Publication Date

Spring 2023

Committee Members

Michael Davidsohn Samantha Solano Robert Ryan


Most of the land directly on the Atlantic coast is flat and at sea level making it more vulnerable to sea-level rise impacts (EPA, 2022). Plum Island is in Essex County, Massachusetts, adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. Plum Island is divided between four municipalities that include Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, and Ipswich a. Plum Island is a barrier island system that faces threats from sea-level rise and climate change impacts indicated in the “Newburyport Climate Resiliency Plan” and “Plum Island: Exploring the Fiscal and Economic Implications of Sea Level Rise, “report. The project focus area encompasses the northern 1/3 of Plum Island and includes 1650 residences and commercial businesses. This focus area is vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise by complete inundation by 2070 (Morris, 2020). Maps created by the Horsley Witten Group that represent sea level rise, flooding and erosion impacts are analyzed. This project analyzes these maps to create a zone assessment, the hierarchy of the resilient design toolkit. The hierarchy creates regions, subregions, and typologies to organize the toolkit. Three different typologies (bayside, ocean and middle-ground) illustrate the existing conditions of different subregions of the focus area. These typologies recommend a resilient design based on the existing conditions using different mitigation and ecological design strategies. The toolkit represents these resilient designs in an implementation illustration that shows specific plant species, residence vs municipal zone and a cost analysis of the mitigation and ecological design strategies.