Climate Resilience & Sustainability

In partnership with the cities of Winthrop and Revere, the City is has launched the regional North Suffolk Office of Resilience and Sustainability, funded through a grant of $600,000 from the Barr Foundation.

The Office will engage residents of all three communities in developing projects and programs to ensure these cities survive and thrive in a changing climate. The office will address issues of sea-level rise, extreme heat, energy use, waste reduction, and other factors that affect livability. 

Staff Contacts
Name Title Phone
Kristen Homeyer Resilience Manager 617-466-4196
Zak Azib-Zak Sustainability Manager 617-466-4180

Attachment
NSORS Annual Report 2021(PDF)
NSORS Annual Report 2022(PDF)

Resilience

Urban Heat Mitigation Project
In fiscal years 2021-2022, the City of Chelsea, in collaboration with community based organization GreenRoots and Boston University Public School of Health, was awarded grant funding through the MVP Action Grant Program to advance a city-wide Urban Heat Island (UHI) mitigation initiative. The initiative aimed to complement ongoing regional resilience efforts by an analysis of ambient air & land surface temperatures, a social vulnerability assessment, prioritization of corridors for public and private heat mitigation interventions, and planning and implementation of a pilot heat mitigation projects on public properties. 

Analysis identified extreme urban heat islands throughout the city.  The neighborhood located around the Boys and Girls Club, specifically Willow St. & Maverick St. was determined a target area for mitigation and dubbed the ‘Cool Block Initiative.’   The Initiative saw the implementation of several heat mitigation strategies, including the installation of street trees, installation of bioswales and native plants, and use of lightly colored aggregates within the streets and sidewalks.  Installation of green infrastructure and lightly colored streetscape will decrease temperatures within this microclimate over time, and replication on other urban heat islands throughout the city is expected.  This project is nearly complete, with the final installation of lightly colored roadways expected to occur in early fall.

Urban Heat Mitigation Project Final Report
Mill Creek
The City of Chelsea, in collaboration with community-based organizations such as GreenRoots and Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), is working to address the impacts of climate change, restore ecological habitats, and expand the local network of open space, with Mill Creek as a central focus. Decades of environmental advocacy led by GreenRoots have resulted in the addition of a waterfront playground, linear park, and restored wetland areas along the creek. The City and its partners are dedicated to transforming Mill Creek into a community resource with robust public access.

In 2018 and 2019, the City of Chelsea, MyRWA, and GreenRoots, assessed various opportunities to restore the habitat and public access along Mill Creek, yielding key strategies and projects to enhance water quality and sediment transport. For the past decade, Mill Creek has consistently received a water quality rating of "F".  It has been the most polluted water body in the Mystic River watershed. 

In 2022, this team together with the Nature Conservancy and with funding from Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, conducted a study to identify the sources of pollution so they could be addressed in priority order.  All sources of pollution were overwhelmed by the amount of raw sewerage that was being dumped into the creek from municipal outfalls.  It is now the City's priority to clean these up and make Mill Creek into the swimmable, fishable waterway that our residents deserve and can enjoy.

88 Clinton Street
The City of Chelsea is working to build a new park at 88 Clinton Street. 

We hope that providing public access to Mill Creek will not only offer opportunities for Chelsea residents to enjoy nature and the outdoors, but also will foster greater awareness and care for Mill Creek as we seek to improve its water quality and restore habitat for the salt marsh species that are native to this area.

88 Clinton St Illustrative Plan
88 Clinton St Street Graphic 

Island End River Flood Resilience Engineering
Over the next year, the City will complete the design and permitting of a comprehensive flood protection system along the Island End River. The plan includes an elevated flood barrier, restored salt marsh, and expansion of public open space. Through the project, the City seeks to safeguard residential neighborhoods, industrial districts, and vital infrastructure, including transportation routes and emergency shelters.

An important component of the project will include educating the public about how future flooding may affect their homes and families. This project is funded by a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Grant

Island End Park & Flood Barrier Project
Equitable Climate Resiliency Framework - Process Guide

Created by the Department of Housing & Community Development, GreenRoots, the Mystic River Watershed Association, and community based partners, the Equitable Climate Resilience Framework sets out a roadmap to engage the community on issues related to climate change. The framework strives to provide guidance on the following questions:

• How do we effectively and equitably reach the community?
• How do we have meaningful conversations around extreme weather impacts and resilience?
• How do we ensure local participation and contributions to city projects?
• How do we hear and incorporate community concerns into city projects?
• How do we identify priority and vulnerabilities of the community and address them?

Download the report

Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF)
In February of 2023, the cities of Chelsea and Everett released an Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF) detailing the Island End River (IER) Flood Resilience Project. Click the links below to access the EENF, which is available in six languages. 

Arabic (PDF) | Chinese (PDF) | English (PDF) | Haitian Creole (PDF) | Portuguese (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)  
Green Parcel Park & Coastal Remediation Design
The Department of Housing & Community Development recently received a grant from the Office of Coastal Zone Management to conduct an analysis and design of a small parcel of land located behind Beth Israel along Mill Creek. 

The City of Chelsea is partnering with Greenroots to build resilience throughout Mill Creek by advancing planning, design, and permitting of enhanced open space, coastal bank stabilization, and remediation along Mill Creek. This project will target a specific land parcel known as the "Green Parcel".
Eastern Avenue
In 2022-23, the City of Chelsea received funding from the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program to create a resilience vision for Eastern Avenue in Chelsea. This project sought to identify future solutions to both flooding from sea level rise and extreme storms that are expected with climate change, as well as overall improvements to Eastern Avenue to make it more walkable and welcoming to Chelsea residents. As a visioning process, this project engaged stakeholders, including property owners and state agencies, as well as Chelsea residents in identifying current and future challenges along the Eastern Avenue corridor, and also included an extensive analysis of existing conditions. Ultimately, the project culminated in a proposed approach for improving flood resiliency, safety, and river access along the corridor; the attached report describes this approach, and the project, in greater detail. 
 
The City is pleased to share that we received a second round of funding from the MVP program for this project in 2023-24, which will include preliminary design and permitting for the solutions identified by this phase. It will also include further engagement with key stakeholders in the project area and Chelsea as a whole.

Click here to view the City of Chelsea Eastern Avenue Climate Resilience Vision

Sustainability

Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO)
On June 27, the Chelsea City Council approved a Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) to understand energy consumption in buildings throughout the City. The goal is to reduce their emissions gradually to net-zero by 2050.

This energy benchmarking ordinance, known as BERDO, now requires large residential and non-residential buildings with 20,000 square feet of gross floor area (GFA) or more or residential buildings with 20 units or more to report energy use data. Additionally, all Chelsea Housing Authority buildings will be required to report regardless of gross floor area or unit count.
Zero Carbon Action Plan

In 2021, NSORS received a grant from the State to support the development of the first North Suffolk Zero Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP).  Through a regional planning process, NSORS created a regional climate action plan to reduce carbon pollution, improve community health, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The strategies and actions included in the plan are focused on local and regional actions that can be taken to decrease greenhouse gas emissions across Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop communities.

Regional Plan for Electric Vehicle Charging Station Infrastructure

The North Suffolk Office of Resilience & Sustainability (NSORS), in partnership with the City of Chelsea, City of Revere and Town of Winthrop, has obtained a $100,000 grant to develop a regional plan for electric vehicle charging station infrastructure. Funded through the state Community Compact Cabinet Energy Efficiency & Regionalization Program, the project will result in an actionable deployment plan for charging stations and related electrical infrastructure, as well as a pricing model that is fair and equitable. Weston & Sampson have been selected as the lead consultant to conduct the scope of work through a competitive procurement process.

Electric vehicles are an important part of the region’s strategy to reduce emissions through the electrification of infrastructure. In total, transportation by passenger vehicles accounts for approximately 28% of total emissions in the North Suffolk region (Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop), representing some 185,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent released into the atmosphere. The project will evaluate the current state of EV charging stations, develop plans for new locations for charging infrastructure, and put forth recommendations regarding pricing and operations. Collectively, the ultimate goal is to stimulate a larger publicly accessible network that residents can reliably use.

The North Suffolk EV Charging Plan project held its kickoff meeting this April, and the team expects the plan to be completed by early 2024. In parallel, the Office is pursuing state and federal grant funding to continue the installation of charging stations.