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Revitalize Winthrop Beach

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We, the undersigned, are residents and friends of Winthrop Beach.

  • We are petitioning to ask for an accounting of the funds that were appropriated  for the revitalization of Boston Harbor beaches, including Winthrop Beach, over 18 years ago during the "Back to the Beaches" initiative. This revitalization included wider sidewalks, pavilions, bike racks, replenishing sand and bathhouse amenities. Instead the beach has declined over the last 18 years by neglect from the MDC and now the DCR. In 2003, the Army Corps of Engineers findings for Winthrop: “The existing beach and seawall have deteriorated to the point that their protective capabilities are now compromised." In 2008, the DCR applied for permitting to renourish the beach using the hopper dredge method and an offshore borrow site. This method is proven to be the most successful, cost-effective, fastest and least environmentally damaging methods of all renourishing methods.  The permit was denied by the Army Corps of Engineers based on opinions offered by the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS). An appeal was filed because NMFS showed a willingness to distort or misrepresent accepted scientific standards to bolster a prejudicial bias against the project. An appeal to the denial was filed, but the Army Corps of Engineers stood by its decision and denied the permit again in 2010.  Without the needed Renourishment Project, continued lowering of the beach fronting the seawall is anticipated leading to further catastrophic failures of the seawall, as well as continued coastal flooding of the 5,000 person community directly fronted by the seawall. The original assessment of seawall failure was made in 2003, it is now 2011. The two roads  that flood and become impassible during every major (and now minor) storm events are the only access roads to the MWRA's Waste Treatment Plant and the thousands of residents who live on Point Shirley. We demand to know when and how the Renourishment Project will be resolved, and when Winthrop can expect the promised beach improvements that our neighboring beaches have been enjoying for many years.

  • We demand the Winthrop Beach Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) written by an ecologist at the DCR is dissolved. This plan required an expert(s) in the field of Coastal Ecology with expertise on the impact to urban community beaches. The plan was written and application approved without the required public commentary process or abutter legal notifications. The VMP sets aside only 20% of the beach for recreation and the balance to be force naturalized by planting outsourced beach grass and undisturbed native plants/weeds.  The plan does not allow the DCR to mechanically remove native plants and weeds from over 80% of the beach. To cover 80% of the beach with vegetation for sand retention to keep the beach from further decline does nothing significant to remedy the situation, it only creates a health and injury risk to the community and an unsightly, unusable beach.  We demand a community-approved plan that incorporates our vision of the beach.

  • We demand the beach, or more specifically, "the Undisturbed Native Species" area be cleaned immediately of weeds and noxious plants protected by the Winthrop Beach Vegetation Management Plan. The weeds and noxious plants (sandburs, mugwort, ragweed, etc.) present a health risk to the community, from both allergies and injuries. The people have the right to a healthy and safe environment.

  • We demand the endangered birds nesting site not increase in size, but decrease to a reasonable area equal to the same percentage reserved on other state beaches.  Example: Revere Beach is 1% of nesting area, 99% recreational beach. Winthrop Beach is more than 50% nesting area, 20% beach, 30% undisturbed vegetation. We do not agree that all the land to the right of the "recreational beach" should be set aside for birds.

  • We demand that our representative, Robert DeLeo, arrange a meeting with key people at the DCR and the community to address the above issues upon delivery of this petition.


Winthrop Beach


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Governor Deval Patrick

Speaker and Representative Robert DeLeo

Senator Anthony Petruccelli

Councilman Edward Markey

Senator Scott Brown

Edward Lambert, Commissioner, DCR

Joe Orfant, Director of Planning and Resource Protection, DCR

Scott Melvin, Endangered Species, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Katherine Parsons, Director, Coastal Waterbird Program, Mass Audubon Society

Boston Harbor Association

Members of the Winthrop Town Council
James McKenna, Winthrop Town Manager
Members of the Winthrop Conservation Commission

Copy to the
Steven, Rosenberg, The Boston Globe
Winthrop Public Library

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