Inventories of Seawalls and Other Coastal Structures

Find a description of and links to these inventories developed for the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Many types of structures exist along the shoreline of Massachusetts to address erosion and protect buildings and infrastructure constructed prior to coastal management policies and regulations. Historically, coastal land was developed out of economic necessity. Commercial development primarily included piers, wharves, and warehouses along the waterfront. Residential development, roads, and other infrastructure followed due to increasing population demand and the desire to work and live near the ocean. Today, addressing deteriorating coastal structures built to protect public and private development in dynamic coastal areas has proven to be challenging due to material costs, erosion of beaches, wave forces, and other factors.

To help address these challenges, inventories of both privately and publicly owned seawalls, revetments, groins, jetties, and other coastal structures have been developed and are described below.

The location of both private and public coastal structures can be viewed in the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), see the Private and Public Shoreline Stabilization Structures data layers.

Inventory of Publicly Owned Coastal Structures

Prepared for CZM and DCR from 2006 to 2015, the Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project data and reports include condition ratings and estimated repair or reconstruction costs for publicly owned coastal structures. These structures were characterized through on-site evaluations. Listed below are the 2009 summary report for the project, data, and the initial community reports categorized by region. DCR initiated an update to the inventory in 2013 and released new data and reports to communities in 2014-2015. The updated information is available on the State Library website.

These files are rather large and may be best viewed by downloading to your computer. Right-click on the desired file link, select Save Target As..., choose a location, and click Save (procedure may vary slightly based on the internet browser).

North Shore

Boston Harbor

South Shore

Cape Cod and Islands

South Coast

Inventory of Privately Owned Coastal Structures

Prepared for CZM in 2013 by Applied Science Associates, Inc., these data and the technical report document the location and type of coastal structures, such as seawalls and revetments, not included in previous phases of the Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project (see above). These structures were identified using remote sensing techniques and are presumed to be privately owned. The data and report provide a comprehensive assessment of shoreline armoring coast-wide. Nearly 27% of the ocean-facing shoreline is armored by some form of public or private coastal protection. Below are links to the report, appendices, and data:

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