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November 13, 2013

At harbor's edge, experts discuss impacts of rising seas

(Continued)

The talk took place at the presidential library, which sits on the harbor’s edge, next to UMass Boston, where a new academic building is also under construction. The talk also coincided with news of the devastation wrought late last week by Super Typhoon Haiyan’s path across the Philippines, which a few speakers referenced.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development senior advisor Josh Sawislak, who was a member of the President’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said, “We don’t know what the next storm will be like.”

Sawislak, who worked on the Big Dig project, said the task force recommended regional collaboration, fiscal sustainability, and efficacy when undertaking projects to handle rising seas and storms.

“Starting with recovery is the loser’s game,” Sawislak said.

The Spaulding Center has prepared for its perch near the harbor by putting electrical systems on the roof, keeping its vital program areas on the upper floors, while conference rooms occupy the bottom levels and the landscaping outside is well designed to handle flooding, Wormser said.

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Advisory Board Executive Director Joe Favoloro said the Deer Island Waste Treatment Plant had been protected and built at enough elevation to keep it out of the surf, and said, “Most of the MWRA projects are not at a severe risk.”

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