CIRCA Sea Level Rise Projections for Connecticut
CIRCA has released local projections of sea level rise for Connecticut's coast using local tide gauge data and the current best available science. Based on the projections, CIRCA recommends that Connecticut municipalities plan for 0.5 meters (1 ft 8 inches) of sea level rise by 2050 and that sea levels are likely to continue to rise after that date. A public meeting will be held on October 19 to present the science behind the projections.
SCRCOG-MetroCOG-TNC CT: Southern CT Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience
The Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut was funded by a $700,000 Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant through the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The grant was awarded to the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG), in partnership with the Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
The main objective of the project was to comprehensively prioritize resilience opportunities for residents across ten
municipalities in Fairfield and New Haven County using where appropriate and feasible green and natural infrastructure to
help enhance existing natural resources, improve public amenities, and reduce risk from hazards over immediate and longer
term planning horizons.
The Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut includes the following components:
A comprehensive green infrastructure assessment of the coastline between Madison & Fairfield.
Cross municipal understanding of common themes for infrastructure and resilience needs.
Conceptual visualizations for the highest priority project in each municipality.
Develop a Regional Plan for Coastal Resiliency.
October 18, 2017- Public Information Meeting for Resilient Bridgeport
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 6 PM
Littlefield Recital Hall
Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center (First Floor)
84 Iranistan Avenue, Bridgeport, CT
A Public Information Meeting for Resilient Bridgeport will be held in the Littlefield Recital Hall at the Arnold Bernhard Arts & Humanities Center in Bridgeport, CT to provide an overview of the program as it launches into the next phase: environmental review and preliminary design for both the National Disaster Resilience (NDR) funded and Rebuild by Design (RBD) funded projects. Together, these investments will build the foundation for long-term economic, environmental and social resilience in the South End of Bridgeport.
An open house session will be held from 6:00 - 7:00 PM, providing attendees an opportunity to speak one-on-one with representative from the Resilient Bridgeport Project team. A presentation will promptly follow at 7:00 PM and will provide detailed information on the Resilient Bridgeport Program and its transition from the RBD funded planning phase to the NDR funded implementation phase.
More information about Resilient Bridgeport is available at: www.resilientbridgeport.com
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October 19, 2017- CIRCA Updated Projections of Sea Level Rise for Connecticut
Thursday, October 19, 2017
In Person Attendance:
Marine Sciences Building Room 103
University of Connecticut
Avery Point Campus
1080 Shennecossett Rd
Groton, CT 06340
Marine Sciences Professor and CIRCA Executive Director, James O'Donnell will present the findings of a study to update the NOAA 2012 CPO-1 sea level rise projections for the state of Connecticut. This study was mandated as part of the creation of CIRCA and called for in
UConn Law School CEEL Professor-in-Residence Joe MacDougald and CEEL legal fellow, Bill Rath will also present their CIRCA study on legal and policy implications of sea level rise for Connecticut and their survey of state sea level rise policies.
Who Should Attend:
This meeting is free and open to the public. Municipal staff and elected leaders concerned about or in the process of planning for sea level rise and coastal resilience are encouraged to attend. Following the presentations, there will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.
Parking on Campus:
Visitor parking on campus is available in pay by phone (PBP) or in metered spots in the areas marked on this
If you need accommodations to attend this event, please contact Lauren Yaworsky at firstname.lastname@example.org 5 days prior to the event.
The focus of this webinar will be on the mapping components of the new MS4 permit. It will include a rundown of (and clarifications of) the requirements and their deadlines, as well as tools and reources available to help you meet those requirements.
Register for the webinar here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/909001832770169090
October 25, 2017 - CT Association of Flood Managers Conference
The Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) will convene its fourth Annual Conference and Meeting
in Meriden, Connecticut on
October 25, 2017
. We invite you to share your experiences as municipal and state
officials, industry leaders, consultants, and other interested parties to promote a more resilient Connecticut.
CAFM seeks a broad range of professionals to address the many issues and problems associated with managing
flood risk, making communities more sustainable, and protecting floodplain and fragile natural resources. This c
onference will examine the challenges facing Connecticut, and share experiences and lessons learned as flood
managers and municipal officials.
Registration and more information here
CRS for Community Resilience Four-Part Webinar Series: Nature Based Solutions, Higher Flood Management Standards and FEMA's Community Rating System
Are you interested in reducing flood insurance premiums while enhancing your community's resilience? Then this webinar series is for you.
The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a federal incentive program that provides flood insurance policyholders with discounts on their premiums in exchange for their community taking actions to reduce flood risk. This free webinar series will specifically highlight how communities may achieve success in the green elements of the program.
This four-part webinar series is your opportunity to learn more about nature-based solutions for community resilience, hear success stories from around the country, ask questions, and share input. CRS experts will share their experience and knowledge about tools, regulations and the process for building community resilience through the CRS.
Individual registration is required for each session. All sessions will run from 2:00 - 3:30PM EST.
Webinar #1: October 30,
The CRS Green Guide and Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains
Webinar #2: November 6,
Building CRS Capacity: Success Stories at the Local and State Level
Webinar #3: November 13,
CRS Open Space Preservation (Activity 420)Tools, Guidance and Success Stories
Webinar #4: November 27,
CRS Stormwater Management (Activity 450) and Urban Flood Management Best Practices
Continuing Education: 1 CEC for each webinar for CFMs who participate in the entire event.
Free, but registration is required. Seating is limited, register early.
All webinar presentations and materials will be made available through the
CRS for Community Resilience website.
By the end of this webinar series, participants will be able to:
Identify natural and beneficial functions of floodplains and how they increase community resilience;
Explain how to use the CRS Green Guide and other tools to improve their community's scores in CRS with elements that enhance community resilience;
Describe best practices for achieving success in the CRS program; and
Recognize actions that are credited through specific elements of the CRS program.
Not familiar with FEMA's CRS program? No problem, view the presentation from the"Introduction to the CRS" webinar
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CIRCA Workshop: Connecticut Living Shorelines: Projects into Practice Workshop
Monday, November 20, 2017
Registration begins at 9:00 AM
Program runs 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
UConn, Avery Point Campus, Marine Sciences Building, Room 103
1080 Shennecossett Rd. Groton, CT 06340
Please register for this free workshop by November 10, 2017 since space is limited to 60
Sea-level rise and storms are increasing erosion and inundation of coastal wetlands across New England and threaten property and valuable natural resources. The term "living shoreline" refers to a shoreline stabilization approach that protects or enhances natural shoreline habitats through the use of vegetation or the mixed use of hard structural and restorative natural materials. Examples include the use of natural fiber, marsh and native vegetation plantings, and large sand envelopes or specific stone placement. Historic practices of hard revetments and seawalls have limited effectiveness and may exacerbate erosion, destroy intertidal habitat, and alter sediment transport patterns. Living shorelines are designed to protect property and prevent erosion while improving habitat, water quality, and ecological condition in a way that appears natural and is consistent with the character of coastal communities and uses of the shore.*
UCONN's Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) invite you to attend a free workshop on putting living shorelines projects into practice. This workshop will provide an update about the state of living shorelines in Connecticut, highlight existing projects and research, and overview related permitting processes. Design concepts for both a larger, municipal site and a smaller, residential/land trust site will be explained. These two sites will then be used to run through a mock permit review exercise in small breakout groups with guidance from DEEP environmental analysts. The workshop is designed to provide opportunities to network with fellow practitioners while sharing lessons learned.
Who Should Attend: This workshop targets consultants, project designers, landscape architects, restoration ecologists and engineers in Connecticut. Space at the workshop is limited to facilitate a robust conversation around the workshop topics.
CIRCA in the News
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October 11, 2017- Stonington Panel Discusses Coming Effects of Rising Sea Levels, Storms
Stonington - A panel of experts on climate science and adaption to the rise of sea levels painted a grim picture for people living along the shoreline or rivers Wednesday night, warning those who live in or near flood zones that flooding in their house and on roads is a matter of "when," not "if."
The three experts spoke at the La Grua Center Wednesday night at an event titled "Coastal Resiliency: Now More Than Ever," outlining Connecticut's risk of damage from more extreme and frequent hurricanes and storms. It was co-sponsored by Mystic Aquarium.
"The potential for a major hurricane basically destroying the tree canopy and the infrastructure is very, very real," said David Vallee, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service's Northeast River Forecast Center.
"For those of you who lived here through (Hurricane) Irene, you may recall power was out in parts of eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island for more than seven days," Vallee said.
The damage from that hurricane, which only hit Connecticut as a tropical storm, destroyed homes and left half the state without power. But, Vallee said, Irene pales in comparison to a truly vicious hurricane, which Connecticut has not seen since Hurricane Carol smashed into the shoreline in 1954.
Efforts to elevate homes above predicted flooding levels have still proved more popular than abandoning buildings at high risk of flooding, said Juliana Barrett, a scientist at the University of Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the Department of Extension.
"People aren't quite ready to talk about retreat from the shoreline, and so we're elevating," she said.
And for those in a state-mandated hurricane evacuation zone, Vallee said, even elevated houses won't necessarily protect homeowners.
Local & State News Clips
October 16, 2017- Group Urges Launch of Regional Coastal Agency for Northeast
A Northeast regional planning association marked the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy today by proposing the launch of a coastal commission to address rising sea levels for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut area and to help the region prepare for climate change and extreme storms.
The Regional Plan Association issued a
warning that the number of people living in flood-risk areas is likely to double from 1 million to 2 million over the next 30 years.
Sea levels, the report says, are expected to rise by 2 feet, putting 10,000 homes permanently underwater.
To prioritize climate adaptation and implement solutions across state lines, the group is proposing the creation of a Regional Coastal Commission to focus on climate adaptation, coordinate strategies and standards, and locate resources.
"As the consequences of climate change intensify, towns and municipalities in the region are woefully underprepared to address them," Robert Freudenberg, the association's vice president of energy and environment, said in a statement.
"Sea level rise, storm-surge and other coastal flooding requires that we collaborate across borders and prepare regionally for this growing threat. The formation of a Regional Coastal Commission, with dedicated funding, is a critical first step to proactive planning. This report gives concrete steps policymakers can take to ensure our region will adapt to a changing coastline."
The report found that 59 percent of the region's energy capacity, four major airports, 21 percent of public housing and 12 percent of hospital beds will be in flood-risk areas.
"While there has been substantial progress in planning for climate change, adaptation is slow, sporadic, underfunded and uncoordinated," the report says. "Attention and resources rise in the wake of storms like Superstorm Sandy, but soon dissipate when the immediate crisis has passed."
The association drew inspiration from coastal commissions in the Chesapeake Bay and San Francisco Bay areas to outline responsibilities for a tri-state body for the Northeast.
Among other actions, the commission would be required to produce and update a regional coastal adaptation plan, develop and manage science information standards, coordinate collaborative adaptation projects, and coordinate funding.
The association said it plans to use the report to inform a series of recommendations it intends to release in its fourth regional plan in November. Since the 1920s, the group has produced three regional plans based on research into transportation, land use, housing and the environment.
October 1, 2017- Continuing Education: Designing for Coastal Resilience
Sixty miles up the coast from Manhattan, a similar combination of hard and soft infrastructure strategies is planned for Bridgeport, Connecticut, which straddles the Pequannock River and lies exposed to the Long Island Sound on a set of peninsulas. The once-thriving industrial city was hard hit by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and then Sandy a year later.
"The tendency is to look only at the infrastructure, but the first thing to consider are the natural systems," says David Waggonner, president of New Orleans-based Waggonner & Ball, which is leading the Rebuild by Design team known as Resilient Bridgeport. Tapping into Dutch flood-control expertise, the firm has developed an urban water plan for its home city, as well as other towns and regions.
The Bridgeport team's plan makes the most the city's existing assets, including Seaside Park, designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted. Although the city sustained substantial flood damage from Sandy, this swath of green space along the coast helped buffer low-lying areas from the full intensity of the storm surge. The Resilient Bridgeport scheme takes advantage of this parkland, while weaving in new protective barriers in strategic places.
The new barriers, which will be combined with natural mitigation components, are in some instances berms and in others seawalls, and will sometimes be located near the water's edge and at others pulled several blocks inland, leaving an area to cushion the storm surge.
These protections are one of four HUD-funded Resilient Bridgeport projects, all concentrated near the city's South End, slated to begin construction in 2019. With a total budget of about $47 million, this first phase will also include raising some neighborhood streets, creation of a South End Stormwater Park, and construction of a Resilient Bridgeport Center that will serve as a community educational facility.
By raising some roadways, the project will provide a means of dry egress from low-lying areas. The elevated streets, which would be roughly at the first-floor level of the adjacent houses, will connect to their front stoops via small bridges. The space in between the houses and the new roadway could house rain gardens for slowing and absorbing runoff, while the space below the street surface could be used for box culverts and utilities. The new streets will connect to naturally occurring glacial ridges that run perpendicular to the water, forming a waffle-like network of resilient corridors. A similar plan is being implemented in other coastal cities such as Miami Beach, where key roadways are being raised to serve as protection and as routes where vehicular traffic can travel unimpeded during floods.
National News Clips
October 10, 2017- Coastal Protection on the Edge: The Challenge of Preserving California's Legacy
The California coast is an edge. It's the place where 1,100 miles of shoreline meets the largest ocean on the planet. Many different forces collide there, and a lot of exciting things happen. The coast is a geological edge, zippered to North America by 800 miles of the San Andreas Fault and battered by the Pacific Ocean.
It's also a social, political, cultural, spiritual, economic and technological edge. It is where the most populous state and sixth-largest economy in the world is exposed to wind, waves, tides, El Niños, earthquakes and tsunamis. These forces made California's coastline rugged, beautiful and beckoning.
But the natural beauty that has drawn so many to the edge of the Golden State has been seriously impacted by human actions. Forty-four percent of California residents live along the southern California coast, from Ventura to San Diego counties, and you can't squeeze 18 million people into 233 miles of coast without some impacts. If they all went to the beach at the same time, each resident would have less than an inch of shoreline.
In 1972 California launched a great experiment to protect its coast. The resulting California Coastal Act sought to protect public shoreline access, wetlands and threatened coastal habitats. It also limited development to protect the beauty and grandeur of the shore for future generations.
Today California's coastal management program is recognized around the world for its success, even as the state's coast and ocean economy thrive. But new challenges loom large, including sea level rise, ocean acidification and proposals for offshore wind and wave energy development. California's population continues to grow, and an internet-driven vacation-rental economy threatens the character of many coastal cities and towns.
October 10, 2017- Climate Change Threatens Midwest Infrastructure, Report Says
The Midwest is safe from hurricanes and drought-driven wildfires. But that does not mean the region and its roads and bridges are free from the threat of climate change, a new study warns.
Higher temperatures and unusually heavy rain events in the Midwest spell trouble for transportation and infrastructure systems, according to a study released Tuesday by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute. The group is a division of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank whose members include representatives from the construction industry and labor unions.
"Rising temperatures and the likelihood of more storms and flooding reduce the lifespan of roads and bridges, could cause railways to buckle, and threaten above-ground energy facilities and transmission lines," said study author Mary Craighead, transportation policy analyst with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, in a statement. "Without critical maintenance and modernization of these systems, everything from freight and commuter routes to our region's overall economic value as a net distributor of electricity could be jeopardized."
The report noted that the region's average air temperature has risen by 4.5 degrees since 1980. The Midwest also has seen more electricity outages, a 27 percent increase in the number of "very heavy precipitation days" between 1958 and 2007, a reduction in Great Lakes ice coverage and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles - all of which can affect roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
October 9, 2017- After Hurricanes, Congress Ponders Future of Flood Insurance Program
WASHINGTON - The devastating hit Houston took from Hurricane Harvey has exacerbated - and highlighted - the enormous financial jam facing the National Flood Insurance Program.
Thanks to the recent onslaught of hurricanes hitting Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, there has never been a greater need for the program. But
that need has also set off a new round of calls to dramatically overhaul a program that hasn't been able to sustain itself without major subsidies from the U.S. Treasury.
Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson's Sugar Land-based district suffered some of the most intensive flooding in the state. He said he is open to some changes, but not if it risks payouts on Harvey claims his constituents are filing. He is quick to underscore the desperation in his suburban Houston district and doesn't want
make things worse.
"It should be part of the package but not a do-all, end-all," Olson said of any potential overhaul.
Established in 1968 to help homeowners living in flood-prone areas that private insurers wouldn't cover, the program has never been on
steady financial footing, and continued
construction in low-lying
areas - as well as more frequent and powerful storms attributed to climate change - have put the NFIP deeply in the red.
As a result, Congress repeatedly finds itself re-authorizing new money to support the program. Even before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the program was set to expire on Sept. 30, and
no new insurance
be written until it's re-authorized again.
Back to News Clips
October 6, 2017- Past FEMA Head Urges Smarter Rebuilding After Natural Disasters
As federal officials focus on providing billions of dollars in recovery aid to regions of the United States hard hit by recent hurricanes, a former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging that the country rebuild better and smarter to reduce future losses from hurricanes and other natural hazards.
"You're talking billions [of dollars] of rebuilding, and the current plan will rebuild back the way it was, rebuild it back to the past, rebuild it back to fail again.""Your tax dollars are about to be invested in one of the largest infrastructure projects" in the country, said Craig Fugate, who ran FEMA from May 2009 to January 2017 under the Obama administration, on Tuesday. He was referring to rebuilding parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands where hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria recently made landfall.
"You're talking billions [of dollars] of rebuilding, and the current plan will rebuild back the way it was, rebuild it back to the past, rebuild it back to fail again," he said at a forum at the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank in Washington, D. C. We have the opportunity "to build to the future, build to future risk, build it so we make sound financial investments the first time, not have to come back time and time again" to rebuild communities and infrastructure, he added.
Just prior to Fugate's speech Tuesday, CAP issued a new report about post hurricane rebuilding. The document, "Safe, Strong, and Just Rebuilding After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria," calls for Congress to do more than simply rush emergency aid out the door. The report urges assistance to restore damaged areas with more resilient infrastructure to lower the risks and costs of the next disaster, prioritizing the rebuilding of communities that have the least resources, and updating FEMA flood maps.
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).