Supporting Seawall Article

Supporting Seawall Article


If you ask anyone who moved to Marshfield why they chose to move here, there are a variety of answers you may receive. They moved here because of the schools, Marshfield has an excellent school system. They may say it’s close to their place of employment; Marshfield is centrally located on the South Shore. But in this list of reasons, there is always one answer that is consistent: Because Marshfield is a coastal community. Out of 296 towns and 55 cities in Massachusetts, only about 56 communities have a direct connection with the ocean. And if you look at the numbers, or more simply at the great people in the community we have, we are arguably one of the most desirable communities is Massachusetts. Any way you look at it, Marshfield is a great place to live.   But that word “coastal” means so much to us, both positively and negatively. Lets look at some facts:

  • Coastal watersheds generated over $6 trillion nationally in the past several years.
  • According to FEMA flood maps, areas all the way back to Webster Street, along Parsonage Street, and back to the marshes in Green Harbor and into Duxbury could be flooded in a 1 in 100 year event.
  • In studies done in the past, the proven top reasons residents came to Marshfield were the schools and coast area.
  • Between 16% and 25% of Marshfield’s tax base is within less then a mile of a seawall.


Based on these facts, a lot can be determined. Without our coastal protection, we have a lot to loose, both financially and physically.   Having a storm like the winter storm Nemo without any coastal infrastructure would have been devastating to a lot more then the residents living directly on a seawall. Water sheeting, the flat movement of water, would have inundated areas well into our town’s center. We would have needed organized evacuations ahead of the storm, and there would undoubtedly have been a lot more structural damage. Without a protected coastline, the financial losses are incalculable. Areas like Brant Rock, Green Harbor, Fieldston and Ocean Bluff simply would not exist, and all of that tax base as mentioned above would not exist. For those who wish our seawalls simply were not built, we cannot go into our past and remove them, and their creation in the mid 1930’s allowed for an explosion in development and opportunity for tax revenue that we still reap to this day. Tourists flock to Marshfield for its quaint coastal community feel. We all know the traffic headaches we endure in the summer, but few recognize that Marshfield is thriving on the tourists that are coming because of the coastal community we are, and all because of our costal infrastructure, our seawalls. There is no doubt that Marshfield gets its fair share of the $6 trillion made annually in this country on costal revenue.


While we argue on whether public money should be spent on our seawalls, we forget that the money we spend is delivered right back to all of us. For those who argue whether seawalls are public or private in the case of spending public dollars, it doesn’t matter who owns it. If the state owns it, much like a bridge the state may own, they may never truly fix it. We need to be the ones who take charge and fix our seawalls because we benefit. This is not a benefit to a small few; it is a benefit to us all.


At this Marshfield Special Town Meeting on April 22nd, the Marshfield Coastal Coalition is asking everyone to support article 14, the DPW seawall article. Marshfield is a forward thinking town. There may come a day in the undetermined future where our coastal residents are forced to retreat because of a major storm. We may have to let areas of our coast go to nature because Mother Nature is simply greater then us. However, we are not there yet, and won’t be for a while. So, as mentioned before, lets come together as a town and support something we all directly benefit from. Special Town Meeting is April 22nd, 7:00pm at the Furnace Brook Middle School Auditorium. Our online petition of support is at the link:

Questions? Email us at

Joe Rossi


Marshfield Coastal Coalition