CIRCA in the News
Local and State News Clips
New Products Available from CIRCA Grant Projects
Four Council of Governments recently completed CIRCA grant projects listed below and transferable products are available from their project websites. This work tackles topics of inland and coastal flooding, critical infrastructure, green infrastructure, and policy & planning. Funding was provided from CIRCA's
Grants. Click on the project title to visit the project website.
How to Map Open Space for Community Rating System Credit
NOAA produced an interactive, online "How to" and companion
GIS Workflow and Mapping Guide
to help communities earn credits in FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS) program by mapping and documenting preserved open space. These products respond to interest from coastal communities in the CRS and requests for technical help with GIS mapping. They can be found at:
Under the CRS, participating communities can earn discounts on NFIP flood insurance policy premiums through their efforts to reduce their flood risk, including preservation of open space in flood hazard areas. These new resources help communities identify places where they could earn credit for existing and future efforts to preserve open space in floodplains.
The "How to" outlines the process - from mapping to documentation of preserved open space - in seven easy-to-understand steps, and is geared for community CRS coordinators and planners. The companion GIS workflow provides geospatial analysts with sources of data, information, and instruction needed for key mapping tasks.
Feb. 5-8, 2018- FEMA's 4-day 273 Course: Managing Floodplain Development Through the National Flood Insurance Program in Narragansett, RI
ASFPM is co-hosting the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) 273 Course in Narragansett, RI with FEMA and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. This course is designed to provide an organized training opportunity for local officials responsible for administering their local floodplain management ordinance. The course will focus on the NFIP and concepts of floodplain management, maps and studies, ordinance administration, and the relationship between floodplain management and flood insurance.
Feb. 5-8, 2018
M-Th 8:00AM - 5:00PM
: Course attendance is
, but registration is required.* All attendees are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and meal expenses.
Deadline to register is
January 12, 2018
. Please follow instructions in the course flyer.
Contact Melinda Hopkins at Melinda.Hopkins@ema.ri.gov.
CFM EXAM (optional):
A separate Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM®) Exam will be held on Friday, February 9. Course attendance is NOT required to sit for the CFM Exam. Separate registration and fee required to sit for the CFM Exam. Exam applications must be submitted to ASFPM no later than January 31, 2018.
Friday, February 9, 2018
9:00AM - 12:00PM
Note: The 273 course is not a CFM Exam prep course, takers should not expect to pass the exam without additional study of materials found on the CFM Exam Preparation webpage.
January 31, 2018- Citizen Science Competitive Funding Program
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is pleased to announce a competitive funding opportunity for citizen science projects. All USFS units and partners are invited to apply for up to $25,000/project.
The CitSci Fund is a collaborative approach to resource management - each project will have one USFS Project Lead and one Partner Project Lead, and demonstrate how volunteers are meaningfully involved. The CitSci Fund directly supports Chief Tony Tooke's National Priority #3: Promoting shared stewardship by increasing partnerships and volunteerism.
Project applications are due January 31, 2018 by 11:59 pm ET
For questions, email: FSCCS@fs.fed.us
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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 and to apply for a travel grant click here
CIRCA in the News
January 8, 2018- Sandy + 5; Irene + 6: Coastal Resilience Still Elusive And Expensive
West Haven - There are empty spaces now on Third Avenue Extension along Old Field Creek in West Haven, where cottage-like homes stood as recently as a few years ago.
They stood there in 2011 when Tropical Storm Irene swamped them with floodwaters from Long Island Sound, a block or so away, and when storm Sandy did the same a year later.
Now, as nature pushes its weedy way back onto these small plots, the shoreline retreat they represent stands as one of the most aggressive responses to the climate change and sea-level rise that are poised to threaten Connecticut's shoreline even more than thought.
from the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) calculates that sea-level rise in Long Island Sound is likely to be 20 inches higher in 2050 than the average sea level used today. And because of that, 100-year floods - those are flooding events with a 1 percent chance of occurring annually - could be eight times more frequent in some shoreline areas.
But six years after Irene, five years after Sandy, and tens of millions of dollars later, West Haven is the exception, not the rule. Connecticut's shoreline looks much as it did before the storms hit.
Yes, it's a little stronger. Many homes have been elevated, buildings and infrastructure repaired, and some reinforced. Lots of planning documents have been generated, but implementation of genuine change has been slow. And in the ongoing battle between private property rights and public responsibility, the inclination still largely has been to rebuild structures where they were.
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Local & State News Clips
January 4, 2017- Coastal Areas See Flooding; Winds Whipping In Westbrook
WESTBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) - Thursday's blizzard has brought some wild conditions right to the immediate shoreline in Westbrook. News 8's George Colli decided to demonstrate how strong the winds were Thursday afternoon by going fishing. Sounds like fun, right?
Earlier in the day, George was at Grove Beach Point in Westbrook to take a look at what the flooding looked like at high tide. The wintry weather had some along the water concerned about coastal flooding, and the tide was higher than normal because of the super moon a few days back.
Communities along the Connecticut shoreline are dealing with flooding issues during Blizzard Brody.
Channel 3's crew in the New London area saw snow start around 2:30 a.m. The storm delivered heavy snow and gusty winds along the shoreline.
In Old Saybrook, Route 154, which is also known as Plum Bank Road, is closed due to flooding and ice flows, fire officials tweeted.
Elm Street in Old Saybrook was "flooded and impassible." To keep drivers and residents safe, authorities have setup barriers.
There was also flooding in the area of Grove Beach Point in Westbrook near Captains Drive.
New London residents and crews are now digging out and fighting strong winds.
Getting an early start on the storm was key to the city's cleanup strategy. New London Public Works crews cleared the sidewalks and pre-treated streets with plenty of sand and salt.
"We came in at 4 o'clock, we pre-treated," Brian Sears with the New London Public Works said. "We did have a window until about 6:3 a.m. before the snow hit and we got some really good material down."
New London Public Works said it has 280 tons of a sand/salt mix available with another 500 tons being delivered. City officials said the trick is getting it down early.
"That's the key," said David DiNoia, New London Public Works superintendent. "You miss that opportunity now you've got snow bonded to frozen roads for days."
In Waterford, public works crews were busy like many towns putting down a mix of sand and calcium chloride. The biggest concern on Thursday is the wind, which may cause power outages.
December 6, 2017, New Haven Long Wharf Development Enters Planning Stage
The City of New Haven has hired architects to plan an economic development project in Long Wharf, the area along I-95 and Long Island Sound.
New Haven's Long Wharf has recently seen investment in a bike trail, food truck area, and new boat house. Mayor Toni Harp wants to add to that.
"Going forward, plans for this part of New Haven, we hope, will include repurposed buildings and a comprehensive economic plan, improved streetscapes and landscaping, new transportation features and a beautiful Long Wharf Park."
Harp says the city is using half of a $100,000 state grant to fund the plan for 400 acres near the waterfront.
from the University of Connecticut
found that the area was "highly vulnerable" to flooding from hurricane events.
"We needed to rethink this whole area anyway with, clearly, sea rise coming," says Matthew Nemerson, the city's economic development leader. "We have to deal with the sustainability of protecting the rail, of protecting the cut of where the rail comes through the city which can bring water."
National News Clips
January 7, 2018- In New York, Drawing Flood Maps Is a 'Game of Inches'
With its 520 miles of coastline and thousands of acres of waterfront development, New York has more residents living in high-risk flood zones than any other city in the country. Hurricane Sandy, the devastating October 2012 storm, did
$19 billion in damage
to the city, and the pace of development along the water has only increased.
Now, after a year in which hurricanes ravaged Houston and the Caribbean, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is substantially redrawing New York's flood maps for the first time in three decades. It is a painstaking process that will affect tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people, determining how and where buildings can be constructed and the cost of flood insurance on everything from modest bungalows to luxury skyscrapers.
New York will be the first major metropolis to be remapped taking into account the realities of climate change, like rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms.
The new models, for coastal areas stretching from Cape May to the Hudson Valley, will be used to shape the city's future zoning, development and building standards to help it become more sustainable. As a result, FEMA and city officials say, New York could be an example for other places around the country.
But the maps will also be shaped by the history of New York, where 80 percent of properties were built before the current flood maps and requirements were in place, as opposed to 20 percent nationally, noted J. Andrew Martin, acting chief of FEMA's risk analysis branch in New York. If those older buildings end up in high-risk zones, their owners could be required to buy flood insurance or make expensive modifications, adding costs that are beyond the reach of many working-class homeowners.
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January 4, 2018- Louisiana Says Thousands Should Move From Vulnerable Coast, But Can't Pay Them
Every time it rains, Ollie Williams gets the boats ready. She keeps a small fiberglass canoe tied to the bottom of her front steps, a metal flatboat tied to the side of the house, paddles and life jackets at the ready.
Williams and her husband, Daniel, already raised their double-wide trailer up on wooden stilts, 13 feet in the air, so the inside stays dry. But when it rains, the yard can fill quickly with several feet of water, lifting the canoe up the tall steps out front.
If the storm is bad enough, the family grabs go-bags full of documents and photos and paddles to higher ground, where they've hopefully remembered to move the cars beforehand. Then they call family or friends for help.
"This is where we wanted to be forever," says Ollie Williams. The couple grew up here, near Slidell, east of New Orleans, and they say flooding didn't use to be this bad. "We wanted to build our home with our family, have memories."
But now she's fed up and thinks her family should move to a safer place.
For thousands of households where flooding is only expected to get worse, the state of Louisiana agrees. The state has even crafted a plan to buy out the most vulnerable homes along the coast, many of which are occupied by elderly and poor residents who stayed after Hurricane Katrina. But officials say there is no money to put that plan into action.
January 2, 2017- The Texas Coastline Is Slowly Disappearing. Here's How One Community Is Coping
The banana water lilies that once filled Jefferson County's Salt Bayou marsh started dying off years ago.
The aquatic plants, with their elegant white and yellow blooms, used to pepper the 139,000-acre wetland in Southeast Texas - a hub for wildlife, boaters and commercial fisheries.
Their disappearance has been linked to the development of a shipping channel that hampered the flow of freshwater into the marsh. But scientists say it's also the symptom of a problem that haunts the entire Texas coast: The shoreline is eroding.
Subsidence, sea level rise and storm surges have all contributed to significant land loss, averaging 4 feet per year along the state's coastline, according to the Texas General Land Office. In some places, more than 30 feet of shoreline disappears underwater annually.
Ecologically-sensitive areas near the coast, like the Salt Bayou marsh, are more prone to inundation by seawater, which kills off salt-sensitive aquatic plants and animals. With less space between sea and shore, it can also make neighborhoods and industry more vulnerable to hurricane storm surges.
Todd Merendino, a manager at the conservation-focused group Ducks Unlimited, said sand dunes used to line the shore near the Salt Bayou marsh, forming a crucial buffer between the Gulf of Mexico and the millions of dollars' worth of industrial infrastructure that lie inland. The dunes are "all gone now," he said.
"One day, you wake up and you go, 'Wow, we got a problem,'" Merendino said. "And it's not just an isolated problem where one swing of the hammer is going to fix it."
December 28, 2017- Sea Level Rise Is Creeping Into Coastal Cities. Saving Them Won't Be Cheap
To get a sense of how much it will cost the nation to save itself from rising seas over the next 50 years, consider Norfolk, Virginia.
In November, the Army Corps released a proposal for protecting the cityfrom coastal flooding that would cost $1.8 billion. Some experts consider the estimate low. And it doesn't include the Navy's largest base, which lies within city limits and likely needs at least another $1 billion in construction.
Then consider the costs to protect Boston, New York, Baltimore, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Houston and the more than 3,000 miles of coastline in between.
Rising seas driven by climate change are flooding the nation's coasts now. The problem will get worse over the next 50 years, but the United States has barely begun to consider what's needed and hasn't grappled with the costs or who will pay. Many decisions are left to state and local governments, particularly now that the federal government under President Donald Trump has halted action to mitigate climate change and reversed nascent federal efforts to adapt to its effects.
December 20, 2017- RGGI Finalizes Rule To Cut Emissions 30% From 2020 To 2030
The nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has finalized an updated Model Rule designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30% between 2020 and 2030, after having set a cap this year that is already almost 49% lower than 2012 levels.
"The finalized RGGI Model Rule is essentially unchanged from the draft that was unveiled in August, leaving little surprise for the market," said Roman Kramarchuk, managing director of global power, emissions and clean energy at PIRA Energy, an analytics unit of S&P Global Platts, in an email Wednesday. "A key feature for the program after 2021 remains a full bank adjustment, attempting to address market oversupply."
In Tuesday's statement, RGGI said the rule sets the regional emissions cap in 2021 at about 75.148 million st and subtracts 2.275 million st/year of CO2 thereafter, declining to less than 54.7 million st in 2030, compared with 84.3 million st in 2017.
The RGGI states currently are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, but following recent elections, New Jersey and Virginia are expected to join in coming years.
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).