CIRCA Blog: Sea Level Rise in Connecticut: Planning for 20 in / 50 cm in 2050
By Rebecca A. French, Ph.D., CIRCA Director of Community Engagement
On October 19, 2017, CIRCA released an Executive Summary of its locally updated sea-level rise scenarios and recommendations on how Connecticut should adapt to the mean sea level changes projected in a 2012 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report (Parris et al, CPO-1 Report, 2012):
"We recommend that planning anticipates that sea level will be 0.5 m (1ft 8 inches) higher than the national tidal datum in Long Island Sound by 2050. It is likely that sea level will continue to increase after 2050. We recommend that global mean sea level measurements and projections be monitored and new assessments be provided to towns at decadal intervals to ensure that planning be informed by the best available science."(O'Donnell, Executive Summary, 2017)
It is important to note that the 20 in/50 cm planning level is
a prediction of the expected sea level increase by 2050, as has been reported in some recent newspaper articles. Rather,
20 in/50 cm characterizes the upper end of the range of values projected using several different simulation approaches and local tide gauge data sets
. Together with the 10-year review, this is a prudent approach to providing planning guidance in a changing world.
On the CIRCA website (https://circa.uconn.edu/) the public can find the Executive Summary of the report and a 30-minute presentation by the report's author and CIRCA Executive Director, Professor James O'Donnell. It provides a more in-depth explanation of his analyses and conclusions. The presentation shows how NOAA's low, intermediate-low, intermediate and high global sea level rise projections were updated for Connecticut, and measurements from tide gauges in Long Island Sound were employed to create the recommendations.
More information can be found on our website or by contacting CIRCA staff directly at email@example.com.
Register by April 16- NFIP Community Rating System Training
The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) and the Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) are pleased to sponsor a four day training course on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS). This is the same class that is held at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, MD. We are pleased that Connecticut was chosen to hold this field deployed class in 2018.
The 4-day course will be held June 4 through June 7, 2018 at Fort Trumbull State Park in New London, CT. Please see the attached document for course objectives, prerequisites, course location information, continuing education credits, and registration procedures.
Registration requires both payment and submission of the registration form by Monday, April 16th to be accepted. Seating is limited to 35 students. Please note that while registration forms must be sent to Diane Ifkovic at Connecticut DEEP, payments must be made to CAFM.
Payments may be sent by mail to:
P.O. Box 270213
West Hartford, CT 06105
For more information & for Registration/Payments click
April 20, 2018 - Paris, Policy and The Grid: The Future of Transnational Energy Policy, UConn CEEL event
Friday, April 20, 2018 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
*Registration required by April 13*
The Paris Agreement brought nearly two hundred countries together to pledge their national efforts to combat climate change. Less than two years later, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from this agreement. Please join the Center for Energy & Environmental Law and the Connecticut Journal of International Law for a symposium devoted to the international, national, and regional impacts of this new global reality on energy policy, grid stability, and renewables.
Our day will include distinguished keynote addresses from Commissioner Richard Glick of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of the World Wildlife Fund's Global Climate and Energy Practice.
Our panels will focus on the changing face of international energy policy, how national policies are adapting to the new Paris reality, and the impact on New England and the rest of the United States. Panelists are drawn from diverse perspectives and include Commissioner Robert Klee of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, international and national academics and practitioners in energy law, and industry representatives.
Our day will conclude with a networking reception.
This event is free for students, faculty, and staff; $40 for practitioners and other guests.
Eligible for Connecticut CLE credit.
If you require reasonable accommodations for a disability, please contact the Law School at 860-570-5130 or via email at
at least two weeks in advance.
April 30, May 1, and May 2- 2018 Local Solutions: Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference
Antioch University New England and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are hosting the 2018 Local Solutions: Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference on April 30, May 1 and May 2nd 2018 at The Manchester Downtown Hotel in Manchester, NH.
Thanks to the engagement of more than 500 participants from Washington, D.C. to Maine, the first Local Solutions conference in May 2014 in Manchester NH was a great success. Our second conference in April 2016 in Baltimore MD continued to draw participants across the eastern U.S. to successfully deliver interactive capacity building sessions on all aspects of preparing for severe weather and climate change impacts in the United States. See our Conferences page for more information on the past two conferences.
For this third conference, we will cover a range of climate preparedness and resiliency issues such as: sea level rise, urban heat, and both coastal and inland flooding issues. The conference is geared for small government planners and decision-makers striving to create healthy resilient communities that are better able to handle severe weather and climate impacts. The current methodologies, protocols and policies inherent in planning and budgeting at the community level are not always adequate for the recent onslaught of climate impacts.
This conference guides local government planners on how to make climate resilience an aspect of their daily operations. The conference will be organized with the help of a diverse and dedicated Steering Committee, which will include members from state and federal agencies, non-profits and academic institutions from around the eastern United States.
Christa Daniels for Registration & Hotel questions
Antioch Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience
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May 11, 2018- Creating a Resilient Connecticut: A CIRCA Forum on Science, Planning, Policy & Law
Friday, May 11
8:15am to 4:30pm
UConn School of Law
Reading Room, William F. Starr Hall
45 Elizabeth St. Hartford, CT 06105
For GPS purposes, use 110 Sherman Street as your destination address. Parking Lot B
Please join the UConn Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), UConn School of Law's Center for Energy & Environmental Law (CEEL), and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) for this exciting forum that combines science, policy, and planning at the state and local levels. This event is the culmination of work undertaken over the past two years by CT DEEP and UConn/CIRCA to address the resilience of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change. Important research is leading to the creation of products for assessing vulnerabilities and strategies to mitigate potential damage from climate change and storm impacts.
Forum presentations and panel discussions will also include:
State sea level rise projections,
Inland and coastal flood vulnerability data and case studies,
Legal and policy recommendations to support resiliency,
Vulnerability assessments in Milford and New London,
Applications for new coastal aerial photography, and
Climate-informed resiliency projects from inland/coastal municipalities and Councils of Governments.
This event is free and open to the public. Work was made possible through a Municipal Resilience Planning Assistance grant from the State of Connecticut Department of Housing CDBG-Disaster Recovery Program and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Parking is complimentary and available by self registering in advance.
To reserve parking, click
and enter your vehicle license plate number.
Park on B Lot. Parking for this event is valid only 5/11/18, 7 am to 5 pm.
If you do not pre-register you will be able to access a self pay by phone system on site. Vehicles with Area 2 UConn Parking Services hang tags or stickers can park in Area 2 with no registration.
If you have any questions or require any accommodations for this meeting please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
More information can be found on CIRCA's website
New England Forests and Rivers Fund
Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, April 26th, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
The New England Forests and Rivers Fund is dedicated to restoring and sustaining healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse native bird and freshwater fish populations in New England. This program annually awards competitive grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 each.
In its first three years, the program has awarded 39 grants that will restore early successional and mature forest habitat, modify and replace barriers to fish movement, restore riparian and instream habitat, and engage hundreds of volunteers in forest habitat restoration and stream connectivity projects in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. These projects are expected to:
- Open 555 miles of streams for eastern brook trout and river herring through barrier modification or replacement;
- Improve 2,134 acres of young and mature forest habitat for black-throated blue warbler, wood thrush, New England cottontail, and American woodcock; and
- Recruit at least 1,314 volunteers to engage in on-the-ground conservation.
Over $4.2 million in grant funds has been awarded.
The grantees, in turn, are leveraging an additional $6.6 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $10.8 million.
Major funding for the New England Forests and Rivers Fund is provided by Eversource's Partners for New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife, the American Forest Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
For more information & to apply click here
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Travel grants available for the "Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference," on April 30-May 2, 2018, Manchester, NH
Travel grants are available for municipal employees, elected or appointed municipal decision-makers, county government employees, regional planning council personnel, and other local decision-makers for "Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference," April 30-May 2, 2018, Manchester, NH.
For more information & to apply for a travel grant click here
Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2018 Request for Proposals
Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund (Futures Fund) is soliciting proposals to secure clean water and healthy watersheds, restore thriving habitats and abundant wildlife, and engage the public in creating sustainable and resilient communities around the Long Island Sound Watershed. Approximately $2 million is expected to be available for projects in 2018. The Futures Fund grant program is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Long Island Sound Study (LISS), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For more information & to apply click here
CIRCA in the News
April 2, 2018- Kennedy Leads Passage of Important Environmental Bill
Environment Committee Co-Chair, Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford), led successful committee passage of S.B. 343, An Act Concerning the Effects of Climate Change on the Safety Plans of Certain Chemical Facilities, a bill to address the potential impact of severe weather events and sea level rise on the state's toxic chemical facilities most at risk for climate change. S.B. 343 passed out of the Committee, with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 29-1, and now heads to the senate floor.
According to a recent report, there are over 2,500 toxic chemical sites across the nation that are located in flood-prone areas, with over 1,400 of those that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) considers "at highest risk of flooding." Based on permit information recently obtained by the Environment Committee from Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), approximately 40 of these hazardous waste and toxic chemical facilities are located in Connecticut - facilities located in sensitive coastal zone areas along Long Island Sound and adjacent to our state's most flood-prone riverbanks.
Historically, in what seemed like prudent planning, these chemical plants and sites of heavy industry were located near coasts, ports and waterways to take advantage of the ease of shipping and access to water for cooling. Now these facilities have become potential public health and environmental hazards due to new predictions for sea level rise, hurricanes and other severe weather events.
"Many of our state's chemical and toxic waste facilities were built many decades ago when dangerous storms were not as prevalent and when safety risks were not as great," said Senator Kennedy. "That's why I've introduced S.B. 343 - a bill that will require these toxic chemical facilities to update their emergency action plans based on new climate change data and flooding risks. Severe storms are becoming more common, powerful, destructive and expensive to deal with. We need to learn from the mistakes of other coastal states that experienced the escape of hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals during recent storms. It's time to accelerate our safety planning efforts to better protect ourselves."
S.B. 343 requires our state's most vulnerable hazardous waste and toxic chemical facilities to update their safety and emergency action plans using the latest climate change data developed by The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA). Using the most up-to-date, peer-reviewed scientific data on sea level rise, CIRCA recently predicted that the waters of Long Island Sound could rise as much as 20 inches by the year 2050, dramatically increasing coastal flooding risks. These facilities are already required to prepare an environmental safety plan, but they are not required to use CIRCA's new flood guidelines in their emergency planning scenarios and documents.
March 29, 2018- CT Legislature to Vote on Climate, Energy Bills
For weeks, Gov. Dannel Malloy has been pushing the Connecticut General Assembly to pass new climate change and energy legislation. On Thursday, that initiative moved one step closer to fruition.
The first of the two bills Malloy is advocating is geared toward improving preventative and protective measures against climate change, while the second aims to promote and facilitate the development of renewable energy. On March 22, the Assembly's Environment Committee voted 19-11 to approve the first bill, and on Thursday the Energy and Technology Committee voted 20-5 to approve the second. Now, both will head to the full senate for consideration.
"Climate change is real, it's man-made, and it's here," Malloy said in a March 19 press release. "Fairness to future generations of Connecticut residents demands that we adjust our current practices to prevent climate disaster. My administration's two proposals do just that."
In 2008, Connecticut adopted a target of 80 percent reduction by 2050 under the state's Global Warming Solution Act. Now, the bill on climate change resiliency would enact an interim target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2001 levels by 2030. It would also update the state's coastal boundary maps, adjusting them to account for a sea level rise of approximately two feet by 2050, a prediction made by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation.
In addition, the new bill would mandate that all legal references to sea level rise better reflect the more recent prediction and would require all future state-run and state-funded projects within the coastal boundary line to meet this projection. Finally, the bill would create a permanent executive body, the Connecticut Council on Climate Change, to address climate change.
The second piece of proposed legislation, the renewable energy bill, most notably would increase the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard - the mandated amount of renewable energy produced in the state - to 40 percent by 2030. In 2017, the standard was a little over 20 percent. The bill would also overhaul a host of the state's energy-related programs, such as its solar incentive policy.
"Taken together, the two bills would represent a major step in Connecticut's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase accessibility of residential rooftop solar, and combat the effects of climate change," Malloy said in the press release.
Back to News Clips
March 28, 2018- Environment Committee Advances Bill to Address Rising Seas, Emissions
HARTFORD - The Environment Committee voted 19 to 11 Thursday to pass Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's climate bill, which adjusts coastal development boundaries for rising sea levels and implements an interim target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Republican Rep. John Piscopo, of Thomaston, said the bill "is real cause for concern," because of how the boundary changes within it might effect businesses and local zoning.
The bill, which will be taken up by the Senate, would also move lines for coastal development two feet inward. The change is based on a recommendation from the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation.
"Climate change is real, it's man made, and it's here," Malloy said in a press conference earlier this week, advocating for its passage.
The bill would also require Connecticut to cut emissions by 45 percent by 2030.
Local & State News Clips
April 3, 2018- EPA Plan to Ease Car Emission Standards Would Affect CT More Than Most
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's announcement Monday that it plans to ease more-stringent auto emissions standards put in place at the end of the Obama administration has particular resonance in Connecticut, with the potential to force the state to accept cars that are more polluting than it wants and make its notoriously bad air even worse.
The widely anticipated announcement said the standards covering cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2022-2025 "were not appropriate and should be revised."
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement that a midterm review by the Obama administration of the standards for 2017-2025, which were initially approved in 2012, was cut "short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality, and set the standards too high."
Theoretically this would have little impact on Connecticut since it is one of about a dozen states - mostly in the Northeast - that operate under what is known as the "California waiver."
The waiver was added to the Clean Air Act in its 1970 revision and allows California to set its own stricter-than-federal standards for motor vehicle emissions. States can follow either the federal standard or California's.
But Monday's EPA announcement also said this: "The California waiver is still being reexamined by EPA under Administrator Pruitt's leadership." It quoted him as saying: "Cooperative federalism doesn't mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country."
And that is being widely interpreted to mean Pruitt intends to rescind the California waiver.
Connecticut environmental officials and advocates view the California standards as a linchpin in their own state's environmental strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions and traditional pollutants. Being unable to use them has the potential to upend the state's ability to meet its air-quality goals and its requirements for fight
ing climate change, as well as cripple the electric vehicle business.
"It is ominous that they went out of their way to call out the waiver and have this reference to California dictating. No, that's what the Clean Air Act says," said a clearly angry Rob Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, who has been a frequent critic of the Trump EPA's efforts to roll back environmental protections.
The California standard and the rights of other states to use it are "baked in" to the Clean Air Act, he said, to allow states like California and Connecticut that tend to have extensive air pollution problems to rectify them in the interests of public health and fighting climate change.
"This is an affront to that and an affront to our ability to meet those public health and climate-change goals that our states are leading on and this EPA is backsliding from," Klee said.
In Connecticut 70 percent of smog and 43 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. What plagues Connecticut more than almost any other state are power plant and motor vehicle emissions from mainly midwestern upwind states. In the summer especially, those emissions essentially cook in the heat, creating ground-level ozone, a major component of smog.
Connecticut has been in so-called "non-attainment" of EPA ozone standards for years. Relaxing the emissions standards - even if the California waiver stays in place - would probably make that non-attainment worse.
With just about every coal- and most oil-burning power plants in New England closed and the whole region participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to cut power plant emissions - there's little the state can do to cut electric sector emissions further.
So really all Connecticut has to work with to cut emissions on its own are vehicle emissions.
March 30, 2018- Vinny Vella: Let's Be Cautious Before Diving Into Riverfront Development In Hartford
As someone from a city bordered by two rivers - the Delaware and the almost unpronounceable Schuylkill - I can understand the intent of Hartford City Councilman John Gale's recent resolution encouraging development along the Connecticut River, in its floodplain.
Gale's vision specifically calls for Riverfront Recapture to "initiate planning to bring to the river's edge in Hartford dining options, a marina, and houseboat accommodations," and to work with the city on developing one or more of those proposals.
It was passed on consent by Gale and his colleagues at their Feb.13 meeting.
But as a pragmatist, I also certainly understand the response from state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert J. Klee, one that essentially says it's not the greatest idea.
You know, considering the fact that the banks of the river in Hartford routinely flood, something that will only get worse with climate change. And that the few permanent structures near the river were built specifically with that in mind. Oh, and of course the fact that a very intricate and delicate ecosystem, including a levee built by the Army Corps of Engineers, keeps the river at bay.
And how about the fact that, since the river is state property, any floating, for-profit structure in it would be exempt from property taxes?
Klee, in a cautionary letter sent to Mayor Luke Bronin on March 9, reminded city leadership of all of these truths, citing examples of previous attempts at river-borne development proposals the agency has denied over the years.
And while he didn't outright prohibit this proposed planning process, he said the city "may wish to reconsider the desirability of promoting residential and commercial development alongside and within the Connecticut River."
"In other contexts, the City of Hartford has taken a leadership role in promoting sustainability and climate adaptation, so it seems somewhat incongruous for the city now to be soliciting intensive development of its floodplain," Klee wrote.
Environmental advocates familiar with the river took a similar approach when I discussed this concept with them this week. Anyone and everyone, they say, should act with caution when looking to build something in the floodplain.
I don't pretend to be an expert in this field. But the people who are issuing these opinions to Gale and his colleagues are experts. And if they all consistently say that development along the river can be an arduous process, I have to put stock in that advice.
National News Clips
April 4, 2018- Houston Council Approves Changes to Floodplain Regulations in Effort to Reduce Flood Damage
More than seven months after Hurricane Harvey's destructive floods damaged hundreds of thousands of homes across a wide swath of southeast Texas, the Houston City Council on Wednesday approved the first overhaul to floodplain regulations in a decade.
Originally proposed by Mayor Sylvester Turner in late January, the new regulations, which passed in a 9-7 vote and take effect Sept. 1, are meant to reduce future damage in the flood-prone city.
Currently, homeowners in the 100-year floodplain are required to have flood insurance and build new homes 1 foot above the floodplain. Turner's proposal will increase that to 2 feet and expand it to homes in the 500-year floodplain.
The ordinance covers new construction and any existing home that's expanded by 33 percent or more - existing homes are grandfathered and don't have to be elevated.
It is the first significant regulation the city has enacted in response to the historic flooding that crippled the sprawling metropolis last August. It also comes after an extensive Texas Tribune/ProPublica
into the city's extreme vulnerability to flooding.
Council member Jack Christie on Wednesday said he feared that expanding building regulations to the 500-year floodplain would force homeowners with no prior history of flooding to elevate their homes. And because the city is waiting on updated floodplain maps to be released, council member Greg Travis voiced concerns that the city may be jumping the gun. Both voted against Turner's proposal.
"I think we're overreaching here," Travis said. "We've only looked at 5,000 houses in the 500-year floodplain. There's not enough data. Nobody here is saying, 'Don't do anything,' we're saying, 'Do the right thing.'
The drive to include the 500-year floodplain - where there is only supposed to be a 0.2 percent chance of flooding each year - came after homes in that floodplain flooded in three consecutive years. During Harvey, a third of homes in the 500-year floodplain were damaged by flooding and, according to a city study, 84 percent of the structures in the 100-year or 500-year floodplains that flooded during Harvey may have avoided damage if the proposed regulations had been in place.
March 23, 2018- National Flood Insurance Is Underwater Because of Outdated Science, Scientific American
The National Flood Insurance Program, which covers some 5.2 million property holders in the U.S., was slated to get a badly needed overhaul today. The Senate's task-which includes hammering out reforms that address the changing math of flood risk-has already been pushed back three times since November. Yet lawmakers still have not compromised on how to fix a broken system, so a reauthorization of the NFIP will almost certainly be punted again, to July 31.
The NFIP, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is struggling because it is trapped in a downward spiral of ballooning claims without the resources to cover them. The program has been unable to sustain itself since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but last fall, after a hurricane season that was unprecedented in both severity and frequency,
administrators announced the program had maxed out the $30.4 billion it had been authorized to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. Although Pres. Donald Trump signed a disaster relief bill that forgave $16 billion of its debt, the NFIP continues to be steamrolled by extreme weather events, including the recent series of back-to-back nor'easters that have clobbered the Northeast.
In its current form, the NFIP is "ill-suited to deal with the challenges we face today and the flood risks we face five, 10, 50 years from now," says Robert Moore, a senior policy analyst at the National Resources Defense Council. Pretty much everyone agrees this is true, regardless of party politics. In fact, SmarterSafer, a collation made up of insurance companies, progressive environmental organizations and right-leaning think tanks, is one group advocating for sweeping change.
Among the major reasons why the NFIP cannot keep up with the growing number of claims is that it assesses risk based on outdated science. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy it became widely known FEMA was demarcating flood zones using data from the 1980s, which failed to predict the inundations brought by the 2012 storm. Meanwhile development continues to bloom in increasingly vulnerable floodplains, creating more properties that the NFIP pays to repair-sometimes over and over again.
Since the chaos of Sandy, a growing number of researchers have analyzed flood risk on a more comprehensive and granular level. Their results have exposed an even more troubling gap between FEMA guidelines and recent estimations of risk.
March 21, 2018- Developing a Plymouth-based Response to Climate Change, Plymouth Wicked Local
This has been a March for the history books, and now, as the water finally recedes, the town is faced with the cleanup of downed trees, discarded plastic, battered lobster traps and an endless assortment of governmental acronyms.
It may be weeks or months before the town has final plans and the financing necessary to restore beaches and repair damaged infrastructure, but Monday afternoon the acronym cleanup began in earnest with a workshop entitled "Minimizing the Impact: A Climate Change Workshop."
Crowded into the Ropewalk Meeting Room, just across from the main courtroom of the restored 1820 Courthouse, were representatives of the EEOA, the CZM, the CCAP, the OEM, the DPW the CPC, SEMPBA and the town.
Just days after a third successive Nor'easter had ravaged the coast these were the people you'd want to ask for information and assistance, but this gathering wasn't a response to the last few weeks of storms, flooding and erosion.
The meeting was actually organized weeks ago by SEMPBA (the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance) in cooperation with the town's Planning Department in the hopes of establishing a local working group made up of state and town officials - plus community members - to develop plans for improving Plymouth's coastal resiliency.
"I was struck by the urgency in which other coastal communities are preparing for the changes that are predicted by the various models tracking climate change," SEMPBA President Sharl Heller told the Old Colony.
"As a member of the Open Space Committee we worked with the town to update the Plymouth Open Space and Recreation Plan, so I knew that Plymouth does not have a plan to deal with the impacts of climate change.
"When I met with Lee (Hartmann, director of planning) to discuss developing a plan with the help of CZM and MVP, he jumped right on board and gave me a list of who he'd like to see at the meeting."
With Town Planner Robin Carver moderating Monday's meeting EOEEA (Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs) went first, with Assistant Secretary of Climate Change Kathleen Theoharides explaining how the town's efforts to prepare for future storms might benefit from participating in another acronym, the MVP.
The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (grant) Program, Theoharides explained, is a special state initiative that looks to partner with cities "to begin the process of planning for resiliency."
The MVP program helps communities to define extreme weather and natural and climate-related hazards, identify existing and future vulnerabilities and strengths, develop and prioritize actions for the community and ultimately to identify opportunities to take action to reduce risk and build resilience.
March 19, 2018- Cape Cod Coastal Resiliency Considered in Wake of 3 Major Storms, Cape Cod
In the wake of the third nor'easter in a week and a half - many are beginning to talk about ways to make Cape Cod more resilient in the face of increasingly strong and more frequent storm.
Since early January, 3 storms have pounded the Cape, delivering historic flooding and coastal inundation.
Some weather experts say this may the "new norm" for Cape Cod - and it's time for a tough conversation on how to manage the immediate coastline.
During a visit to Cape Cod in the aftermath of the storm, Governor Charlie Baker heard from the region's legislative delegation on the issue.
Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr said this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Governor Baker said his office created an executive order a year ago to evaluate municipal vulnerability planning.
About 60 to 70 communities have been through the process so far. He expects to file legislation that will enhance their efforts in vulnerability planning.
Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton said they are going to be making an expanded commitment to get as many towns as possible involved in the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program.
The state can award money to communities they can use to begin and complete vulnerability assessments. That allows communities to become eligible for follow-up grant funding.
Baker said he wants all cities and town in the state to have a vulnerability plan that focuses around climate change.
He said it will also require some creative thinking on the part of all those involved.
Zoning will also be part of the discussion.
Baker questioned how high we should build seawalls to keep the ocean back - and that maybe there's a point when you just can't keep repairing existing structures.
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).