House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo joined with Senator Anthony Petruccelli, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in announcing the finalization of permits that will allow for the renourishment of Winthrop Beach.
“I am so proud to announce the finalization of these permits and I thank Commissioner Kimmell, Commissioner Lambert, and Secretary Sullivan for their efforts in moving this project along,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “This represents yet another important step in the process towards final completion of the long-awaited renourishment and restoration of our beautiful Winthrop Beach.”
“I am pleased to join in the announcement of another important milestone to a much awaited and necessary Winthrop Beach project,” said Senator Anthony Petruccelli.
“MassDEP is pleased that we could work in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the local Conservation Commission to expeditiously approve a project to make long-term improvements to Winthrop Beach,” said Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell of the Department of Environmental Protection.
“These improvements provide a long-term solution to the erosion of Winthrop Beach,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “They will not only protect the shore from flooding, they will ensure the people of Winthrop have a great place to have fun and make memories for years to come.”
As it is currently, Winthrop Beach is exposed to the open ocean and susceptible to the full force of northeast storms. Major storms over the years have caused repeated damage and resulted in significant scour and erosion of Winthrop Beach. Much of the Winthrop Beach shoreline has lowered over the last several decades and the flood protection of the beach system has been severely degraded. Existing shore protection measures do not provide the needed level of protection from flooding and overtopping and the seawall itself is accelerating erosion. Without this renourishment, Winthrop Beach would continue to decrease in elevation due to the lack of sediment supply and reflection/scour caused by the seawall.
Since the construction of a series of offshore breakwaters known locally as “the Five Sisters” in the 1930s, a significant volume of sediment has accumulated behind the Five Sisters creating a large tombolo. These offshore breakwaters have also contributed to increased erosion on the southern portion of Winthrop Beach, leaving the seawall, Winthrop Shore Drive and adjacent residences vulnerable to storm damage.
To address this ongoing problem, DCR has recently submitted a revised beach nourishment plan. Major elements of the plan include:
• Repair and reconstruction of several groin structures along Winthrop Beach;
• Importation of approximately 450-550K c.y. of material from the former I-95 embankment in Saugus to be trucked and placed on the Northern portion of Winthrop Beach;
• Dredging of approximately 100K c.y. of sediment from the tombolo behind the Five Sisters that will be placed on the southern portion of Winthrop beach; and
• Enhanced parkway amenities/aesthetic improvements and storm water management improvements.
This project is pending further local approvals.