The Resilience Roundup highlightsCIRCA's presence in the news; provides links to recent local, state, and national news articles related to resilience and adaptation; and announces resources, events, and funding opportunities. Learn more about CIRCA at circa.uconn.edu.
The Resilient Boston plan focuses on racial equity, social cohesion and resilience strategies for Boston, Massachusetts. The report outlines visions, goals and actions that support climate change adaptation measures and solutions targeting the most vulnerable residents in the city. Resilient Boston is part of the city's participation in the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative.
The effects of climate change on Boston are discussed in the report - and the city acknowledges that climate change presents "significant shocks and stresses for Boston." Primary climate impacts for the city include sea level rise and related flood damage, impacts on critical infrastructure and city assets, increased average temperatures, as well as urban heat island effects. According to the report, Boston has already experienced 21 extreme weather-related events that triggered federal or state disaster declarations since 1991.
Resilient Boston presents Initiatives which include both proposed and existing policies, programs, or practices that the City will implement to help reach the plan's broader Visions and Goals. Actions are delineated that illustrate how the initiatives will be advanced.Action Targets and timeframes are included - which are measures for tracking progress toward achieving the Visions, Goals, and Initiatives. For more detail, please refer to the Summary of Initiatives located in the Appendix on page 136.
Four primary Visions provide the framework of Resilient Boston:
Vision 1: Reflective City, Stronger People - aimed to eliminate racism in Boston, and equitably face emergencies
Vision 2: Collaborative, Proactive Governance - to engage residents better in local government and improve diversity in city hiring and promotion;
Vision 3: Equitable Economic Opportunity - closing the wealth gap, and ensure equitable access to economic opportunities
Vision 4: Connected, Adaptive City - Increased connectivity of communities of color, while preparing for crises such as climate change - which includes developing resilient infrastructure
Catalyzing Green Infrastructure on Private Property: Recommendations for a Green, Equitable, and Sustainable New York City
These recommendations were developed over the last 19 months in response to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)'s request for assistance and is the product of Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) collaboration with NYU-Stern Center for Sustainable Business (NYU-Stern), supported by The New York Community Trust, The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the JPB Foundation.
As DEP develops a new private property green infrastructure grant program, we hope these recommendations will help the agency succeed in achieving its water quality goals while also contributing to citywide efforts toward stronger, sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities.
CT Association of Flood Managers Conferences - Call for presenters
The Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) will convene its fourth Annual Conference and Meeting
in Meriden, Connecticut on October 25, 2017. We invite you to share your experiences as municipal and state officials, industry leaders, consultants, and other interested parties to promote a more resilient Connecticut. CAFM seeks a broad range of professionals to address the many issues and problems associated with managing
flood risk, making communities more sustainable, and protecting floodplain and fragile natural resources. This c
onference will examine the challenges facing Connecticut, and share experiences and lessons learned as flood managers and municipal officials.
Last year, presenters covered a broad range of riverine and coastal topics, including project case studies, hazard
mitigation planning, flood resistant provisions of the state building code, municipal grants overview, and field enforcement of floodplain regulations. We encourage you to share your knowledge with Connecticut's flood management community.
We look forward to hearing your flood management presentation! We are accepting presentations in lengths of
15 and 25 minutes.
CIRCA Grant to City of Hartford Launches Sustainability Office and City's First Climate Action Plan
"The hundreds of people who have provided input into this Plan should have our sincere thanks. In particular, I wanted to recognize and thank the volunteer members of the Climate Stewardship Council and the staff of Hartford's Office of Sustainability, created in my office in 2017 thanks to generous funding from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Partners for Places and UConn's Connecticut Institute for Climate Resilience and Adaptation." - Mayor Bronin (Hartford's Climate Action Plan)
Mayor Bronin made that statement when the City of Hartford released their very first
Climate Action Plan on July 25, 2017. This is a big achievement for the City as the plan highlights six action areas essential to its sustainable growth: energy, food, landscape, transportation, waste and water. The goal of the plan is to make "incremental but consistent progress in each of the areas" utilizing the resources that they have, and making decisions that are consistent with their three shared values: public health, economic development, and social equity.
CIRCA's grant made it possible for the City of Hartford to create the
Office of Sustainability, which released the Plan. CIRCA awarded the City of Hartford funds through our
Municipal Resilience Grant Program to create a one-year Green Infrastructure Specialist position with the City. The Green Infrastructure Specialist will help Hartford not only respond to threats of flooding, but also strategize proactively for the future by evaluating and advancing green infrastructure projects. The Green Infrastructure Specialist position together with a Sustainability Coordinator makes up the Office of Sustainability, which is entirely funded by external grants.
Upon awarding the CIRCA Municipal Resilience Grant to Hartford, CIRCA Executive Director, Jim O'Donnell said, "There really is no better way to enhance the resilience of a city's stormwater management system to the effects of climate change than to invest in green infrastructure and reduce the amount of water going into the system in the first place. This approach also improves the environment in the City for its citizens and visitors. I look forward to seeing the results of the Mayor's initiative replicated in other parts of the state."
Anticipating higher sea levels, harsher hurricanes, and more frequent floods in the not-too-distant future as a result of climate change, officials are embarking on an outreach campaign to inform residents in flood-prone neighborhoods about how best to protect themselves against the threat of rising water.
They are also pointing residents to a 15 percent, nationally-subsidized discount on flood insurance that New Haveners are now eligible for thanks to the city's recent efforts to bolster and protect its floodplains.
The latest stop on the city's floodplain awareness tour came this past Tuesday night, as City Plan Department staffer Susmitha Attota and water resources planning consultant David Murphy presented background information and flood protection tips to the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team (DWSCMT) during its regular monthly meeting at City Hall.
Attota and Murphy have made similar presentations to the Quinnipiac East and East Shore community management teams in recent months, and are planning upcoming presentations for residents of West River and Fair Haven.
"Who in this room has been going to the same part of the shoreline your whole life?" asked Murphy, who is the manager of water resources planning for the consultancy firm Milone & Macbroom, and has been working with the city to help develop its floodplain management plans and relevant community outreach.
"If you've fished from the same bridge, if you've lived near the same abutment, you've probably noticed that flooding is happening a little bit more every year."
He referenced National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data showing that New Haven has experienced six floods in the last five years, including one conventional flood and two flash floods in May and June of 2014. Most of these recent floods have taken place downtown and on the Route 34 ramp.
July 26, 2017 - Connecticut Updates Goals for Energy, Climate Change
Connecticut published a draft of its overdue comprehensive energy strategy Wednesday at a tumultuous time as the Trump administration steps away from international climate accords and the state faces the threatened loss of its biggest source of carbon-free power, the Millstone Power Station.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's updated strategy calls for Connecticut to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 with a focus on growing large-scale, renewable energy procurements that tend to produce electricity much more cheaply than small-scale renewables such as rooftop, residential solar.
"Our draft 2017 CES recognizes that reducing carbon emissions - from power generation, heating and cooling buildings, and from the vehicles we all drive - is the key to both the health of our planet and sustainable economic success in Connecticut," said Robert J. Klee, the commissioner. "To address these challenges, our updated strategy proposes continued development of a modern and versatile electric grid powered by renewable energy sources - and using this clean power to meet the needs of our building and transportation sectors."
Mary Sotos, the deputy commissioner for energy and technology policy, tried to reassure the residential solar industry that the new emphasis on "grid-scale" renewable power should not be interpreted as an abandonment.
July 27, 2017 - States Threatening to Sue EPA to Force New Environmental Policies
States are threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to try to force the Trump administration into writing new environmental policies.
The potential lawsuits from states like Maryland and Connecticut could put the Trump administration and EPA head Scott Pruitt in a tough spot, where they may have to take new enforcement actions or take new actions that could have a negative impact on fossil fuel plants.
Both of those states have filed formal notices with the EPA that they intend to sue the agency for not responding to petitions they filed asking the EPA to force power plants in upwind states to curb their air pollution.
July 26, 2017 - Adaptation to Flood Risk - Results of International Paired Flood Event Studies
As flood impacts are increasing in large parts of the world, understanding the primary drivers of changes in risk is essential for effective adaptation. To gain more knowledge on the basis of empirical case studies, we analyze eight paired floods, i.e. consecutive flood events that occurred in the same region, with the second flood causing significantly lower damage. These success stories of risk reduction were selected across different socio-economic and hydro-climatic contexts. The potential of societies to adapt is uncovered by describing triggered societal changes, as well as formal measures and spontaneous processes that reduced flood risk. This novel approach has the potential to build the basis for an international data collection and analysis effort to better understand and attribute changes in risk due to hydrological extremes in the framework of the IAHSs Panta Rhei initiative. Across all case studies, we find that lower damage caused by the second event was mainly due to significant reductions in vulnerability, e.g. via raised risk awareness, preparedness and improvements of organizational emergency management. Thus, vulnerability reduction plays an essential role for successful adaptation. Our work shows that there is a high potential to adapt, but there remains the challenge to stimulate measures that reduce vulnerability and risk in periods in which extreme events do not occur.
July 27, 2017 - Walls Won't Save Our Cities From Rising Seas. Here's What Will
To some people, climate change seems like a problem only for future generations. But for residents of many coastal cities, the future is already here - in the form of rising sea levels and frequent, destructive floods. And the problem is only going to get worse. The latest research suggests that by 2100, up to 60 percent of oceanfront communities on the East and Gulf Coasts of the U.S. may experience chronic flooding from climate change.
The fix for inundation might seem pretty simple: just erect tall seawalls and other barriers to keep the ocean at bay. But barriers can fail. Even when they don't, they can have the unintended consequence of harming delicate coastal habitats and the animals that live in them.
"Fundamentally, there is an issue with the concept of building walls to stop flooding," says Rachel Gittman, an environmental scientist and ecologist at East Carolina University. "We should not be thinking that we can stop every flood."
The good news? Walls aren't the only option. Environmental scientists and engineers have devised a range of clever ways to prevent coastal flooding by sopping up water and limiting erosion and wave energy. And then there's permeable pavement, which allows floodwaters to seep into the ground below rather than pool on the surface.
Many experts, Gittman included, are convinced that these and other "green" alternatives will hold the key to saving our coastal communities.
July 27, 2017 - How Climate Change Will Worsen Algae and Dead Zones
Intensifying rainfall linked with a warmer and wetter atmosphere is increasing nitrogen pollution in rivers and oceans, exacerbating algae growth and expanding dead zones in coastal areas.
A new study in the journal Science shows how that intensifying rainfall will affect the nitrogen cycle as the planet warms.
If countries continue to pump out greenhouse gases at a high rate, the amount of nitrogen going into American rivers could surge 19 percent by the end of the century-with water quality in the Northeast, Upper Mississippi River Basin and Great Lakes suffering the most, the researchers found. Even if the goals of the Paris climate agreement are met and emissions are reduced, nitrogen levels will still rise, the authors found.
Nitrogen that washes into rivers and coastal zones comes mostly from fertilizers, feedlots and sewage, but also from car and truck exhaust, power plants and industrial manufacturing. It's essential to plant life, but in excessive amounts, it becomes a harmful pollutant. In a process called eutrophication, it feeds explosive algae growth; and when bacteria decompose the dead algae, they use up all the oxygen, causing dead zones like those found in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay.
"The types of precipitation changes we're expecting are substantial enough to make a big difference in terms of nitrogen runoff," said Carnegie Institution for Science ecologist Anna Michalak, co-author of the new study with Stanford University graduate student Eva Sinha.
"There are impacts to fisheries, and the nuisance aspect of the green mats washing ashore near people's homes. There are many manifestations of this problem, but they are all interlinked in one way or another," Michalak said.
Some species of algae produce toxins that can kill fish and threaten human health. During the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, sailing teams had to cope with a thick, smelly sludge of algae at their venue, giving a worldwide television audience a good look at eutrophication. In 2014, a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie shut down part Toledo's water supply, leaving half a million people without water.
July 31 - 2017 - Beach Disappearing in City Where Sea Walls Dominate
SOLANA BEACH, Calif. - It was just before sunset as Jim Jaffee walked along the beach beside a row of sea walls. Concrete was bolted against the bluffs to protect multimillion-dollar homes, perched along the top, from falling into the rhythmic tides below. Waves rolled in. Some landed at the walls, leaving no dry sand. High tide was still a few hours away.
Jaffee, 54, called it a warning sign. A resident of this city for two decades, he said few sea walls existed around here until about 1998. Now armor covers at least half the bluffs lining the backside of this small beach. As the ocean expands and rises because of climate change, water increasingly will cover the sand, he said, leaving no dry beach on which to lounge or watch children play.
"High tide is a pretty good simulation of what the future holds," said Jaffee, a volunteer with the Surfrider Foundation, a beach preservation advocacy group. "If sea-level rises according to the forecast we have, the beach will disappear."
Solana Beach, a tiny town in north San Diego County with 13,000 residents, is known for its shoreline cove that holds concerts in the summer. ... It's also a kind of ground zero for the impacts of climate change. People with homes on the crumbling bluffs want to keep their walls - and add new ones - to safeguard their investments. Environmental groups argue that nature should be allowed to wear down the bluffs, clearing space that eventually would evolve into more beach.
The clash has triggered multiple lawsuits, including one now at the state Courts of Appeal. The outcome could have broad implications for rules on sea walls and the authority of the California Coastal Commission, an agency that oversees most state coastal development.
August 9, 2017 - The Sea Level Did, In Fact, Rise Faster in the Southeast U.S.
For people in the southeastern United States, and especially in Florida, who feel that annoying tidal flooding has sneaked up on them in recent years, it turns out to be true. And scientists have a new explanation.
paper published online Wednesday, University of Florida researchers calculated that from 2011 to 2015, the sea level along the American coastline south of Cape Hatteras rose six times faster than the long-term rate of global increase.
"I said, 'That's crazy!'"
Andrea Dutton, one of the researchers, recalled saying when a colleague first showed her the figures. " 'You must have done something wrong!' "
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But it was correct. During that period of rapid increase, many people in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and other coastal communities started to notice unusual "sunny-day flooding," a foot or two of salt water
inundating their streets at high tide for no apparent reason.
This new mechanism, if it holds up to scientific scrutiny, might ultimately give researchers the ability to predict tidal flooding more accurately and warn communities what to expect months in advance.
William V. Sweet, a sea-level researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was not involved in the new work, pointed out that the long-term trend in sea level was a relentless increase, but that much is unknown about the variations that can occur over short periods. "The more we can understand what's causing those, the more we can be prepared for the next influx of tidal flooding events," Dr. Sweet said.
The Resilience Roundup highlightsCIRCA'spresence in the news, provides links to recent local/state/national news articles related to resilience and adaptation, and announces upcoming events and seminars.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's (CIRCA) mission is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment. The institute is located at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus and includes faculty from across the university. CIRCA is a partnership between UConn and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).