Coastal Advisory Committee

The Coastal Advisory Committee is appointed by the Board of Selectmen to "advise the Town on sea level rise adaptation strategies that include but are not limited to protection, accommodation or retreat so as to enable sustainable living in our coastal community".

The Committee has adopted the following "work plan" for meeting the objectives set out it in its mission statement. The plan consists of a mapping of the objective statements from the Committee's problem statement and mission statement document on to the four phases of the What Will Adaptation Cost? economic framework for coastal infrastructure developed by Eastern Research Group, Inc. for NOAA in June 2013.

Work Plan

  • Overarching Goal
  • Proactively promote a research-based approach to making local decisions about various sea level rise adaptation strategies that include but not be limited to: flood-proofing, beach nourishment, armoring sea walls, tactical retreat and land acquisition.
  • Phase I: Understanding Our Baseline (Winter 2013 – Winter 2014)
  • 1. Educate citizens (including CAC) on sea level rise predictions, adaptation strategies, impacts to natural resources and the potential costs associated with taking no action. This should include establishing and maintaining a web site, organizing seminars and presentations by outside experts.
  • Phase II: Assessing Our Options (Spring 2014 – Summer 2014)
  • 2. Identify Federal, State and privately funded grant opportunities to study and plan for adaptation to sea level rise.
  • 3. Work with Planning, Conservation and DPW staff on long range planning for the coastal zone in an effort to obtain projections on sea level rise; to determine what areas in the coastal zone will be subject to inundation of flood waters.
  • 4. Promote communication and collaboration among various Town boards, committees and departments on coastal management issues.
  • 5. Work with neighboring South Shore communities on regional solutions for coastal infrastructure management.
  • 6. Develop various bench mark indicators to measure sea level rise, coastal storm frequency and intensity.
  • 7. Meet with the Board of Selectmen twice a year to discuss progress made on meeting the committee's objectives listed above and to solicit feedback on coastal management alternatives and recommendations.
  • 8. Meet with town staff from Planning, Conservation and DPW twice a year to discuss progress made on meeting the committee's objectives and to coordinate and communicate efforts in managing the Town's coastal zone.
  • 9. Advise the Capital Budget Committee and Advisory Board on coastal infrastructure management expenditures recommended by the Board of Public Works.
  • Phase III: Assessing Costs and Benefits of Taking Action (Fall 2014 – Winter 2015)
  • 10. Evaluate the costs and benefits of various adaptation measures.
  • 11. Perform a cost benefit analysis that analyzes the cost of new seawalls with revetments vs flood proofing structures.
  • Phase IV: Making Recommendations (Spring – Summer 2015)
  • 12. Develop policies that will help to minimize the Town's exposure to coastal storms in an effort to protect public safety, infrastructure, natural resources and private property.
  • 13. Work with State legislators to support new legislation that will: (a) Provide funding sources for coastal infrastructure management and (b) provide flexibility in spending money for repairs/replacements, when needed, such as a revolving fund.


As part of its Phase I goals, the Committee has collected a variety of reference resources related to coastal adaptation in Marshfield. To make these resources available so that they may serve as an accelerated introduction to the subject for interested citizens, these resource are being organized into an annotated bibliography website.

Committee Members

NamePositionTerm Expires
Ben Cowie-Haskell

Vice Chair (Acting Chair)


Thomas Fleming



Sean P. Robinson