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.
  • May 16, 2016 - We're in for an 'active' hurricane season, CTpost
  • May 10, 2016 - Spurred by Hurricane Irene, Student Balances Academics and Public Service, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
  • May 9, 2016 - Shoring up Branford's Coastal Neighborhoods, Branford Eagle
  • May 2, 2016 - Murphy pitches for L.I. Sound funding, CTpost
  • May 12, 2016 - Bay Area Voters Will Decide Next Month If They Want To Pay To Adapt To Sea Level Rise, Climate Progress
  • May 10, 2016 - Rising Sea Levels Swallow 5 Pacific Islands, HuffPost Green
  • May 10, 2016 - Obama Seeks Building Code Changes Amid More Extreme Weather, Bloomberg
  • May 8, 2016 - The coming refugee crisis: when home leaves us, The Guardian

  • May 19, 2016 - Eversource Energy Center Faculty Forum with focus on resilience and Connecticut's energy system at UConn Storrs. Space is limited. Register with Ashley Halpin (
  • May 19, 2016 - EPA and Partners to Host Webinar on Utilities in the Future - May 19
  • May 24 or 25, 2016 - Social Media for Natural Disaster Response and Recovery course being offered in East Haddam, CT by the National Disaster and Preparedness Training Center. Two training dates available; May 24 or May 25.
  • June 28, 2016 - Connecticut Association of Floodplain Managers (CAFM) tour of Stratford Point living shoreline project. Register by June 21, 2016. 
  • May 19, 2016 - Eversource Energy Center Faculty Forum will discuss call for proposals for $100-$150K, 1-year proof of concept studies to fund UConn faculty. Register with Ashley Halpin (
localLocal & State News Clips


Some forecasters are predicting the most active hurricane season since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy tore up the shoreline with a wind-driven storm surge.

Sandy, when it struck here on Oct. 29 that year, had already been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it arrived near high tide, making its impact much worse.

The National Weather Service has declared this Hurricane Preparedness Week, and advises property owners and residents, especially along the shore, to stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water and batteries, and to develop an evacuation plan.

"Tropical cyclones are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena,'' reads the message on the landing page of the NWS Hurricane site. "Even areas well away from the coastline can be threatened by dangerous flooding, destructive winds and tornadoes from these storms.''

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be the most active in four years, reports The Weather Channel, with 14 named storms including 8 hurricanes. Three of those hurricanes are likely to be at least a Category 3, a "major'' storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
There is no direct correlation between the number of storms and hurricanes and the number that make landfall in the U.S., Weather Channel forecasters say, but any of one them can be devastating so it's important to be prepared.

And this has already proven to be an unusual year for storms. Hurricane Alex was one of those rarely-seen January hurricanes, spawned by the warm El Nino winds, a full six months ahead of the June 1 official start of hurricane season.


While many students at F&ES are interested in environmental policy, James Albis '16 M.E.M. has brought a unique perspective to the classroom ­- that of an elected politician.

When Albis (D-East Haven) first decided to run for the Connecticut state legislature at age 26, he was focused on income inequality and economic justice, not environmental policy. But Hurricane Irene slammed the state during his first year in office, destroying dozens of homes and galvanizing his environmental awareness.

"East Haven lost 40 homes in that storm," Albis says. "That was an experience that showed me we really have no great level of preparedness for those types of storms and many of the impacts of climate change.

"When I talk to people about why I got interested in environmental issues, I usually say it was not because it was something I sought after. It came to me through the experiences of going through Hurricane Irene, going through Superstorm Sandy, learning about why these were happening and what we can do to mitigate their effects," he says.

In the aftermath of Irene, Albis was appointed to lead a special bi-partisan task force on shoreline preservation. That task force, which met over the course of a year, heard from a range of experts such as climate scientists, policy advocates, engineers, attorneys, and local citizens. Their work culminated in nearly 50 recommendations that led to the formation of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation(CIRCA), a multidisciplinary research center tasked with assisting municipalities in adapting to sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme weather.

Along with state Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. '91 M.E.Sc. (D-Bradford), Albis, a three-term representative, currently serves as co-chair of the Environment Committee.

Albis may be relatively new to the environmental field, but politics are in his blood. As a young boy, he worked on his father's campaigns for Judge of Probate (an elected position in Connecticut), making signs and stuffing envelopes and later acting as campaign manager. His mother served on the local board of education. And as soon as he turned 18, Albis joined the Democratic town committee. When his predecessor, Mike Lawlor - who had served East Haven for over two decades - was picked as Governor Dannel Malloy's undersecretary for criminal justice policy and planning in 2011, Albis made his move. He was in his mid-20s and just a few years out of New York University, running in his first contest against a 50-year-old attorney.

"I had never run a campaign to the degree you have to for a state race. And it's a different kind of campaign," Albis says. "But I tried to make things very local in what I talked about because at the end of the day, when you go to somebody's door, they don't want to talk about what's going on in Hartford, they want to talk about what's going on in East Haven."

A self-described policy wonk more interested in policy than politics, Albis felt overwhelmed that first session. Often he had two or three committee meetings to attend simultaneously - all open to the public - including the powerful judiciary committee that his predecessor had chaired for 16 years. "Everyone who saw me said, 'Oh, you're the new Mike Lawlor,'" Albis recalls. "I had big shoes to fill and I wondered, 'How do I live up to this? How do I establish myself?'"

Then came Irene.

In the days after the hurricane struck the Connecticut shoreline in August 2011, inflicting massive damage in East Haven, Albis collected ice to keep food cold for those who'd lost power and used social media to help update local citizens about relief efforts.

"I feel like many politicians use something like that just to put themselves into the public eye. That's not me. I was just trying to do what I could as a member of the community, not necessarily as a state representative," he says.

That experience, along with chairing the task force, not only motivated Albis to run for a second term, but also inspired him to apply to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where he's spent the past two years studying physical science, urban planning, and climate resilience, all while continuing to serve in the statehouse. As soon as Albis came back from summer orientation in his first year at Yale, he went full into the campaign. He handed his campaign manager his personal, legislative, and school calendars and told him, "Just tell me when I need to be on the doors and I'll tell you when I need to be doing homework.'"

Albis admits that it's been difficult to balance graduate school and public service. "I didn't find out that I was going to be appointed chair until after my first semester at F&ES. And that's a lot of work in itself," Albis says. "You have to know more than everybody else does - that's your job. I was able to schedule my classes so I could make all these meetings in Hartford. But it was not easy and I've told people I would not recommend it."

Still, public service has given Albis a practical understanding of how difficult it is to enact environmental policy. And he finds - in many cases, not just at F&ES - that whenever people talk about environmental policy, politics are lacking. "Politics are everywhere," Albis says, "and something you need to think about if you're interested in policy."

"Policy and research-based decision making is not always how things work," Albis continues. "You might have the right science, the right research to back up what you're saying, but that still doesn't mean that people you're trying to work with see it the same way. And it's been a really difficult thing for me to deal with - not only in environmental issues, but in every issue I've dealt with at the capital. I think it is particularly challenging when you talk about environmental issues because people often see taking certain actions on environmental issues as being very costly; they see them as being burdens in one way or another. And it often clashes with one's ideology. At the end of the day, you're not going to get success unless you can communicate to somebody, 'This is the right thing to do' because it speaks to you. And that is something that is very difficult to do, and I certainly haven't mastered it."

Albis spent years volunteering for local organizations and immersing himself in local politics. He encourages other students who are interested politics to do the same. He tends to favor those groups that are more collaborative over those who stake out their claim on an issue.

"People think about politics in different ways. You might be the kind of official who just uses it as a kind of springboard to spout whatever ideological thing you want to, but I use it as a way to coalesce and build coalitions and try to bring people together," he says.

Albis also encourages students to make the most of their time at F&ES, something he admits that was difficult to do while serving as a state legislator.

"That's something I guess I really regret. I just couldn't make the most of it because of my other commitments," he says. "But there are so many amazing people here and so many amazing things and it's such an incredible experience. And if you have an opportunity to apply it to something while you're here, that's great. But just make sure you're getting the most out of it in whatever way you want to."


Frequent flooding on Meadow Street and Hammer Field could be reduced by installing a flood gate and a pumping system. That's one of numerous community-wide options discussed in Branford's proposed Coastal Resilience Plan. The plan outlines changes in neighborhoods from Short Beach to Stony Creek and includes upgrades in drainage systems in specific areas.

The draft of the comprehensive plan was presented at an informational meeting Tuesday by town engineer Janice Plaziak; and engineer David Murphy of Milone & MacBroom Inc. of Cheshire. The federally-funded plan has been in the works for several months, and previous public sessions were held in November and February.

The plan seeks ways to help Branford's neighborhoods become less vulnerable to the effects of high tides and coastal storms. "Each neighborhood has its own set of challenges," Plaziak said.

"We want to reduce recovery time and become more resilient," Murphy said.

The plan could be adopted as a stand-alone plan; or administered by a commission; or it could be added to either the Hazard Mitigation Plan or the Plan of Conservation and Development.

The town of Branford is comprised of 22 square miles and has 20 miles of coastline, including Long Island Sound and the Branford River. The town has one of the longest coastlines in the state.

The draft plan, which is 50 pages plus appendices, is posted on the Engineering Department's web site, and a hard copy is available at Town Hall.  About 20 people attended Tuesday's session and asked questions or offered comments.

It's not too late to comment on the draft plan before it is finalized in early June.

 "Please get your comments to me," Plaziak said, adding that people may contact her through e-mail at or by calling the Engineering Department at Town Hall.

"We need to keep these ideas coming from the people," Plaziak said Tuesday. She said planning is an ongoing process, and that there will be updates to this plan, and to the Hazard Mitigation Plan that was completed in May 2014. These types of plans are vital when the town applies for state or federal funding for projects.

In addition, the Planning and Zoning Commission will soon begin updating the Plan of Conservation and Development, which is revised every 10 years.

"There are always opportunities for folks to stay involved," Plaziak said.


The Coastal Resilience Plan includes vulnerability and risk assessments, coastal adaptation strategies, conceptual plans, and a discussion of implementation and potential funding sources.

The plan looks into the future, with sea level rise scenarios for the 2020's, 2050's, and 2080's; and for category 2 storms. See photo above.

Murphy explained that resiliency includes ways to prepare, adapt, withstand and recover from flooding and erosion caused by high tides, storm surges, rising seas, and coastal storms.

The plan includes options for hard protection, like seawalls and dikes; soft protection such as beach nourishment and dune restorations; infrastructure options such as drainage improvements, road elevation, tide gates, and flood- proofing sewer pumping stations; and home protection through elevation. It also includes options for regulatory tools such as zoning modifications, and height-limit flexibility; and coastal realignment such as property acquisition or abandoning roads.

The chart of neighborhoods (top photo) shows options that might help specific neighborhoods. For example, Beckett Avenue in Short Beach would benefit from beach nourishment, drainage upgrades, and elevating buildings and Stony Creek would develop an evacuation plan.

"There are different ways the town can adapt over time," said Murphy, who outlined the plan in a power point presentation, which is also on the Engineering Department's web site.

There is also lists of the 28 town and state roads that are the most vulnerable. The top five on the town list are Linden Avenue, Indian Neck Avenue, Waverly Park Road, Pine Orchard Road, and Clark Avenue. The top five on the state list are Route 146 at Jarvis Creek; Route 142 at Short Beach; Route 146 at Sybil Creek; Route 146 at Branford River; and Route 146 at Limewood Beach.

Meadow Street and Hammer Field

The plan also takes a look at some specific areas and compares options. One of those areas is the Meadow Street - Hammer Field neighborhood which is prone to flooding from heavy rainstorms, from the Branford River, and storm surges from Long Island Sound.

"Part of the problem is the railroad underpass," Murphy said, as he discussed the need for a storm gate to help protect the lower end of Meadow Street and Hammer Field.

The photo of the Meadow Street neighborhood above compares the extent of daily high tide flooding in the 2080's with an open gate and with a closed gate.

"Daily high-tide flooding could happen in the 2080's-twice a day," Murphy said.

This area is particularly important because of the number of homes and businesses, the electrical substation and a sewer pump station. It is also the location of the Hammer Field sports area, and the Community House, which is scheduled for renovation to include the senior center.  The proposed Atlantic Wharf upscale apartments and retail shops are slated to be built on the upper end of Meadow Street.

Murphy said a flood gate would help curb the flooding, but there is also a need to upgrade the storm drainage infrastructure, and to install a stormwater pumping station. The draft plan lists an estimated construction cost of $813,000 for the gate and other upgrades. That cost would not include the possibility of raising the railroad tracks in that area.

Once the plan is finalized, the next steps are to determine how to implement it and how to seek funding. Murphy said the town has numerous options, which are all listed in the plan.
"Ultimately the goal is to be more resilient," Murphy said.


HARTFORD - U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, is calling on Congress to dramatically increase funding to reduce nitrogen pollution in Long Island Sound and double efforts to battle rising acidic levels that threaten oyster fishing in coastal cities such as Norwalk and Milford.

Murphy's plan calls for spending $860 million a year on a variety of Sound initiatives - a 15 percent increase over current levels - in an effort to clean up the waterway, preserve hundreds of maritime jobs and prepare the coastline for rising sea levels caused by climate change.

"These are big numbers and I'm challenging my colleagues to step up and dramatically increase funding," said Murphy, a minority member of the Senate's Appropriations Committee.

"The Sound does not clean itself, and we need to make a commitment to protect it," Murphy said. "We need to begin to allocate the necessary dollars to protect it. I will be fighting for this plan."

The Murphy plan calls for increasing funding for the Milford National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab, which performs cutting edge aquaculture research, to $20 million a year, a $6 million rise.

The plan also calls for spending $165 million annually to reduce nitrogen entering the Sound - which causes low oxygen conditions that can kill marine life and drive algae growth - and $21 million a year on ocean acidification research grants, an increase of $10 million over the current level.

Asked about the chances of funding such an ambitious program given the current Republican majority, Murphy said Senate Republicans are more receptive to funding Long Island Sound projects than other environmental causes, such as climate change.

"I have an obligation to tell my colleagues what we need," Murphy said.

Rising acidity

Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound, said research into rising acidic levels is one of the most important components of Murphy's spending plan.
"We are at the brink when shellfish can no longer reproduce," Johnson said. "We are right on the brink of potential collapse."

The acidic level of the world's oceans is tied to an increasingly high absorption of carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossil fuels. Recent studies show the Atlantic Ocean's absorption of carbon dioxide doubled over the last 10 years, which in turn significantly sped up a chemical change know as acidification, a condition created as dissolved oxygen becomes an acid and lowers the pH of water.
As acidic levels rise, seas become more hostile to marine life and shellfish struggle to create shells.

Connecticut's shellfish industry supports about 300 jobs and generates $30 million statewide per year. Fishermen work on 70,000 acres of oyster and clam beds and about 450,000 bushels of clams and 200,000 bushels of oysters are harvested annually.

Ben Goetsch, a spokesman for Milford-based Briarpatch Enterprises clam and oyster fishing operation, said Murphy is right to seek research into mitigating rising acidic levels in the Sound.
"We are facing challenges," Goetsch. "Our waters are acidifying and we need funding to get ahead of this problem."

Goetsch said increasingly acidic water is not yet impacting shellfish production but will eventually if a solution is not found.

"The next 100 years looks kind of grim," Goetsch said. "We are not worried about next year. It's a long term problem for the health of the industry. We want research to see if there are adaptations and remediation that we can do. The Milford lab is a huge driver for that research."

Jimmy Bloom, an owner of Norm Bloom & Son's oyster fishing operation in Norwalk, said he supports any effort to improve water quality.

"I think water quality is important to everyone, from wildlife to the fisheries," Bloom said. "If it's to improve quality, I'm all for it."

Nitrogen is an equal problem for both recreational and commercial uses of the Sound, Johnson noted.

"The patient is out of critical care," Johnson said, referring to the billions of dollars already spent on successful nitrogen reduction efforts, including improving wastewater treatment plants.

"But there are major problems in bays and harbors," Johnson said. "Even in Stonington, they found three-foot thick algae in one area. We have major problems in certain harbors and bays to deal with."
Plan highlights:
  • $860 million a year in funding for Long Island Sound restoration, a roughly 15 percent increase over current levels.
  • Milford's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab: 20 million, up from $6 million
  • $121 million to restore fish habitats, manage catch share program and combat illegal fishing
  • $164 million for nitrogen reduction
  • $68 million for general NOAA research
  • $111 million for the Coastal Zone Management Grants, up from $90.6 million
  • $21.7 million for the Integrated Ocean Acidification research grants, up from $10 million
  • $80 million for National Sea Grant Colleges System to supports the Connecticut
  • $31 million for various conservation and restoration programs

nationalNational News Clips

California has long been a leader in tackling climate change. But in June, voters in the San Francisco Bay area will have the chance to take their state's commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation a step further.

Measure AA, which will be on the June 7 ballot in nine counties in the Bay Area, seeks to improve the health of the San Francisco Bay by instituting a tax on Bay Area citizens. The tax, which would amount to a property tax of $12 a year, or $1 a month, would fund projects to remove pollution and toxins from the bay and improve habitat along the bay's shore. That in and of itself is important: the San Francisco Bay is plagued by mercury, pharmaceuticals, runoff from cars and trucks, and trash - a 2012 study found that the bay takes in 1.36 million gallons of trash every year.

But the tax, which is expected to raise $500 million in the next 20 years, would also tackle a more dire threat to San Francisco residents: sea level rise. The money would go towards projects that would "provide nature-based flood protection through wetland and habitat restoration along the Bay's edge and at creek outlets that flow to the Bay," and "build and/or improve flood protection levees that are a necessary part of wetland restoration activities."

"This is an extremely forward-thinking solution to climate adaptation," said Garrison Frost, spokesman for Audubon California, one of several environmental organizations supporting the measure. The state of California has done a lot to address climate change, he said, but so far its efforts to adapt to climate change haven't quite caught up to its efforts to mitigate it. That's where initiatives like this come in. "There are a lot of things happening in state capital right now on adaptation ... [the state] is incredibly proactive, but frankly, budgets are tight," he said.

And adapting to climate change - and the sea level rise that accompanies it - is essential for a coastal state like California. According to the National Research Council, sea levels off the coast of much of California are projected to rise by about three feet over the next hundred years. That's higher than the average projected sea level rise for the rest of the world, and will leave the coast more vulnerable to storm surges and waves. That includes San Francisco Bay: according to the NRC report, which was published in 2012, the Bay Area could see an increase of "extreme water heights" from nine hours per decade now to hundreds of hours per decade by 2050, and thousands of hours per decade by 2100.

The wetland component of the measure is key, Frost said. Before humans really started developing San Francisco Bay area, the bay had 200,000 acres of wetlands. Now, it has about 40,000 acres. These wetlands, though degraded from their original state, provide a key habitat for hundreds of species of migrating birds - if they were built back up, they'd be an even better source of habitat for these birds, Garrison said. And the wetlands also provide a natural buffer against storm surges and sea level rise. A 2007 report set a goal of 100,000 acres of wetlands in the bay - a number that this measure would make a lot of progress on, Frost said.

"There are probably as many as 30,000 acres of wetlands that have been purchased, acquired, and protected, but no one has money to go in and restore them," Frost said. "There are projects ready to go," and the funding brought in with this tax would target those projects, he said. It would also allow the region to leverage more money from state and federal resources. "This will be a catalyst for fantastic improvements in the bay," Frost said.

The initiative has gotten criticism because it taxes everyone equally - large corporations like Google and individual homeowners will both pay the $12 a year - instead of taxing based off of property value. But it's also been endorsed by several groups and lawmakers too, including the Sierra Club, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Frost is hopeful about the measure's future - the polling his organization has seen has been positive, though groups like his have more work to do to get the word out about the vote by June 7, he said. But he admits this type of tax won't work everywhere.

"I think in the San Francisco Bay, this strategy turned out to be the most feasible," he said. The Bay Area is unique: the people who live there have a joint identity that doesn't exist in multi-county blocks in many other areas of the country. But he does think that the measure will inspire other regions to act on their own to prepare for climate change and its impacts - and to clean up their local environments.

"I think what you're going to see in other regions and other areas is that they will look to San Francisco and realize that they too can think creatively on ways to finance climate adaptation," he said. "What people are going to draw from the San Francisco example is that there's no reason to wait around."

Scientists' warnings that climate change will cause rising sea levels to swallow large swaths of land is playing out in the Solomon Islands.

At least five islands there have plunged completely below the ocean's surface over the past several decades. Numerous others in the South Pacific island nation appear to be headed for a similar fate, a new study has found.

"It's a perfect storm," co-author Simon Albert of the University of Queensland study told New Scientist. "There's the background level of global sea-level rise, and then the added pressure of a natural trade wind cycle that has been physically pushing water into the Western Pacific."

This sovereign island nation northeast of Australia is no stranger to the threats that man-made climate change has brought on. The "global sea-level rise hotspot" has seen ocean levels rise 7-10 mm per year - three times the global average, according to the study.

And what's happening in the Solomon Islands may be a dark preview of what the future has in store for island communities and coastal cities around the globe.

Albert and his team analyzed aerial and satellite imagery of 33 islands dating back to 1947 for their study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. They found that five - Kale, Rapita, Rehana, Kakatina and Zollies - along the northern coast of Isabel island have vanished, most of them as early as 2002. Six others, including the inhabited island of Nuatambu, are "experiencing severe shoreline recession," they found.


President Barack Obama is asking the private sector to tighten building standards to reduce losses from natural disasters after studies linked an increase in extreme weather to climate change. The administration will announce Tuesday the start of work by the organizations that set standards for residential and commercial buildings in an effort to improve safety during and after events such as fires, floods and earthquakes.

"We're building for 50 to 100 years and if we don't take into account what is to come, our investments are at risk of being washed away," Alice Hill, White House National Security Council senior director for resilience, said in an interview.

Stronger buildings and infrastructure come at a cost, but the White House points to a 2005 study by the National Institute of Building Sciences that found every $1 spent mitigating potential hazards leads to an average of $4 in future benefits. Because the building code work is just beginning, there's no cost estimate yet for how much stricter codes would add to construction costs, Hill said.


As seas rise, as floods and droughts become more extreme, as crops fail and as storms intensify, the world will increasingly face a new challenge - climate refugees.

In the US, witness the recent plan by the federal government to resettle a Native American tribe before their Isle de Jean Charles home in Louisiana vanishes underwater - an example that hits close to home. I have deep family roots in south Louisiana: my mother, sister and brother-in-law, aunt and uncle were refugees from a weather disaster exacerbated by climate change, losing their homes in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A year before, a heart condition killed my father in the aftermath of a stressful evacuation from Hurricane Ivan.

Some scientists already argue that the hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing their war-torn country are as much refugees from climate change as from conflict, because of years of climate-related drought. Others predict the world will see hundreds of millions more climate refugees by mid-century, at a staggering human, financial and political cost.

And sadly, this looming problem is not a surprise. Way back in 1988, I represented Louisiana on a global warming task force of the National Governors' Association. Even then, the sobering effects of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide were clear. We didn't miss the irony that oil-producing coastal states like Louisiana and Alaska would be hit hard by climate change. Many years later, in 2004, while serving on a federal climate-change task force, I saw the simulated devastation wreaked by computer-generated storm "Pam" along the Gulf coast. I was shaken, and prayed it would never actually come to pass. But it did in Katrina and, just three weeks later, the record-setting Hurricane Rita.

And we can expect far more extreme weather. Over my decades of work on climate change, what has been a surprise is that these impacts are coming faster than we once thought, as the rate and extent of changes - such as climbing temperatures, increased heat waves and floods, and rising seas - outstrip projections. The massive ice sheets covering Greenland and west Antarctica are disintegrating far more quickly than scientists calculated even in the last IPCC report in 2014. Earlier this year, on a trip to Antarctica, I saw enormous icebergs calving off the continent - a stark reminder of the immense changes under way on the planet we all call home.

As a result, seas are now expected to rise by feet rather than inches this century, and other changes are accelerating. The first three months of 2016 have already shattered historical temperature records, with soaring heat in the Arctic speeding the rate of sea ice loss. With no ice to protect their coastal villages from storm-tossed waves, Native American communities in Alaska are also becoming climate refugees, with a price tag to move just one Inuit village, Shishmaref, estimated at $180m.

Like many other subsistence cultures living near the water, the people of Isle de Jean Charles or Shishmaref did little to contribute to climate change. Neither have many other coastal communities around the world that will suffer similar fates. It may be that the Louisiana climate refugees will be among the luckier ones-in the sense that they are getting help to move away from their sinking island. Countless others will have to leave their homes with an uncertain future and no place to welcome them.



Building codes set the baseline for the safe design and construction of our homes, schools, and workplaces, providing the minimum requirements to adequately safeguard the health, safety and welfare of building occupants.  The impacts of climate change - including hotter temperatures, more extreme weather, sea level rise, and more severe drought - pose significant challenges for buildings and homes, many of which were not built to withstand the future impacts of climate change.  Today, the White House hosted a Conference on Resilient Building Codes to highlight the critical role of building codes in furthering community resilience and the importance of incorporating resilience and the future impacts of climate change in the codes and standards development process.

As part of today's event, the Administration highlighted Federal and private sector efforts aimed at advancing the principles of resilience in building codes and standards, and building design. 

President Obama declared May as National Building Safety Month in order to recognize and pay tribute to those who ensure the safety and resilience of our Nation's buildings, and to reaffirm our commitment to upholding and abiding by strong and effective building safety standards.



May 19, 2016 - Eversource Energy Center Faculty Forum with focus on resilience and Connecticut's energy system at UConn Storrs. Space is limited. Register with Ashley Halpin ( )

The Eversource Energy Center seeks to engage the multi-disciplinary expertise within the university to further the resilience of the power grid. Funding is available for six $150K faculty pilot projects under the following topics:
  • Understanding the social and economic cost/benefit of Eversource's on-going $437M resiliency program
  • Distributed Energy Resources (renewable generation, energy storage and microgrids)
  • Cyber and Physical Security
  • Data and Technology Needs (vegetation management, infrastructure, LiDAR and remote sensing technologies)
  • Climate Change and/or sea level rise as it poses a risk to CT and the Utility Company
The Eversource Energy Center will host a faculty forum focused on potential research collaborations with the Center on Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (location: School of Business Boardroom). The Eversource Energy Center is a utility-academic partnership between the University of Connecticut and Eversource Energy, and was established in October 2015.

We aim to fund up to six, one year proof-of-concept projects ($100-150K) during Fall 2016 - Dec 2017, and select projects will have the opportunity to continue to multi-year projects upon completion.

This event will feature presentations by Eversource Energy employees and UCONN faculty as well as poster presentation by graduate students who are engaged in current research projects under the umbrella of storm damage forecasting, tree and forest management, electric grid hardening and infrastructure security.

For more information, please contact Dr. Dave Wanik (, Center Manager; Dr. Emmanouil Anagnostou (, Director; or, Dr. John Volin (, Associate Director.

To register please email Ashley Halpin (


-  9:00 - 9:30AM
Welcome from UConn and Eversource leadership
-  9:30-10:30 AM

Introduction of the Center, overview of existing projects, and announcement of the upcoming call for proposals

Talks from Eversource on the new topic areas:
  • Understanding the social and economic cost/benefit of resilience programs (tree trimming, grid hardening)
  • Distributed energy resources
  • Infrastructure security: cyber-security and flood vulnerability
  • Data and technology needs (vegetation management, infrastructure, LiDAR, expansion to other utilities)
  • Climate Change and/or sea level rise as it poses a risk to CT and the Utility Company
-  10:30-11:00 AM: Break and Student Poster Session

-  11:00-12:15 PM: Presentations by UConn faculty
  • Damage prediction modeling and grid resilience
  • LiDAR technologies
  • Anti-islanding and integrating renewables
  • Social science implications of resilience projects
  • Tree biomechanics
-  12:15 PM-1:00 PM:

Break for lunch (not provided - Union Street Market available)

-  1:00-3:00 PM:

  • Expectations and details of the call for proposals
  • Roundtable discussion with Eversource and UConn leads
For more information, contact: Ashley Halpin at


May 19, 2016 - EPA and Partners to Host Webinar on Utilities in the Future - May 19
EPA, along with Water Environment Federation, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Water Environment Research Foundation, and WateReuse, will host a webinar on May 19, 2016. These webinars are part of a series focused on innovative ways in which utilities are becoming their own Utility of the Future. May 19 will be on "Enabling Water Resources Utility of the Future." Future webinars will cover other leading topics such as building public support, green infrastructure, and watershed-based solutions.


May 24 or 25, 2016 - Social Media for Natural Disaster Response and Recovery course being offered in East Haddam, CT by the National Disaster and Preparedness Training Center. Two training dates available; Register for May 24 or Register for May 25.

This course focuses on the use of social media in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Participants are provided with the knowledge and skills to integrate social media into their current communication plans. The course defines social media and its uses and identifies the tools, methods, and models to properly make use of social media. Social media, when used effectively, can help people communicate and collaborate about events as they unfold. Social media can provide rapid and real-time information about events that helps to provide greater situational awareness leading to better decision making. This course provides the information and hands-on experience necessary to help participants begin developing social media disaster plans and strategies.
May 24 or 25, 2016
8 am-5 pm
East Haddam, Connecticut
Fire Company 1
440 Town St
East Haddam, CT 06423
Two training dates available.
Register for May 24
Register for May 25
Amanda Bates * 808-725-5236  
  • Participants must bring a wi-fi enabled device(laptop Preferred).
  • Participants must register and take the pre test online.
  • Participants must create a Twitter and a Facebook account prior to attending the course.
  • Participants must be able to post test messages on these accounts.  

June 28, 2016 - Connecticut Association of Floodplain Managers (CAFM) tour of Stratford Point living shoreline project. Register by June 21, 2016.

Living shorelines help dissipate wave energy, allowing sediment deposition such that protective tidal vegetation can take root, thereby providing both wildlife habitat and shoreline protection.  CAFM is presenting a guided tour of the artificial reef balls living shoreline project constructed at Stratford Point in 2013.  The tour will be given by the Sacred Heart University research team that helped pilot the project.

The request for CFM CECs for this tour are pending with ASFPM.  The tour will take place at Stratford Point, 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford, CT on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.  Parking is adjacent to the Audubon building.  See the registration flyer for more details!  Please register by June 21, 2016.


May 19, 2016 - Eversource Energy Center Faculty Forum will discuss call for proposals for $100-$150K, 1-year proof of concept studies to fund UConn faculty. 

Register with Ashley Halpin ( )

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). 

  Follow us on Twitter