April 2020 Project Updates

May 11, 2020

Save the Date!
Resilient Connecticut Climate Adaptation Summit
November 20, 2020

CIRCA’s second annual Resilient Connecticut Summit will take place on November 20th. The Summit is a wonderful way to network with people working on climate resilience in a variety of sectors and to hear the latest advancements in the Resilient Connecticut project.

At the first Summit, participants:

  • Heard about the structure and progress for the Resilient Connecticut project;
  • Learned about innovative resilience planning through regional case studies and a keynote speaker, and;
  • Provided feedback on key planning and technical elements of the project.

Further details for this year’s event will be available soon.

Stay tuned for more information. As plans are developed, we’ll share information via the Resilience Roundup and our November 2020 Summit webpage. Please share with anyone you think would be interested. The materials for the 2019 Summit are available here.

CIRCA COVID-19 Update

In accordance with public health guidelines and Governor Lamont’s Executive order, all CIRCA staff will be working from home until at least April 30. If you wish to get in contact with a staff member, a list of contact information may be found at this link . We are checking our office voicemails.
We hope that everyone is remaining safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to physically meeting with you all again.

Global Adaptation Month

We are pleased to announce that CIRCA will be participating in this year’s Global Adaptation Month . Throughout April, we will be sharing great climate-related info and projects. If you would like your organization’s work highlighted, please fill out the form linked below, and be sure to look into all of the great projects highlighted all month long!

CIRCA Staff Participates in “Soak Up the Rain” New England Webinar Series

March 30, 2020

Living Shorelines: Slowing Coastal Erosion and Saving Connecticut Habitats

April 9, 2020
10:30 – 12:00 pm

Webinar Overview

Coastal storm events and severe weather damage homes, businesses, infrastructure, and natural resources in New England communities. Creative strategies for shoreline stabilization and coastal stormwater management must build resilience, protect habitats, and reduce erosion and flooding. One solution is “living shorelines” – nature-based coastal infrastructure that addresses public health and safety concerns and preserves and restores coastal habitats. A recent project in Stratford, Connecticut provided 900 feet of coastal erosion control, added 30 acres of coastal habitat, and documented the ecological benefits of living shorelines through monitoring.

Our second living shorelines webinar of 2020 features speakers from Sacred Heart University and the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) on the environmental benefits of implementing living shoreline projects. The presentation will feature Connecticut case studies and recommendations for regulators, planners, practitioners, coastal property owners, and members of the public on successfully implementing nature-based coastal infrastructure projects.

Presenters:

• Kim Bradley, CIRCA, University of Connecticut

• Dr. Jennifer Mattei, Sacred Heart University

Register Here


Stay in Touch

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

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Climate Vulnerability Mapping for Municipalities

March 23, 2020

Resilient Connecticut
Webinar Series

Climate Vulnerability Mapping for Municipalities
March 12, 2020
10:00 – 11:00 am

Webinar Overview

During this webinar, participants learned about:

  • How mapping helps a community understand its vulnerabilities;
  • Mapping resources currently or soon to be available; and,
  • How Resilient Connecticut is advancing climate vulnerability assessments for municipalities.

Webinar Description

Understanding climate vulnerabilities can be a complex undertaking. GIS mapping can help visualize the relationship between particular climate vulnerabilities like sea level rise, climate amplifiers such as socio-economic and existing infrastructure, and existing adaptive capacity indicators like flood controls. These maps will assist municipalities, Councils of Governments, and the state incorporate climate vulnerabilities into their regular planning activities and conduct resiliency-specific planning. Yaprak Onat described the Resilient Connecticut climate vulnerability maps prepared to date and the mapping indices used to create them. Alex Felson introduced the “zones of shared risk” concept, followed by Peter Minutti, who explored the methodology used to map the zones of shared risk.

 

Webinar Presenters & Moderator

  • Yaprak Onat, PhD, Assistant Director of Research, UConn CIRCA Presentation
  • Alex Felson, RLA PhD, Director of Resilience Design, Deputy Executive Director, UConn CIRCA
  • Peter Minutti, ASLA, Director of Community Research and Design Collaborative, UConn Presentation
  • Joanna Wozniak-Brown, Senior Resilience Planner at UConn CIRCA

 


Stay in Touch

This webinar is part of a regular series hosted by CIRCA and involving different partners & organizations. These webinars will be available to watch live with opportunity for Q&A and a recording will be posted shortly following the event.

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

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Funding for this webinar presentation is provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Block Grant National Disaster Recovery Program, as administered by the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing.

Resilience Corridor and TOD Concept – in Gingerbread!

December 13, 2019

Every year UConn Avery Point hosts a competition to make a gingerbread house. This year CIRCA  built a resilience corridor and transit-oriented development (TOD) zone from candies and gingerbread cookies.

We were inspired by the resilience corridor cross-section proposed for the Resilient Connecticut project for New Haven and Fairfield Counties. The aim is to connect the shoreline communities that are sharing a similar level of flood risk to communities with less flood-risk with “resilient corridors”. Our gingerbread design included the shoreline communities, a resilience corridor, resilience hub, and transportation egress zone.

    

 

Resilience for shore-front communities

The gingerbread shore-front communities are designed to adapt to sea-level rise and frequent flooding effects.

The adaptation approaches include:

Home Elevation

The small gingerbread house community has higher risk levels of flooding. CIRCA sea level rise projections recommend that communities plan for 20 inches of sea-level rise by the year 2050. The base level of the houses elevated according to ASCE 24-14 guidelines.

 

 

 

Elevated Permeable Walkways

The access to the shoreline community is made by permeable walkway design of oyster crackers that are sloped from the shoreline and elevated to the house base floor level. The permeable walkways and roads are installed on a gravel base with elevated under-drain to filter the flood to the underlying soils. This concept was also used for resilience corridor design with pastry crisp bars.

 

 

 

Bioretention Area

The runoff from the residential areas and driveways are stabilized through sloped permeable walkways that direct the flow to the vegetative surface to stabilize the runoff. This landscaped lawn area made from green plant candies are placed at the edge of the road and shoreline.

Riprap Shoreline

The scouring on the porous and sand are tried to reduce by the crumbled graham cracker made rip-raps to lessen the erosion by the bay.

 

Resilience for river-front communities

Rivers in Connecticut connect the coastal and inland communities. The rivers have a diverse set of marshes, habitats, and soils.

 

Un-mowed Vegetative Buffers

The natural vegetative cover around the river forms thicker and denser buffer zone to filter sediment and nutrients to move towards resilience corridor. We built sand and ripraps behind this buffer zone and mulch around the road. Most of our mulch is covered by the snow piled by the side of the way by our public workers.

Elevated road and train tracks

The resilience corridor allows egress to the higher transit-oriented zone. It perpendicularly crosscuts with the MTA rail line and I-95. The passage from the resilience corridor is regulated with traffic signs. The elevated train track and highway is raised along its entire length by wafers, which allows bridge access to the river on the right.

Coastal forest

Forests can reduce the impact of coastal hazards by dampening waves, stabilizing sediment, and absorbing water. The train tracks are also protected by coastal forest on the left, which created a natural habitat for our penguins and llamas.

 

 

Resilience Corridor

Resilience corridors is a planning strategy that utilizes existing roads to the vulnerable coastal communities to higher ground upland territories. Our wafer elevated pastry crip bars, in this case, connect our mini gingerbread shoreline community to the transit-oriented development zone uphill. This is a retreat planning effort to give egress route to the homeowners to live both near and far from the developments.

 

 

 

Transit-Oriented Development Zone 

A transit-oriented development (TOD) is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport. We were only able to build a bus stop and train station from the gingerbreads due to the space limits. However, the TOD zone is a pedestrian-oriented and mixed-use community. Our gingerbread houses are powered by solar panels from sour candy strips and fruit loops.

We have a chance to increase our resilience to climate change and adopt sustainable solutions with our everyday actions (and a piece of candy!)

 

 

 

Resilient Gingerbread Squad: Caterina Massidda, Yaprak Onat, Chang Liu and Lauren Yaworsky (from left to right).

 

From all of us at CIRCA, we hope that you have a resilient and happy holiday season!

 

Municipal Assistance for FEMA’s Community Rating System

December 4, 2019

Resilient Connecticut
Webinar Series

Overview of FEMA’s Community Rating System as a Resilience Tool
January 16, 2020
10 – 11 am

Aerial of Hartford Skyline and Connecticut River. Riverfront parks line both sides of the river

Webinar Overview

During this webinar, participants learned about:

  • FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Connecticut;
  • How the CRS program could increase local resiliency;
  • Real examples of actions Connecticut towns have taken to enter or ‘level-up’ in the CRS program.

Webinar Description

Learn about the CIRCA-funded project, “Municipal Assistance for FEMA’s Community Rating System,” completed by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Milone & MacBroom Inc.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide flood insurance within communities that adopt and enforce floodplain regulations. Communities may choose to enter into the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS) in order to reduce the cost of flood insurance premiums for their property owners. Communities participating in the CRS Program go above and beyond the minimum standards and, depending on their level of mitigation efforts, can garner insurance premium reductions from 5-45%.

In response to the rising interest in the CRS program, CIRCA allocated funding to support communities with CRS entry and class advancement. CIRCA partnered with CT DEEP staff to advise Milone & MacBroom about which municipalities could benefit and take advantage of CRS technical assistance. As a result of this funding opportunity, participating communities were able to work toward increased CRS points and advance their CRS rating or enter the program, which will ultimately reap the benefit of lower flood insurance premiums on a community wide basis. Examples of such communities will be given throughout the webinar, along with transferable information for a municipality seeking CRS points.

Webinar Recording

Webinar Presenters & Moderator

  • Diane Ifkovic, State NFIP Coordinator at CT DEEP Presentation
  • David Murphy, Manager of Water Resources Planning at Milone & MacBroom Presentation
  • Joanna Wozniak-Brown, Senior Resilience Planner at CIRCA

 


Stay in Touch

This webinar is part of a regular series hosted by CIRCA and involving different partners & organizations. These webinars will be available to watch live with opportunity for Q&A and a recording will be posted shortly following the event.

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

Resilient Roundup banner art


Funding for this webinar presentation is provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Block Grant National Disaster Recovery Program, as administered by the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing.

Forming local resilience committees – October 31st Webinar

September 30, 2019

Resilient Connecticut Webinar Series

Forming local resilience committees:
A discussion with two Connecticut coastal towns

Webinar held on Thursday, October 31, 2019
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

As the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt at a local level, community-driven resilience planning becomes ever-more important. On October 31st CIRCA hosted staff from two coastal Connecticut towns that are in the process of forming resilience committees. Joe MacDougald, UConn faculty and a Madison resident, co-presented with Dave Anderson, Town of Madison’s Director of Planning & Economic Development, and Tom Banisch, Madison’s First Selectman. They were joined by Jessie Stratton who is a member of a task force helping to lead Groton’s resilience planning effort.

After a short introduction, presenters described their committees’ charge and structure, technical assistance needs, and ways they are bringing together diverse stakeholders to address resilience.

Webinar Introduction – Joe MacDougald

Madison Coastal Resiliency Commission – Dave Anderson Presentation

Groton Coastal Resiliency Commission – Jessie Stratton

In related news, the Madison Board of Selectmen have appointed 19 members to a Coastal Resiliency Commission to begin addressing potential threats and concerns to Madison’s beaches and coastline as a whole. For further information, a link to an article can be found here.

WATCH THE WEBINAR VIDEO:


WEBINAR SERIES

This webinar is part of a monthly series hosted by CIRCA and involving different partners & organizations. These webinars will be available to watch live with opportunity for Q&A and a recording will be posted shortly following the event.

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up below for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

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Sign up

Resilient Connecticut Summit – November 12, 2019

September 17, 2019

RESILIENT CONNECTICUT
CLIMATE ADAPTATION SUMMIT

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Located at Fairfield University

At CIRCA’s first annual Resilient Connecticut Summit, Commissioner Katie Dykes from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection provided a welcome and Shaun O’Rourke, Rhode Island Chief Resiliency Officer gave a keynote address entitled, Resilient Rhody: Building Climate Resilience in Rhode Island.

At the Summit, participants:

  • Heard about the structure and progress for the Resilient Connecticut project.
  • Learned about innovative resilience planning through regional case studies and a keynote speaker.
  • Provided feedback on key planning and technical elements of the project.

In the afternoon, two breakout sessions focused on “Developing Capacity and Building Resilience Tools for Connecticut”.  Topics included a vulnerability assessment demonstration and charette, climate and public health, planning for transportation oriented development, and examples of integrated flood risk.

Funding for this project is provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Block Grant National Disaster Recovery Program, as administered by the
State of Connecticut’s Department of Housing. 
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Connecticut’s climate report: precipitation projections and a New Haven case study

August 29, 2019

Resilient Connecticut Webinar Series

Connecticut’s climate report:
precipitation projections and a New Haven case study

Friday, September 27, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 pm

Planning for adaptation requires localized information about expected changes in climate. Until recently, the spatial scale of climate projections did not allow for detailed regional analysis. While national and international climate assessments generate consensus-based scientific summaries, this information often falls short of being usable for decision-making at the local level. State-level climate assessments seek to provide information that supports local decision-making. During this webinar, two presenters described their work related to precipitation projections and assessment at the local level:

Professor Guiling Wang from UConn’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering highlighted Connecticut’s precipitation projections as described in a new report, Connecticut Physical Climate Science Assessment Report. The purpose of this report is to provide an assessment of the state of the science regarding observed changes and projections for temperature and precipitation (i.e., physical climate).

Guiling Wang Webinar Presentation

Dawn Henning, Project Manager from New Haven’s Engineering Department then described how the city is creating a low-cost “smart city” stormwater sensor network to provide a detailed record of the interaction of rainfall, tides, green stormwater infrastructure, and sewer conveyance systems on the hydrology of New Haven’s urban core. New information will target gaps and inconsistencies in the understanding of the large and complex drainage area around the city. This understanding is becoming even more important in the face of climate change.

Dawn Henning Webinar Presentation

 

WEBINAR VIDEO

WEBINAR SERIES

This webinar is part of a monthly series hosted by CIRCA and involving different partners & organizations. These webinars will be available to watch live with opportunity for Q&A and a recording will be posted shortly following the event.

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up below for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

New Planning and Visualization Tools for Sea Level Rise

June 27, 2019

Resilient Connecticut Webinar Series

New Planning and Visualization Tools for Sea Level Rise
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
11:00 am-12:00 pm

Barrier Beach Resilience Diagram

Marsh Resilience Diagram

Resilience Corridor Diagram

Sea level rise has multiple impacts on the Connecticut shoreline, including increased erosion rates, frequency of flooding, and coastal inundation. Recent research and planning tools generated from a “Municipal Resilience Planning Assistance Project” combines science and planning to address the resilience of vulnerable communities along Connecticut’s coast to the growing impacts of climate change.

On this webinar (view video below), new planning tools released by CIRCA and UConn’s Center for Energy and Environmental Law (CEEL) were highlighted, including three “resilience scenarios” that can be used by municipal and state agency staff as communication and planning tools. These scenarios are drawings that depict sea level rise and flooding problems common in many Connecticut towns. The drawings are particularly useful to town planners or town engineers as they have controllable “layers” that can be manipulated to highlight the various problems.

Speakers included:

Joe MacDougald, UConn Professor in Residence and the Executive Director of Center for Energy & Environmental Law

Alex Felson, CIRCA Director of Resilience Design

Webinar Recording:


NEW WEBINAR SERIES!

This webinar is part of a monthly series hosted by CIRCA and involving different partners & organizations. These webinars will be available to watch live with opportunity for Q&A and a recording will be posted shortly following the event. So if you can’t attend the live webinar, you should still register! We will send out slides and recording to all registrants.

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up below for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Block Grant National Disaster Recovery Program, as administered by the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing.

Regional Resilience Planning for Protection of Public Drinking Water Webinar

June 4, 2019

Resilient Connecticut
Webinar Series

Regional Resilience Planning for
Protection of Public Drinking Water
Friday, June 28, 2019
10:00-11:00 am

UConn researchers worked with the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) and the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) to integrate climate change information into water planning processes for the region. With changing precipitation patterns, sea level rise, and drought anticipated due to climate change, water utility managers will benefit from the integration of climate data into regional planning.

Steven Wallett from the Connecticut Department of Public Health began the webinar by providing a brief update about the state’s new Drinking Water Vulnerability Assessment and Resilience Plan. Professor Christine Kirchhoff from UConn’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering then highlighted recent climate trends and projections for precipitation patterns and drought and describe how these will impact water systems state-wide. She also reviewed a new statewide survey and interview results with community water system managers. John Hudak, Environmental Planning Manager at the South Central Connecticut RWA spoke about the importance of these studies along with recommendations for regional drinking water resilience and growing concerns of climate impacts.

Webinar Recording

NEW WEBINAR SERIES!

This webinar is part of a monthly series hosted by CIRCA and involving different partners & organizations. These webinars will be available to watch live with opportunity for Q&A and a recording will be posted shortly following the event. So if you can’t attend the live webinar, you should still register! We will send out slides and recording to all registrants.

To receive notification about upcoming webinars, please sign up below for the Resilience Roundup e-newsletter and CIRCA Announcements.

 

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Block Grant National Disaster Recovery Program, as administered by the State of Connecticut, Department of Housing.