As part of the Stone Living Lab’s ongoing mission to collaborate with coastal communities, the University of Massachusetts Boston and the SLL staff began a new citizen/community science project to study the impact of coastal storm flooding in Boston.
The project, Coastal Surge Investigators (CSI) is the third of a series of annual community science projects designed to support core research occurring within Boston Harbor. SLL staff are working alongside volunteers from across the Greater Boston Area to develop methods to measure storm surges, or increases in water level during coastal storms. These surge events often result in flooding that can have destructive impacts, and are expected to become more severe due to climate change. With a better understanding of both the vertical rise of the water-level as well as the horizontal extent of resultant flooding, our city can better prepare for climate change’s impact.
To gather this data, the team is collaboratively designing low-cost flooding indicators that can designate whether flooding occurred at a particular point and how high the water reached. Volunteers will also photograph signs of flooding after the storm, such as wrack lines of seaweed washed up onto the shore or erosion of sediment. This information will be used in conjunction with SLL partner Kirk Bosma’s flood modeling from Woods Hole Group to help Boston plan for future flooding events. The project will run until December 2023 and is currently expanding its volunteer team to include more of the city’s coastline.