That’s a Wrap! Cobble Berms Education and Outreach Pilot

In June 2024, our two-year cobble berm research and education project supported by the MA CZM Coastal Resilience Grant came to a close. Over the course of this two-year project, staff from Duxbury Beach Reservation, Woods Hole Group, and the Stone Living Lab led monitoring and outreach efforts around cobble berms across coastal Massachusetts.

Led by input from focus groups and our first year of field courses, the cobble berm team put together three outreach programs in Spring 2024: two field courses and a virtual permitting workshop. Over the course of this two-year project, almost 200 individuals and over 85 unique organizations engaged with our programming. From recent graduates to seasoned government employees, this program connected practitioners and enhanced local understanding of cobble berms as a coastal resilience strategy.

A group of people gathered on a beach, while a scientist points to scientific figures on a poster.

Throughout our programming, there were consistent themes and questions that came up again and again from attendees about cobble berms: How much do they cost? Where do you source cobbles from? What is the permitting process? And, perhaps most importantly: How do they work?

A group of people gathered on a cobble beach, while a speaker points off screen.In the field and in-person experiences are crucial to build connections and familiarity between people and field strategies – but this project also focused on creating resources that will support the coastal community beyond this individual project. Using input from attendees and MA CZM itself, the outreach team also created factsheets, videos (available soon), a coastal professionals listserv, and an interactive Storymap to support ongoing learning and research.

Supported by the incredible efforts of researchers from Woods Hole Group and the Stone Living Lab, this two-year program amplified cobble berms as an effective nature-based approach for coastal communities. Rather than falling back on familiar gray infrastructure strategies, municipal staff are becoming more familiar with nature-based approaches as a whole. By highlighting the scientific backing of cobble berms, creating space for in-person discussions, and creating user-friendly outreach materials, we have already seen a shift in public perception of cobble berms as an effective means of coastal resilience.

The work doesn’t stop with this grant, of course! Researchers with the Lab will continue to support monitoring efforts at a number of cobble berm sites, and SLL educators now have a jumping-off point to create even more factsheets, videos, and public events centered on other nature-based approaches.

We are deeply grateful to the many individuals who made this work possible: Julia Knisel and Rebecca Haney (MA CZM); Joey Negreann, Brynna McGlathery, and Cris Luttazzi (DBR); Kirk Bosma, Adam Finkle, Stuart Dak, Alex Carbone, Leslie Fields, Conor Ofsthun, Chris Gloniger (WHG); Chris Krahforst and Brian DeFelice (Hull); Mark Borrelli, Kali Roberts, and Chris Sweeney (UMB); Marc Albert (NPS); and our focus group members: Rachel Kelly, Kelly Phelan, Kate Kennedy, Chuck Shade, John Lopez, Chris Krahforst, Richard Vacca, Kara Shemeth, Michele Paul, Andrew McManus, David Gould Plymouth, Kevin Cafferty, Vince Murphy, and Russell Hopping.

Cobble Berm Resources

Permitting Cobble Berms recording

Project Storymap

Factsheet: Introduction to Cobble Berms

Factsheet: Top Ten Considerations

Factsheet: How Shorelines Behave

Blog: Cobble Berms Project Kickoff

Blog: Year One Update