October 5, 2017
The Resilience Roundup highlights  CIRCA's presence in the news; provides links to recent local, state, and national news articles related to resilience and adaptation; and announces resources, events, and funding opportunities. Learn more about CIRCA at circa.uconn.edu.






Connecticut Emergency Preparedness Website

Go to this site for the Connecticut Guide to Emergency Preparedness and to sign up for emergency alerts.

You can also download the CT Prepares app.



Tuesday, October 10- The Avery Point Global Cafe presents  "Science in Democracy" 

Tuesday, Oct. 10th1:30-2:30, Branford House, West Room

This is a structured dialogue focused on:
  • The role of science in people's everyday lives
  • Scientists' role in public policy
  • Reactive/proactive responses to natural disasters

This event is open to Avery Point students, faculty and staff.  

For more information, please contact  nancy.parent@uconn.educhristine.green@uconn.edu, or  laurie.wolfley@uconn.edu

More information about the Global Cafe and 
"Dialogue in Democracy" events  here.



October 10, 2017-  Resilient Strategies Open House

Stop by the Rebuild By Design Resilient Strategies Open House on October 10th, 2017 at 7 Middle Street in Bridgeport, CT to check out advances to the Bridgeport's Design Strategies Report.  This event is an opportunity to comment on the Resilient Bridgeport Strategies final draft.  Design team members will be available to answer questions from 9 am - 7 pm. To learn more about the event, click here.



October 11, 2017- Brown Bag Lunch Lecture

Bring your lunch to the Rebuild by Design Center at 7 Middle Street in Bridgeport for a lecture on hydrology and groundwater from Roelof Stuurman of Deltares. Roelof Stuurman is specialist in integral management of environment, water, and soil. His research explores hydrogeological systems analysis on a regional and local scale in support of spatial, environmental and water policy planning. Roelof will discuss groundwater precedent cities and relate them to the context of Bridgeport.  To learn more about the event, click here.


October 19, 2017- CIRCA Updated Projections of Sea Level Rise for Connecticut

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Remote Attendance:

In Person Attendance:
Marine Sciences Building Room 103
University of Connecticut
Avery Point Campus
1080 Shennecossett Rd
Groton, CT 06340

Marine Sciences Professor and CIRCA Executive Director, James O'Donnell will present the findings of a study to update the NOAA 2012 CPO-1 sea level rise projections for the state of Connecticut. This study was mandated as part of the creation of CIRCA and called for in PA 13-179.

UConn Law School CEEL Professor-in-Residence Joe MacDougald and CEEL legal fellow, Bill Rath will also present their CIRCA study on legal and policy implications of sea level rise for Connecticut and their survey of state sea level rise policies.

Who Should Attend:
This meeting is free and open to the public. Municipal staff and elected leaders concerned about or in the process of planning for sea level rise and coastal resilience are encouraged to attend. Following the presentations, there will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Parking on Campus:
Visitor parking on campus is available in pay by phone (PBP) or in metered spots in the areas marked on this map.

If you need accommodations to attend this event, please contact Lauren Yaworsky at lauren.yaworsky@uconn.edu 5 days prior to the event.



October 25, 2017 - CT Association of Flood Managers Conference

The Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) will convene its fourth Annual Conference and Meeting  in Meriden, Connecticut on  October 25, 2017 . We invite you to share your experiences as municipal and state  officials, industry leaders, consultants, and other interested parties to promote a more resilient Connecticut.  CAFM seeks a broad range of professionals to address the many issues and problems associated with managing
flood risk, making communities more sustainable, and protecting floodplain and fragile natural resources. This c onference will examine the challenges facing Connecticut, and share experiences and lessons learned as flood  managers and municipal officials.

Registration and more information here



CIRCA in the News


October 1, 2017- We Need To Be Ready For More Hurricanes, More Floods

Maybe Puerto Rico should be permanently evacuated and all the residents resettled on the mainland. The entire island could then be reforested and left as a nature preserve.

Maybe scientists should figure out how to geo-engineer tropical depressions that threaten to morph into powerful hurricanes like Harvey, Irma and Maria.

A few years ago, these two suggestions would have seemed too outrageous to even be spoken aloud. Yet at a panel discussion about hurricanes and climate change on Sept. 21 organized by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation at UConn Avery Point, the marine scientists and risk experts in the room took these statements from audience members seriously, as worthy of discussion as all the other comments. And while the still-fresh images from Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico were heartbreaking and disturbing enough, no one could escape being reminded of our own encounter just five years ago.

Just as Superstorm Sandy did on Oct. 29, 2012, the relentless charge of hurricane winds, flooding rains and storm surge in the past two months has stunned many of us into accepting that what climate scientists have been predicting for years about more frequent and severe storms looks to be coming true. As the air and oceans warm with the buildup of fossil fuel emissions, sea levels rise, the atmosphere holds more moisture and the forces that form hurricanes become more powerful.

Of course, the scientists on the panel were quick to emphasize that no one can draw a direct link and say unequivocally that climate change caused Hurricane Harvey or Maria. Hurricanes have happened throughout history. The difference now is that the human impact on the planet is fueling the fires of extreme weather. It's a nuance that may be hard for non-experts to grasp and even self-defeating for those trying to inspire action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But scientific integrity demands accuracy.

"I cannot make a connection for a particular storm, but there is a higher probability," said Manos Anagnostou, one of the panelists and a UConn professor of civil and environmental engineering.

As the anniversary of Sandy approaches, let's take time to reflect on what we've learned and whether we're better prepared for the next one. Since the storm, Connecticut Sea Grant has joined with counterparts in New York and New Jersey to understand what language and platforms emergency officials should use to convey more effective evacuation messages. Sea Grant researchers have also discovered that most coastal residents in Connecticut don't know whether they live in an evacuation zone, or the route to take if an evacuation is warranted. Since that finding, Juliana Barrett, extension educator with Sea Grant, has been working with several coastal towns to map the evacuation zones and routes. But more communities and emergency managers need to start using this information for some public education campaigns.




September 28, 2017- Planning Now For The Next Harvey, Irma or Maria

Proximity to the water is a prime asset for the region. But as bigger, more frequent storms fueled by climate change increase the likelihood for flooding, too much of this water we all love will put more roads, bridges and sewage pumping stations, as well as natural resources such as beaches and shorelines, at risk for damage.

Towns that look to the future by assessing the potential risks for flood damage and planning for ways to mitigate those risks will be in the best position to keep their residents safe and their natural assets protected when floods occur. Stonington did this a year ago, and more recently Waterford also hired a firm to study ways it can be better protected from floods. In the upcoming weeks, Waterford residents will have an opportunity to comment on that town's study and the recommended actions it contains.

With images of Hurricane Harvey-induced flooding in Houston and similar water-logged devastation in the Caribbean and Florida from huricanes Irma and Maria still fresh in the public's minds, it's crucial for residents to get involved in planning now for a decidedly wetter future.

Stonington's study revealed rather startling levels of vulnerability in many sections of town. Route 1, the Amtrak line and large sections of both the Borough of Stonington and the village of Mystic have a very high probability of regularly being flooded by the year 2050. The Mason's Island causeway was determined to be particularly vulnerable and the probability of future annual flooding in some parts of Mystic will be as high as 50 percent.

Waterford Planning Director Abby Piersall said the study will allow the town to better budget for needed capital improvements, certainly another smart move at a time when every municipality is more budget conscious because of continued state financial woes.
Waterford's draft report contains recommendations ranging from the fairly low-cost and simple to the expensive, long-range and complex. At one end of the spectrum, it makes sense for the town to act quickly on such no-nonsense recommendations as adjusting zoning regulations to increase the allowable building height in some waterfront neighborhoods. Such a change would accommodate recommended flood-resistant building methods.

Other straightforward recommendations that should be completed without delay: elevating electrical panels at some vulnerable sewage pump stations and installing tide gauges in areas such as Jordan Cove and the Niantic River to get a more precise handle on the rise of high tides. Raising panels will protect the pump stations from the most likely flooding levels and the gauges will provide the specifics needed to plan for flood mitigation with more accuracy.

Back to News Clips


Local & State News Clips

September 30, 2017- State Budget Woes Jeopardize Environmental Funding

Environmental groups say Connecticut's landmark climate change programs - greenhouse gas reduction initiatives and the Green Bank - are being sacrificed to close the state budget deficit.
"While the federal government chooses to ignore the real impacts of climate change, it's up to the states to pick up the slack," said Louis Burch, program director for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

"These debilitating cuts will set Connecticut back even further on fighting climate change," Burch said.

Burch was joined this week by representatives of 10 other environmental groups in denouncing tens of millions of dollars in proposed cuts to green energy programs in dueling budgets from the General Assembly's Democratic and Republican caucuses.

The Republican plan - passed by the House and Senate with the help of eight Democrats - drew the most criticism, because it contains the largest cutbacks. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed the GOP budget this week, sending lawmakers back to square
Burch said as legislators search for a budget compromise, the temptation will grow to cut green programs intended to lessen the impact of climate change.

"This is a non-partisan message we are trying to put out that there are folks on both sides that supported these cuts," Burch said.

Chris Phelps, state director for Environment Connecticut, said the proposed green cuts would cost jobs and harm the environment.




September 27, 2017- New Haven Gets High Rating For Coastal Resiliency Efforts

New Haven has been given a class 7 rating by the National Flood Insurance Program . That's the highest rating available in the state.

The city made the announcement at Pardee Seawall Park, where hundreds of homes sit near the water. City planner Karyn Gilvarg said the rating could equate to a discount on premiums.
"Having this rating would save the average homeowner 15 percent on the NFIP portion of insurance," Gilvarg said. "NFIP covers up to $250,000 worth of insurance."

With the increase in natural disasters the NFIP, which was developed for hard-to-insure properties, has been overwhelmed by severe weather events. So they started rating communities according to how well they were enforcing floodplain management laws.

New Haven officials said it's been three years of hard work with multiple levels of government agencies to achieve the 7 rating, like building seawalls and maintaining the storm drain system. But city engineer Giovanni Zinn said a storm surge along with several inches of rain is one of the scenarios that still keeps them up at night.



National News Clips


September 20, 2017- World Faces Sharp Rise In Risk On Denser Coastlines

The impact of climate change on storms might be uncertain, but their growing damage is not. Hurricanes like Maria, now barreling toward Puerto Rico, could inflict much larger losses around the world as coastlines bristle with future development.

A series of recent studies by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) predicts there will be mostly financial benefits from mitigating climate change. But some risks are unlikely to be reduced, including the financial exposure from future storms resembling Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

A summary of the studies, released last month, warns of a nonlinear relationship between the strength of future storms and potential losses, which stand to grow even if the worst predictions about hurricanes aren't realized. Financial exposure could grow as much as five times faster, because the number of buildings and the population in coastal areas continue to proliferate.

"Regardless of how storms are going to change, the biggest change we found is that there are more people who are going to live near the coast, globally. People like coastlines. They like living near the beach. As air conditioning gets cheaper, more of them are going to be moving into some of these climate zones where they weren't before," explained Andrew Gettelman, an NCAR research scientist and author of one of the studies.

"Are they going to pay attention to 100-year flood risks, 500-year floods? No. Are we going to build levees to try to stop some of this stuff? Yes. We're going to fill wetlands to make it more habitable for people, and that's going to put more people at risk," he added.

Projecting whether state and local governments will reduce their risk by adopting stricter zoning laws and building codes is hard to know, said Brian C. O'Neill, another NCAR scientist. "But we can address it by creating some intelligent alternative scenarios that represent ranges of possibility, so we don't get caught with unanticipated surprises by putting more people in harm's way," he added.




September 18, 2017- Despite Rising Seas and Bigger Storms, Florida's Land Rush Endures

MIAMI - Florida was built on the seductive delusion that a swamp is a fine place for paradise.
The state's allure - peddled first by visionaries and hucksters, most famously in the Great Florida Land Boom of the 1920s - is no less potent today.

Only, now there is a twist: Florida is no longer the swampy backwater it once was. It is the nation's third most populous state, with 21 million people, jutting out precariously into the heart of hurricane alley, amid rising seas, at a time when warming waters have the potential to bring ever stronger storms. And compared with the 1920s, when soggy land was sold by mail, the risks of building here are far better known today. Yet newcomers still flock in and buildings still rise, with everyone seemingly content to double down on a dubious hand.

Florida mostly survived Hurricane Irma, which delivered its most severe damage elsewhere. More than a week later, nearly 400,000 weary, sweat-soaked people in the state remain without power; at least 50 did not survive the storm or its even more dangerous aftermath; and the billions in property damage are still being calculated. Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria rumbles across the Caribbean.

Many saw last week's storm as another dress rehearsal for the Big One. But it wasn't much of a reckoning for a state mostly uninterested in wrestling with the latest round of runaway development, environmental degradation and the mounting difficulties from catastrophic storms. Since the recession's end, new condominiums and houses have been built at a gallop. Many rise on or near the coast, or, in some cases, environmentally important wetlands, which were nature's way of absorbing water. Meanwhile, the seas climb higher, floodwaters roam wider, evacuations grow increasingly tangled, the cost of insurance jumps and infrastructure decays.

"People want to live here," said Craig Fugate, a Floridian who served as Florida's chief emergency manager for two Republican governors and went on to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Barack Obama. "In too many cases, we have not planned for how to build and live with the hazards we have, so that when storms hit we are not wiping people out financially and putting people at extreme risk. I am not someone who says we should not grow or build, but we are continuing to build in ways that are not sustainable."



September 18, 2017, NJ Transit Votes to Spend on Land for Flood-Proof Train Storage

Nearly five years after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States and damaged more than 300 train cars owned by the New Jersey Transit Corporation, at an estimated cost of $100 million, the state agency is taking steps to protect its fleet from future floods. Last week, the NJ Transit board voted to buy 25 acres of land as a "safe haven" for storing trains, a place to keep them out of the low-lying Meadowlands Maintenance Complex near the Hackensack River where they were damaged during Sandy.

There's a slate of efforts underway aimed at building a more resilient transit system in New Jersey, one better equipped to handle the increasing intensity of weather events. Other efforts include establishing a resilient energy grid to provide power during storms and filling in a canal that contributed to the flooding of train yards during Sandy.

I asked NJ Transit to make an official available for an interview about the agency's resilience efforts, but they declined. When I asked whether the agency has a point person overseeing resilience, the public information officer replied: "NJ TRANSIT has a Project Management department comprised of talented professionals dedicated to these projects."


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September 13, 2017- Rethinking the 'Infrastructure' Discussion Amid a Blitz of Hurricanes

The wonky words infrastructure and resilience have circulated widely of late, particularly since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck paralyzing, costly blows in two of America's fastest-growing states.

Resilience is a property traditionally defined as the ability to bounce back. A host of engineers and urban planners have long warned this trait is sorely lacking in America's brittle infrastructure.

Many such experts say the disasters in the sprawling suburban and petro-industrial landscape around Houston and along the crowded coasts of Florida reinforce the urgent idea that resilient infrastructure is needed more than ever, particularly as human-driven climate change helps drive extreme weather.

The challenge in prompting change - broadening the classic definition of "infrastructure," and investing in initiatives aimed at adapting to a turbulent planet - is heightened by partisan divisions over climate policy and development.

Of course, there's also the question of money. The country's infrastructure is ailing already. A national civil engineering group has surveyed the nation's bridges, roads, dams, transit systems and more and awarded a string of D or D+ grades since 1998. The same group has estimated that the country will be several trillion dollars short of what's needed to harden and rebuild and modernize our infrastructure over the next decade.

For fresh or underappreciated ideas, ProPublica reached out to a handful of engineers, economists and policy analysts focused on reducing risk on a fast-changing planet.
Alice Hill, who directed resilience policy for the National Security Council in the Obama administration, said the wider debate over cutting climate-warming emissions may have distracted people from promptly pursuing ways to reduce risks and economic and societal costs from natural disasters.


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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