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Federal delegates pledge to help Saugus and other communities seek funding for floodgate project study

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By Mark E. Vogler


The two U.S. Senators and the congressman representing Saugus yesterday issued a joint statement pledging to support Saugus and the four other communities seeking funding for the Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project.

“We recognize the serious challenges that climate change is posing to Massachusetts when it comes to preparing for coastal storms, mitigating flooding, and protecting communities,” said the statement prepared for The Saugus Advocate by the offices of U.S. Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton.

“The Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project stands to help several of our cities and towns – Revere, Lynn, Saugus, Malden, Everett – do just that. Army Corps of Engineers studies like this one require both federal funding and a 50% non-federal match,” the letter continued. “We look forward to working with our partners in federal, state, and municipal government to help secure necessary funding at all levels to advance this project.”

  The Saugus Advocate this week requested a response from the federal delegates who represent Saugus. The newspaper requested public comment from the offices of Senators Markey and Warren and Congressman Moulton regarding a letter sent to them by Saugus selectmen seeking help in funding a dormant floodgate study that was authorized by President Biden, but never funded. The letter, which was crafted by Board of Selectmen Chair Debra Panetta and Precinct 10 Town Meeting Member Peter Manoogian, was addressed to the six federal and state elected leaders who represent Saugus: U.S. Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton, state Sen. Brendan P. Crighton, state Rep. Donald Wong and state Rep. Jessica Giannino.

In the letter, selectmen noted that Saugus, Revere, Lynn and surrounding communities on Jan. 13 “experienced some of the worst coastal flooding to-date.”

“In fact, in 2024 the 4th and 6th highest flood waters on record have occurred. The devastation experienced by our residents and property owners was both extreme and sobering,” the letter said.

Here is the text of the letter approved by selectmen:

On February 6th, the Saugus Board of Selectmen, at their regularly scheduled meeting, unanimously voted to approve and send this letter to our state and federal delegation requesting that funding for the Saugus River Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study be allocated as soon as possible.

In 2022, Senator Edward Markey sponsored legislation for a regional investigation for coastal flood protection and environmental enhancement, which he and Representative Katherine Clark did in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022.

This legislation was a result of five communities, Saugus, Revere, Lynn, Malden, and Everett, all jointly advocating for this study to take place. President Biden signed this legislation as part of the National Defense Authorization Act on December 23, 2022.

However, there was no funding allocated for this feasibility study.

We want to remind you that on January 13th, 2024, Saugus, Revere, Lynn and other surrounding communities experienced some of the worst coastal flooding to-date.

In fact, in 2024 the 4th and 6th highest flood waters on record have occurred. The devastation experienced by our residents and property owners was both extreme and sobering. Saugus officials, homeowners, property owners, and businesses clearly recognize that future flooding events will in fact become more frequent and more destructive.

Therefore, it is imperative that funding immediately occur so that this study can happen which would allow for a robust public participation process and ultimately a proposal to construct floodgates at the mouth of the Saugus River. The Saugus River Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study process would develop, evaluate, and update alternatives and impacts.

Public involvement is required in order to evaluate alternatives and environmental concerns as well as to renew support from the Commonwealth and affected communities.

This support and an approved Feasibility Report and EIS/EIR are required before the design process can resume.

It is our understanding that the cost of this study would be between one and three million dollars. This cost would be shared between the federal and state government and the five local communities that are impacted.

Saugus is prepared to raise and appropriate its share of the cost for this study.

We now need your advocacy at the state level and with your respective city councils for a funding commitment. We need to immediately demonstrate to the Federal Government our commitment to cost sharing so that the study can commence.

We look forward to working with each of you to begin this process. Please call or e-mail our office should you have any questions. Thank you for your consideration on this matter of critical importance.

Respectfully Submitted, Debra Panetta, Chairman

Jeffrey Cicolini, Vice Chairman; Michael Serino, Corinne Riley and Anthony Cogliano. The letter was also copied to Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree, Precinct 10 Town Meeting members, the Board of Health and the Conservation Commission.

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