November 30, 2016
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




The Living Shorelines Stacker powerpoint is a tool designed to introduce homeowners to the concept of living shorelines. It was produced by the Northeast Regional Ocean Council.

Climate Adaption: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities, is the first study to examine in depth actions that multiple municipalities are taking to address climate-change fueled events like flooding, heat waves, wildfires and intense storms. It found that more municipalities are preparing for climate risks than is conventionally believed, that many of those actions support multiple community goals and values, and that despite the progress much more work is necessary to comprehensively address climate risks.

The report was produced by the Kresge Foundation.


The speaker will be Lynn Stoddard, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University (ISE). Lynn will discuss Sustainable CT, an exciting new initiative being developed by municipal leaders, ISE, and multiple stakeholders. Sustainable CT is an emerging municipal sustainability certification program that will include technical assistance, education, detailed sustainability actions and tools, various funding and topic resources, and the opportunity for statewide recognition. The municipally-driven program is voluntary, incentive-based and beyond compliance. For over 15 years, the Institute has worked with stakeholders across Connecticut to implement practical solutions that increase energy efficiency, sustainability and resilience.
When: Friday, December 2, 2016. 12:00 pm

December 11, 2016 - Meeting - A SolarizeCT Informational meeting with Solarize with Faith

Unitarian Universalist Society: East
153 Vernon Street W., Manchester, CT 
2:00-4:00 p.m. (with snacks) 

Learn how a coalition of faith communities promotes environmental stewardship by helping faith group members install residential solar. 

Registration requested, but not required at 


Tuesday, December 13 in Bridgeport, CT

12:00 - 4:00 p.m. at 7 Middle St
Stop by to see the updated work at to provide input during an afternoon open studio at the Resilient Bridgeport design center. 

5:00 p.m. Open House at the Eleanor Apartments,  695 Park Ave, Ground Floor Meeting Room

7:00 p.m. Pilot project Public Hearing with discussion to follow.  Eleanor Apartments,  695 Park Ave, Ground Floor Meeting Room. Dinner provided. 

December 14, 2016 - Training - Flood Design Regs and Code Best Practices:
What architects and clients need to know about flood design and construction as required by Connecticut building codes and municipal Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans

Flood Design Regs and Code Best Practices:
What architects and clients need to know about flood design and construction as required by Connecticut building codes and municipal Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
370 James Street, New Haven
9:15 to 12 noon

2.5 HSW hours
Sponsored by the AIA Connecticut, Committee on the Environment

Learn about the impact of recent developments in State of Connecticut planning and building regulations for flood design and construction practices, the permitting process, and related grant sources. This seminar is offered in cooperation with the Connecticut Association of Floodplain Managers (CAFM) in response to requests from municipal planning and building officials to engage architects and their clients in current and emerging requirements in Connecticut Building Codes and State Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans.


Don Watson, FAIA, architect and author,
Laura Ghorbi, P.E., CFM, AECOM
Jeff Caiola, P.E., Connecticut DEEP
Emmeline Harrigan, President CAFM
Diane Ifkovic, CT State NFIP Coordinator

Travelers is committed to raising awareness about disaster preparedness and creating discussion about the importance of improving response and recovery actions after major events.  Through its  charitable giving arm , the Travelers Foundation, and its public policy division, The  Travelers Institute ®,  the company has created an annual Excellence in Community Resilience Award of $100,000 to recognize an organization that demonstrates leadership in addressing community resiliency.

Award Criteria:  Applicants' initiatives should demonstrate leadership in addressing safety, community resiliency, and/or financial threats related to catastrophic events.  In addition, the program should take into consideration the varying needs of all residents of the geographic region.
  1. Applicant organization must have a demonstrated track record of positive impacts related to disaster preparation, mitigation, response and/or recovery.
  2. Award may be for a new or existing program related to creating community resilience.
  3. The organization or program must demonstrate innovation in the field and intent to share effective strategies with others.
  4. Eligible organizations will submit plans to implement, or proof of having implemented, actions in the community. Academic research projects and surveys are not eligible.
More Information

CIRCA in the News

November 13, 2016- 'Living Shorelines' Seen as Better Way to Adapt to Erosion, Storm Surge

Stonington - At the 2.6-acre preserve known as Dodge Paddock , the waters of Little Narragansett Bay are pretty much allowed to come and go as they please.

"If you're going to live on the water, you've got to live with the water," said Beth Sullivan, Stonington town chairperson and steward for the Avalonia Land Conservancy, which owns the parcel. "The shoreline here is living in that there's a more dynamic interface. There's not a hard edge here."

One Wednesday, Sullivan and Juliana Barrett, extension educator for Connecticut Sea Grant, visited the preserve, a natural oasis for walkers amid the compactly built Stonington Borough, to check on plantings and other work done there over the last 18 months. The project was a response to poundings the site took during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012, when storm surge flooded one section, flattened dunes in another and threw mounds of sand and rocks atop a meadow. It also tore a gouge in a sea wall at one end.

But instead of rebuilding the wall higher and longer, Sullivan and others at Avalonia opted for a softer approach, one that would accommodate rising sea levels and storm surges: They decided to leave the area as natural as possible. This has included planting shrubs and grasses adapted to salt water on the new dunes that were created by Sandy, digging a channel so tides can flow freely in and out of a low-lying marsh in the center, and allowing tide-tolerant grasses to spring up on their own along the rocky shore.

"The rocks will slow the wave action, and the marsh is coming up naturally," said Barrett, who worked with Avalonia on the project. "The marsh will play the role of being a sponge, and will help with the wave energy coming in."

The way Dodge Paddock looks now is one of the few examples Barrett and other coastal environment experts can point to thus far on the Connecticut coast as a "living shoreline," a concept that is being promoted in areas prone to erosion.

Local & State News Clips

November 22, 2016- Many State Birds In Decline and One Heading For Extinction, Report Warns


Avian experts are forecasting that the Saltmarsh Sparrow is facing "likely extinction" during next half century as a result of rising sea levels that could eradicate its shoreline habitats in Connecticut and elsewhere.

Blue-winged warblers, Brown Thrashers, Fields Sparrows, Clapper Rails and other species are losing an estimated 5 percent of their Connecticut populations each year, the report warned.
The gloomy estimates included in society's "State of the Birds" annual report for 2016 overshadow some encouraging news about other Connecticut birds like the Indigo Bunting and Prairie Warbler. Those two species and a number of other birds native to this state "appear to be doing well, with stable or even increasing populations," the report noted.

One interesting finding is that state and private efforts to provide grasslands habitat for the increasingly rare New England cottontail rabbit has also helped some bird species that need similar areas to sustain their populations.

Recommendations in the 2016 report include providing more money to state environmental protection programs for such projects to allow tidal marshlands to spread inland as Long Island Sound sea levels rise as a result of climate change. That would continue to provide endangered marsh birds breeding areas.


November 19, 2016- State Offers $2.7 Million To Spur Electric Vehicle Sales

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a new round of state funding to spur sales of electric vehicles as Connecticut pushes hard to reduce emissions.

Malloy announced $2.7 million in additional funding Friday on the opening day of the Connecticut International Auto Show in Hartford, where manufacturers and car dealers gathered to showcase their most recent models. Battery electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles are eligible for the rebates. The show runs through Sunday at the Connecticut Convention Center.
The subsidy, which was launched last year, makes available a total of $5.7 million from a settlement between the state and Northeast Utilities when the electric and gas utility purchased NStar in 2012.

By 2050, state officials are seeking to reduce emissions 80 percent from 2001 levels. The transportation sector is responsible for about 40 percent of carbon emissions in Connecticut, said Robert Klee, commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate program, known as CHEAPR, gives a cash rebate to residents, businesses and municipalities. Fuel cell-powered vehicles receive the largest rebate of $5,000 and the plug-in hybrid and full battery electric electric vehicles receive incentives from $750 to $3,000, based on battery size.

The rebates return money to consumers and support local retailers by helping lower the price of electric vehicles, making them more competitive with conventional gasoline-powered cars.



November 18, 2016- Rainfall Shortage Getting Worse: Nearly Half of Connecticut Now Considered in 'Extreme Drought'

Nearly half of Connecticut - including almost all of Litchfield and Hartford Counties - are now considered to be in "extreme drought," according to federal climate experts.

The National Drought Monitor website indicates that 44.5 percent of this state falls into the extreme drought category, with 24.8 percent considered in "severe drought," and 30.7 percent in "moderate" drought. The driest areas of the state are in the northwestern section, with eastern Connecticut having fewer drought issues.

Five municipalities have now issued mandatory water restriction orders, according to the state officials, and another 18 have asked residents and businesses for voluntary restrictions. Late last month, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy requested that all Connecticut residents and businesses voluntarily restrict water use and state officials issued their first-ever "drought watch" for counties in the western and central portions of Connecticut.

In late October, 69.3 percent of the state was listed in severe drought.

National Weather Service records at Bradley International Airport indicate that precipitation since Jan. 1 is now 12.89 inches below normal, according to Lenore Correia, a meteorologist at the NWS regional office in Taunton, Mass.


November 15, 2016- Worth a Thousand Words: Connecticut's Coastline Changes

Some stories are best conveyed with words. Others, with pictures.

A pair of UConn educators recently turned to images to tell the story of the changes in the Connecticut coastline over the past century, showing just how its profile has been tailored by man and Mother Nature throughout that time.

The resulting work, the award-winning Connecticut's Coast: Then and Now story map incorporates everything from early hand drawings of the coast and aerial photographs from 1934 to present-day drone images, all carefully pieced together to tell the coast's story.

The changes are a story worth telling to those studying the impact of coastal changes on life and commerce, and to those making policy decisions.

"We try to take this complex information and make it useful for people, and a really great medium to do this is by creating the story map," says Emily Wilson, an assistant extension educator at UConn whose expertise is geospatial information and maps. "There were many steps, including GIS and imagery analysis, graphics, writing, and design to get from the historic aerial photographs to a completed, polished story map."

Four years ago, Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for many in regard to coastal erosion and the raw force of nature in moving land, so Wilson knew they'd see evidence of changes at that point. But she was surprised to see the coastline had been changing since the early 1930s, the point at which they begin their story.


November 9, 2016- Naila Moreira: Climate Change Fuels River's Growing Anger


In late October, Richard Palmer, director of the Northeast Climate Center at the University of Massachusetts, gave a packed audience at the Forbes Library his take on how the behavior of the Connecticut River will change as the climate warms.

His statistics were startling. In the last half century, the amount of water falling during the Northeast's heaviest storms has increased 70 percent. Warmer air holds, and then dumps, more moisture.

All extreme events - both droughts and floods - are now more frequent both here and worldwide, said Palmer. Our severe drought in New England this past summer fits these observations.
How will rivers be affected? In winter, less snow and more rain will pour water into rivers in more sudden bursts. Palmer and his colleagues have projected that by 2075, towns like Chicopee and Deerfield will see winter stream flow increase by at least half and possibly as much as double.

"A large, unexpected flood of greater magnitude than we've seen in the past is what I'd be afraid of, because it would have large economic consequences," Palmer said.

In spring and summer, meanwhile, water levels could drop by comparison to today. No longer reliably fed by snowmelt, spring flows could decrease by almost 15 percent.

Normally, floods are cyclical, meaning you can predict approximately how often a flood of a given size will occur. Urban planners typically set up infrastructure to protect against a 100-year flood, or a size of flood that tends to occur about every 100 years.

But as the world warms, these are no longer normal times. Today, said Palmer, "we can't look to the past to predict the future."

What used to be a 100-year flood, in other words, could become much more frequent, threatening the area every 50 years, or possibly more often. Millions of dollars in flood planning could become outdated or even obsolete. Our planning may soon protect us, if you'll excuse a pun, only against run-of-the-mill floods.


October 29, 2016- Shoreline Resists Amtrak Upgrade

OLD LYME - This quaint shoreline community, proud of its role as a nursery of American Impressionist art, fears the destruction of its heritage if a federal proposal to someday run an East Coast high-speed rail line through its historic center becomes reality.

Residents of Old Lyme, population 7,600, have enlisted nearby communities in Connecticut and Rhode Island to stop a 50-mile portion of the proposed Northeast Corridor Future plan. They're awaiting a recommendation, possibly before the end of the year, from the Federal Railroad Administration on a "preferred alternative" route for a faster, modern Boston-to-Washington line.
The proposal includes a bypass between Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and Richmond, Rhode Island, that would run new high-speed Amtrak trains - in some places, on elevated tracks - through historic neighborhoods, an arts college, marshlands, commercial districts and tourist attractions, including the Florence Griswold Museum.

"I think this region, whether it's a tourist engine or just something worth preserving, it's worth the fight," said Gregory Stroud, an Old Lyme resident and academic who formed SECoast, a regional group leading the local opposition. It has enlisted the support of state and local politicians and is raising money to prepare for a possible legal challenge, depending on the Railroad Administration's recommendation.


Advocates contend the rail corridor faces serious challenges, with its century-old infrastructure, outdated technology and insufficient capacity to meet ridership demands. Some have also warned that tracks, which in many spots in New England hug the coastline, could flood as climate change raises sea levels.



NationalNational News Clips


MIAMI - Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water's edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps?

Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of  climate change.

warming planet has already forced a number of industries - coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them - to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding.

But many economists say that this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that home buyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a collapse in the waterfront property market could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008.

The fallout would be felt by property owners, developers, real estate lenders and the financial institutions that bundle and resell mortgages.

November 17, 2016- Learning From Resilient Design Projects in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy

Nassau County, New York, located on Long Island, saw 1 percent of homes flood and 1.1 million residents lose power, when Superstorm Sandy hit in late October 2012.

Nassau's barrier islands, marshy lowlands and streams and rivers flowing to its bayfront render it susceptible to flooding from storms and poor drainage.

So when Rebuild by Design, a collaborative partnership between the Obama administration and The Rockefeller Foundation, offered to lend resilient design expertise to the county's recovery effort, Nassau jumped at the opportunity and the Living with the Bay project was born.

"These large-scale, multi-benefits projects are trying to solve multiple community challenges and require unprecedented coordination across city agencies and other stakeholders like the New York City Housing Authority, utilities and also state and federal government," said Jessica Grannis, Georgetown Climate Center adaptation program manager. "They have to get beyond silos.

Grannis was the lead author on the new report "Rebuilding with Resilience", analyzing the legal and policy challenges experienced by the six innovative RBD projects and using them as test cases to scale elsewhere.

Nassau was a standout because of its watershed approach involving the reconstruction of a dam, dredging of local waterways, installation of a water retention park, use of one-way check valves, and enhancement of barrier islands and marshes. The county looked at its entire landscape to figure out where the most cost-effective mechanisms should go, Grannis said.

November 17, 2016- Supermoon Floods Warn of Crisis Facing Trump, U.S.

President-elect Donald Trump is preparing to lead America during a perilous period for the 130 million residents of its coastal counties. High tides linked to the full moon since the weekend caused minor flooding from Florida to New England, underscoring the need for improved coastal infrastructure at a time of faster rising seas.

"We do see some pretty high tides, even without the full moon," said JB Workman, a golf course employee who moved into an increasingly flood-prone neighborhood in Brunswick, Ga., several years ago. "This past weekend the flooding was like I've never seen during my time here - way worse, and dangerous."

Globally, in recent years, America has been playing an outsized role in efforts to slow global warming, which would ease future sea level rise, though nothing could completely halt the problem now. That leading role could now be in jeopardy as Trump has called climate change a "hoax" and said during the campaign that he would withdraw America from efforts at the United Nations to address climate change.

Domestically, the federal government plays key roles in protecting coastal communities from floods, a job made more challenging as seas rise. That role may also be jeopardized, given promises by Trump and Republicans in Congress to slash federal spending.

Every year nationwide, sea level rise caused by global warming is directly responsible for hundreds of high tide floods like those in Workman's neighborhood. Coastal planners are grappling with the worsening problem, which is most pronounced along the East and Gulf coasts, where sea level rise has been fastest and where land is sinking and eroding away.



November 15, 2016- Analysis of Six Regional Resiliency Projects Details Implementation Challenges

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, several federally sponsored projects sought to usher in new modes of urban design that protected against sea-level rise and re-imagined neighborhood design.

Now, the projects in New York and New Jersey, chosen through a national competition called Rebuild by Design, face challenges related to implementation, according to a new report.

"As these proposals move into implementation, the grantees are having to work hard to ensure that the resilience values of the project are not lost in translation," the report, due out later Tuesday morning, says. "Everyday systems and government processes (like cost benefit analysis, permitting, and procurement) are not well equipped to deliver projects that provide multiple benefits across a number of government silos."

The report, called "Rebuilding with Resilience," was prepared by the Georgetown Climate Center, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and Rebuild by Design - a group of advocates, architects and planners that formed to track the projects' progress.

The 100-page report looks at the six projects chosen in the 2013 competition: Manhattan's "Big U," The Bronx's "Hunt's Point Lifelines," Staten Island's "Living Breakwaters," Long Island's "Living with the Bay," Hoboken's "Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge," and the Meadowlands' "New Meadowlands."

November 15, 2016- John Kerry's Antarctica Visit Highlights a Continent, and Climate Policies, Under Threat

SCOTT BASE, Antarctica - A group of hikers in red parkas approached a half-dozen seals resting on floating sea ice. The leader of the entourage - Secretary of State John Kerry - raised his arms and ordered everyone to halt.
As an ethereal silence descended, Mr. Kerry cocked his head in the stillness of one of the world's last truly wild places.

In that moment, the frozen landscape seemed timeless, but it is actually in grave peril, as Mr. Kerry had been told by scientists only minutes before. The ice across large parts of West Antarctica may be starting to disintegrate because of global warming, and if it goes, the world's coastal cities face destruction, too.

The presence of Mr. Kerry, the highest-ranking United States government official ever to visit Antarctica, lifted the morale of scientists working to understand the icebound continent. Yet the visit, at the end of last week, was shadowed by anxiety.

In his nearly four years as secretary of state, Mr. Kerry has hurled himself into conservation issues, making them a central focus of American diplomacy and winning a string of ambitious deals to limit global warming and protect the oceans.

November 7, 2016- San Francisco Voters Pave the Way for Climate Adaptation

Climate change has largely been ignored in conversations surrounding the presidential election. Local elections have been another matter, however, with many cities and states talking about how to deal with it.

Last June, San Francisco area voters took a major step in adapting to sea level rise by approving a Measure AA, a $1-a-month parcel tax that will raise $500 million over 20 years, with the purpose of funding wetlands restoration.

Because of state requirements, the measure needed to secure 66 percent of votes in order to pass. Such a majority can be difficult because many object to parcel taxes, since single family homeowners pay the same amount as, say, Google. It got 70 percent.

David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, which spearheaded the funding effort, said part of the reason the measure got so much of the vote was there's so much love for the bay.
"When you say San Francisco Bay you're saying the Bay Area, and Measure AA - which is a very small tax shared by a lot of people to raise a lot of money together for a big benefit - that felt like doing something for the place we live," Lewis said.

Environmentalists have long touted the benefits of healthy wetlands: cleaner water, habitat for species and carbon sequestration. These days, however, more focus is put on their ability to slow storm fronts and absorb flood waters.

"The business community here has come to realize that part of the solution for addressing climate change and adapting to sea level rise in the Bay Area is restoring wetlands where we can do that," Lewis said.

November 7, 2016- Coastal Mega-Cities Could See More Than 6 Feet of Sea Level Rise by 2100

With global climate talks kicking off in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday, a new study provides a sobering warning about what may happen to coastal mega-cities if decisive global emissions cuts are not made soon.

Based on a scenario in which countries fail to sharply rein in emissions of global warming pollutants, coastal cities are likely to see the fastest rate of sea level rise in human history before the end of the current century, the study found.

This damaging scenario is not just limited to a future generation in the year 2100 but has already begun.

What's more striking is that the study shows that more than more than 90 percent of the world's coastal areas will see more than the global average sea level rise.

The study paints a particularly dark scenario for the densely populated cities of South and Southeast Asia, where low-lying coastal cities could be eaten away by the sea, displacing millions.

The study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , found that if global warming pushes past 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels, about 80 percent of the global coastline may see more sea level rise than the global average.

The study is the first to make specific sea level rise projections for 136 coastal cities starting with 2 degrees Celsius of warming and above, according to lead author Svetlana Jevrejeva of The National Oceanography Center in Liverpool.

Jevrejeva and her colleagues found that 2 degrees of warming would yield an average global ocean rise of 0.6 feet. But in the sprawling city of Lagos, Nigeria, for example, that much warming would likely cause 0.7 feet of sea level rise with a worst-case-scenario of 1.1 feet.



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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