Environmental Consulting & Engineering Services - from Concept to Reality

Case Studies


Chapin Beach Coastal Resiliency Project

The Town of Dennis, MA received funding under the CZM Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Grant Program to study opportunities that improve the resiliency of Dr. Bottero Road, an important local roadway that is repeatedly damaged by coastal storms. ESS was retained by the Town to help identify and evaluate alternatives to mitigate erosion at Dr. Bottero Road, as well as improve the resiliency and natural function of the barrier beach.

Dr. Bottero Road serves as the only access to the Chapin Beach public parking lot and off-road vehicle (ORV) ramp, as well as the Aquacultural Research Corporation facility located at the end of the barrier beach. Although much of the road is protected by a rock revetment, a section of it is repeatedly damaged by coastal erosion, sometimes so severely that the road has been closed until emergency repairs can be made.


Options for relocating Dr. Bottero Road are limited because of a nearby saltmarsh, as well as abutting residences and conservation land. Extending the existing revetment was also deemed infeasible, as it would not receive the necessary permits to be built. ESS, working with Applied Coastal Research and Engineering (ACRE), identified a number of alternatives to improve the resilience of the roadway and natural function of the barrier beach. These alternatives included various configurations of roadway relocation, beach nourishment, revetment repositioning, and dune restoration.

Technical Studies

Although ESS predominantly relied on several historical data sources to assess the viability of the proposed alternatives, the Team also conducted supplemental survey data, such as a delineation of resources, a shellfish survey, a sediment analysis, and a topographic survey of the beach, dune, and revetment using Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS technology.

ACRE will conduct a quantitative assessment of wave-induced transport to support the evaluation of the proposed alternatives in comparison to the no-build alternative. The Team will also assess the cost, design, life, performance/maintenance, and environmental impacts of the selected alternative(s).

Engineering & Design

ESS will utilize the technical studies and survey data in order to develop engineering plans showing the layout of the preferred green infrastructure alternatives and associated beach nourishment volumes. The design process will include consideration of sea level rise and erosion rate data, and the recommended engineering alternative will then be advanced to the permitting process.

Permitting & Compliance

The Project is expected to exceed the regulatory thresholds of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), therefore an Environmental Notice Form (ENF) will be required. ESS initiated agency consultations with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and Native Indian Tribes under Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act.

ESS will support the development of MEPA-ready engineering plans and the ENF application, as well as advance regulatory permitting for this coastal resiliency project.

Outcome & Benefits

The work that the ESS Team is providing will increase coastal resiliency and provide a more sustainable solution to allow the Town of Dennis to access one of its most valuable public resources. Improving the resiliency and function of Chapin Beach, the largest of the Town’s eight public beaches, has significant positive impacts for the Town related to environmental and recreational benefits, local economy, and natural resources.