During the April check-in call with TEX, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) team conveyed that it has kept in very close contact with Chris Watson since the introductory call in February 2016. Regardless of whether they have information to convey, Axum Teferra (MAPC) has been organizing brief weekly update calls to keep all parties organized and informed. Chris Watson (University of Massachusetts) and Martin Pillsbury (MAPC) agree that having a 5-to-30-minute conversation each Friday has kept them in tune with the needs of the project and helped them prioritize their action items for the following week.
The team is pleased to report that they have received a large amount of data from the City of Chelsea on saltwater flooding, which includes the food distribution center. A consultant, hired by the city of Chelsea, has performed a vulnerability assessment which increased their data pool immensely. Axum attributes their success in collecting this data to the scientists’ being local and understanding the local context. Both Dr. Ellen Douglas (University of Massachusetts) and Mr. Chris Watson have worked in the Boston area for many years. Therefore, their connections to local groups (such as the Woods Hole group and Stantec) ensure that they share data freely and without hesitation.
Currently, the team requires technical freshwater flooding data. The expectation is that Teferra will obtain this data using MAPC’s connection with the Department of Environmental Protection. Once MAPC makes a connection with the City of Everett, Watson anticipates doing a site traverse of the food distribution center. This site traverse will give him the opportunity to take pictures and extrapolate conclusions from visual evidence. The results of these efforts should be apparent by the next TX check-in call in May.
As an added bonus to this project, the Dutch Consulate is interested in providing assistance. They have a partnership with the City of Boston and a strong history and interest in water issues. Once the vulnerability report is nearly finished (in late summer/early fall 2016), the consulate intends to connect with the MAPC team and assist them with strategic planning.