The Lab has developed a set of experiments, projects, and community science studies all aimed at learning how best to promote coastal resilience. One of the things that makes the Lab unique is that several of the projects will be conducted outside, along the shoreline where waves, storms, and other coastal processes can be observed and studied. Conducting baseline assessments will give scientists a better understanding of existing conditions in advance of testing nature-based and hybrid approaches. Additionally, the Lab will conduct desktop research to inform how to best develop and implement policies. Once the projects are underway, the scientists will be able to observe first-hand the best approaches to making our shorelines and communities more resilient.

Cobble Berm Monitoring and Outreach

In partnership with the MA Office of Coastal Zone Management, this project aims to evaluate the performance, effectiveness, and ecological impacts of cobble berms as nature-based solutions for coastal resilience.

Island Sedimentation, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Resiliency

Island Sedimentation, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Resiliency

This project looks to better understand how sediment moves on and around Rainsford Island in Boston Harbor. The project will also examine how changes in season and storms affect how sediment moves.

Changing Policies to Promote Smart Protection

Developing Robust Policies for Nature-Based Solutions for Coastal Flood Protection in Boston

This project will use a model to develop and recommend useful policies for Nature-Based Solutions. The model will test different policies in a virtual environment and will consider the views of major groups of people such as the local government officials, developers, and residents.

Vegetation and rocky coastline

Terrestrial LiDAR Scanner (TLS) Monitoring of Coastal Erosion

This project will utilize Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) instruments to capture erosion events as they happen. LiDAR is a tool that measures the amount of time it takes light that comes from a sensor to reflect back from objects in its path.

CSI: Coastal Surge Investigators

This community science project will investigate the impact of coastal storm flooding in Boston. Staff and volunteers are collaboratively designing low-cost flooding indicators that can designate whether flooding occurred at a particular point and how high the water reached.

Intertidal Monitoring

Intertidal zones are unique environments found where the coast meets the ocean. They provide key habitat for many marine creatures and seaweeds and also helps protect our coasts from waves and flooding. These special areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change as sea levels rise, more intense storms impact shorelines, and periods of extreme heat become more frequent. What kinds of creatures live on our shorelines? How are they being affected by extreme weather events? How can we design future development to support these areas?

Expanding Monitoring to Existing Nature-Based Solution (NBS) Sites in Massachusetts

This project aims to expand our monitoring activities to four sites in Massachusetts where NBS projects already exist or are underway. Present proposed sites include Coughlin Park in Winthrop (Boston Harbor), Duxbury Beach in Duxbury (Duxbury Bay), Egypt Beach in Scituate (Atlantic Ocean – East Facing), and Stonewall Beach in Chilmark (Atlantic Ocean – South Facing). The data collected at these sites will be useful for research on the performance of NBS systems several years ahead of the Lab’s purposely designed projects. This project will last for at least 4 years.

Beach Profiling

Our beaches are also constantly changing in response to waves, tides, and especially storms. Beach profiling is a simple technique to measure the shape of the beach as it heads down to the water. By measuring this shape and seeing how it changes over time and after storms, we can paint a picture of how our beaches are being affected by climate change.