Often I will point out problems and shortfalls in our City. More often though, I will mention ways to succeed in resolving those same issues. But it is also a great joy to point out the many good things happening out and around Newburyport.
First good thing, we have the installation of a box culvert on the Plum Island Turnpike. Mankind fortunately learns from experience. Unfortunately, it takes really bad experiences to get anything done. The preponderance of inadequate culverts has caused innumerable damages and millions of dollars in flood costs.
It is a simple principle. Water needs to get away and flow to the sea. Rivers and streams surround us with that one purpose in mind. But we put up dams, restrictive channels and insufficient flow points and wonder why we have horrific flooding. And we also have the tides in which a great bundle of energy imbued in the water rushes forth and just as quickly rushes out.
Box culverts are being installed all along the borders of the Great Marsh to allow better flow of tide water and to compensate for the occasional Mother’s Day Flood.
Second good thing, a flood mitigation grant has been awarded to the City from FEMA which purpose isn’t to just do another hydrology study but to actually build in flood prevention measures!*
Again, inadequate culverts and inadequate water-control methods are the ever-present culprits.(The fact that residential housing and commercial buildings were built on a flood plain may have a LARGE contributing factor but unfortunately the damage is done like houses built on a barrier island i.e. Plum Island.)
Tiny culverts are dotted all around the industrial park and residential areas. These can not compensate during heavy rain events. They are certainly not designed for the extra water coming off impervious surfaces such as new warehouses, large landfills and expansive blacktop parking areas and the additional water coming off the southern portion of the city’s ridge through the storm drains!
The water wants to get off the land and flow to the sea.
We need to let it happen and stop getting in the way!
* FEMA doesn’t normally award such grants. I’m wondering if the Mayor’s trips to Washington had anything to do with it?