floodgate alignment. At the request of both Ed and Revere officials, the PM advised the Corps of the conflict since the Corps' Regulatory office was reviewing the application. The PM reported that the water line would interfere with the extensive piles required to support the floodgate structure, and a million dollars had been spent on the borings, surveys, and physical and numerical modeling for this location.
8-28-20 The city of Revere decided to take the lead to complete the application and coordinate a letter of support with the communities for a request to the Corps of Engineers for a "New Study Start". The application and letter, coordinated by Revere's Elle Baker and Frank Stringi and Saugus' Peter Manoogian, was completed by the 31 August deadline with the Mayors of Everett, Lynn, Malden and Revere, and the Saugus Town Manager signing the August 26, 2020 letter. The letter supported the study and a regional solution to the coastal flooding problem and environmental enhancement of the upper estuary. The study would be called the Boston North Shore Coastal Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Enhancement Study. New coordinators with the study include: Ms. Doloros Lattanzi - Executive Manager to the Mayor of Everett; Mr. Aaron Clausen-Lynn City Planner; and, Ms. Michelle Romero - Malden City Planner. View Letter
8-24-20 Revere's City Council Legislative Affairs Sub-Committee: Following a brief presentation, most councilors spoke in favor of the Regional Project and then unanimously voted to support a resolution for the actions proposed at the 7-27-20 City council meeting. The resolution will then be presented to the full Council. Meanwhile the Mayor's staff is completing the application for a "New Study Start" with a supporting letter for the five communities to endorse. The Revere City Clerk sent a letter to the Corps of Engineers on behalf of the City Council to confirm their full support for the Boston North Shore Coastal Flood Damage Reduction and Environmental Enhancement Study. View Letter
8-18-20 With the help of Vice Chair Corinne Riley and Peter Manoogian, following a brief zoom presentation, the Saugus Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to support actions to: (1) send letters to the Congressional Delegation to sponsor a resolution to re-authorize the Regional Project, and (2) to send an application and supporting letter to the Corps for a new study start--- not knowing which avenue may prove more successful.
8-6-20 State Representative RoseLee Vincent sent a letter to Governor Baker, copy to the Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides, supporting the Town of Saugus' request to reinstate the Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project, since it would "..not only protect 5,000 coastal residential and commercial buildings in Saugus, Revere, Lynn and Malden, but would also be critical in restoring portions of the East Saugus Marshes...I can attest that this project is sorely needed now...the Wheelabrator Saugus incinerator, whose unlined ash landfill is adjacent to the banks of the river. A major concern..is that one day, a severe coastal storm will breach the landfill, sending contaminates flowing into the river..and into their homes.." View Letter