The coastal town of Scituate, Massachusetts is considering a “managed retreat” that would mean abandoning properties closest to the ocean, after sustaining damage this week from the worst winter storm since 1991.
“These storms used to come once every 20 years,” said Scituate selectwoman Maura Curran. “Now, we get them pretty much every year.”
Scituate, located about 30 miles southeast of Boston, receives no protection from Cape Cod and has a long history of enduring severe coastal storms. But earlier this week, town administrator Patricia A. Vinchesi said it was time for broader solutions than building sea walls beforehand, then cleaning up the damage afterwards.
“Just repairing and repairing the sea walls—it isn’t a permanent solution with the ocean coming ever closer to us,” she said. Options include “moving houses farther away from the coast or demolishing them in response to rising sea levels, eroding beaches and intensifying storms, including the possible buyout of homeowners along the shore,” the Times reports.