Today the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston is releasing Feasibility of Harbor-wide Barriers: Preliminary Analysis for Boston Harbor.
This report, sponsored by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission with generous support of the Barr Foundation found that shore-based climate adaptation strategies have significant advantages over harbor-wide strategies for the region.
The project team included faculty, students and staff from the School for the Environment (SFE) and the Urban Harbors Institute (now part of SFE) as well as Arcadis, Woods Hole Group and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Paul Kirshen, Academic Director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab was the Principle Investigator.
This eagerly anticipated report is already garnering lots of press coverage this morning:
The Boston Globe
The Boston Herald
Boston Business Journal
Professor Dale Webber, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graduate Studies and Research at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has been appointed Campus Principal of the Mona Campus in Jamaica. His appointment takes effect from October 1, 2018.
Click here for full article.
Climate change may scuttle Caribbean’s post-hurricane plans for a renewable energy boom April 20, 2018 6.38am EDT
"Puerto Rico lost electricity again on April 18, seven months after Hurricane Maria first knocked out the island’s power grid. For people in some remote rural areas, the blackout was more of the same. Their power had yet to be restored.
The dangerous fragility of Puerto Rico’s energy systems has put other Caribbean countries on high alert. Across the region, electric grids are dated, ailing and overburdened – making it easy work for a powerful passing storm.
Caribbean nations also rely heavily on oil and diesel imports to fuel their power plants – a dirty and expensive way to produce energy. So even before the 2017 hurricane season, Caribbean governments were trying to integrate renewable energy sources like wind and solar into their existing grids.
Now that task seems far more urgent. To move beyond fossil fuels, Caribbean countries must transform their energy systems by building in new, greener sources of power. That will also make electric grids more resilient to weather extremes because they will be decentralized – pulling from a diverse array of power sources."
Click here for the rest of the article.
by Masaō Ashtine
Lecturer in Alternative Energy, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus
Published by The Conversation
A SAGE member recently shared this report thinking that it would provide good information for those of us who are considering coastal resiliency in New England and beyond. According to the executive summary, "This report provides a range of practical considerations for property managers, regulators, coastal municipal leaders, scientists and practitioners, who are interested in advancing living shoreline policies and practices. The living shoreline profiles provide an overview of the techniques, conceptual designs, case studies, siting characteristics and design considerations and regulatory and review agencies that oversee the designs. Additionally, an applicability index has been developed for common living shoreline types in New England. It is intended to serve as a guide for the development of regulations and policies to explicitly incorporate these approaches into the coastal management programs of the respective states and New England’s coastal communities."
Check it out:
SAGE member Angela Burnett Penn has recently published a book about experiences of people living in the Virgin Islands and their experiences of Hurricane Irma.
The Irma Diaries transposes readers to The Virgin Islands on 6th September, 2017 and into the shoes of islanders on the frontlines of climate change. In a very intimate, personal style, The Irma Diaries captures the harrowing, yet amazing and inspiring and, at times, amusing accounts of the ordinary- turned-extraordinary people who battled through Hurricane Irma, minute by minute, and came out alive.
Click here for more information: https://www.theirmadiaries.com/
"Supporting Climate Adaption Planning for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: What Surprising Changes will Occur to our Climate, Sea Level and Water Resources?"
Drs. Ambarish Karmalkar (NE CSC Postdoctoral Fellow), Ray Bradley (NE CSC PI), Ridwan Siddique (NE CSC Postdoctoral Fellow), Richard Palmer (NE CSC University Director), and Robert DeConto (NE CSC affiliated investigator) will present their research that informed statewide adaptation strategies as part of an initiative by Governor Baker of Massachusetts. The NE CSC team provided guidance to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, local planners, managers, and the general public on the observed and expected trends in water resources, temperature and precipitation, and estimates of sea level rise.
The webinar at UMass Amherst will be in Room 134, Morrill Science Center II. To join remotely, visit: https://necsc.umass.edu/webinars/supporting-climate-adaption-planning-commonwealth-massachusetts-what-surprising-changes. This webinar will be recorded and posted about a week after the talk.
The Northeast has been slammed by repeated storms. After the last storm, Chris Reed wrote about Boston and the need for more integrated thinking and planning. This is of course what SAGE members have now been thinking about for several years. Interesting opinion piece - check it out.
Climate readiness: think big, act fast
By Chris Reed
Boston Globe, March 8, 2018
"Until recently, Boston was ahead of other cities in planning for sea-level rise and the effects of climate change before a catastrophic storm like Sandy or Harvey hit. Sure, king tides occasionally overtopped downtown wharves, and South Shore waterfront homes were repeatedly battered by winter storms. But now flooding in downtown Boston, the Seaport, and other neighborhoods is becoming a more regular and recurring phenomenon and is increasingly causing property damage, inconvenience, and, potentially, injury or worse..." See the Boston Globe for the rest of the OpEd.
The New York City (NYC) Department of City Planning created a short video to illustrate special zoning regulations that apply in the floodplain. It explains NYC’s flood risk and how flood resilient construction is an important part of NYC’s effort to build multiple lines of defense from coastal flooding. City Planning also wants to generate input on how zoning could be further modified to remove regulatory barriers to resiliency investments and make neighborhoods more resilient. Visit www.nyc.gov/resilientneighborhoods or email ResilientNeighborhoods@planning.nyc.gov for more information on City Planning’s work.
Direct link to video:
Melissa Kenney and Allison Baer have great news! They received funding for a proposal that SAGE provided a letter of support for, "Maryland Climate Resilience Indicators (MCRI): Participatory Indicators to Assess, Plan, and Evaluate Climate Adaptation Actions". The official press release from Maryland Sea Grant can be found here and a press release from the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center can be found here.
University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)
5825 University Research Court, Suite 4001
Office Room 4044
College Park, MD 20740
Investing in Natural and Nature-Based Infrastructure:
Building Better Along Our Coasts
Abstract: Much of the United States’ critical infrastructure is either aging or requires significant repair, leaving U.S. communities and the economy vulnerable. Outdated and dilapidated infrastructure places coastal communities, in particular, at risk from the increasingly frequent and intense coastal storm events and rising sea levels. Therefore, investments in coastal infrastructure are urgently needed to ensure community safety and prosperity; however, these investments should not jeopardize the ecosystems and natural resources that underlie economic wealth and human well-being. Over the past 50 years, efforts have been made to integrate built infrastructure with natural landscape features, often termed “green” infrastructure, in order to sustain and restore valuable ecosystem functions and services. For example, significant advances have been made in implementing green infrastructure approaches for stormwater management, wastewater treatment, and drinking water conservation and delivery. However, the implementation of natural and nature-based infrastructure (NNBI) aimed at flood prevention and coastal erosion protection is lagging. There is an opportunity now, as the U.S. government reacts to the recent, unprecedented flooding and hurricane damage and considers greater infrastructure investments, to incorporate NNBI into coastal infrastructure projects. Doing so will increase resilience and provide critical services to local communities in a cost-effective manner and thereby help to sustain a growing economy.
Click here for the article.