Many types of structures exist along the coast of Massachusetts to 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. Residential development, roads, and other infrastructure followed due to increasing population demand and the desire to work and live near the ocean. Today, maintenance of coastal structures built to protect public and private development in dynamic coastal areas challenges the Commonwealth, municipalities, and individuals.
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.
To view both private and public structure data in the Massachusetts Ocean Resource information System (MORIS), see Private and Public Shoreline Stabilization Structures - Data and Online Mapping.
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 below). 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:
Inventory of Publicly Owned Coastal Structures
Prepared for CZM and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) from 2006 to 2009, 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 evaluation. Listed below are the 2009 summary report for the project, data, and the community reports categorized by region. Please note: DCR initiated an update to the inventory in 2013 and released new data and reports to communities in 2015.
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).
- Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project - Summary Report (PDF, 2 MB)
- Public Shoreline Stabilization Structures - Data and Online Mapping
- Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, and Essex (PDF, 17 MB)
- Gloucester and Rockport (PDF, 25 MB)
- Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly, and Salem (PDF, 20 MB)
- Marblehead, Swampscott, Lynn, Saugus, and Revere (PDF, 36 MB)
- Nahant, Winthrop, Chelsea, Everett, and Boston Harbor Islands (PDF, 34 MB)
- Boston (PDF, 70 MB)
- Milton, Quincy, Braintree, and Weymouth (PDF, 27 MB)
- Hingham (PDF, 11 MB)
- Hull (PDF, 23 MB)
- Cohasset (PDF, 5 MB)
- Scituate (PDF, 43 MB)
- Marshfield (PDF, 31 MB)
- Duxbury (PDF, 8 MB)
- Kingston (PDF, 3 MB)
- Plymouth (PDF, 17 MB)
Cape Cod and Islands
- Bourne, Sandwich, and Mashpee (PDF, 17 MB)
- Falmouth (PDF, 32 MB)
- Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Dennis (PDF, 39 MB)
- Harwich, Chatham, Brewster, and Orleans (PDF, 28 MB)
- Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown (PDF, 20 MB)
- Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket (PDF, 33 MB)