CIRCA in the News
Local and State News Clips
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.
February 27, 2018, Webinar: Sustainable CT: Local Actions. Statewide Impact.
Join us to explore Sustainable CT, a new statewide, sustainability certification program for Connecticut's cities and towns. Lynn Stoddard and Jessica LeClair of Eastern Connecticut State University's Institute for Sustainable Energy will present an overview of the program and describe the certification process.
Sustainability actions, policies, and investments deliver multiple benefits and help towns make efficient use of scarce resources and engage a wide cross section of residents and businesses. There are many ways to participate - join us to learn how you can be involved in Sustainable CT!
Back to Announcements
March 1, 2018- Webinar: Connecticut's 2018 Comprehensive Energy Strategy
Thursday, March 1, 2018 from 12-1 PM
Join us to explore Connecticut's recently released 2018 Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES). By statute, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is required to periodically update the CES for all energy needs in the state, including, but not limited to, electricity, heating, cooling, and transportation. The 2018 CES recommends policies that support the state's broader environmental policies to meet clean air, clean water, land conservation and development, and waste reduction goals, including reducing GHG emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.
March 6, 2018- Coastal Perspective Lecture Series: Dr. Jennifer R. Marlon, "Climate change in the American mind: communication, challenges and opportunities"
Jennifer R. Marlon, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies presents
"Climate change in the American mind: communication, challenges and opportunities."
Lecture series is FREE and open to the public.
Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m.
Lectures are held in the UConn Avery Point auditorium, 1084 Shennecossett Road, Groton. Enter from the Academic Building main entrance, auditorium is on second floor at end of hall (disabled accessible); or enter through the student center, go up one flight of stairs. [
This series is sponsored by The UConn Avery Point Campus Director's Office, The Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, the UConn Department of Marine Sciences and the UConn Maritime Studies Program.
For more information and to view future Coastal Perspective Lectures
March 12, 2018- 12th Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources in Storrs, CT
Many Resources, One Environment was the sentiment of the first Connecticut Conference on
Natural Resources (CCNR) and continues today. This year we will highlight Coastal
Highlights at the upcoming meeting include 1- Plenary by Eric Eckl, founder of Water Words that
Work, and 2- Keynote by David Gallo, oceanographer and top TED talk presenter.
We encourage submissions related to all natural resources topics. This year we will have
two workshop sessions by Water Words that Work on Changing the Subject about climate
science, and anticipate sessions on the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, the Connecticut Institute
for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, environmental education, as well as themes of Coastal
Resiliency and Climate Change, Coastal subaqueous soils, Environmental Education, Fish and
Wildlife Species and Habitat Management, Invasive Species, Long Island Sound/Coastal Zone
Issues, Mapping (GIS) Data and Applications, and Water Resources (Quantity, Quality,
Stormwater, Road Salt). Please indicate if your submission aligns well with either of these
themes. Please note that all presenters should register and pay for the conference.
Presentations will be in McHugh Hall (formerly Laurel Hall) next to the Student Union. As in past years, lunch tickets at Union Street Market in the Student Union are provided with registration.
Questions about abstract submission, organizing a workshop, or sponsoring the conference
should be directed to
Jack Clausen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-486- 0139
March 17, 2018 - Connecticut Land Conservation Conference
Saturday - March 17, 2018
8:30am - 5:00pm, followed by reception
Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
Preparations are underway for CLCC's 2018 Connecticut Land Conservation Conference - a full day of educational workshops and peer-to-peer networking for those interested in land conservation, followed by an informal reception with friends and colleagues from across the state.
CIRCA Presenting Workshop
C.3 Climate Adaptation in Coastal Connecticut
Living shorelines are a climate adaptation strategy that provides coastal habitat while also mitigating flooding or erosion. This workshop will present guidance for land trusts when considering the creation of a living shoreline on their property as well as case studies of living shorelines designed for land trusts in Connecticut.
Rebecca A French, Director of Community Engagement, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA)
Kimberly Bradley, Living Shorelines Project Specialist, CIRCA
Schedule at a Glance
7:30 am - Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 am - Plenary Session:
10:00 am - Break
10:30 am - Workshop Session A (90-minutes)
12:00 pm - Lunch
1:15 pm - Workshop Session B (75-minutes)
2:30 pm - Break
2:45 pm - Workshop Session C (75-minutes)
4:00 pm - Break
4:15 pm - Workshop Session D (45-minutes)
5:00 pm - Reception
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 and to apply for a travel grant click here
NOAA 2018 Coastal Resilience Grants
NOAA intends to award up to $15 million to support coastal resilience grants that benefit coastal ecosystems and communities. Coastal Resilience Grants support efforts to prepare coastal communities and ecosystems to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and climate-related hazards, which in turn makes our nation safer and our economy more secure.
The FY2017 Coastal Resilience Grants competition included two focus areas-strengthening coastal communities and habitat restoration. In FY2018, new project proposals are being solicited for projects that build resilience through habitat restoration. For the part of the program focused on strengthening coastal communities, NOAA will select proposals from the high-scoring projects submitted but not funded during the FY2017 competition.
The FY2018 Federal Funding Opportunity is accessible through Grants.gov (available on their website), with
mandatory pre-proposals due March 7, 2018
. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, private (for-profit) entities, institutions of higher education, regional organizations, and local, state, and tribal governments. Each proposal may request between $75,000 and $2 million in federal funds.
For additional information and to apply click here
CIRCA in the News
February 7, 2018- Living Shorelines Concept To Aid In Design Of Mystic River Boathouse Park
STONINGTON - The Mystic River Boathouse Park project will receive free help in designing eco-friendly coastal resilience features from the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation at the UConn Avery Point Campus.
Using the concept of "living shorelines," which employs natural erosion control techniques, the institute will provide 25 hours of service until May 1. The effort was detailed Monday by Rebecca French, the institute's director of community engagement, and Kimberly Bradley, living shoreline project specialist, at a meeting of the Mystic River Boathouse Park Implementation Committee.
"If you're not familiar with Living Shorelines, they're basically using nature as an inspiration for how to both enhance a coastal ecosystem but also deal with the challenges we have at our shoreline, erosion in particular," said French. "It's a unique, new approach that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in particular has been promoting, so we can also help in navigating this relatively new coastal management strategy."
She explained that working on the boathouse park project is part of the final phase of a regional coastal resilience grant awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 2016-17. In a national competition, French's group received part of $891,243 awarded to the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems to look at flood forecasting and to advance the use of living shorelines. The final activity required by the grant was to help a couple of pilot communities implement living shorelines, French said.
French and Bradley will review Living Shoreline alternatives for the park and provide local wave information to inform the site design. They will also provide an oral review and recommendation for design alternatives, working with Chad Frost of Kent + Frost Landscape Architecture in Groton, the designer of the project's master plan. A final report will also be provided to the implementation committee and to NOAA.
Chairing Monday's meeting was First Selectman Rob Simmons, who pointed out that the park's shoreline needed to have some areas dedicated to aquatic activities and could not be entirely redone using green infrastructure.
"For purposes of this park, with crew shells, kayaks, canoes and other activities, the whole property cannot be dedicated to Living Shorelines because if it is, the aquatic activities will be dead. But there is a substantial space where these concepts can be applied."
Mike O'Neill, chair of the implementation committee and a partner in Evergreen Building Systems, a construction company in Stonington, said he was familiar with Living Shorelines from professional projects he had worked on. It made him aware of the need to balance the project's practical aspects with aesthetics, he said.
"It is a very nice way to put a property back to what it was supposed to be prior to being developed, prior to restructured for public use," he said. "The one challenge I see is there has to be the ability to have the beauty but also the utility side of this."
Local & State News Clips
February 13, 2018- Branford Lawmaker Demands Restoration of Energy Efficiency Funds
"Climate change is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time and we're already experiencing impacts in Connecticut. More extreme heat days can lead to dehydration, heat stroke and cause cardiovascular events like heart attacks. More frequent poor air quality days can lead to exacerbations of asthma and other respiratory conditions. Energy efficiency initiatives, like those provided by EnergizeCT programs, are critical to reducing the impacts of climate change. Recent raids of energy efficiency funds cost jobs, hurt Connecticut's economy and will harm public health and the environment," said Anne Hulick, Director of Connecticut Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund.
"Connecticut's budget woes partially reflect a broader economic crisis that continues to hit working families the hardest, as the state suffers from a deficit in good jobs. At the same time, we face a looming climate crisis that has already brought more severe storms and major flooding to coastal communities," said John Humphries, Organizer for the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs; and a member of the Governor's Council on Climate Change. "Fortunately, these two crises have the same solution: we need to put people to work protecting the climate."
"Raiding Connecticut's energy efficiency funds does measurable harm to our state economy: without the programs they support, efficiency businesses will be forced to cut employees and may even leave the state - taking good jobs with them - and families miss out on energy savings that can make a big difference on electric bills," said Claire Coleman, climate and energy attorney at Connecticut Fund for the Environment. "We ask state legislators to put Connecticut back on the path to a clean energy future this year by strengthening the state's investments in energy efficiency."
National News Clips
February 11, 2018- Researchers Team Up With Cities To Make Resilience A Reality
A multi-million dollar project launched on Sunday aims to connect urban officials with researchers to drive forward projects that will help cities adapt to growing pressures - from climate change to migration and unemployment.
Funded by $3.7 million from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Resilience Accelerator will match on-the-ground needs identified by the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network with expertise in architecture and urban design at New York's Columbia University.
Michael Berkowitz, president of 100RC which is backed by The Rockefeller Foundation, said cities had made progress in creating an "enabling environment" for the transformation required to deal with modern-day shocks and stresses, and were now at a "pivot."
"It's actually about exploiting that enabling environment and helping cities move the needle and ... really doing the projects," he said at the World Urban Forum, a global conference on urban issues.
"Cities are going to spend trillions and trillions of dollars on infrastructure to meet growing urbanisation over the first half of this century," Berkowitz added. "The opportunity here is how we infuse infrastructure with social capital."
The challenge facing cities around the world is to build infrastructure - whether flood defences or new transport systems - that involves communities while providing solutions to multiple challenges, from preventing disasters to providing clean water and energy, and adding green space, Berkowitz said.
Of the world's 7.4 billion people, about 4 billion live in urban areas, the World Bank says. By 2045 it expects that figure to rise to 6 billion.
As populations around the world grow and more people migrate from rural to urban areas, an estimated $94 trillion of infrastructure investments will be needed by 2040, the G20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub said last year.
February 6, 2018- Congress Wants 'Resilient' Rebuilding. What Does That Mean?
Congress is weighing a House-passed $81 billion supplemental aid package for hurricane and wildfire victims in Texas, Florida, California and the territories.
While Republicans are loathe to mention global warming, the measure includes a provision that would require post-disaster rebuilding be done with "resilience" to mitigate "future risks."
With the threat of unpredictable and more severe weather events looming, lawmakers, engineers, scientists and urban planners are wrestling with what it means to rebuild "resiliently." And they are divided.
One school of thought maintains resilience can be achieved through stronger building codes. Other advocates want an end to building in flood and fire zones altogether.
Some policymakers and analysts argue resilience necessitates combating climate change. Others, however, see global warming as beside the point.
"Clearly resilient is a term of the period. It's warm and fuzzy and can mean just about anything you want it to mean," Spencer Rogers, a coastal construction and erosion specialist with North Carolina's Sea Grant program, said.
"It has had other names at other times - adaptation, mitigation, storm resistant - lots of different warm and fuzzy titles over the years that are probably equally confusing," he said.
The resilience provision in the supplemental aid package would leave the politically tricky task of defining the term to the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a position currently held by longtime emergency manager Brock Long. From the bill's passage, he would have 18 months to create a definition.
The proposed supplemental borrows language from the "Disaster Recovery Reform Act,"
, a Republican sponsored bill that would amend the Stafford Act to require rebuilding be done with resilience. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved it last year.
January 24, 2018- How to Save a Town From Rising Waters
The only land route that connects Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, to the rest of the continental United States is Island Road, a thin, four-mile stretch of pavement that lies inches above sea level and immediately drops off into open water on either side. Even on a calm day, salt water laps over the road's tenuous boundaries and splashes the concrete.
The road wasn't so exposed when it was built in 1956. Residents could walk through the thick marsh that surrounded the road to hunt and trap. But over the coming decades, the landscape transformed.
Levees stopped the natural flow of fresh water and sediment that reinforced the fragile marshes. Oil and gas companies dredged through the mud to lay pipelines and build canals, carving paths for saltwater to intrude and kill the freshwater vegetation that held the land together. The unstoppable, glacial momentum of sea-level rise has only made things worse. Today, almost nothing remains of what was very recently a vast expanse of bountiful marshes and swampland.
Isle de Jean Charles, home to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw band of Native Americans, has lost 98 percent of its land since 1955. Its 99 remaining residents have been dubbed
"America's first climate refugees.
"There's just a little strip of it left," said resident Rita Falgout. "There used to be a lot of trees; we didn't have so much salt water." Like many of the houses on Isle de Jean Charles, her home is raised on 15-foot stilts to evade the increasingly omnipresent floodwaters. But the stilts can't protect her from the island's isolation. Strong winds alone can flood the road, cutting the island off from vital resources like hospitals. Soon the road will be impassable year-round.
"My husband is sick, and if we're back here when the road floods, what are we going to do?" Falgout asked.
The only long-term solution is to leave.
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).