June 2018
The Resilience Roundup highlights available resources, events, and funding opportunities along with links to the previous month's l ocal, state, and national news about resilience and adaption. 
Learn more about CIRCA at circa.uconn.edu


Products available from Creating a Resilient Connecticut: A CIRCA Forum on Science, Planning, Policy & Law on May 11, 2018

The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA), UConn School of Law's Center for Energy & Environmental Law (CEEL), and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) hosted an event entitled, Creating a Resilient Connecticut: A CIRCA Forum on Science, Planning, Policy & Law on Friday, May 11, 2018 at the UConn School of Law in Hartford, CT.

This exciting forum combined science, policy, and planning at the state and local levels and highlighted work undertaken over the past two years by CT DEEP and UConn/CIRCA to address the resilience of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change. Important research is leading to the creation of products for assessing vulnerabilities and strategies to mitigate potential damage from climate change and storm impacts.

To view a list of the presenters and presentations from this event click here

View the AGENDA  or   event website

Watch a recording of the Forum   including a welcome by CT DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee announcing recent news of the Connecticut Legislature's passage of, "An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency."  Harriet Tregoning, former HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development, provided the keynote address entitled, "Connecticut's Future in a Disaster-Prone World."


Dr. Rebecca French Named Director of Resilience at CT DOH

Many of you had the opportunity to meet and get to know Dr. Rebecca French over the last 3 years while she was the Director of Community Engagement at CIRCA.  In April, Dr. French left CIRCA for a new job as the Director of a large and important program at the CT Dept. of Housing. She will be responsible for the execution of a 54 million dollar project to protect Bridgeport from flooding while enhancing the city's economic development opportunities. This is an important demonstration project for the State and is a great professional opportunity for her. Dr. French has been an essential part of the growth and the successes CIRCA has achieved, and we wish her well as CIRCA looks forward to continuing our partnership with her in this new role.

She can be reached at:  rebecca.french@ct.gov


June 6, 2018- Public Information Meeting for Resilient Bridgeport

Time:  Wednesday, June 6, 2018 6-8PM
Location Schelfhaudt Gallery
Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center

A Public Information Meeting for Resilient Bridgeport will be held at the Schelfhaudt Gallery located in the Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center, 84 Iranistan Avenue in Bridgeport, CT to provide a project update and open community discussion on design alternatives.

The Public Information Meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 PM with a presentation on project progress, the EIS process and design alteratives. Attendees are encouraged to stay following the presentation to speak with project representatives and provide input to design alternatives.

For more information about Resilient Bridgeport, visit the resilient Bridgeport website.

Please feel free to spread the word of this Public Information Meeting with your colleagues, friends and neighbors who share an interest in the future of Bridgeport's South End. All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

If you have any special needs and require assistance at the meeting, please contact the project team by calling 860-815-0299 no later than 5 PM on Friday, June 1, 2018.


June 8, 2018 - Design World Views on Adaptation and Resiliency  

Design leaders and urban design exemplars from around the world offer a wealth of inspiration and instruction for climate adaptation and carbon neutrality. This fourth installment in the series of quarterly Climate Adaptation Forums, organized jointly by the Environmental Business Council and the Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) at UMass Boston, will focus on design on an international, regional, and local scale.

To begin this Forum Jurgen Bruns-Berentelg, President and CEO of HafenCity, will discuss what is arguably the most innovative flood-protection development in Europe. This climate adaptation development has resulted in the transformation of Hamburg, Germany's old port into a vibrant new commercial, residential, and civic district. Through bold public investment in raised streets and infrastructure together with competitive selection used the development was able to attract massive private investment and leading architecture.

Herbert Dreiseitl, the leader of Ramboll's Living Cities Lab, will follow with a global review of inspiring design solutions for living with water - including examples from Germany, Denmark, Singapore, and the United States. He will highlight how technical innovation and aesthetic strategies are integrated to achieve exemplary climate adaptations at urban scales.

After a networking break, a rapid-fire panel discussion will energize the audience. The focus will be on planning and design challenges and successes for climate adaptation projects from around New England.

Registration: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Includes continental breakfast.

Contact: Email: ebc@ebcne.org Phone: 617-505-1818


June 14, 2018- Symposium on Community Resiliency

The Community Resiliency symposium will provide a clear understanding of the various facets that contribute to resiliency of the built, human and natural environments. The symposium includes the health of communities and individuals as it relates to our environment, and connectedness and preparedness to respond to natural and social disruptions. To that end, the natural environment is central to how people can mitigate and adapt to a variety of disruptions: economic, natural, and behavioral. This symposium is planned to facilitate a regional framework for continued work in SE CT resiliency initiatives.

To achieve a broader understanding of this interrelatedness, we are focusing on 5 key impact areas in panel discussions each with a number of highly experienced of practitioners:
  • Assuring Local Food Security
  • Resilient Energy
  • Achieving Resilient Housing
  • Health Resiliency
  • Resiliency and Bicycling
Location Lyman Allen Art Museum, New London, CT

Registration 8:30-9:00am

Event runs until 4:30
Cost: $35

This event is presented by Thames Valley Sustainable Connections, Sustainable Connecticut, and CT Food System Alliance

For more information or questions please call 860-439-0016 or email Info@TVSCI.org

Event Website & Registration

CIRCA in the News

May 27, 2018 - Top 50: Considering Future of Weather Events, With Knowledge of Past Storms and Changing Climate


It is an issue that ultimately puts lives at risk, he said - something that people, even individuals in their own small way, could affect, and something that elected officials, if they choose to do so, disregard at the peril of their constituents.

"We are not making this stuff up, and it's getting stronger and stronger and stronger, with respect to the confidence that we have, that the climate is changing, humans are to blame, and humans can fix it - they can't eliminate it, but they can ameliorate it," said Yohe.

The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is helping with that amelioration effort.

CIRCA Director of Community Engagement Rebecca French said that the UConn-based research institute, formed through a recommendation by the state in the wake of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, aims to help municipalities plan for increased flood risk from rising sea levels, among other goals.

Sea levels have already risen along the Connecticut coast as ice melts and water expands - one of its basic properties under the laws of physics - and are expected to continue doing so, French said. Additional rise is inevitable - it has been "baked-in" to the system through carbon previously released into the atmosphere, she said.

CIRCA has suggested that municipalities should prepare for up to 20 inches of sea level rise by 2050, she said.

While that not may seem immediately dire - that would come to an adult's knee or so, she said - it would lead to greater consequences from storms, such as hurricanes, and the typical nor'easter.

"If you're starting at a higher sea level - even if it's just 20 inches higher - then you get a little bit of storm surge from a nor'easter on top of that, areas that were never flooded during nor'easters will now flood, and areas that flooded only during a nor'easter will now flood in an even smaller storm," said French.


May 9, 2018 - Acknowledging Sea Level Rise, Connecticut Legislature Passes Sweeping Climate Change Bill

The Connecticut Senate passed a sweeping climate change bill Wednesday, in a move that could push the state ahead of much of the coastal United States. The legislation centers on adapting to accommodate rising sea levels as well as setting new pollution targets.

Senate Bill 7 , "An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency," passed overwhelmingly early Wednesday morning. In a 34-2 vote, the state senate agreed to adopt recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas by 45 percent below 2001 levels within the next 12 years, the Connecticut Post reported Wednesday morning.

Assuming a sea level rise of nearly two feet by 2050 based on projections by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, the bill also updates pre-existing statutory references guiding building and development.

The legislation would require all federally-funded development projects or similar endeavors funded or undertaken by a state agency to adhere to the new restrictions. Meaning these new projects will have to take sea level rise into account when being built.

Back to News Clips


May 9, 2018 - Gov. Malloy Welcomes Final Passage of Environment Bill

Governor Dannel P. Malloy is applauding the Connecticut House of Representatives for giving final approval to legislation he introduced that takes a major step forward in Connecticut's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepares for the ongoing effects of climate change and sea level rise.

The legislation, Senate Bill 7 - An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency, was adopted in the House this afternoon by a vote of 137-11. It passed the Senate early this morning by a vote of 34-2. The bill next moves to the Governor's desk for his signature.

"Climate change is real, it's man-made, and it's a pressing problem for our communities and our state," Governor Malloy said. "We see the effects everywhere. Right here in Connecticut, sea levels are expected to rise by nearly two feet over the next 30 years, causing great harm to our coastal communities and our economy. We must continue to pursue forward-looking policies that take into consideration the interests not just of today, but of future generations.  Especially when coupled with my administration's energy bill, which received final approval this morning, this legislation continues Connecticut's role as a national leader in environmental protection."



May 2, 2018- BLT Celebrates 50 Years of Land Preservation


It's been a busy year for the Branford Land Trust (BLT) as they continue to focus on their 50th anniversary. One unwanted gift was the number of trees felled on trust property due to the four March nor'easters.

"Those were the some of the biggest events we've had for knocking down trees in a decade," said board president Peter Raymond at the annual meeting last week. Raymond said thanks to BLT volunteers, the trees and branches have been safely cleared.

And it's that spirit of volunteerism and stewardship of the land that has marked the existence of the Land Trust over the last half-century.

The annual meeting was held at the Canoe Brook Senior Center, with about 60 people in attendance. The keynote speaker was James O'Donnell, executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) at the University of Connecticut.

O'Donnell, who discussed research on sea level rise, said organizations like the Land Trust are the ones who help carry out the work recommended by researchers. He said research is the easy part, but that efforts by volunteers who work to preserve the land and marshes are the hard part.  "Actual work that leads to change occurs in groups like this," O'Donnell said.

Local & State News Clips

May 25, 2018 - Connecticut on Front Line of Key Fights with Pruitt's EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected Connecticut's petition to force a power plant in York County, Pa., to cut down on smog pollutants that the state claims heavily contribute to its unhealthy air.

Officials claimed that computer modeling of emissions showed that nitrogen oxide pollution from the Brunner Island plant drifts into Connecticut, resulting in $135 million a year in health-care charges from asthma attacks linked to smog.

The effort to clean up the Pennsylvania power plant is just one of several issues the state has with the EPA, now headed by Scott Pruitt, a Trump administration official environmentalists love to hate because they say he is rolling back key clean air and clean water protections
While Connecticut lost on the Brunner Island power plant case, it may win other battles. It has joined with other states to battle EPA attempts to roll back Obama-era clean water standards and regulations on emissions from power plants, automobiles and trucks.

"States have long led the way on many important issues, including climate change," said Gov. Dannel Malloy when the Trump administration indicated it would relax tailpipe emissions rules.


May 24, 2018 - Solar To Power Connecticut Water Treatment Facility

Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Clean Focus company, has completed the installation of a 218 kW solar array on a parcel of city-owned property in Middletown, Conn.

Adjacent to the Higby Water Treatment Facility, the project will provide renewable energy to operate the city's drinking-water treatment facility. Producing 280,414 kWh of clean energy annually, it is expected to provide 75% of the power needed at the plant, says Greenskies.

Greenskies will own, maintain and operate the solar array under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Middletown. The company will sell the power produced to the city at a discounted rate for the length of the contract.

"Middletown is pleased to extend our work on energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability and municipal resiliency through this solar project associated with a key city water treatment facility," remarks Michael Harris, the city's energy coordinator.


May 21, 2018 - CT Hosts Regional Clean Transportation Listening Session

The second in a series of public listening sessions on the development of a regional clean transportation and climate initiative is taking place in Hartford today.

Policy makers, business leaders and other stakeholders from seven Northeastern states and Washington, D.C., are seeking input on ways to modernize the transportation system and combat global climate change. Transportation is now the leading source of carbon emissions.

According to Bruce Ho, senior advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, including Connecticut, have cut emissions from power plants in half.

"Transportation emissions have remained constant or even grown a bit over the last few years," Ho said. "So in order to really address climate change, we absolutely have to deal with transportation."

Organizers say the Hartford meeting is an opportunity to propose policies to reduce vehicle pollution while building a transportation system that serves all Connecticut residents.

Daniel Gatti, policy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said building the infrastructure for electric vehicles needs to be a top priority.

"Getting widespread electrification not just of our light-duty cars but also heavy-duty vehicles like transit buses, that's going to be the most critical step from an emissions perspective," Gatti said.

National News Clips

May 24, 2018- NOAA Expects Hurricane Season For 2018 to be Near or Above Normal


Up to four major hurricanes could form in the Atlantic this hurricane season, according to the annual forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Overall, the season will likely be normal or somewhat more intense than normal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, with a 25 percent chance that hurricane activity will be below normal.

Last year's hurricane season was one of the most active on record . NOAA is not expecting this season to be quite so bad, but an average season could do tremendous damage. That's especially true if a storm hits communities in Puerto Rico or along the Gulf Coast that are still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by Maria and Harvey last year.

The seasonal outlook can't predict landfall areas, but the forecasters warn that even an average season involves "quite a few hurricanes."

"We know certain areas have been compromised from last year's storm, and that makes hurricane preparedness ... even more important this year," says Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center.


May 21, 2018 - Norfolk Wants to Remake Itself as Sea Level Rises, but Who Will Be Left Behind?

As another storm swept through Norfolk on a chilly evening, Michelle Cook pointed to the puddles growing on a path where children walk to school in Tidewater Gardens.
Water stood wheels-deep in a nearby intersection. In heavy rain, she said, both the road and the path flood, and children find another way to school. Or, they simply stay home.
"Flooding, rain, just to hear those words, for parents it puts a heavy burden on them," she said.  
Cook's kids are grown now, but as president of a tenant's group for one of Norfolk's poorest public housing developments, she remains an advocate for the project's children.
Tidewater Gardens is among the most flood-prone areas in a city with one of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the country-half a foot since 1992, about twice the global average. Parts of the development were built in an old creek bed. When it rains or a storm pushes ocean tides higher than usual, water moves in like an old man settling into a well-worn chair.


May 7, 2018 - Hurricane Maria Made Me A Climate Change Refugee

Hurricane Maria changed my life overnight. The chaos and destruction of the storm, which made landfall on the island as a Category 4 storm in September 2017, changed the lives of millions of Puerto Ricans who call the island home. It forced thousands of people like myself to flee home and build a new life on the United States mainland. Upwards of 2,200 Puerto Ricans have been displaced to Connecticut post-Maria alone, including more than 1,800 children .

I left Puerto Rico in January to study as a visiting student at Trinity College in Hartford. After the hurricane, working towards my master's degree in Puerto Rico was a challenge because the electricity and internet were not reliable. Coupled with the economic crisis that Puerto Rico is facing, living on the island seemed impossible.

Since arriving in Hartford, I've connected with local organizations like Chispa Connecticut, an organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters, to meet with other displaced Puerto Ricans and plan the next steps in our lives. In doing so, I've realized that every person I've met who was forced to relocate has a similar story to share: of bravery and persistence, yes, but also of a forever-altered landscape and of communities, like mine, that are being torn apart by climate change.


May 6, 2018 - Climate Researchers Estimate Sea Level Rise Impacts On Florida

If Floridians residing in coastal communities presume sea level rise is a turn-of-the-century problem for future generations, a group of scientists is delivering a weather forecast they may consider unsettling.

Five Florida communities - Cape Sable (the southern point of the peninsula), Key Biscayne, Key West, the Lower Keys and the Middle Keys - could experience recurring tidal flooding unrelated to any storm events by 2035, according to their study. Three of those locations - Cape Sable, the Lower Keys and Middle Keys - already find themselves partially submerged at times but the forecast says their frequently inundated areas will roughly double in size within the next 17 years.

Under the Union of Concerned Scientists' fastest sea level rise scenario, 13 more communities could be added to that list by 2045 - including Merritt Island, Miami Beach, Ponte Vedra and St. Pete Beach. By that year, the group reports, 60 percent of the Lower Keys, 39 percent of the Middle Keys and 38 percent of Key West could find themselves underwater for about half of the year.

By 2060, under this "high scenario," that number of Florida communities expands to 32 - including Cocoa Beach-Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville Beaches, Longboat Key and Palmetto.

If the scientists' forecasts are even regarded as ballpark, the ramifications could be far reaching. Property values, real estate sales, tourist-oriented economies, insurance rates, local governments' bond ratings, business revenues and more could be adversely affected, and much sooner than many people expect.


May 3, 2018 - 'Sunny Day Flooding' Worsens At NC Beaches - A Sign Sea Rise is Decades Too Soon, Studies Say

Living in cities threatened by sea-level rise could be like living near an active volcano, according to NOAA oceanographer William Sweet .

Some parts of the Earth are seeing sea levels rise far beyond average , and it's just a waiting game before some areas are inundated with sea water , studies show.

The East Coast of the U.S. is experiencing "sunny day flooding" that scientists didn't expect for decades yet.

Sea levels are rising at a rate of about an inch per year (5 inches from 2011-15) in some areas along the East Coast, from North Carolina to Florida, according to one study - that's faster than researchers expected.

Residents of coastal communities most often feel the effects of sea level rise during tidal flooding.

Tidal flooding, also kn own as "sunny day flooding" is the temporary inundation of low-lying areas, such as roads, during high-tide events - especially during "king tides," the highest tides of the year.

King tides aren't caused by sea level rise in and of themselves, but because they are the annual peak tides, they demonstrate how sea level has already risen over the past 100 years.
Sea levels aren't rising equally "like water in a bathtub," according to a report from Yale Environment 360. "The oceans are more akin to a rubber kiddie pool where the water sloshes around unevenly, often considerably higher on one side than another."


May 2, 2018 - America's Last-Ditch Climate Strategy of Retreat Isn't Going So Well

Corrine Spry had no way of knowing, on the day Tropical Storm Lee ruined her house seven years ago, that she was about to become part of a radical experiment to transform how the U.S. protects itself against climate change. All she knew was that it had been raining for days, so she'd better get some cash.

Spry set out in her car through Sidney, N.Y., a fading village of roughly 4,000 along the Susquehanna River, swollen from the storm and rising fast. On the way home from the bank, she saw firefighters huddled in front of their station. They'd already taken out Sidney's rescue boat. Spry, who'd lived down the street for 30 years, knew most by name. She pulled over to ask how much time she had. Get your stuff, the firefighters told her, and get out now.

A small woman who moves and speaks in quick bursts, Spry rushed home and called in some favors. Pickup trucks soon arrived. She and her husband, Lynn, moved what they could and drove to higher ground. Six feet of water filled her neighborhood, swallowing front porches and flowing into living rooms.

More than 400 homes and businesses ended up underwater in Sidney, affecting more than 2,000 people. It was months before Spry and her neighbors could move back in. It was also the second time in five years that the Susquehanna had wrecked half the village. People had just finished rebuilding. When Spry walked back into her soggy house, the street outside reeking with the rancid smell of garbage and fuel, she was hit first, she remembers, by the sight of her brand-new hardwood floor, completely buckled.


May 2, 2018 - Everglades Under Threat As Florida's Mangroves Face Death By Rising Sea Level

Florida's mangroves have been forced into a hasty retreat by sea level rise and now face being drowned, imperiling coastal communities and the prized Everglades wetlands, researchers have found.

Mangroves in south-east Florida in an area studied by the researchers have been on a "death march" inland as they edge away from the swelling ocean but have now hit a manmade levee and are likely to be submerged by water within 30 years, according to the Florida International University analysis .

"There's nowhere left for them to go," said Dr Randall Parkinson, a coastal geologist at FIU. "They are done. The sea will continue to rise and the question now is whether they will be replaced by open water. I think they will.

"The outlook is pretty grim. What's mind boggling is that we are facing the inundation of south Florida this century."

Mangroves are made up of coastal vegetation that grows in salty or brackish water. They are considered crucial buffers to storms and salt water intrusion, as well as key habitats for certain marine creatures.

Using aerial photographs, satellite imagery and sediment cores, FIU researchers found that mangroves just south of Miami were migrating westwards over marshland at a rate of about 100ft a year until they were halted by the L-31E levee, a flood barrier in Miami-Dade county, where they are now making their last stand.


April 20, 2018- Can You Guess What America Will Look Like in 10,000 Years? A Quiz

What would happen if the current growth trend in greenhouse gas emissions continues for the rest of this century before reversing? It's a question worth pondering, especially with a president who has vowed to quit the Paris climate accord and is aggressively promoting the use of coal, gas and oil.

Our research with colleagues indicates that one consequence would be an unrelenting rise of the oceans for 10,000 years, ultimately reaching more than 170 feet above present levels, with half of that increase occurring in the next thousand years.

The map of the world would be redrawn. As Antarctica and Greenland lost nearly all of their ice, vast portions of the United States, some more than 100 miles inland, would be inundated.

We're hopeful that the 2015 Paris climate deal will slow emissions, and there are signs that this is happening, though efforts to meet its goals are falling behind. Even if the world's nations manage to limit warming to near 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels - the accord's main target - seas will continue to rise by 80 feet over 10,000 years, according to our modeling.

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). 

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