South Boston watefront at risk for severe storms

The South Boston waterfront.

The up-and-coming South Boston waterfront, dubbed the “Innovation District” by Mayor Thomas Menino, is a hot spot for developers, new businesses and residents looking for jobs. 

It’s also at risk of taking the brunt of severe storms and coastal flooding in the future, according to a report released this week by an environmental group.

“Developers should ask themselves if it makes sense to build in an area that may be at risk of being destroyed by natural disaster,” said Michelle Mehta, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and principal author of the report.

City officials say they’re prepared for a storm.

“The mayor has had Boston on the forefront of climate change and risks of coastal impacts,” said Jim Hunt, Boston’s chief of environment and energy.

Data released by NRDC said if growth trends and land use continue unabated and sea levels continue to rise, a 100-year storm surge could cause huge amounts of damage. Costs could climb to $36 billion in damages to residential, commercial and industrial buildings and response, the report suggests.
“It’s a worst-case scenario,” said Bruce Anderson an associate professor of geography and environment at Boston University.

Hunt said developers factor climate into planning, and demonstrate how they will mitigate risks during the zoning review  process. “There are simple steps that make the city more resilient to climate change,” he said.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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