September 6, 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


ResilientBoston resildivident
Resilience Dividend Valuation Model: Framework Development and Initial Case Studies

This paper summarizes a framework developed by the RAND Corporation and the Rockefeller Foundation for valuing the benefits of an adaptation intervention. The framework is meant to allow practitioners to compare options and assess the value of policies more comprehensively than is possible using indices or scorecards. The paper outlines the technical elements of the "Resilience Dividend Valuation Model (RDVM)" and concludes with examples of how the model was applied in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the United States.
The "resilience dividend" is the term the authors use to describe the benefits of an adaptation intervention compared to if no intervention had been implemented. It includes the "net benefits associated with the absorption of shocks and stressors, the recovery path following a shock, and any co-benefits that accrue from a project even in the absence of a shock." In other words, the resilience dividend includes cost savings and benefits during the recovery and rebuilding period following shocks such as natural disasters or long-term stressors such as droughts. It also includes other benefits that resilience projects might bring, such as improvements to public health or economic development.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017, Webinar - Hartford's Draft Climate Action Plan, CT DEEP Climate Solutions Webinar Series

September 6th, Noon to 1:00 pm

Join us to learn about Hartford's evolving Climate Action Plan. Hartford's Climate Stewardship Council, in partnership with the Mayor's Sustainability Office, has just released a draft of its  Climate Action Plan. This draft plan identifies 6 interconnected sustainability action areas: Energy, Food, Landscape, Transportation, Waste, and Water. The hope is to make incremental but consistent progress in each of these areas, using resources that are available to the community stakeholders and decisions that are consistent with three shared values of Public Health, Economic Development, and Social Equity. Guest presenters, Sara Bronin, Chair of the Climate Stewardship Council, and Shubhada Kambli, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Hartford, will provide an overview of the draft plan.

Exploring Climate Solutions Webinar Series
The series explores innovative and successful climate change solutions across Connecticut and the nation. The webinars provide first-hand accounts of high-profile municipal climate programs, climate initiatives in the corporate world, new greenhouse gas reporting frameworks, statewide sustainability programs, low-carbon fuel initiatives, and other programs and projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or improve climate resilience.
The webinars are free and open to the public. Registration required. Attend scheduled webinars from any computer connected to the web. During the webinars, attendees may submit questions for the presenters to answer.
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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.



CIRCA in the News

September 2, 2017 - Connecticut Expert in Hurricane Recovery Offers Lessons, NH Register

MADISON >> Holly Leicht wants to help governments stop "building the plane while it's in flight" when it comes to preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Leicht, who lives in Madison and the Bronx, New York, served as regional administrator for New York and New Jersey in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from January 2014 to January 2017.
Her report, "Rebuild the Plane Now: Recommendations for Improving Government's Approach to Disaster Recovery and Preparedness," presented at a symposium in New York City in July, is based on her experience coordinating recovery efforts in New York and New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012.


Connecticut's progress
Kooris said Connecticut won $10 million from the federal Rebuild by Design competition after Sandy, and $54.5 million from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, both of which drew from HUD's Community Development Block Grant funds. That money was in addition to $150 million in federal disaster-relief money, which was spent primarily on raising homes and infrastructure.
Bridgeport has become a prime example of how Connecticut is spending its federal funds. "The big project is a storm-surge protection system, essentially a berm that would keep the water out of the critical infrastructure area," Kooris said. Several power-generation facilities are clustered in one area, which "means we can protect them at a neighborhood scale," he said.
Plans are also underway for "the raising of some roads for evacuation and for emergency response access and then the green infrastructure for managing rain events," Kooris said.
The Marina Village public housing project in the South End, partly demolished and partly vacant, suffered damage in Hurricane Sandy. The federal grant money "sets the stage for Marina Village to be redeveloped as mixed-income housing to replace that damaged public housing," incorporating disaster-resilient features, Kooris said. It's an example of "types of economic development that will elevate the whole community, literally and figuratively," he said.
"During Sandy, many residents of the South End of Bridgeport lost the contents of their refrigerators due to a loss of power and didn't have the resources necessary to restock, hampering their recovery," Kooris said. "Limiting the impacts of poverty in the neighborhood will significantly enhance the community's ability to recover."
The project will also include a community center to enhance community building and communication. "The more neighbors know one another through events at the center, the better prepared they will be to help one another," for example by knowing where disabled residents live, he said.
In New Haven, federal money was used to assess the stormwater management system downtown and on Union Avenue, to study flood protection at Long Wharf and to design bulkhead improvements along the Quinnipiac River south of the Ferry Street bridge, Kooris said. Other money is designated to repair a bulkhead at Brewery Square north of the bridge and to implement erosion control along the East Shore.
More funds will be spent on "a regional planning process that is covering all of Fairfield and New Haven counties," which will be launched this fall by the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation at the University of Connecticut.
Finally, a 2015 executive order signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy established the State Agency Fostering Resilience Council, which is "committed to strengthening the state's resiliency to extreme weather events including hurricanes, flooding, extreme heat, and slow onset events such as sea-level rise," according to its website.
"When a state agency has a plan update or code update or some ongoing plan update, we would piggyback on that process to incorporate resilience," Kooris said. Examples are updates to the state Department of Administrative Services' building codes and the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security's hazard-mitigation plan.
"These resources will support communities up and down the coast to come up with that particular and unique strategy that best prepares them for disasters and prepares them well to recover after disasters," Kooris said.
"The exact strategy will be different in each municipality, whether it's raising homes, fortifying infrastructure or targeted retreat."



August 29, 2017- Since Sandy, Connecticut Has Been Preparing For Future Severe Storms

State and municipal leaders have spent the five years since Hurricane Sandy working on a variety of fronts to better prepare Connecticut for a catastrophic storm, officials said Monday, as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston.

"The thing that has changed is most public officials have it at the front of their mind," said James O'Donnell, executive director of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, a partnership between UConn and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that was created in 2014.

Damage from Sandy was far less severe than Hurricane Harvey's path of destruction, but the storm was a wake-up call to Connecticut officials and exposed some of state's vulnerabilities.

Federal and state grants have helped pay for upgrades to make sewage treatment plants more storm-resilient and to create microgrids, mini-power generation plants that operate even when the electric grid goes down.


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Local & State News Clips


August 30, 2017 -  Connecticut Senators Will Support Harvey Aid, Despite Texans' Opposition to Sandy Relief, CT Mirror

Washington - The need for a robust federal response to Hurricane Harvey has reopened old wounds about the contentious and drawn-out fight five years ago over a relief bill for Superstorm Sandy victims.
Connecticut's senators, who joined their colleagues from New York and New Jersey in fighting for the aid, say they are ready to bury the hatchet and help Texas Republicans who opposed Sandy funding.
"As soon as Congress gets back to D.C. next week, we are going to have to appropriate emergency funding to help the people of Texas clean up and rebuild," Sen. Chris Murphy said.
But there are still resentments.
"In the past, unfortunately, relief aid has gotten political," Murphy said. "It's worth noting that the Texas delegation mostly voted against aid to help us in Connecticut after Superstorm Sandy. But we're not going to do that. We're going to try to get this relief package done to get assistance out to them as soon as possible."
Congress approved a $60.4 billion package to provide relief to Connecticut and other states hit by Superstorm Sandy, but not without struggle.
First, the GOP-controlled Congress cut the aid requested by former President Obama and the governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, who had asked for a total of $83 billion to make their states whole again.
Then several Republican senators, including Texans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, tried to block the bill. Cruz had an especially high profile in the fight, citing "unnecessary pork" provisions in the Sandy bill as the reasons for his opposition. Cruz also called the Sandy relief bill a "Christmas tree" with gifts for various lawmakers' "pet projects.
The Sandy bill was finally approved by the Senate. Then it ran into trouble in the House, which could not act on it right away because of the strong opposition of key GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Ted Poe, who represents a Houston-based district, and fellow Texan Jeb Hensarling.
More than two months after the storm hit the Northeast, Congress ended its session in late December without approving a Sandy relief bill. It was eventually approved in early 2013 in the next Congress.
Over the weekend, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., one of the lawmakers who struggled to push the Sandy relief bill through Congress five years ago, criticized Cruz and other Texas lawmakers for opposing the aid.
"Ted Cruz & Texas cohorts voted vs NY/NJ aid after Sandy but I'll vote 4 Harvey aid," King tweeted Saturday. "NY won't abandon Texas. 1 bad turn doesn't deserve another."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he felt the same way as King.
"We had to fight tooth and nail over Sandy relief, but my hope is that there will be no controversy over Harvey," he said.
Blumenthal said the Sandy bill "was severely delayed, so it was debilitating and depressing to the victims of the storm that ravaged the coastline."
He also said "there's a lot of irony that Texans are now seeking this kind of relief," but he would back a bill pushed by the Texas congressional delegation to help those hurt by Harvey, considered the most expensive storm in U.S. history.
"They fought us when we sought relief in the wake of Sandy," Blumenthal said. "But we should all recognize that we all have a stake in this humanitarian crisis."
Lawmakers from New York and New Jersey say they will support a Harvey aid package too.



August 29, 2017- Coastal Resiliency Projects Lack Landowner Support In Connecticut

The catastrophic flooding happening in Texas is highlighting the importance of coastal resiliency. Researchers at the University of Connecticut say a lot of climate science currently focuses on biology and ecology, overlooking something else very important: the humans who own the land.

It's a simple enough idea: if you want to make coastlines like Connecticut's more resilient to hurricanes like Sandy, you need to win over the people living there.

"We live in a world full of people. And we have to understand the way that people behave, especially the attitudes of landowners, if we're going to do conservation," said Chris Elphick, an associate professor at UConn.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he reported on around 1,000 surveys returned from residents in vulnerable areas along Connecticut's coast. The idea was to gauge how open private landowners are to dealing with conservation groups who want to utilize their land. The answer, he found, is not much.



August 9, 2017- Connecticut Environmentalists: New Federal Climate Change Report Unlikely To Change Trump's Mind

Connecticut environmentalists doubt that a new federal government report detailing the major impacts climate change is having on the world and the U.S. will serve as any "wake-up call" for President Trump and his top advisers.

Trump and several of his top cabinet officials, including the secretaries of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, have repeatedly questioned the accuracy of previous scientific studies showing that human activity has increased the pace and risks of climate change.

"The evidence is mounting and it's all pointing in the same direction," Robert Klee, Connecticut's commissioner of energy and environmental protection, said of the new report by scientists at 13 federal agencies. He said there is "overwhelming evidence" in the new report that humans are largely responsible for climate change that is having a direct impact on our weather here in Connecticut and around the world.


National News Clips


August 30, 2017- Trump Order Undermines Rebuilding Better For Future Floods

Two weeks before Harvey's flood waters engulfed much of Houston, President Donald Trump quietly rolled back an order by his predecessor that would have made it easier for storm-ravaged communities to use federal emergency aid to rebuild bridges, roads and other structures so they can better withstand future disasters.

Now, with much of the nation's fourth-largest city underwater, Trump's move has new resonance. Critics note the president's order could force Houston and other cities to rebuild hospitals and highways in the same way and in the same flood-prone areas.

"Rebuilding while ignoring future flood events is like treating someone for lung cancer and then giving him a carton of cigarettes on the way out the door," said Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental and climate change law at Columbia University. "If you're going to rebuild after a bad event, you don't want to expose yourself to the same thing all over again."

Trump's action is one of several ways the president, who has called climate change a hoax, has tried to wipe away former President Barack Obama's efforts to make the United States more resilient to threats posed by the changing climate.

The order Trump revoked would have permitted the rebuilding to take into account climate scientists' predictions of stronger storms and more frequent flooding.

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August 28, 2017- Editorial: States Dare to Think Big on Climate Change

The one bright spot amid the generally gloomy news about climate change, and the Trump administration's resistance to doing anything about it, is the determination of a number of state governments to take action on their own.

California, as usual, has commanded the headlines on this score, having just strengthened its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now the nine Northeastern states that form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have done much the same, in a further rebuke to the know-littles and do-nothings like Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who are now calling the shots on climate policy in Washington.

The nine states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, last week agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants an additional 30 percent by 2030, on top of the 40 percent cut they have already achieved since the program began in 2009. R.G.G.I., as the initiative is known, was the nation's first multistate greenhouse gas initiative. From the beginning (and despite the defection of New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie), it has had the backing of governors from both parties. More important, it has quietly achieved substantial emissions reductions at little cost to the states' economies or to their consumers.



August 28, 2017- How A Warmer Climate Helped Shape Harvey

The rain just won't stop. More than two days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, the downgraded storm continues to dump water across the region.

So much rain has fallen in the Houston area that the National Weather Service has had to revamp its charts .

Climate researchers agree that climate change can be partially to blame for the devastation. Here's how it has (and hasn't) shaped the course of the storm.

Climate change may have helped Harvey to form and intensify.  This year saw high sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, where Harvey formed. According to an analysis published in March , the Gulf stayed above 73 degrees Fahrenheit the entire winter.

At the time Harvey intensified into a Category 4 hurricane, it was over a section of the Gulf that was about 4 degrees above normal, says Martin Hoerling , a research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo.

"The water in the Gulf of Mexico is the heat reservoir to support these hurricanes," says Ben Kirtman , an atmospheric scientist at the University of Miami. The warm water and air above the Gulf means there's more energy to drive a storm such as Harvey.

Kirtman says that doesn't mean Harvey was directly caused by climate change. Rather, climate change is shaping conditions for storms like this one. So if Harvey was a 1-in-100-year storm, for example, "maybe it becomes a storm that could happen one in 50 years, or one in 20 years, or one in 10 years," Kirtman says.




August 8, 2017- 9 Takeaways From the National Climate Report

A scientific report on climate change obtained by The New York Times , part of a regular federal climate assessment, shows that warming is already having a large effect on the United States.

1. It's hot out there. It is getting warmer everywhere, but in the contiguous United States, the West is warming the fastest. While temperatures in the country (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) have increased an average of 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, the Southwest and the Northwest, as well as the Northern Great Plains, have seen a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees or more. A degree and a half may not seem like much, but even slight changes in temperature can have widespread effects .

The report said that heat waves and droughts had reached record intensities in some parts of the country. But the Dust Bowl of the 1930s remains the benchmark for heat and drought in American history, by virtue of the area involved and how long it lasted.

2. Wetter hurricanes in the East.  While it is not certain that the frequency of intense hurricanes will increase, hurricanes that do occur will bring more rainfall than ever and could potentially be more destructive.

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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