July 11, 2017
The Resilience Roundup highlights  CIRCA'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.


CIRCA Municipal and Research Projects Forum: Posters Available to View

If you missed the CIRCA Forum on  May 4 , you can now view the posters presented on CIRCA's website. You will find the poster at the end of each grantee's project summary at the links below. Each poster gives a detailed look at regional and municipal solutions and research addressing Connecticut's adaptation, resilience and science information needs. These posters are part of CIRCA's programs to share lessons learned from our grants with all of Connecticut's communities.



Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Training: Presentations Available to View

CIRCA and NOAA partnered on May 23, 2017 to present a Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Training. Training staff from NOAA and CIRCA introduced participants to fundamental green infrastructure concepts and practices that can play a critical role in making coastal communities more resilient to natural hazards. The agenda also featured green infrastructure projects from CIRCA grantees in Stratford and MetroCOG as well as presentations from New Haven, Eastern CT Conservation District, and the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research.

You will find the presentations from this training under the "Products" section at the link below:


CIRCA Municipal Resilience Grant Program Required Webinar
A required webinar for background about this grant program and CIRCA research products will be held for applicants on July 26, 2017 from 10 am to 11:30 am. Register and join the webinar by linking  here To learn more and for a link to the grant application, visit the Municipal Resilience Grant Program website.

For questions, please contact:



CIRCA Municipal Resilience Grant Program

The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is pleased to announce a new round of Municipal Resilience Grant Program funding. Up to $100,000 is available for proposals from municipal governments and councils of government for initiatives that advance resilience, including the creation of conceptual design, construction (demonstration projects or other) of structures, or the design of practices and policies that increase their community's resilience to climate change and severe weather. Proposal are due September 1, 2017 and projects must be completed within 12 months of the award date.
For questions, please contact:


Fulcrum Fellowship Applications Open

The Center for Community Investment is  recruiting up to 12 mid-career fellows to join a 15-month program for rising executives in the fields of population health, climate resilience, community development, urban planning and community investment. Designed to position fellows to help disinvested communities achieve their environmental, social and economic priorities, the fellowship will train leaders in adaptive leadership and collaboration, broaden their vision, strengthen their networks, and sharpen their ability to advance strategies that overcome barriers to investment, making communities healthier and more sustainable.

Find the application for it here:



CIRCA in the News


June 18, 2017 - Scientists Investigate Effects of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Wetlands

If you are heading to the beach this summer, you are likely to pass by coastal wetlands on your way to the shore. These wetlands vary from bottomland hardwoods to marshes to seagrass beds but all occur at the intersection of land and sea, where fresh water from land meets saline tidal waters.

Coastal wetlands provide an array of ecosystem services. They protect shores from flooding, erosion and storm surge; provide habitat for wildlife; filter pollutants from water and sequester carbon. A group of researchers led by Assistant Professor Beth Lawrence of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) and UConn's Center for Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE) is studying and quantifying the ecosystem services of carbon and nitrogen cycling to determine how these areas are responding to rising oceans.

The coast of the eastern United States is expected to experience elevated levels of sea level rise compared to the global average. Several factors, including water temperature, salinity, currents, the melting of glaciers and ice sheets and various geological and geographical elements, affect the rate of sea level rise. Scientists forecast global sea level rise in the range of 8 inches to 6.6 feet by 2100. The pace at which and amount the oceans rise will depend largely upon carbon and methane emissions that accelerate the melting of the planet's ice and increase ocean temperatures. Heat causes water to expand, further escalating sea level rise.

Ashley Helton, an assistant professor in NRE, and Associate professor Chris Elphick of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) are collaborating with Lawrence. Aidan Barry, a graduate student in NRE, is also helping conduct the research. The funding for the project comes from Connecticut Sea Grant, the Long Island Sound Study and the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation.

While the predicted rate of sea level rise varies, there is no doubt it is occurring and coastal wetlands are strongly affected by advancing waters.

The interdepartmental study launched in March and its initial focus is on movement in vegetation zonation and carbon and nitrogen cycling. The research will also examine how wetland restoration techniques affect these ecosystem services. Their investigation builds upon coastal wetlands research conducted by recent NRE graduate April Doroski.

"Evidence suggests that coastal wetlands are either drowning or shifting further inland," says Lawrence. "We want to see how this is influencing ecosystem services like carbon and nitrogen cycling. The fact that coastal wetlands have strong zonation patterns helps us. Because plant species have different salt tolerances and oxygen needs, based on their proximity to the ocean, we can study how the environment in these individual bands is being affected. We can then forecast how projected rates of sea level rise might alter vegetation zones and their associated rates of carbon sequestration and nitrogen removal."

Back to News Clips



June 22, 2017 - East Lyme Residents Approve Funding For Roads, Docks, Basketball Courts, Police Cars

They further approved appropriating a total of $163,389 for various items, from HVAC replacement to sidewalk repair, for projects in the town's Capital Improvement Plan. First Selectman Mark Nickerson said the town sets aside funding each year in "mini savings accounts," so if, for example, a roof leaks, town officials don't have to schedule a town meeting to get approval to spend money to repair it.
Residents voiced their opinions Wednesday on whether or not the town should spend money on the items.

Ron Rando, who spoke about several items, said the state is in financial straits and the town has to "take a hard look" at what it is spending money on. He questioned why the basketball courts couldn't be patched up, rather than replaced.

Daniel Price, the chairman of the Police Commission, spoke in favor of replacing the two police cars. He said he is opposed to wasteful spending, but if the town doesn't use the funds now to replace these cars, it would end up spending more next year.


Local & State News Clips


July 2, 2017 - Stonington to present final Coastal Resilience Plan July 19

Stonington -- The town will present the final findings and strategies of its Coastal Resilience Plan on Wednesday, July 19, at 6 p.m. at the LaGrua Center in the borough.
The plan, which is being funded with a $150,000 state grant, is designed to help the town prepare for predicted sea level rise and extreme weather. The presentation follows public forums last fall at Mystic Aquarium and in May at Mystic Seaport as the plan was being developed by a consulting firm.

The study is designed to protect public infrastructure from flooding, minimize the potential for loss of life and destruction to property as well the cost of repeated repairs to public infrastructure after storms. It will also identify ways to enhance coastal resources.

"Current changes in weather patterns and projected sea level rise present significant challenges for our coastal community and the Town is starting to plan in order to better understand the extent of risks we will face in the future and to identify things we can do to adapt and respond to these risks," stated the town in announcing the July 19 event. "This resiliency plan is about being wise, planning ahead, and protecting people, places, and investments. Broad public engagement in this resiliency planning will provide the best chances for success for our efforts and the best use of public and private resources."



June 18, 2017 - Schoolyard Habitats are Urban Oases and Outdoor Classrooms for New Haven Kids

After two ribbon-cutting events at the Fair Haven and Davis Street schools in June, there are 10 of these schoolyard habitats in the Elm City and 21 total in the state of Connecticut.

Suzannah Holsenbeck, the schoolyard habitat program manager at Common Ground High School, said the program is a partnership between the environmentally focused charter school, Audubon Connecticut, applicant schools and community partners to provide safe, sustainable, green spaces at urban schools for learning purposes. And it has grown in scope since the very first ribbon cuttings.

"The word is out: this is a good program and people know you can create an awesome outdoor educational space," she said.

Each fall, schools apply for grant funding, a process that has become very competitive, Holsenbeck said.

"This is very mission-driven for us. We want to expand urban students' accessibility to green spaces," she said. "When you start exposing students at a young age to what it means to learn and to be outside in a capacity other than recess, you're teaching attitudes and empowering students to change their environment."

When Fair Haven and Davis Street premiered their habitats this month, it represented the completion of the first of several phases. As the green spaces grow, they are designed to become larger and more representative to the needs and abilities of their communities.




National News Clips

June 28, 2017 - Mayors of 7,400 Cities Vow to Meet Obama's Climate Commitments

Mayors of more than 7,400 cities across the world have vowed that Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord will spur greater local efforts to combat climate change.

At the first meeting of a "global covenant of mayors", city leaders from across the US, Europe and elsewhere pledged to work together to keep to the commitments made by Barack Obama two years ago.

Cities will devise a standard measurement of emission reductions to help them monitor their progress. They will also share ideas for delivering carbon-free transport and housing.


June 27, 2017 - Sea Levels are Rising Faster, Driven by Greenland Melt

Greenland's melting ice sheet is making a much bigger contribution to rising global sea levels than previously thought, according to a new analysis of satellite and other data that calculates the rate of sea-level rise has jumped 50% in two decades.

This acceleration highlights the "importance and urgency of mitigating climate change and formulating coastal adaption plans to mitigate the impacts of ongoing sea-level rise", says the analysis, authored by scientists associated with the Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans - an Australian-Chinese collaborative research venture based in Hobart, Tasmania - and published in Nature Climate Change.

The results, based on the first two decades of relatively precise satellite altimetry records, indicate some notable differences in the constituent contributors to sea-level rise over the past few decades compared with the assumed contributions that underpin future projections made in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report (5AR).

Sea level rise can result from thermal expansion of the ocean; loss of mass from glaciers, the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet; and changes in land water storage due to both climate variability and anthropogenic effects.

The 5AR projects ocean thermal expansion as making the greatest contribution (between 30% and 55%) to future sea level rise. This new analysis suggests thermal expansion actually diminished in significance between 1993 and 2014, contributing about half of the annual increase in global sea level at the beginning of the time period but less than a third at the end.


June 25, 2017 - The Race to Save Florida's Devastated Coral Reef from Global Warming

The threat of climate change to coral reefs first garnered major attention during the strong El NiƱo event of 1997-1998, which triggered widespread bleaching and coral death around the world. The topic has become even more urgent amid an even-worse global bleaching event that began in 2014 and may be winding down only now.

The unrelenting ocean heat in 2014 and 2015 caused many of Florida's corals to turn white and lose key metabolic functions from heat stress.

The heat episodes in 1997-1998 and in more recent years "have been the worst events on record for bleaching events and have had devastating effects and losses of coral cover," said Rob Ruzicka, who heads the coral research program at Florida's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Florida enjoyed a respite last year, but the reef system still suffered from a protracted outbreak of deadly diseases that often follow bleaching.



June 20, 2017 - Why the World's Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters

"Sediment allows coastal habitat to grow, adapt, and maintain itself while sea levels change," says Robin Grossinger, a senior scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, which is working with agencies and conservation groups to increase the extent of wetlands in the San Francisco Bay from 50,000 acres to 100,000. "It's almost like it's the food - the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins - these systems need to grow and adapt, and we are starving them of that."

Scientists have for decades understood the impacts of engineering and flood-control projects on the United States' largest river, the Mississippi. Before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began radically altering the Mississippi's natural rhythm of seasonal flooding, the river was so rich in transported sediment it used to create its massive delta that it was called a "land-making machine." 

But an elaborate network of levees, floodgates, and drainage canals have created a situation in which much of the Mississippi's sediments are no longer allowed to flow over Louisiana's coastal marshes and wetlands. Deprived of the river's land-making capabilities, southern Louisiana has lost 2,000 square miles of land and 20 percent of its wetlands since the 1930s. Officials are now planning to build sediment diversion projects that mimic the natural flood cycle so that sediment and freshwater can rebuild and sustain Louisiana's coastal wetlands.

The Resilience Roundup highlights CIRCA's  presence 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). 

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