CIRCA in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection hosted the workshop
Connecticut Living Shorelines: Projects into Practice on November 20, 2017.
This NOAA funded workshop provided an update about the state of living shorelines in Connecticut, highlighted existing projects and research, and overviewed related permitting processes. Design concepts for both a larger, municipal site and a smaller, residential/land trust site were explained and used in a mock permit review exercise during small breakout groups with guidance from DEEP environmental analysts. This workshop targeted consultants, project designers, landscape architects, restoration ecologists and engineers in Connecticut. Links to all presentations and resources from the workshop can be found here:
CIRCA Sea Level Rise Projections for Connecticut
CIRCA has released local projections of sea level rise for Connecticut's coast using local tide gauge data and the current best available science. Based on the projections, CIRCA recommends that Connecticut municipalities plan for 20 inches (50cm) of sea level rise by 2050 and that sea levels are likely to continue to rise after that date. A public meeting was held on October 19 to present the science behind the projections.
CIRCA Sea Level Rise Projections for CT
December 12, 2017- Public Information Meeting for Resilient Bridgeport
Wednesday, December 12, 2017 at 5:30 PM
130 Gregory St, Bridgeport, CT 06604, USA
A Public Information Meeting for Resilient Bridgeport will be held at the New Vision International Ministries located at 130 Gregory Street in Bridgeport, CT to provide a project update and first look at design concepts through an interactive workshop.
The Public Information Meeting will begin promptly at 5:30 PM with a brief presentation followed by a design workshop. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with project representatives to offer input and raise concerns.
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!
We look forward to your attendance at the public meeting and working with you to create a more resilient South End and City of Bridgeport!
More information about Resilient Bridgeport is available at: www.resilientbridgeport.com
December 14, 2017 - Workshop AIA Connecticut: Resilient Connecticut: Helping Connecticut Communities to Prepare for Weather and Climate Changes
December 14, 2017,
8:45 am -
370 James Street, Suite 402, N
ew Haven, CT,
In this all-day program, you will learn the latest best design practices, details and code requirements to address Connecticut climate challenges and opportunities, zoning and building to prepare for a resilient and prospering future.
The program will cover:
- The most recent expert guidance, building code and zoning regulations for mitigation and adaptation to future probable climate and weather conditions.
- Funding sources available to Connecticut communities, businesses and residents to build better and build well.
- Lessons learned and peer networking for architects to help advance Connecticut's initiatives for resilient and sustainable communities.
CIRCA will be presenting: Legal Issues of Forward-Looking Climate Science with William R. Rath, Esq. and Joe MacDougald, P.E. of UConn School of Law. CIRCA Project Coordinator Katie Lund will sit on the funding panel.
December 14, 2017 - EPA Soak Up the Rain New England Webinar Series_New Haven, CT Bioretention Projects
Soak Up the Rain New England Webinar Series:
Engaging Urban Residents: Innovative Approaches to Promoting Community-Based Stormwater Management
Thursday, December 14th, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EST
The webinar will discuss and showcase the innovative, city-wide green infrastructure projects that have addressed flooding and stormwater issues in urban neighborhoods in New Haven, Connecticut. Key partners have included the Yale School of Forestry, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, and EMERGE Connecticut, Inc. (a transitional work training program). To date, more than 30 bioretention systems have been installed strategically throughout the city with plans to install many more in the next two years in the downtown central business district. This innovative approach has produced measurable results and effectively leveraged federal, state and municipal funding.
Webinar speakers include: Giovanni Zinn, P.E., City Engineer and Dawn Henning, P.E., Project Manager, New Haven Engineering Department, New Haven, Connecticut.
For questions about the webinar series or if you have ideas for additional webinar topics, please email to
December 15, 2017 -
CT DEEP Exploring Climate Solutions Webinar Series: Sustainable CT
Exploring Climate Solutions
webinar series explores innovative and successful climate change solutions across Connecticut and the nation. The series provides you with first-hand accounts of high-profile municipal climate programs, climate initiatives in the corporate world, greenhouse gas reporting frameworks, statewide sustainability programs, materials management strategies, and low-carbon fuel initiatives.
In our upcoming December 15th lunchtime
, join us to explore
, a new statewide, sustainability certification program for Connecticut's cities and towns. Lynn Stoddard and Jessica LeClair of Eastern Connecticut State University's
Institute for Sustainable Energy
will present an overview of the program and describe the certification process.
Sustainable CT seeks to help municipalities across the state become more vibrant, healthy, resilient and thriving places for all of their residents. Sustainability actions, policies, and investments deliver multiple benefits and help towns make efficient use of scarce resources and engage a wide cross section of residents and businesses. There are many ways to particip
ate - join us to learn how you can be involved in Sustainable CT!
December 15, 2017 - UConn Sea Grant & CLEAR Workshop: Legal Issues in the Age of Climate Adaptation II
December 15, 2017, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Mercy by the Sea Retreat and Conference Center, 167 Neck Rd. Madison, CT
Building on the foundations from the Legal Issues in the Age of Climate Adaptation workshop held in November 2015 and the participants' questions it generated, 4 fact sheets that address many of these questions will be presented. The afternoon session delves into two major climate adaptation issues with numerous legal ramifications: elevating structures and resilience of roadways.
Back to Announcements
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Solicitation Now Open Through Dec. 19, 2017
Open: Oct. 31, 2017
Dec. 19, 2017
EPA is calling for small businesses to apply for Phase I awards up to $100,000 to demonstrate proof of concept in the following topic areas: air quality, manufacturing, clean and safe water, land revitalization, homeland security, and building construction materials. See the full solicitation posted on FedConnect to learn more about these topic areas, view specific subtopics for each area, and access instructions on how to apply.
EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation from idea conception to commercialization. EPA's SBIR funding boosts local economies by creating jobs and promoting collaborations among communities and small businesses. This funding also supports technologies aimed at creating cleaner manufacturing materials and better infrastructure in communities. Successful Phase I companies are eligible to apply for Phase II funding, which awards up to $300,000 for two years with a commercialization option of up to $100,000, to further develop and commercialize their technologies.
All applications must be submitted through
CIRCA in the News
November 15, 2017- Alders Consider Environmental Laws
New Haven's alders tackled a wide range of environmental issues facing the city at a committee meeting on Tuesday night in the aldermanic chambers.
The Board of Alders' City Services and Environmental Policy Committee held a public hearing on Nov. 14 about three city ordinances concerning storm water drainage, waste management and parking zones. The public hearing focused primarily on efficient management of city services and protecting New Haven residents from waste produced by hydraulic fracturing.
The alders first heard testimony from City Engineer Giovanni Zinn '05 on an ordinance that would authorize Mayor Toni Harp to apply for and accept a grant for storm-water-depth and flow-monitoring equipment. Zinn described how the system, which he has been developing in partnership with researchers at Quinnipiac and Yale, reduces costs to the city by collecting drainage system data more efficiently.
Since the project has already received a grant from the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation to purchase the equipment, Zinn asked the alders to match the grant's funding.
Local & State News Clips
Robert Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is planning to testify in Charleston, West Virginia, at the federal government's only public hearings on proposed repeal of the Obama-era "Clean Power Plan.
Connecticut officials have already condemned the effort to repeal those anti-pollution rules, saying this state's air quality is made worse from pollution drifting in from coal and oil plants to the south and west.
Dannel P. Malloy
's plan to reverse course on coal and air pollution rules would "harm Americans" and ignore the risks of climate change.
In October, Klee blasted the plan and called coal "the dirtiest and most polluting fossil fuel." He said repeal of the clean power plan "means an increased risk of illness - and even death - for thousands more Americans."
, head of President Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has been
an outspoken critic of the federal effort
to force old coal and oil power plants to dramatically reduce air pollution emissions. In calling the hearing, Pruitt said he was looking forward to hearing "from all interested stakeholders."
Trump repeatedly promised during his election campaign to revive the U.S. coal industry.
Those testifying at the hearings will include lots of representatives of the coal and oil industries, unions, environmentalists and state officials like Klee critical of the EPA's repeal proposal.
Jeremy Richardson, senior energy analyst with the
Union of Concerned Scientists,
has already released his planned testimony at the hearing. In it, he said his research "confirms something you probably already know: coal has become increasingly uneconomic compared with cheaper, cleaner forms of energy like natural gas and renewable energy - and this trend is going to continue."
Back to News Clips
November 10, 2017- RIDEM Announces $6.8 Million for Rhode Island's Climate Resilience
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) yesterday announced the award of $6.8 million in matching grants for 33 projects, spread across the state, to mitigate water pollution from stormwater and nonpoint sources, reduce flooding, and strengthen Rhode Island's climate resilience.
are made possible through funding from the Narragansett Bay and Watershed Restoration Bond Fund and the federal Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution program.
"Climate change is real, and is poised to uniquely affect Rhode Island as the Ocean State," Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. "We need to take action to safeguard our natural resources and our communities. These grants help prepare cities and towns to deal with our changing climate, while creating jobs for Rhode Islanders in engineering, construction and landscaping."
According to RIDEM, $2.69 million was awarded for 11 flood mitigation and prevention projects to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flooding in coastal or inland areas and enhance natural ecosystem functions.
The grants support solutions to flooding problems using environmentally-beneficial techniques; for example, projects that resolve road and property flooding through culvert reconstruction will result in improved stream passage and habitat of fish and wildlife.
Projects in Portsmouth and Middletown will target actions that abate road flooding while also restoring and better protecting valuable coastal habitats including salt marsh.
National News Clips
November 28, 2017- In the Outer Banks, Officials and Property Owners Battle to Keep the Ocean at Bay
NAGS HEAD, North Carolina-This hurricane season, Lance Goldner harbored an unusual wish: that his beach house on North Carolina's scenic Outer Banks would collapse in a storm.
Goldner bought the property with his brother 14 years ago, when it was part of a row of cottages perched above the high-tide line. They'd planned to rent it out, but for much of the past decade, the faded yellow structure has stood vacant. Today, insulation spills from its bowels. Windows are boarded up. And high tides wash underneath between pilings, even on calm days.
slammed the Outer Banks in 2009, damaging hundreds of homes along these barrier islands, Goldner's cottage has been largely uninhabitable. The storm sucked the land out from beneath the homes. Now only two remain in a row that once numbered 10. Erosion has gradually consumed the shoreline in the tourist town of Nags Head, seizing homes and threatening nearly a billion dollars' worth of property.
Sea level rise from
is making matters worse. For homeowners caught in the middle, the damage has left some facing substantial financial losses.
"I just want to break even," said Goldner, a tall man with tousled gray hair and blue eyes.
After the nor'easter, the town declared Goldner's home and nine others on East Seagull Drive public nuisances and ordered their demolition. Two were torn down, but the owners of the other eight fought back. Their lawsuits dragged for years and led to a ruling that said towns did not have the right to clear homes from the beach. Nags Head eventually paid $1.5 million to buy out the owners of six, but it was unable to remove the final two homes.
Goldner, his neighbor and the town are now in a stalemate. The owners of the two remaining homes are unable to secure permits to rebury septic tanks that now poke through the sand. Town officials don't want to spend any more to buy them out. Neighbors are upset that the town spent millions of taxpayer dollars on lawsuits and settlements, yet failed to clear the beach.
November 13, 2017- Carbon Emissions Had Leveled Off. Now They're Rising Again
For a while it looked as if the world might be turning the corner.
But after a three-year stall in their growth, human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions have not, in fact, peaked, an international team of scientists announced this morning.
In 2017, global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry will once again rise by 2 percent,
the scientists project
, to a record 37 billion metric tons. Those emissions had increased by only a quarter of a percent from 2014 to 2016. Changes in land use, such as deforestation, will add around 4 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2017, bringing the global emissions total to an estimated 41 billion metric tons.
"What's driving, really, the global trend is this pick-up in China," says
Corinne Le Quéré
of the University of East Anglia, and the lead author of one of several new emissions studies released today. An unexpected rise in coal-burning in China-due in part to a summer drought that diminished the country's rivers and its generation of hydropower-was the biggest contributor to the global surge in emissions.
But China's shift didn't happen in a vacuum. Its emissions rose just as the United States and European Union each saw their emissions decrease more slowly than expected.
In the U.S., higher natural gas prices led to a slight rise in coal burning, for the first time in five years, while oil use also increased. As a result, emissions that had been declining about 1.2 percent a year dropped less than half a percent. In the E.U., emissions dropped less than a quarter percent after a decade of annual declines topping 2 percent a year.
On the other hand, India's emissions, which had been steadily rising about 6 percent a year, as the country industrializes and rapidly brings electricity to rural areas, are projected to increase by only 2 percent in 2017. That good news is also troubling, because it's almost certain not to last.
With five of the
hottest years on record
all having come just since 2010, the big question is whether the renewed emissions growth is a one-time slip or the new normal.
"It's hard to say whether 2017 is a hiccup on the way to a trajectory that eventually peaks and goes downward-or if it's about returning to high growth," Le Quéré says.
November 4, 2017- To Answer Flooding Woes, Jacksonville Plans Buy-Out Offer for Southside Neighborhood
Jacksonville officials want to buy out homeowners in a low-lying South Shores neighborhood that was swamped during Hurricane Irma to end a cycle of flooding that began years ago.
The sales - they would be voluntary, not through condemnation - would be a chance for owners of some of 73 city-targeted properties to rebound from flood damage Hurricane Irma delivered in September.
But reactions among owners are so complex, and full of feeling, that it's unclear how many will ultimately agree to sell.
"At this point, I'm pissed," said Bobby Back, who said he paid for his own engineering plans for work on city-owned property that could have helped protect his home, which he said needs more than $100,000 in flood repairs. "We have been after the city for years, years, to address the issue back there."
He and others said they'll listen closely at a neighborhood meeting that City Councilwoman Lori Boyer scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Thursday at San Marco Preservation Hall, 1652 Atlantic Blvd.
Whatever happens then could inform the city's response to flooding issues that are expected to multiply in low-lying neighborhoods as rising sea levels slowly affect the St. Johns River and drainage systems feeding into it.
Like many neighborhoods around town, Irma's record-setting water levels inundated large sections of South Shores, a 1920s-vintage community off Atlantic Boulevard west of Bishop Kenny High School.
But more than a year before the hurricane, city engineers mulled a series of possible responses to more routine "nuisance" flooding that didn't hurt houses but filled some roads when tides were high.
Three of four plans for keeping the roads clear involved simply building up Southampton Road, a road in the shadow of Interstate 95's rebuilt Overland Bridge, as well as raising or changing smaller streets in the neighborhood abutting the St. Johns River.
The city didn't choose any of those options, which would have cost $2.5 million to $3.2 million and shifted water onto people's yards without addressing the reason it first accumulated.
A fourth unused option would have involved acquiring and clearing Back's home and all the lots on two square blocks behind Marjenhoff Park, an open space along Southampton dedicated in 1931 by the now-vanished city of South Jacksonville. That was estimated to cost $6.5 million, which is three times the properties' market value.
The plan the city is pursuing now could clear a larger area, maybe about seven blocks, although the new approach covers portions of some blocks and isn't directly comparable.
The cost for the new plan isn't known yet, since no one knows how many owners will want to sell.
But unlike last year, city officials are counting on a flood-mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover about three-quarters of the cost.
Using FEMA money bars the city from condemning property, so the project will depend on getting people to choose to work with the city.
Boyer said the city won't pay the inflated prices that are routine in condemnation, but will pay market prices for houses as they were before the hurricane. The area the city picked to clear is relatively cheap, with a number of homes worth less than $100,000 - less than half the average for Northeast Florida - although others are worth much more.
If enough people agree to sell, Boyer said, streets and other infrastructure that served those homes can be removed too.
"We want to return the area to a natural wetland," she said. "We want to return it to its floodplain, wetland state, allow it to receive the water from the river that it once did and seems to want to again."
November 2, 2017- 'It Can Become Unlivable.' How Jerry Brown is Planning For Raging Fires and Extreme Heat
As massive fires that would kill more than 40 people ravaged his state last month, California Gov. Jerry Brown met with state emergency officials, jabbing at culprits of the latest disaster.
"That's the way it is with a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture," Brown warned. "These kinds of catastrophes have happened, they'll continue to happen, and we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate."
California efforts to prepare for climate change already have begun.
In the Sierra Nevada, scientists and forestry management experts burn and thin acres of forest to cut back on fuel for intensifying wildfires. Down south in San Diego County, they replenish beaches, repair sand dunes and plant thousands more shade trees.
In some of the hottest parts of the state like Sacramento, they train outdoor workers to avoid the anticipated rise in deaths during extreme heat waves.
Los Angeles' leaders are passing laws to install more "cool roofs" and laying the groundwork for "cool streets" that can reduce temperatures by double digits.
"This is one of those moments in history where what we do now will be influential for decades to come on the subject of climate adaptation," said Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve, a nonprofit working on solutions to meet the challenge.
California's attempts to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curbing pollution are internationally recognized. Throughout the year, Brown has set out to fill the void left by President Donald Trump, who is pledging to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement and rolling back scores of Obama-era regulations.
But the rash of fires, floods and drought has focused attention on a less apparent element of the environmental legacy Brown will leave when he steps down next year. As the Democratic governor sets off this week for climate talks across Europe, California is whirring into action with strategies to adapt to the compounding impacts.
Bruce Riordan, program director of the Climate Readiness Institute at UC Berkeley, said a growing collaboration of state and local governments, universities, foundations and community groups are banding together to protect the health and well-being of nearly 40 million residents and future generations.
"It's going to require a well-financed 'all hands on deck' campaign because sea level rise, heat waves, wildfires, drought are a huge threat to critical infrastructure like roads and hospitals, natural resources that sustain and support us and the world's six-largest economy," Riordan said.
Scientists acknowledge that extremes have long marked the state's climate. But they contend climate change will exacerbate those natural swings.
Back to News Clips
November, 2017- The City Preparing for Climate Change Without Ever Saying the Words
Along with millions of other people, Anna America was saddened by the devastation and loss of life that struck Houston in August. Like many others, she wondered whether the city's massive sprawl contributed to the damage from Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of acres in Houston that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had intended to use for a reservoir and other flood control projects had been paved over, taken up by homes that left flood waters with nowhere to go. That kind of thing wouldn't happen where America lives. "We haven't done that for decades," she says. "Since the 1970s, we have not built noncompliant homes in floodplains."
America is a member of the Tulsa, Okla., City Council. In recent decades, Tulsa has become an unlikely model for strong flood control efforts. Back in the 1970s, so-called 100-year floods occurred nearly every year, with creek beds overflowing and damaging property. Following a particularly devastating storm in 1984, which killed 14 people and damaged 5,500 homes, the city decided it was time to take a new approach. Since then, it has put in place a series of detention ponds -- excavated basins designed to hold water following severe storms -- and uses flood maps more demanding than those required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It's also pursued an ambitious plan to move or tear down homes that have been subject to repeated flood damage. All told, the city has paid to transport or destroy roughly 1,000 houses, an effort that's ongoing.
Tulsa's flood issues aren't over. Although the city has gone a long way toward reducing the overflow of its creeks, it hasn't done much lately to deal with another potential problem: flooding along the Arkansas River, which runs through parts of town. Still, Tulsa has done more to address its exposure to a serious natural threat than just about any other city in the country. Not that long ago, Tulsa had the highest flood insurance rates in the nation. Today, its rates are just about the lowest. Other Oklahoma cities continue to suffer extensive damage when sudden storms known as "toad stranglers" pass through. But Tulsa hasn't flooded on those occasions, even during recent months that have been among the wettest on record. "In 2015, there was flooding in the suburbs, but we didn't have any," says Bill Robison, the city's floodplain manager.
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).