Email Address: 
Position Title: 
Senior Consultant

Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resilience Vision Project

Location

New Haven
55 Church Street Floor 3
06510 New Haven , CT
United States
41° 18' 18.2736" N, 72° 55' 34.7304" W
Connecticut US
Organization: 
The Nature Conservancy
Organization: 
Summary: 

In the fall of 2016, a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, and the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region convened a group of over fifty stakeholders from Southeastern Connecticut to discuss the impacts of rising sea levels, extreme weather, and changing social and economic conditions on the resilience of the region and its communities.

Community Resilience Building Workshop Guide

The need for municipalities, corporations, organizations, and government agencies to build community resilience and adapt to extreme weather and climate is now strikingly evident. Ongoing events continuously reinforce this urgency and compel leading communities to proactively plan and act.  In response to this ever increasing need and urgency, the Community Resilience Building Workshop was created.    

The Community Resilience Building Workshop is a unique, “anywhere at any scale,” community-driven process, rich with information, experience, and dialogue, where participants identify top hazards, current challenges, strengths, and priority actions to equitably improve community resilience to all natural and climate-related hazards today, and in the future.  After a decade in development, the CRB Workshop has been tried, tested and is now trusted by over forty five communities in Connecticut, New York, and most recently Minnesota.

The CRB Workshop Guidebook provides clear instructions on how to lead your community towards resilience. The Guidebook carefully illustrates the essentials of the process as well as the “before” and “after” workshop steps to help ensure immediate goals, outcomes, and strategic direction are realized within your community.

An Equitable Water Future

This national briefing paper examines the interconnections between water management and vulnerable communities in the United States. Too often, when we think of vulnerable communities that struggle with water-related challenges, we think of places like sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and other developing regions. The overall high quality of water systems in America—one of our most monumental achievements as a nation—obscures the fact that water challenges are a daily reality for some communities.

The US Water Alliance developed this briefing paper to expand national understanding of the water-related challenges that vulnerable communities face. This paper is inspired and informed by the contributions of diverse stakeholders—utility managers, policymakers, community leaders, advocacy coalitions, direct service providers, and more. It spotlights the promising practices that have emerged to make water systems more equitable, and offers recommendations for their implementation.

Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change Adaptation Goals and Strategies in Bowdoinham, ME

During June of 2014, the town of Bowdoinham, Maine approved a new Comprehensive Plan for the coming years. As part of this plan, they included a section on adapting to sea-level rise and more severe rainstorms caused by climate change. By looking at past sea-level rise in the region and IPCC reports, the town developed projections for how much sea-level would rise nearby. Bowdoinham estimates sea-level in the area will rise at least one foot by 2050 and two feet by 2100, although they mention these estimates may be conservative. The report details the quantities of roads, railroads, buildings, and land that would be inundated by such sea-level rise. They also predict how much inundation would occur during a 100-year storm if various rises in sea-level were to occur. Additionally, they note that extreme precipitation events in the future may be 20% more severe than current local storm drains have been built to effectively deal with. Finally, they propose a number of recommendations including community education, participation in the FEMA National Flood Insurance CRS Program, and increasing resiliency of crucial transportation infrastructure.

Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning: A Framework

Learn how Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning is a vital opportunity for cities to reorganize resources, foster meaningful relationships, and develop placed-based innovations that support all people to thrive despite climate disruption.

This framework: ​

  • Advocates deepening democratic practices at the local and regional levels ​
  • Puts forth principles and practices defining the emergent field of climate resilience ​
  • Offers examples and resources for community-based institutions implementing community-driven planning processes ​
  • Is useful for a range of stakeholders, including community-based organizations, philanthropy, and the public sector.

Colorado Climate Plan: State Level Policies and Strategies to Mitigate and Adapt

In Colorado, climate change presents a broad range of challenges.

Colorado has warmed substantially in the last 30 years and even more over the last 50 years.1 Future estimates project temperatures rising an additional 2.5oF to 5oF by 2050,2 meaning the warmest summers from our past may become the average summers in our future. With increasing temperatures come shifts in snowmelt runoff, water quality concerns, stressed ecosystems and transportation infrastructure, impacts to energy demand; and extreme weather events that can impact air quality and recreation. The challenges we face will affect everyone, and require collaborative solutions.

The goal of this document is to promote state policy recommendations and actions that help to improve Colorado’s ability to adapt to future climate change impacts and increase Colorado’s state agencies level of preparedness, while simultaneously identifying opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at the agency level. In this plan, the major sectors of the state government are addressed, specific actions are called for, and policy recommendations are made. Because addressing climate change is best addressed collaboratively, this plan has been developed collectively by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), with input from key stakeholders.

This plan has also been developed to meet the requirements of C.R.S. 24-20-111, which calls for the development of a state climate plan setting forth a strategy to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while taking into account previous state actions and efforts. This plan represents advances in the discussion on how to best address climate change at the state level, however, we know that more conversations are necessary and we look forward to a continued dialog with climate experts and the public. Therefore, over the next year, each state agency that has helped to develop this plan will hold public engagement sessions on climate change that are specific to their sector. This will include:

  • The CDPHE, following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Power Plan, will expand outreach to stakeholders, government agencies, and interested Coloradans in a public process to develop and implement a state plan to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel fired EGUs. The CDPHE will host meetings and solicit public comment to gather ideas and attempt to reach some consensus on the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions while preserving or enhancing electric grid reliability and the economy. The CDPHE will continue to fully cooperate with the Public Utilities Commission, the CEO and the General Assembly to optimize the state plan.
  • The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will serve as the public forum for future conversations on fish and wildlife adaptation. The Commission will schedule a series of conversations in the next year to hear recommendations from experts and the public about science and management options to inform management decisions.
  • The CWCB will continue to be a leader on climate change adaptation in the water sector and will host an open discussion with experts and the public on climate change at a board meeting(s) during fiscal year 2016. CWCB staff will also engage with stakeholder groups around the state to gather feedback on this plan and recommendations to explore and enhance future actions.
  • The CEO, in conjunction with the Public Utilities Commission, will continue to serve as subject matter experts concerning energy efficiency technologies, markets, and practices involving electric utility end-users. In this role, Colorado Energy Office will convene one or more forums over the next year to engage stakeholders and ensure energy efficiency options best fit within a compliance plan for the state. The development of these forums will also include collaboration with the CDA, who has partnered with the CEO on several energy programs.
  • The DOLA will deliver trainings to local government planners and emergency managers on integrating information regarding changing hazard risks and resilience principles into local plans and land use codes using their forthcoming Colorado Hazard Mitigation and Land Use Planning Guide as a framework.
  • The Colorado Tourism Office will include as session on climate change as part of the agenda at their annual conference. The conference will be held in Crested Butte in September.
  • The CDA will work with the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts to provide an informative, science-based panel and discussion at the annual conference for conservation districts to explore the projected climate change impacts on production agriculture in Colorado and steps that can be taken to adapt and prepare for those changes.
  • The CDOT will work with the State Transportation Advisory Commission to develop a stakeholder engagement process to take place over the next year.

In 2007, Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. released a Climate Action Plan laying out goals for the state through 2050. The plan was primarily focused on mitigation efforts and detailed a handful of measures that would help in reducing overall GHG emissions. Since that time the state has moved forward with many of these measures and has worked to implement additional mitigation efforts as well as greatly expand adaptation initiatives. Federal regulation has also expanded to address some of the goals laid out in 2007. Major State actions, such as the adoption and expansion of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) also simultaneously addressed several the 2007 goals, and positioned the state well to respond to the recently released EPA Clean Power Plan rule. Below is a timeline illustrating the measures that have been accomplished since the 2007 plan was released.

Colorado is a state full of talented innovators who come together to tackle challenges and overcome obstacles on a daily basis. That collaboration and creative thinking is at the heart of this plan. The strategies and recommendations laid out here, in addition to the proposed stakeholder engagement opportunities, are commitments by state agencies to continue moving us forward and provide state level policies and strategies to mitigate and adapt. Over the coming months state agencies will work to incorporate the recommendations of this plan, schedule opportunities for continued stakeholder engagement, and continue to ensure that we are taking steps to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a balanced and responsible way, while also pursuing adaptive strategies that protect the core elements that make Colorado such a desirable place to live, work, and play.

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Position Title: 
Candidate, M.S. in Environmental Studies
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