Like many coastal landowners Greenbelt is seeing first hand the impacts on our properties of sea level rise and coastal flooding as well as from changes in temperatures and weather
patterns. Our Stewardship staff are addressing these immediate threats of climate change with proactive planning to ensure the future accessibility and use of our
properties. We are also committed to reducing our carbon footprint at our headquarters and in our operations, and we're invested in partnering with and
supporting other organizations in their work to research, adapt, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Flooding Threats at Cox
If you were standing at the Allyn Cox Reservation 30 years ago during a king tide or raging Nor’easter, you would see the great marsh absorbing the tidal surge and protecting the
upland. Today, there is a good chance you may be stranded, due to the driveway being underwater. As our climate is rapidly changing and sea levels are rising, the Cox Reservation faces many
threats; the worst being flooding. Greenbelt has been engaged in a multi year effort to understand the severity of the threat, develop resilience plans, and evaluate design options for
Chris Nadeau, a conservation research fellow at Northeastern University, is conducting research at Greenbelt’s Seine Field in Gloucester to evaluate techniques to improve long-term
success of habitat restoration projects under climate change. Chris is focusing on the resilience of three-toothed cinquefoil, a common alpine and subalpine plant found at Seine Field. Seine
Field is an important source location for the project because it is one of the warmest New England locations where the plant is known to occur.
Greenbelt's Stewardship Department is currently working to develop property management plans for our conservation areas. These plans will incorporate the most up to date data on
climate threats and natural resources to better inform our management practices. As we learn more about the challenges ahead we can better prepare to successfully respond to the varied
impacts that climate change will bring.
As the planet warms and weather becomes more extreme, more frequent and more severe droughts bring an increased danger of fire.
The 19-acre Briarwood fire at our Woodland Acres Reservation in Rockport in 2022 was fueled by both the summer’s painful lack of rain, and the extreme heat which sped up evaporation and
dried out the soil, making it less capable of absorbing the little rain that fell.
“The soil was heavy in organic matter,” said Dave McKinnon, Greenbelt’s Land Manager. “With it being so dry, the soil became the perfect fuel and essentially
cooked itself away.”
Most of the burned area was a beautiful native landscape which is now susceptible to invasive plants from windborne seeds or those dropped by birds.