CIRCA in the News
June 24, 2015 - 'Move the beach' strategy employed in Hammonasset projects, The Day New London
Madison - Thumping louder than the crashing surf and cawing gulls, the pile driver pounding into the earth beats a rumbling rhythm for the birdwatchers, beach walkers, bicyclists and sunbathers at Hammonasset Beach State Park's West Beach this summer.
"Boy, you can really feel the ground shaking," Susan Whalen, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said last week, as she looked over the construction site for the new 3,430-square-foot bathhouse, first aid station, concession area and offices for the Environmental Conservation Police.
As the machine slammed another wooden support for the new building into the ground, Whalen explained how the project at the state's most popular park has been designed with an eye both on the current needs of the public and future realities of climate change.
"This is an opportunity to demonstrate that you can design a functional and attractive coastal beach complex that meets the needs of people and acknowledges the changing environment we're dealing with," she said. "There was a need to acknowledge sea level rise and the increasing severity of storms with the fact that people are naturally drawn to the water."
The $7.5 million bath house, paid for with state bond funds, is a major example of how the projections of encroaching tides and stronger hurricanes are being incorporated into Connecticut shoreline projects.
The bathhouse is being built 280 feet inland from the one it replaces, with the public spaces 14.5 feet above ground, surrounded by a deck, to allow storm surges to flow underneath.
With a campground and two miles of sandy shoreline in East, Middle and West beaches, Hammonasset draws about 2 million people annually. Along with the new bathhouse, the project includes a children's play area, beach volleyball courts and a paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
"We're building it up high with an observation deck around it, with access ramps from the parking area so it will be easy for people in wheelchairs or with strollers," she said. "We're trying to think that what we're building is going to last 75 years."
The bathhouse project, along with repositioning of walkways to foster dune restoration and a new $2.4 million nature center on higher ground than the obsolete structure it's replacing, are part of an overall "move up the beach" strategy DEEP is employing at the park.
The projects, which began last month and are expected to be completed next summer, have been proposed for several years, Whalen explained, but it wasn't until Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 that they took on a new focus and urgency, she said.
Severe damage to the aging bathhouse, which sat at the high tide line, made replacement with a new, less vulnerable location a necessity.
"In a way, Irene did us a favor," she said.
James O'Donnell, executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation, said the Hammonasset project can serve as a model for coastal towns and private groups with shoreline beaches about how to incorporate climate change projections into future projects.
CIRCA is based at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus in Groton.
"It's clear that we can engineer things that can withstand storm surges and waves," he said. "The more we can demonstrate what the options are, the better."
While the Hammonasset project was designed before CIRCA was created last year, the institute is providing input on other shoreline projects including the park being created at the former Seaside property in Waterford, he said.
The way climate change projections are factored into the design of individual projects, he said, depends on the specific purpose and objective.
If historic buildings at Seaside are to be preserved, for example, the state may opt for a very different approach than "move up the beach."
"The value of Hammonasset is its natural beauty," he said. "You could engineer the project with seawalls to try to stop the beach moving upland, but that would lessen the whole value of the park.
In addition to the new bathhouse and nature center, DEEP has also decided to stop replacing sand at West Beach by replenishing it from costly offshore dredging.
Instead, Whalen said, the agency decided that stabilizing and building up the dunes with beach grass was the more prudent approach, even if it means losing some space for beach blankets. Whatever beach is there will be the one formed by nature, she said.
"Maintaining the dunes will help with sand accretion," she said. "The dune grass that was planted after Irene has taken hold really well. It's really key to holding the sand in place."
Water shapes our lives. From streams to rivers, bays to oceans, water defines not only topography, but the neighborhoods and culture around us.
Along Connecticut's coastline, neighborhoods can be defined by what cove you live in. You pay attention to high tide because your urban backyard might have a salt marsh in it. And when a storm comes in, you face serious questions about how to protect your property and your life.
Superstorm Sandy tested us here. But even scarier tests are being taken by the people of Texas and California right now. Not enough water, followed by far too much, can really overwhelm our systems.
This hour, we listen back on a panel from the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, where we talked about water as both a resource and a threat.
Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. - Senate Chair of the Environment Committee
Leah Lopez Schmalz - Program Director for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound
Gary Yohe - Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University
Local and State New Clips
June 30, 2015 - Sound View project to focus on improvements to Hartford Avenue, The Day New London
Old Lyme - A proposed project to revamp the Sound View beach area will focus on making Hartford Avenue more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists, according to a presentation Tuesday.
The proposal is to widen sidewalks, install street lamps, add bump-outs to control traffic, and install parallel parking along one side of the street and driving lanes that could be shared with bicycles, said Kurt Prochorena, principal with BSC Group, at the public information meeting.
Upgrades to Hartford Avenue would cost an estimated $751,000, with an estimated $532,000 reimbursement from the state.
But a park area and restrooms at Sound View - initially part of the project's scope - would not be included in the first phase of the project, after costs came in higher than anticipated, according to the presentation.
The restrooms, which are in a flood zone and would need to be flood-resistant, would have cost an estimated $242,000 and the Sound View Green would have cost an estimated $471,000.
The town would still seek grant funding to add those two components later, said First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder. The town will also look for cost savings for the project.
Reemsnyder said the selectmen are seeking comments from the public by July 14 and will then vote on whether to proceed with the project or stop at this time.
"We feel this is going to be a great first step in making Sound View beautiful for all of us," she said.
Residents shared a diversity of viewpoints at the meeting, with some applauding the investment in Sound View and the potential to make the area attractive to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Others raised concerns over parking, traffic and safety or said the green or the restrooms are the priority.
Reemsnyder said the state reimbursement is from a transportation grant, and the DOT will only give 10 percent of the project's costs to restrooms.
Reemsnyder said another issue is that it's unclear where the proposed restrooms would be flushed to, whether potentially to sewers, if they are installed in the future, or a more expensive system without sewers.
Frank Noe, a Hartford Avenue business owner, said it would be unwise to redo the streets before installing sewers.
"What happens when the day comes when we have sewers down that street, or all the streets, and we're duplicating all our costs?" he said.
Reemsynder responded that the project should not be held up, because sewers are not a definite and there would be ways to handle that issue during their installation.
Resident Joseph Camean said a large part of the project's intent is to draw residents from all parts of town to Sound View.
"One of the biggest issues is in the winter time tumbleweeds roll down the street, and there's nobody around," he said. "We need to have a year-round presence if we're going to see any kind of revitalization."
If the selectmen proceed, final design plans would be created and funding for the project would be voted on at a town meeting. Construction would be slated to begin in the spring of 2016 and be completed for the summer season.
Tuesday's informational meeting, attended by about 40 residents, came at the completion of the project's preliminary design.
June 30, 2015 - Save the Sound applauds state budget funding, WTNH News
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - A big win for Connecticut environmental groups, as the newly passed state budget allocates funds to support cleaner water in Long Island Sound and help to prepare for storms.
This week, the Connecticut General Assembly authorized the distribution of $140 million in grants and $238 million in low-interest loans to municipalities. This funding addressed the support deemed necessary by the Clean Water fund, which is the organization that funds waste-water treatment and sewer projects throughout the state.
These funds will be available for projects to help keep raw sewage from running into rivers and Long Island Sound, reduce nitrogen fueling into dead zones of the sound, and remove excess phosphorous that causes issues for inland water quality.
Save the Sound program Director Leah Lopez explained why this funding is so critical to their work.
"The General Assembly and Governor have proven that clean water is a state priority. These Clean Water Fund investments to remove nitrogen and phosphorus and to reduce sewage in our rivers are paired with an additional $20 million for green infrastructure projects that absorb and filter storm water to prevent flooding and pollution-all of which will result in cleaner rivers and a healthier Long Island Sound."
Lopez continues by saying the funding will help enhance the abilities of natural ecosystems to protect communities and citizens from storm effects, such as flooding and rising sea levels.
Along with the increase of funding for water quality and safety, Connecticut has also implemented a ban on microbeads found in face scrubs, toothpaste, and hand soaps that make their way into the water.
It's no secret that coastal communities are very desirable for both summer destinations and year-round living. Many of these places have a quaint feeling and are full of memories passed down by families as a beach house gathering place.
Today's coastal real estate market generally falls into two categories: those who have a small lot to build on and want to realize their beach home dream but aren't sure how to do so, and those who have a great location with an existing house that no longer serves their needs and desires.
In either case, there are challenges when it comes to building (or rebuilding) in shoreline communities.
Very quickly, future homeowners realize that not only do they need help with the design and construction process, but also someone who is adept at navigating the strict guidelines and town regulations regarding height, size, extremely tight lots, and difficult restrictions. According to BROM Builders, many people are simply overwhelmed.
"It's not uncommon for clients to come to us with their dream home plans for their coastal lot, only to find out that they don't comply with the regulations," says Rico Mastronunzio, one of BROM's award winning project managers. "Fortunately, with our experience, we're able to optimize design, often infusing fresh ideas that the homeowner loves even more than their original vision."
BROM noted that many people are also unaware of the critical importance of adhering to an "on schedule" construction process as many beach communities do not allow construction during summer months.
"If you can get us through the town zoning approvals, we'll hire you to build our new home!" said homeowners Wayne and Aimee. This couple wanted to tear down and rebuild a new home in Old Lyme, but did not think the town would allow them to build the dream home they longed for.
Clients Dave and Charlene know a little something about challenging building lots. Every bit of their 40-by-100-foot lot was maximized by incorporating both aesthetics and efficiency into the 2,336-square-foot design of their Groton Long Point home, which was named "Best New London County Not So Big House"by the Home Builders Association as a 2010 HOBI Award winner.
Many of the "challenges" rebuild and beach home owners face are easy ones for BROM, which has experience in extensive new build and demolition-rebuild in beach communities. The company also has expertise in conforming to the zoning and permitting requirements in the towns they service.
"Thank you for the excellent, seamless process it took to build our beach house," said clients Carolyn and Michael of Niantic. "You worked with us to design the house the way we wanted it, while keeping us on budget and on time."
With creative design talents, BROM's custom home building services suit not only the primary "wish list" items for their coastal home clients. Other skills include optimizing water views, maximizing space and natural lighting, design efficiency and green building.
For decades, the Southeastern Connecticut community has applauded BROM's open houses, and with good reason. Be sure to visit their upcoming open houses, two of which are nearby rebuilds. To receive Open House Invites to your inbox, join BROM's VIP list for announcements at BromBuilders.com/VIP
The BROM team is available to answer your custom homebuilding questions on beach houses, new builds, and rebuilds. Call 860-889-7106 for more information
BRISTOL - Municipal leaders are inviting business owners and residents to help create a broad-scale plan for the city to better minimize damage from hurricanes, earthquakes ormajor snowstorms in the future.
So far, a draft of the plan recommends expanding the capacity of some drainage culverts, improving the sewer system to prevent backups during floods, and stocking supplies for a community shelter in case an uncommonly severe storm does extensive, widespread damage.
The city already has ordinances in place to prevent ill-advised development in its floodplains, and the draft plan recommends continuing to enforce those rules.
This year, seven central Connecticut communities are participating in a five-year update of the regional plan for coping with natural disasters. A consulting firm, Milone & MacBroom Inc., is compiling information on the existing plans of Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, New Britain, Plainville, Plymouth and Southington, and creating a checklist of new proposals for the next five years.
Bristol, like other communities, is vulnerable to severe snowfalls, such as the October 2011 storm, as well as extreme winds or extensive flooding, the report said.
Analysts used a Federal Emergency Management Agency model to calculate the potential costs of a storm similar to the 1938 hurricane, and concluded losses from damaged or destroyed homes, businesses, factories and offices would total about $192 million. Nearly 400 households would be displaced at least temporarily, and about 100 people would need short-term shelter, it concluded.
Hurricanes are historically a major concern for Bristol because the Pequabuck River frequently floods. The city is working on a $13.5 million sewer system improvement, and, in recent years, has improved numerous culverts to better handle stormwater, the draft report says.
The sort of devastating flood that's predicted once in a century might cause more extensive damage than a 1938-style hurricane, according to the draft plan. Using the FEMA model, regional planners determined that a 100-year-flood would cause roughly the same economic damage as measured by damage and destruction of buildings. But it would leave as many as 3,500 residents in need of short-term shelter, about 35 times as many as the Category 3 hurricane projections show.
"The city's shelters are undersupplied and have been used only a few times in the past 25 years," according to the draft report. "The majority of people in Bristol - as in other towns - shelter at home for winter storms, preferring to stay in place than travel.
"In flood situations, the city finds that it is rarely confronted with need sufficient to merit opening shelters (even if they were fully equipped), noting that it is more cost-effective to put individuals up in local motels than to open the shelter for a handful of people," it says.
But Bristol has the region's second-highest concentration of so-called vulnerable populations: The poor, those without access to cars, and those who have limited or no English.
The draft reporters recommend the city "Invest in public supplies sufficient to stock existing shelter for a major mass care event." It also recommends the city work with a private railroad to replace the rail bridge where Copper Mine Brook reaches the Pequabuck, and suggests encouraging storm-preparedness training in local schools.
A copy of the draft plan can be read at http://tinyurl.com/o3tkqqu.
Among the city officials who contributed to the report's draft version are Emergency Management Director Richard Ladisky, former Chief Building Official Vince D'Andrea, City Engineer Paul Strawderman, City Planner Alan Weiner and public works Director Walter Veselka.
Now the city and the consultants want to hear from property owners, residents, merchants and others with suggestions before the plan is completed. A public information meeting is scheduled for June 30 at 6 p.m. at city hall, and residents and business owners from neighboring towns are invited to speak about natural hazards that could cross community boundaries.
National News Clips
July 7, 2015 - St. Louis region doing little to prepare for climate change, St Louis Post Dispatch
In the Miami metro area, where Broward County is trying to keep the Atlantic Ocean out of its fresh water aquifer, preparing for climate change has been part of its planning process for years. Chicago has developed a climate adaptation guidebook for the region's municipalities, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is beginning to map the roads, bridges and other infrastructure that could be vulnerable to new weather patterns. In Cleveland, the city's climate action plan calls for weatherizing low-income residents' homes and planting more trees to prepare for heat waves and cut the urban heat island effect.
"These are good things to do anyway," Jenita McGowan, Cleveland's sustainability chief, told the Post-Dispatch during a May conference on climate change adaptation in St. Louis. "But I think we feel there's more urgency to it than ever."
Across the country, planners are looking beyond trying to control climate change. No longer are they solely focused on cutting local energy use or building bike trails. Cities, states and the federal government starting to get ready for the increasingly intense impacts that a warming planet could generate, from heat waves to floods to stronger storms. ...
More than 20 states have climate adaptation planning underway, according to the Georgetown Climate Center in Washington, D.C. Except for Colorado and the Great Lakes states, they're all on a coast. "In a way, it might be easier to say it's partisan or maybe they're liberal states, but I think the coastal connection is really part of it," said Vicki Arroyo, director of the Georgetown Climate Center.
July 6, 2015 - OMB: Factor climate change in budget requests, The Hill
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the first time is asking agencies to submit budget plans next year that consider the effects of climate change on the construction and maintenance of federal facilities. The OMB issues a revised playbook for budgeting each year and is now including this explicit requirement.
"Specifically, OMB is asking all Federal agencies to consider climate preparedness and resiliency objectives as part of their Fiscal Year 2017 budget requests for construction and maintenance of Federal facilities," Ali Zaidi, associate director for natural resources, energy and science at the OMB, wrote in a blog post.
"Why? Because making our Federal facility investments climate-smart reduces our fiscal exposure to the impacts of climate change," Zaidi added.
June 29, 2015 - The Fight Over the City's Flood Zones Will Matter for Years to Come, WNYC News
Shortly after Sandy, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained that the flood zones which dictated who needed to buy flood insurance were too small. Sandy, city officials said at the time, proved as much, since the storm damaged thousands of homes that were located well outside the official 100-year flood zone.
Now the de Blasio administration officials say the feds have gone too far. They say the new zones are threatening to make working-class neighborhoods like Canarsie in Brooklyn and Howard Beach in Queens unaffordable.
"That has real implications for neighborhoods, homeowners and residents because it's going to drastically increase flood insurance premiums," said Dan Zarilli, the city director of the city's Office of Resiliency and Recovery. "It could price people out of their homes in a really bad way."
FEMA's flood maps predict which parts of the country have a 1 percent chance of being flooded in any particular year - the 100-year-flood. Property owners inside the zone generally are required to buy flood insurance to qualify for a federally backed mortgage, an expense that could cost thousands of dollars of year. And if a developer wants to construct a new home or building in the zone, the maps say how high the builder must place the first habitable floor.
In a process that began before Sandy but did not conclude until after the storm, FEMA issued a proposal for new maps that doubled the size of the flood zone, saying better technology and science led to a more reliable conclusions.
Because of the high stakes, the city hired an engineering firm last year that analyzed FEMA's methodology. In an appeal to FEMA filed last week, the city argued that FEMA's flood zone is really 35 percent larger than it should be, and will affect 170,000 people unnecessarily. The appeal was first reported in the Daily News.
Philip Orton, an oceanographer at Stevens Institute of Technology, separately evaluated the proposed flood zones and agreed that FEMA exaggerated the size of the 100-year-flood zone.
"In their whole assessment, there is one storm that was dramatically worse than all the others, in November 1950," Orton said. "And when we went back and looked at whether or not they reproduced the storm correctly, we found that the flood height was dramatically overestimated."
But shrinking the zones has its own drawbacks. New homes may not be built high enough off the ground, and if a lot of property owners don't buy flood insurance even though they need it, that means taxpayers will once again get stuck with the bill when a big storm comes.
"It's strange to see New York City asserting that they over-predict the risk of flooding," said Rob Moore,a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
For one, FEMA did not look at any storm from the past decade, when sea levels have risen two or three inches and when three of the top 10 high-water events of the past 100 years occurred (Sandy, Hurricane Irene and a March 2010 Nor'easter). And the maps also do not anticipate any sea level rise in the future, while experts suggest as much as 30 inches could be added over the next three decades.
A representative from FEMA, Andrew Martin, said that the agency would consider the appeal and issue final flood zone maps in the near future. The earliest those maps would take effect, however, would be 2016.
June 26, 2015 - Outer Banks national seashores could lose $2 billion to raisin seas, News & Observer
With the seas expected to rise 1 meter higher over the next 100 to 150 years, a new study says the two national seashores on North Carolina's Outer Banks risk losing buildings and other National Park Service assets worth more than $2 billion.
The national study finds that low-lying seaside parks in the Southeast are the most susceptible to damage out of 40 National Park Service sites on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Everything at Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout national seashores will likely be either inundated or more vulnerable to damage from storms and flooding as the seas rise by about 3 feet.
"It's not saying those parks are gone," said Rob Young, a Western Carolina University geology professor who helped direct the study for the National Park Service. "But if we have a meter of sea level rise, there certainly won't be any part of those parks that won't be vulnerable to the next storm."
June 25, 2015 - Study: Weather patterns that bring heatwaves happening more, Associated Press
Daily weather patterns have changed in recent decades, making eastern North America, Europe and western Asia more prone to nastier summer heatwaves that go beyond global warming, a new study finds.
A team of climate scientists at Stanford University looked at weather patterns since 1979 and found changes in frequency and strength in parts of the world, according to a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. These are the types of weather patterns with stationary high and low pressure systems that you see on weather forecasts, which is different than gradual warming from man-made climate change.
The team studied the kind of upper air patterns that "sort of amplifies the warming trend," said study lead author Daniel Horton. The study doesn't attempt to explain why these changes are happening. But in general they fit a theory that has gained momentum in climate science that says melting sea ice in the Arctic has sometimes altered the way the jet stream flows, contributing to extreme weather like Superstorm Sandy, outside experts said.
June 24, 2015 - DOI, USDA, EPA, NOAA and USACE announce additional Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative sites to prepare natural resources for climate change, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Sites in northern and central California and Montana selected to showcase climate resilience approach
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2015 - The Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) today recognized three new collaborative landscape partnerships across the country where Federal agencies will focus efforts with partners to conserve and restore important lands and waters and make them more resilient to a changing climate. These include the California Headwaters, California's North-Central Coast and Russian River Watershed, and Crown of the Continent.
Building on existing collaborations, these Resilient Lands and Waters partnerships - located in California and Montana/British Columbia - will help build the resilience of valuable natural resources and the people, businesses and communities that depend on them in regions vulnerable to climate change and related challenges. They will also showcase the benefits of landscape-scale management approaches and help enhance the carbon storage capacity of these natural areas.
The selected lands and waters face a wide range of climate impacts and other ecological stressors related to climate change, including drought, wildfire, sea level rise, species migration and invasive species. At each location, Federal agencies will work closely with state, tribal, and local partners to prepare for and prevent these and other threats, and ensure that long-term conservation efforts take climate change into account.
These new Resilient Lands and Waters sites follow President Obama's announcement of the first set of Resilient Landscape partnerships (southwest Florida, Hawaii, Washington and the Great Lakes region) at the 2015 Earth Day event in the Everglades.
Efforts in all Resilient Lands and Waters regions are relying on an approach that addresses the needs of the entire landscape. Over the next 18 months, Federal, state, local, and tribal partners will work together in these landscapes to develop more explicit strategies and maps in their programs of work. Developing these strategies will benefit wildfire management, mitigation investments, restoration efforts, water and air quality, carbon storage, and the communities that depend upon natural systems for their own resilience. By tracking successes and sharing lessons learned, the initiative will encourage the development of similar resilience efforts in other areas across the country.
For example, in the California Headwaters, an area that contributes greatly to state's water supply, the partnership will build upon and unify existing collaborative efforts to identify areas for restoration that will help improve water quality and quantity, promote healthy forests, and reduce wildfire risk. In California's North-Central Coast and Russian River Watershed, partners will explore methods to improve flood risk reduction and water supply reliability, restore habitats, and inform coastal and ocean resource management efforts. In Montana, extending into British Columbia, the Crown of the Continent partnership will focus on identifying critical areas for building habitat connectivity and ecosystem resilience to help ensure the long-term health and integrity of this landscape.
"From the Redwoods to the Rockies to the Great Lakes and the Everglades, climate change threatens many of our treasured landscapes, which impacts our natural and cultural heritage, public health and economic activity," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "The key to making these areas more resilient is collaboration through sound science and partnerships that take a landscape-level approach to preparing for and adapting to climate change.
"As several years of historic drought continue to plague the West Coast, there is an enormous opportunity and responsibility across federal, state and private lands to protect and improve the landscapes that generate our most critical water supplies," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "Healthy forest and meadows play a key role in ensuring water quality, yield and reliability throughout the year. The partnerships announced today will help us add resiliency to natural resource systems to cope with changing climate patterns."
"Landscape-scale conservation can help protect communities from climate impacts like floods, drought, and fire by keeping watersheds healthy and making natural resources more resilient," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "EPA is proud to take part in the Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative.
"Around the nation, our natural resources and the communities that depend on them are becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters and long-term environmental change," said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA Administrator. "The lands and waters initiative will provide actionable information that resource managers and decision makers need to build more resilient landscapes, communities and economies."
"The Army Corps of Engineers is bringing our best scientific minds together to participate in this effort. We are working to ensure that critical watersheds are resilient to changing climate," said Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. "The Army Corps' participation in this effort along with our local, state and federal partners demonstrates our commitment to implement President Obama's Climate Action Plan in all of our missions."
The Resilient Lands and Waters initiative is a key part of the Administration's Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda, a first of its kind, comprehensive commitment across the Federal Government to support resilience of America's vital natural resources. It also directly addresses Goal 1 of the National Fish Wildlife and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy to conserve habitat that supports healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions in a changing climate.
When President Obama launched his Climate Action Plan in 2013, he directed Federal agencies to identify and evaluate approaches to improve our natural defenses against extreme weather, protect biodiversity and conserve natural resources in the face of a changing climate. The Climate Action Plan also directs agencies to manage our public lands and natural systems to store more carbon.
June 24, 2015 - $40 billion of national parks at risk from sea rise, Florida Today
Sea-level rise puts at high risk more than $40 billion in park infrastructure and historic and cultural resources, including almost $90 million in assets at the Canaveral National Seashore, according to a federal report released today. The report by scientists from the National Park Service and Western Carolina University is based on a study of 40 parks, including Canaveral National Seashore.
Sea-level rise threatens structures and other resources at Canaveral that have a replacement value of $88.4 million, according to the report. The park's 167 listed assets in the report all are considered at high risk of damage from sea-level rise because of the overall low elevation of the park and extreme vulnerability to tropical storms. Assets at risk at Canaveral include the $1 million headquarters, parking lots, and maintenance and administrative buildings.
"Climate change is visible at national parks across the country, but this report underscores the economic importance of cutting carbon pollution and making public lands more resilient to its dangerous impacts," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, said in a release. "Through sound science and collaboration, we will use this research to help protect some of America's most iconic places - from the Statue of Liberty to Golden Gate and from the Redwoods to Cape Hatteras - that are at risk from climate change."
June 29, 2015 - Latest report on Hurricane decision-making from Yale PI Jenn Marlon, UCONN Sea Grant
Press Release: http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/Hurricane_Report_2015June27.pdf
Researchers at Yale offer insight into storm decisions, focusing on hurricanes and how people living on the coast react when they hear a hurricane is approaching.
June 30, 2015 UConn Sea Grants Wrack Lines Spring/Summer 2015 issue is online http://s.uconn.edu/wlsprsum15
July 15, 2015 - Next review date for CIRCA Matching Funds Program, $100,000 available
Please see the CIRCA webpage for funding opportunities through the Institute's Matching Funds Program. Our second round of grants available under the Matching Funds program is currently available!
CIRCA will consider requests from Connecticut municipalities, institutions, universities, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations. To be funded, a successful Matching Funds request 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 a municipal or State of Connecticut funds to enhance the likely success of project proposals that advance CIRCA research and implementation priorities.
Requests are due to CIRCA by July 15, 2015.
July 30, 2015 - Climate Change Adaptation & Resilience Webinar sponsored by ASFPM and APA
Planning Information Exchange (PIE) Webinar
In cooperation with the American Planning Association (APA), the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) presents the second Planning Information Exchange (PIE) webinar. PIE is a free eight-part quarterly webinar series focusing on tools, best practices, and strategies on the role of hazard mitigation planning and its connections with recovery planning and preparedness.
The second part in the eight-part series involves discussions from George Homewood the Planning Director for the City of Norfolk, VA, and Kaye Matheny Principal and Co-Lead of HR&A Advisors' Resilience practice. Chad Berginnis, Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, will moderate as they discuss climate adaptation and resilience strategies, approaches, tools, and lessons learned. Norfolk is among the first communities in the United States already confronted with the impacts of sea level rise. Learn how Norfolk and other communities throughout the country are adapting to climate change.
1 CM and 1 CEC credit is available for AICPs & CFMs who participate in the entire webinar.
When: July 30, 2015
When: 1:00pm - 2:00 pm CT (begins 2pm ET, 12pm MT, 11am PT)
Click on the register button under the titled section 'Upcoming Webinars'
August 28, 2015 - FY15 FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants Program Announced. Applications due 8/28/15
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing $180 million in funding available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). These two grant programs assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in strengthening our nation's ability to reduce the potential cost of natural disasters to communities and their citizens.
FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs provide states, tribes, territories, and local governments funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation's ability to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages.
The Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program provides funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The FY 2015 Flood Mitigation Assistance grants will continue to focus on reducing or eliminating claims under the NFIP with a focus on mitigation planning and the mitigation of severe repetitive loss properties.
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster. The goal of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant program is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time, also reducing reliance on Federal funding from actual disaster declarations. The FY 2015 Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants will continue to focus on implementing a sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program and provide the grant funding set aside as required in the Stafford Act to states and tribes to support overall mitigation planning and projects.
Both Hazard Mitigation Assistance FY 2015 Funding Opportunity Announcements can be found at
www.grants.gov, and PDF versions are attached to this advisory. Eligible applicants must apply for funding through the Mitigation eGrants system on the FEMA Grants Portal accessible athttps://portal.fema.gov. FEMA will open the application period on May 29, 2015. All applications must be submitted no later than 3:00 PM EDT on August 28, 2015.
Further information on these grant programs is available at http://www.fema.gov/hazard- mitigation-assistance.