In the News
December 20, 2016-
Fish Seek Cooler Waters, Leaving Some Fishermen's Nets Empty
, New York Times
January 3, 2017-
Climate is Raising Flood Risk in the Northern U.S.,
January 3, 2017-
Storm Surge Damage Falls $8.3 Billion a Year in Louisiana's New Coastal Plan,
January 3, 2017-
Study: Coastal NC Officials Not Willing To Prepare For Sea Level Rise,
January 2, 2017-
Yes, Some Extreme Weather Can Be Blamed on Climate Change,
December 28, 2016-
Study: Sea Level Rise May Severely Impact Tampa By 2040,
10 News Tampa Bay Saratosa
Federal Report: Standards and Finance to Support Community Resilience
According to leading models, the likelihood of severe weather causing at least $1 billion in insured losses in the United States annually is 92 percent, or almost certain to occur every year. An estimated $10 trillion in insured property along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts is vulnerable to tropical storms. And according to the latest estimates, Hurricane Matthew alone will cost the United States anywhere from $1.5 and $5 billion in insured losses.
As these numbers show, there is a compelling economic and fiscal rationale for investing in resilience and preparedness for natural hazards - one that requires work not only on the part of the Federal Government, but also the private sector. That's why the Federal Government has been working closely with leaders in the private sector, and responding to specific recommendations from States, tribal communities and local leaders, to integrate resilience into the fabric of how we build, rebuild, plan, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
As a part of these continued efforts, on December 21, 2016 the Administration released a
that identifies additional opportunities for continued collaboration with the private sector and ways to help ensure that future investments will be climate smart from the start.
Sustainable CT: Seeking Your Input!
Tuesday, January 10th, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m., Brookfield Town Hall
Thursday, January 19th, 11:00 - 12:30 p.m., Middlesex Community College,
Thursday, January 19th, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., West Hartford Town Hall
Wednesday, January 25th, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m., Three Rivers Community College
Friday, January 27th, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m., Seymour Town Hall
Sustainable CT is a partnership of municipal leaders, philanthropic
foundations, the Institute for Sustainable Energy, and other stakeholders.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities' Task Force on
Sustainability developed a vision and recommended program framework.
Three Connecticut-based foundations are providing funding to develop
Sustainable CT: Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Common Sense Fund, and
the Hampshire Foundation. The Institute for Sustainable Energy is leading
and coordinating program development and providing technical support.
CIRCA Matching Funds Program
The CIRCA Executive Steering Committee is excited to announce funding under the Matching Funds Program - up to $100,000 is available. CIRCA will consider requests from Connecticut municipalities, institutions, universities, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations for matching funds for projects that address the mission of the Institute.
To be funded, a successful
Matching Funds Request Form
must have a commitment of primary funding within 6 months of the CIRCA award announcement, or have received a waiver from the CIRCA Executive Steering Committee. CIRCA Matching Funds will provide up to 25% of the primary funder's contribution other than municipal or State of Connecticut funds to enhance the likely success of project proposals that advance CIRCA research and implementation priorities. Proposals are required to leverage independent funding awarded through a competitive process. CIRCA matching funds are intended for grant proposals in preparation.
Project proposals should develop knowledge and/or experience that is transferable to multiple locations in Connecticut and have well-defined and measurable goals. Preference will be given to those that involve collaboration with CIRCA to address at least one of the following priority areas:
Improve scientific understanding of the changing climate system and its local and regional impacts on coastal and inland floodplain communities;
Develop and deploy natural science, engineering, legal, financial, and policy best practices for climate resilience;
Undertake or oversee pilot projects designed to improve resilience and sustainability of the natural and built environment along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways;
Create a climate-literate public that understands its vulnerabilities to a changing climate and which uses that knowledge to make scientifically informed, environmentally sound decisions;
Foster resilient actions and sustainable communities - particularly along the Connecticut coastline and inland waterways - that can adapt to the impacts and hazards of climate change; and
- Reduce the loss of life and property, natural system and ecological damage, and social disruption from high-impact events.
In partnership with the
Urban Sustainability Directors Network
, the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) is pleased to announce the opening of Round Ten of Partners for Places.
Partners for Places
is a successful matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government, sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant. The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations.
The application deadline for Round Ten is January 30, 2017 (by 11:59 p.m., any time zone). Please visit the
Partners for Places
webpage for more information. Here you can view the
Request for Proposal
(RFP), access the
and consult the
Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) document. You may also want to visit the
which has summaries of all the proposals submitted in prior rounds. TFN hosted a webinar to answer any questions about the grant program on December 7. A recording of the webinar is available on TFN's website.
Back to Announcements
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - Deadline January 20, 2017
Eligible partners may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire conservation easements on eligible land.
Thomas L. Morgart, Connecticut State Conservationist for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reminds potential applicants that applications for FY2017 funding for the
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
(ACEP) must be received by January 20, 2017.
ACEP's agricultural land easements not only protect the long-term viability of the nation's food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses, they also support environmental quality, wildlife habitat, and historic preservation and protection of open spaces. Native American Tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with NRCS to purchase conservation easements.
entities should submit applications for funding by January 20, 2017
. To find out more about the application process, visit the
section of the Connecticut NRCS website.
Wetland Reserve Easements
Landowners may apply at any time at a local USDA Service Center.
Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance, and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater, and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.
To find out more about the application process, visit the
section of the Connecticut NRCS website.
CIRCA in the News
January 3, 2017- Branford Land Trust Responds to Medlyn Farm
According to aerial photographs, the berm in question was built prior to 1931 in conjunction with an older tidal gate. Cracks began developing in the eroded berm in the late 1990s, and by 2005, the berm was breached in multiple places. The size of the breaches continued to grow, creating a hazard for hikers who used a trail crossing the berm and connecting Stony Creek to the woods north of RT 146. On every high tide that flooded the marsh, water passed through the breach of the berm and during severe storms, water overtopped the full length of berm. In response to a 2007 request for a coastal enhancement project from DEEP's Office of Long Island Sound Projects, the BLT proposed installing a boardwalk along the footprint of the berm. Following design development that involved consultation with DEEP staff, the project was approved by state (DEEP) and federal (Army Corps of Engineers) regulators. A condition of approval was the removal of the remains of the breached berm. In 2012, a contractor working for the BLT removed the berm remnants and built the boardwalk. The project was completed in mid-September, about six weeks before Hurricane Sandy.
Following Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Medlyn began to state that the loss of the berm caused damage to various parts of his property. In response to concerns raised by Town and State officials, DEEP requested an independent study by scientists affiliated with the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Coastal Adaptation (CIRCA) to characterize the hydrology of the system and to determine the impacts of removal of the breached berm, and potential reinstallation of a berm and tidal gate. This study, which can be found here
, concluded "that the presence (or absence) of the berm had little effect on the water levels or the occurrence of flooding at RT 146. The flow is controlled by the tide gate. If the tide gate were substantially modified, then the importance of the berm should be reassessed."
Local & State News Clips
January 2, 2017- Communities Prepare For Winter Snow
Area towns approach the annual winter-weather crap-shoot with optimism and preparation.
"It's a coin flip," Trumbull Department of Public Work John Marsilio said recently. "The mantra is, you hope for the best and you prepare for the worst."
A number of towns, Trumbull among them, have spent the year gathering resources in anticipation of what could be several months of snowy, icy weather. That means stockpiles of salt - and in some cases, sand.
"It's something that never stops," Marsilio said. "We begin to prepare for snow season as soon as the old season ends. ... We're ahead of the curve on that."
Trumbull has gathering 4,000 tons of sand and 2,000 tons of salt to go along with year-round plow maintenance to cover the town's 26 snow-removal routes, he said.
This winter has an equal chance of being either colder and snowier than normal or warmer or drier, according to a seasonal outlook released in October by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But with La Nina - the cooling of the equatorial pacific in irregular intervals that is associated with widespread climate change - expected to play a role, conditions in the northern U.S. could be colder than last winter.
"We're ready," Stratford Department of Public Works Director Maurice McCarthy. "Our hoppers are re-full of salt, so we're good for a few storms before we run out."
December 29, 2016- Wildlife Service Chooses Plan For Silvio O. Conte Refuge
NORTHAMPTON - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen a plan favored by environmental groups to guide management of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge over the next 15 years.
The Conte Refuge includes land within the 7.2 million-acre Connecticut River watershed, which spans New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The federal government currently owns 37,000 acres of land throughout the watershed, but under its new management framework will likely be authorized to acquire 197,000 more acres, roughly double what it is now authorized to acquire.
The Fish and Wildlife Service took comments last fall on the management plan process, which included four options.
The service's and several environmental groups' preferred plan was Alternative C, which provides a framework for more land acquisition, though not as much as Alternative D did.
The process now moves into a 30-day "review" phase. That ends Jan. 17, after which the framework will likely be implemented, said Andrew French, the refuge's project leader.
Jasen Stock, executive director of the New Hampshire Timber Owners Association, said he was still reviewing the plan details, but said he was glad the service has committed to not using eminent domain to acquire land.
Still, he worries the agency is wrongly focused on acquiring land for conservation when it should be emphasizing public-private partnerships.
"When you look at the original vision (for the refuge) it was heavy toward working with landowners," he said, "and much less about the federal government coming in and buying land."
French said the agency likely wouldn't pursue acreage already protected by conservation easement or other means.
December 25, 2016- Protecting and Improving Long Island Sound
For seven exciting and educational years I have watched as the people of Connecticut and across New England take stock of the communities they live in to make clear and pragmatic plans for building a healthier and more resilient future. I have seen citizens, elected officials and professionals think beyond traditional boundaries and adapt to the changing demands of our environment. Building a resilient future means acting creatively and working together. This is exactly what EPA, the state of Connecticut and its communities have achieved during my time as regional administrator of EPA's New England office to ensure Connecticut's environment has a healthy future.
Connecticut approached the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene and Hurricane Sandy with just this kind of foresight. These storms damaged infrastructure, demolished homes and businesses and disrupted power. The intense recoveries involved smart-growth solutions that considered climate change as a given, helping prepare Connecticut for a future that is certain to involve severe storms.
Connecticut's efforts to consider the future as it makes environmental decisions are key to its accomplishments. These efforts are driven by the passion of its residents for protecting the environment. The state has demanded creative solutions for the health of Long Island Sound, the iconic stretch of coastline and massive watershed in New England and New York. Long Island Sound is a critical environmental resource in Connecticut. But it is also a huge economic driver, bringing tens of billions of dollars into the region.
This year, I signed off on rules that will allow marine traffic to continue to safely navigate the sound in an environmentally responsible way. The rules designated three small sites in Long Island Sound where sediment dredged from harbors and navigation channels can be placed without causing long-term impacts to the environment. These rules will help maintain conditions for safe navigation for marine commerce and recreation, and for military and public safety operations. The site designations were completed after years of public dialogue and intensive scientific study, and after many modifications based on research and public feedback.
December 20, 2016- Fish Seek Cooler Waters, Leaving Some Fishermen's Nets Empty
POINT JUDITH, R.I. - There was a time when whiting were plentiful in the waters of Rhode Island Sound, and Christopher Brown pulled the fish into his long stern trawler by the bucketful.
"We used to come right here and catch two, three, four thousand pounds a day, sometimes 10," he said, sitting at the wheel of the Proud Mary - a 44-footer named, he said, after his wife, not the Creedence Clearwater Revival song - as it cruised out to sea. But like many other fish on the Atlantic Coast, whiting have moved north, seeking cooler waters as ocean temperatures have risen, and they are now filling the nets of fishermen farther up the coast.
Studies have found that two-thirds of marine species in the Northeast United States have shifted or extended their range as a result of ocean warming, migrating northward or outward into deeper and cooler water.
Lobster, once a staple in southern New England, have decamped to Maine. Black sea bass, scup, yellowtail flounder, mackerel, herring and monkfish, to name just a few species, have all moved to accommodate changing temperatures.
December 12, 2016- Creating a 'Living Shoreline' With Reef Balls
STRATFORD - Jennifer Mattei crouched along the low-tide mark at Stratford Point to scoop up a mound of inky gray sediment in the palm of her hand.
It is proof, the Sacred Heart University biology professor said, that her Reef Balls are working to restore the beach.
Her meandering rows of thousand-pound, dome-shaped cement balls create an artificial reef. Each ball is punctuated with holes that allow the tide and small sea creatures through. Over the past couple, years the reef, planted just off shore, has begun to not only stop erosion but reverse it - enough for Mattei to win another grant to expand her work.
"It's working beautifully," Mattei said Tuesday of what many in the field call a "living shoreline."
A swath of sediment estimated at four feet deep and 100 feet wide has disappeared along the of shoreline over the past three decades. The property is now owned by the DuPont Corp. and managed by the Audubon Society.
So far, surveyors periodically measuring the terrain estimate sediment about 12 inches thick has re-accumulated over the past two years behind the barrier.
National News Clips
January 3, 2017- Climate is Raising Flood Risk in the Northern U.S.
Scientists who combined an on-the-ground look at stream gauge data and an above-the-ground view from satellites have determined that as the Earth warms, the threat of flooding is growing in the northern half of the United States.
from the University of Iowa, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that shifting rainfall patterns and the amount of water in the ground are likely causes for the changes.
The work fed off research published in 2015 that looked at stream gauges in the central United States, said Gabriele Villarini, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering at the university and a co-author of the new paper with Louise Slater. His earlier research showed limited evidence of significant changes in the magnitude of floods, but strong evidence pointing toward an increasing frequency of flooding.
"Now that we have detected the changes, can we try to identify what the potential major drivers of these changes were?" he said. "That's why we looked at overall wetness and precipitation as a way of trying to explain this spatially distinct patterns that we saw from the data."
Their research also found that the South and West are experiencing decreasing flood risk, an unsurprising finding, he said, given that those regions have experienced both recent and long-standing drought, and that there is less water stored underground.
January 3, 2017- Storm Surge Damage Falls $8.3 Billion a Year in Louisiana's New Coastal Plan
The ambitious 2017 rewrite of Louisiana's $50 billion, 50-year coastal protection and restoration master plan could reduce hurricane storm surge damage by $8.3 billion a year through 2067 and create 800 more square miles of coastal wetlands and dry land than if the plan is not implemented. Included in it are dozens of fast-track coastal restoration projects, to be built within 10 years, and two major sediment diversions -- Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton -- that have been under development on the east and west banks of the Mississippi River below Belle Chasse for several years.
Among the major proposed changes since the plan was last revised in 2012:
Floodgates would be built at the Chef Menteur and Rigolets passes, to keep storm surge from charging into Lake Pontchartrain, and a U-shaped levee would be constructed for Slidell.
A combination levee and floodwall would be built along U.S. 90 between Raceland and Boutte
Other new levee projects would be mounted along portions of the central and western Louisiana coast.
The master plan is Louisiana's premier comprehensive blueprint for buttressing the state's retreating coastline and shielding coastal parishes from hurricane damage.
January 3, 2017- Study: Coastal NC Officials Not Willing To Prepare For Sea Level Rise
Coastal Carolina officials may not be willing to prepare for climate change until it's too late, according to a new study out of N.C. State and Appalachian State Universities.
Appalachian State University researcher Brian Bulla surveyed local officials in 20 coastal counties and found that knowledge of the science behind climate change didn't make officials more willing to prepare their communities for impacts like sea-level rise.
To Bulla, the findings raised concerns.
"It seems to suggest that just providing people − whether public officials or the general public − with more or better information is not necessarily going to increase adaptive action," he said.
Since 1870, global sea level has risen by about 7.5 inches, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which further estimates global sea levels will rise at a greater rate during the next century.
January 2, 2017- Yes, Some Extreme Weather Can Be Blamed on Climate Change
Droughts, wildfires, heat waves, intense rainstorms-these are all extreme weather phenomena that occur naturally. But climate change is now increasing the frequency and magnitude of many of these events. Flooding in Paris and the Arctic heat wave are just two instances where climate change contributed to extreme weather in 2016-and there are many more examples.
Yet how do scientists know that global warming influenced a specific event? Until recently, they couldn't answer this question, but the field of "attribution science" has made immense progress in the last five years. Researchers can now tell people how climate change impacts them, and not 50 or 100 years from now-today.
December 28, 2016- Study: Sea Level Rise May Severely Impact Tampa By 2040
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- A study released by the City of Tampa and the county's Planning Commission said that many low-lying areas could be flooded permanently by 2040 due to rising sea levels.
Areas near Old Tampa Bay, MacDill Air Force Base, McKay Bay, the Tampa Bypass Canal and along the Hillsborough River could be the most vulnerable if sea level rise is not mitigated. Also at risk is the local infrastructure and roads within flood-prone areas.
But most strikingly, Tampa General Hospital on Davis Islands is particularly vulnerable due to its location.
If sea levels continue to rise, the city and county prepared a contingency plan to understand where the impact will be felt the most.
Many people had questions regarding why sea levels are rising, so we went to climate change and attorney, Stephen Tilbrook.
"Increasing temperatures of the ocean water, causes the oceans to expand. The melting of the polar ice caps, also increases sea levels," says Tilbrook.
December 22, 2016- The Navy Adapts to Rising Sea Levels
Many environmentalists have expressed concern about the incoming Trump Administration, since several of the President-elect's picks for cabinet appointments are people who question the human impact on climate. Many fear a government pullback from efforts to combat climate change. The Department of Defense, however, is continuing work to adapt its bases to deal with possible threats associated with a warmer planet.
Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu sits on the Pacific coast about 90 minutes above Los Angeles. The base contains multiple warfare systems and houses deployable units like the Pacific Seabees and the West Coast E-2C Hawkeyes.
About half of the base's seven square miles is salt marsh and is home to many marine birds and mammals. Valerie Vartanian is a natural resources manager for the Navy. Much of her work these days is dedicated to protecting the base from nature, as the ocean level rises.
December 20, 2016- Cities Enlist Nature To Tame Rising Flood Risks
If Ronier Golightly forgets to tend to the street drain near his home, this Northwest Detroit neighborhood might be mistaken for an ephemeral Great Lake after a rain.
The infrastructure in this community just south of the Eight Mile Road, which divides the city from its northern suburbs, has long been problematic. Mr. Golightly and his two neighbors have the unofficial job of clearing leaves from gutters, which has a measurable effect on road flooding.
"Get a rake and make sure the drain is clear. We've been doing it so much that it's just like guaranteed, it's not a big deal anymore," Golightly, a former radio DJ and current popcorn entrepreneur, said as he walked his neighborhood one day earlier this fall. "We knew it was going to get backed up. It doesn't even take a deep rain."
The city's pipeline system, like many other older American cities, carries both sewage and street runoff. But rains are getting heavier here - an August 2014 flash flood cost Metro Detroiters an estimated $1.8 billion in property damage - a shift that climate scientists link to climate change. That means the city's already aging pipes, tunnels, and pumps that carry fluids to wastewater treatment facilities are increasingly strained, leaving pools of water on streets after downpours.
December 7, 2016- Boomtown, Floodtown
The storm that pummeled Hammond's modest brick home - nicknamed the "Tax Day" flood because it fell on the deadline to file federal income taxes - came just 11 months after another, on Memorial Day 2015, that also crippled the city. Together, the floods killed 16 people, inflicted well over $1 billion in damage and provoked an unprecedented uproar from Houstonians, some of whom are now suing the city over chronic flooding problems. A month after the Tax Day flood, another mega-storm hit the city, dumping well over a foot of rain on parts of Harris County, home to Houston, in 24 hours.
The area's history is punctuated by such major back-to-back storms, but many residents say they are becoming more frequent and severe, and scientists agree.
"More people die here than anywhere else from floods," said Sam Brody, a Texas A&M University at Galveston researcher who specializes in natural hazards mitigation. "More property per capita is lost here. And the problem's getting worse."
Scientists, other experts and federal officials say Houston's explosive growth is largely to blame. As millions have flocked to the metropolitan area in recent decades, local officials have largely snubbed stricter building regulations, allowing developers to pave over crucial acres of prairie land that once absorbed huge amounts of rainwater. That has led to an excess of floodwater during storms that chokes the city's vast bayou network, drainage systems and two huge federally owned reservoirs, endangering many nearby homes - including Virginia Hammond's.
Back to News Clips
The Resilience Roundup highlights
CIRCA's presence in the news, provides links to recent local/state/national news articles related to resilience and adaptation, and announces upcoming events and seminars.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's (CIRCA) mission is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment. The institute is located at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus and includes faculty from across the university. CIRCA is a partnership between UConn and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).