October 7, 2016
West Haven's Resiliency Projects Near Sandy Point Lauded by DEEP, EPA, and Environmentalists
, New Haven Register
- October 7, 2016- Mass. Firm to Develop Stonington Coastal Plan, The Westerly Sun
- October 7, 2016- Long Island Sound Ecology Study to Focus on Greenwich, Greenwich Patch
October 3, 2016- Stonington Kicks Off Coastal Flooding Plan Effort Oct. 20, The Day
- September 29, 2016- Towns Explore Flood Insurance Relief by Regionalizing, Greenwich Times
- October 10, 2016- Matthew's Punch Still Delivers Pain to North Carolina, CT Post
- October 10, 2016- Climate Change Treated as Afterthought in Second Presidential Debate, Inside Climate News
- October 8, 2016- Hurricane Matthew's Destructive Storm Surges Hint at New Normal, National Geographic
- October 7, 2016- 'This is not over': Hurricane Sideswipes Fla. Coast, New Britain Herald
- October 6, 2016- Climate & Lobster, NOAA
- October 3, 2016- What's at Stake for the Climate in the 2016 Election? Everything, Inside Climate News
- September 28, 2016- New York City Accelerates Emissions Efforts in Face of Daunting Sea Level Rise, The Guardian
New EPA Web Portal Helps Communities Prepare for Climate Change
Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) is an interactive resource to help local governments effectively deliver services to their communities even as the climate changes. Decision makers can create an integrated package of information tailored specifically to their needs. Once users select areas of interest, they will find information about: the risks posed by climate change to the issues of concern; relevant adaptation strategies; case studies illustrating how other communities have successfully adapted to those risks and tools to replicate their successes; and EPA funding opportunities.
More on the event and exhibit
October 18, 2016- Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA) Fall Conference 2016
CWWA is an organization of water utilities that work together to develop meaningful policies to ensure a safe, high quality supply of water for their customers and a regulatory environment in which they can operate effectively.
This year's CWWA/CTAWWA Fall Conference is a unique opportunity to network with water industry professionals, learn about new and emerging issues affecting the industry, and earn 4 Training Credit Hours
CIRCA Executive Director, James O'Donnell and Professor Christine Kirchhoff, Uconn Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering will be speaking about resiliency at the conference.
When: Tuesday, October 18, 2016. 8:00am-2:00pm
Where: Southington, CT
Museum After Dark: Our Shoreline, Resiliency & Change
Thursday, October 20, 6-8pm.
Rising Tides, Fairfield's Coast: Past to Future exhibition at Fairfield Museum and History Center
Join experts from the University of Connecticut and CT DEEP to learn how these institutions are working together to address environmental issues along Connecticut's coast. What is coastal resilience? Learn more about the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the University of Connecticut. CIRCA was founded a little over two years ago to help Connecticut's communities adapt to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment.
CIRCA Director of Community Engagement Rebecca French will be speaking.
The question is not if the next big storm is coming. It's when. The Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) has held two annual conferences, drawing professionals together to share their flood management experience and promote flood resiliency in Connecticut. This year, CAFM is planning an engaging program that will appeal to professionals working in coastal and riverine communities in various roles, whether they are planners, engineers, surveyors, or insurers.
The Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) will convene its third Annual Conference and Meeting in West Haven, Connecticut on October 25, 2016. 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 conference 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 dam operation, insurance requirements and changes, hazard and mitigation planning, and FEMA administrative processes for changing flood boundaries. We will be presenting a similar program with coastal and riverine topics this year, and will also host a workshop with FEMA on their new elevation certificate.
CIRCA is excited to announce funding through its Municipal Resilience Grant Program! Up to $200,000 will be made available for projects that advance resilience and that emphasize implementation (including the creation of conceptual design, construction, or the design of resilience enhancing practices and policies). Municipal governments and councils of governments are eligible to apply. Proposals must review and consider integration of CIRCA's research products in the application. Information on CIRCA's research products will be made available on the grant program webpage. The minimum award will be $20,000; applicants are allowed to apply for the full $200,000. Project proposals should develop knowledge or experience that is transferable to multiple locations in Connecticut and have well-defined and measurable goals. Applications are due November 1, 2016.
CIRCA in the News
October 7, 2016- West Haven's Resiliency Projects Near Sandy Point Lauded by DEEP, EPA, and Environmentalists
WEST HAVEN >> After touring several environmental "resiliency" projects near Sandy Point, the regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection both cited West Haven as a model of how to respond to challenges posed by climate change.
"EPA has a strong interest in how this facility will survive issues like we're having in Florida right now," EPA New England Region Administrator Curt Spaulding said near the aeration tanks at the city's sewage treatment plant, just steps from New Haven Harbor - and the last stop on the afternoon tour led by Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Mark Paine.
At EPA, "there is a lot of discussion of how we deal with stormwater," and "really, we're here" because West Haven is engaged in a "signature project," said Spaulding, who came down from EPA Region 1 headquarters in Boston for the tour.
What Paine "is showing us is how he's using these (various) pots of money and working one against another" to make West Haven better able to withstand the next big storm, Spaulding said.
Those include projects to shore-up the beaches from a point opposite the former Chick's Drive-In toward Sandy Point, buy dozens of flood-prone properties along Old Field Creek, reinforce the sand protecting the treatment plant's outfall pipe and ultimately raise the east end of Beach Street where First Avenue curves into it.
Back to News Clips
October 2, 2016- Maritime Aquarium Receives $485K Grant
The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk has received a $484,955 federal grant that will be used to teach nearly 2,000 students from 10 Fairfield County towns how severe storms, erosion and other environmental hazards threaten their communities.
The grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce is the largest federal grant the aquarium has received in 28 years and will fund its Sound Resilience - Get On Board! Initiative.
Over the next three years, the Maritime Aquarium will use the grant to involve as many as 1,875 middle- and high-school students in Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield and Bridgeport in education and research projects in school classrooms and aboard the aquarium's hybrid-electric R/V Spirit of the Sound research vessel.
There will also be professional-development workshops to benefit more than 150 local teachers.
"In the classroom, students and teachers will learn about key environmental threats that impact their communities, the specific sites where those threats are most relevant, and resilience projects that are underway or will be necessary in the future," said Maritime Aquarium Education Director Tom Naiman.
"Then, they will examine the coastline from the water, where they also will take part in science that will allow a deeper understanding of threats and the way they may be impacted by climate change."
The aquarium will now begin to develop educational content by using NOAA educational resources and collaborating with the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WCCOG), the University of Connecticut's Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) and Connecticut Sea Grant.
Local & State News Clips
October 7, 2016- Mass. Firm to Develop Stonington Coastal Plan
STONINGTON - After receiving numerous responses to a request for proposals, the town has hired consulting firm Arup to assist the planning department in mapping out a coastal resiliency plan that will help protect the area from storm surge and future sea-level rise.
"We are excited about their experience and the skills they bring to the table," Town Planner Keith Brynes said of Arup.
As the consulting team, based out of Cambridge, Mass., starts the project, which is funded through a $150,000 grant awarded through the Connecticut Department of Housing's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief program, the group has put together an online survey to get a sense of the community's understanding of what it means to be resilient.
In the same vein, the planning department has organized an interactive community planning forum at the Mystic Aquarium for Oct. 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Public input sessions during the forum will be geared toward soliciting ideas on what the greatest risks are for the town and potential strategies to mitigating those risks.
Arup and the town will also be presenting the findings of the survey and other information on the process to attendees at the event.
At this point, Arup and the project's sub-consultants are in the data-gathering stage, Town Planner Keith Brynes said.
"They have been reviewing existing planning documents and working on some of the sea-level rise and storm-surge modeling for the town to better gauge the town's risk," he said. "They have also held initial meetings with town staff as well as the town's Climate Change Task Force."
October 7, 2016- Long Island Sound Ecology Study to Focus on Greenwich
GREENWICH, CT: Some of the most critical challenges to confront society in the 21st Century - climate change, clean air, clean water, biodiversity loss, and sustainability -- are of an environmental nature.
In recognition of this, the Town of Greenwich and the University of Connecticut have entered into an historic partnership to provide science-based information on the ecology and natural resources of Greenwich and Long Island Sound, with a mission of advancing sustainable management, conservation, and policy.
To do so, the Greenwich Conservation Commission (GCC) and Shellfish Commission (GSC), in partnership with UConn's Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB) and Center for Environmental Sciences & Engineering (CESE), will collaborate on integrated research, education, outreach, and community involvement.
The environmental faculty of CESE and EEB bring internationally recognized research expertise in biodiversity science, ecology, conservation biology, terrestrial, freshwater and marine resources, aquaculture, environmental engineering, and ecosystem sciences to the partnership, as well as diverse environmental teaching and outreach experience. The GSC and GCC have a long history of proactive conservation and management of Greenwich's natural resources to enhance sustainability and resilience, including issues related to near shore water quality and stewardship of biotic resources (e.g., shellfish beds).
October 3, 2016- Stonington Kicks Off Coastal Flooding Plan Effort Oct. 20
Stonington -- The town will hold a public kick off of its effort to prepare for sea level rise and extreme weather on Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Mystic Aquarium.
Town officials and a consulting team will present findings of a survey and other information as the town begins to prepare a Municipal Coastal Resilience Plan with a $150,000 state grant.
The plan is designed to protect infrastructure from coastal flooding and sea level rise, minimize potential for loss of life, destruction to property and the expenditures associated with repeated repairs to infrastructure after storms.
"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," the town said in announcing the 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."
Back to News Clips
September 29, 2016- Towns Explore Flood Insurance Relief by Regionalizing
GREENWICH - Officials from Greenwich and much of Fairfield County convened this week to discuss how they can band together to get discounts on flood insurance for their residents.
They want to take part in the federal Community Rating System, which provides municipalities the chance to earn relief for policyholders in their towns. Local burghs are finding it difficult to meet even the base criteria in the program by themselves, because the costs of participating do not make the savings worth it, officials said.
"The main goal is to reduce the impact of flooding on communities," said Michael Towle, an associate planner with Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG), a regional agency that is organizing the effort.
The federal government set up 10 tiers of cost savings in the program; each tier requires a certain number of CRS credits to qualify. Different flood-protection measures earn municipalities credits.
WestCOG hopes to earn 500 credits regionally to qualify each town and city for the first tier of cost savings, which would lead to residents qualifying for a 5 percent flood insurance discount, Towle said.
National News Clips
October 10, 2016- Matthew's Punch Still Delivers Pain to North Carolina
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The flooding disaster is forecast to slowly unfold over the next several days as all that rain - more than a foot in places - flows into rivers and downstream, likely causing more inundation in many of the same places devastated by a similar deluge from Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Thousands of people found themselves suddenly trapped in homes and cars during the torrential rains. Rescuers in Coast Guard helicopters plucked some of them from rooftops and used military vehicles to reach others, including a woman who held on to a tree for three hours after her car was overrun by flood waters.
The storm killed more than 500 people in Haiti and at least 20 in the U.S. - half of them in North Carolina. Most were swept away by flood waters.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Sunday that authorities were searching for five people and feared they may find more victims.
"Hurricane Matthew is off the map. But it is still with us. And it is still deadly," McCrory said.
Princeville, a town of 2,000 that disappeared in the waters of the Tar River during Floyd, was evacuated Sunday as the river was expected to rise to 17 feet above flood stage by late Monday - a level not seen since Floyd. McCrory expected more evacuations as some rivers were predicted to crest next Friday.
October 10, 2016- Climate Change Treated as Afterthought in Second Presidential Debate
Hillary Clinton affirmed her commitment to fighting climate change, while Donald Trump pledged to take advantage of what he called "clean coal" stores that will last a thousand years, in response to a question on energy policy in Sunday night's presidential debate.
Climate change was treated as an afterthought, despite a campaign by environmental activists urging moderators to press the candidates on the issue-especially on a weekend that saw the southeast U.S. coast battered, and Haiti devastated, by the extreme weather conditions from Hurricane Matthew.
The debate focused on topics that drove much of the presidential campaign coverage over the weekend, in particular the revelation of a video in which Trump made lewd and aggressive comments about women.
The query on energy came near the end of the contentious evening, designed in a town-hall style with undecided voters reading many of the questions. The energy question didn't mention climate change but was focused on the nation's production of energy. "What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs," a member of the audience asked, "while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly, and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"
October 8, 2016- Hurricane Matthew's Destructive Storm Surges Hint at New Normal
As Hurricane Matthew pushes floodwaters into seaside towns from Florida to the Carolinas, climate scientist Andrea Dutton wonders if the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in a decade will serve as a wake-up call to the perils of rising seas.
The vulnerable coast needs to pay attention, says Dutton, who teaches geology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
"Matthew can help to change the conversation, in the way that Katrina did in New Orleans," she says.
"When all these cities were developed, sea level was very stable. Our whole way of life is set up around the concept of having a stable coastline. We are entering a new normal. We need to redefine our relationship with the coastline and that means rethinking a lot of different things."
Yet along the eastern seaboard, in some communities, state and federal lawmakers are still debating the existence of climate change, even as the seas rise incrementally higher on their beaches. (See photos of Matthew's destruction.)
In Florida, where the streets of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale flood regularly at high tide, Gov. Rick Scott famously avoids the subject of climate change and Marco Rubio, running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, does not accept climate science. In North Carolina, legislators "outlawed" efforts to study the impact of sea-level rise on the ribbon of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks (which scientists warn are in peril).
October 7, 2016- 'This is not over': Hurricane Sideswipes Fla. Coast
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Hurricane Matthew sideswiped Florida's Atlantic coast early Friday, toppling trees onto homes and knocking out power to more than 800,000 people but sparing the most heavily populated stretch of shoreline the catastrophic blow many had feared.
Authorities warned that the danger was far from over, with hundreds of miles of coastline in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina still under threat of torrential rain and deadly storm surge as the most powerful hurricane to menace the Atlantic Seaboard in over a decade pushed north.
They warned, too, that the storm could easily take a turn inland.
"It still has time to do a direct hit," Gov. Rick Scott said in the morning. "This is not over. ... It could be the worst part of this is yet to come."
Meanwhile, the magnitude of the devastation inflicted by Matthew as it roared through the Caribbean became ever clearer, with officials in Haiti raising the death toll there to nearly 300, while also cautioning that there were scores of bodies that had yet to be recorded.
In Florida, Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane overnight, and its storm center, or eye, hung just offshore Friday morning as it moved up the coastline, sparing communities the full force of its 120 mph winds.
Still, it got close enough to knock down trees and power lines, damage buildings and flood streets.
October 6, 2016- Climate & Lobster
For New Englanders, the saying "as American as apple pie" may as well be "as New England as lobster." A summer staple, the tasty crustaceans are served in every conceivable way: boiled, baked-stuffed, on pasta, on salads, or on a roll slathered in butter (just to name a few).
Though it's as tasty as ever, the lobster on your plate is coming from a different location than it did just 20 years ago. Warming sea surface temperatures from climate change are forcing populations of the American lobster (Homarus americanus) to higher latitudes than ever before-and upending fishing communities on the New England coast.
Departures and arrivals
The lobster industry in New York and southern New England has nearly collapsed. From 1996 to 2014, New York's registered lobster landings dropped 97.7%-from 9.4 million pounds in 1996 (the state's most profitable year) to 215,980 pounds in 2014 (the latest data available). The story is much the same in Connecticut, where landings fell 96.6% from the most profitable year, and in Rhode Island, which saw a 70.3% drop from its most profitable year.
"Former lobstermen in Connecticut, many of whom were formerly fishermen, had to switch to clam and oyster farming. A few are also farming seaweed as a second crop," Margaret van Patten, Connecticut Sea Grant communications director, said in an email. "They have to be really flexible in adapting to available species."
October 3, 2016- What's at Stake for the Climate in the 2016 Election? Everything
Following the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the gulf between the candidates has never seemed deeper, perhaps most alarmingly so on climate change.
The election shapes up as the most significant possible choice when it comes to climate policy. Clinton, though not committed to a swift transition away from fossil fuels, vows to build on the climate policies of the Obama administration and live up to U.S. commitments to the Paris accord. Trump, in contrast, pledges to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency and "cancel" the Paris agreement.
More fundamentally, the election is a choice between one candidate who accepts the global scientific and political consensus on the causes and cures for climate change, and one who rejects both.
"The 2016 presidential election can really be seen as the most important referendum on climate change, and on positive action to make the planet a livable place," said Daniel Kammen, physicist and founder of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. "Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump differ more on clean energy and on climate change than on any other issue."
Back to News Clips
September 28, 2016- New York City Accelerates Emissions Efforts in Face of Daunting Sea Level Rise
New York City has set out a plan to quicken its pace of decarbonization in order to meet its emissions reduction target, as the metropolis prepares for a daunting sea level rise due to climate change.
The proposals state that New York "must accelerate efforts" to expand renewable energy generation, improve the energy efficiency of buildings, transition to electric vehicles and improve waste management in order to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, based on 2005 levels.
The city has already lowered its emissions by 14% and is set to almost treble this reduction by 2030, but the road map warns that these efforts are not enough and "we must continue to do more to reduce emissions in New York City and lead progress across the globe if we are all to avoid the worst impacts of climate change."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "Locally, we have continued to drive down our emissions, but we have much more to do."
New York is set to be increasingly challenged by sea level rises caused by melting glaciers and thermal expansion of the ocean as the planet warms. By 2100, sea levels could be up to 50 inches higher than today in New York, a scenario that has prompted the city to pledge billions of dollars for flood defenses and adaptation. Still, high-value property in Manhattan is considered a long-term risk, with some scientists believing that a managed retreat from parts of the city is inevitable.
Back to News Clips
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).