These report include:
- "Ipswich River Coastal Bank Stabilization Pilot Project, Ipswich, MA: Task 2 Report" prepared by Horsley Witten; and
- "Ipswich River Coastal Bank Stabilization Pilot Project, Prepared For: The Town Of Ipswich. Task 2 Draft Report” prepared by Coneco Engineers.
The reports identify causes of erosion of river bank and river bottom on Town land, rights-of-way and Town-held easements along the Ipswich River between the Ipswich Mills Dam and the Town Wharf, which threaten infrastructure and/or adversely impact water quality or habitat of the Ipswich River. Causes identified include:
- poorly managed stormwater runoff from upland areas,
- pedestrian foot traffic as people try to access the river,
- informal storage of small boats along the banks,
- erosive forces from the flows in the River, exacerbated in some cases by human constructs such as retaining walls, headwalls, stormwater outfalls, bridges and the like; and/or
- a combination of some or all of the above.
The reports also provides options for stabilizing the areas of concern. The Horsley Witten report is focused on the natural environmental within and adjacent to the River. The Coneco report assessed the sites where stormwater runoff is potentially contributing to the erosion problem. The reports are posted on the PIE-Rivers' (Parker Ipswich Essex Rivers) website at http://www.pie-rivers.org/id_48/.
As a reminder, Ipswich was awarded a $63,300 grant from MA Coastal Zone Management to asses impacts from coastal storms associated with climate change and sea level rise. The Town partnered with the Ipswich River Watershed Association on this important project. The grants funds a 1-year pilot project to identify vulnerable areas, complete a feasibility assessment for using "nature-based solutions" to combat erosion of the river bank that threatens infrastructure, and provide long-term stabilization of the bank. The project will also assess the possibly of constructing a public access area for launching non-motorized boats within the project area. Finally, the project will design and prepare environmental permits to advance some of the stabilization techniques selected. Future grant applications will seek to secure funding for their implementation.