April 2022

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Over 60 leaders and participants from across Cape Ann came together on Wednesday, April 27 from 9-11AM to address the threats to Cape Ann from climate change, including likely damage to roads, water and sewer infrastructure, and natural systems. The EPA Workshop, the first of two, included presentations from the TownGreen-sponsored Harvard Graduate School of Design’s The Case of Cape Ann: Typologies of Vulnerability study.

Climate threats like sea level rise and rising temperatures over the course of this century, as identified in Municipal Vulnerability Plans, were presented by Ellie Baker of Horsley-Whitten, a consulting group to EPA. Kira Clingen of the Harvard Graduate School of Design gave an overview of The Great Storm of 2038 Scenario with graphics and animation illustrating devastating impacts on Cape Ann infrastructure and residents.

The EPA Building Blocks Resilience Workshop Brings Together Municipal Leaders and Cape Ann Community

Small group discussions followed the presentations with EPA staff that asked participants to address what they had learned about climate threats to Cape Ann from the presentations and what they thought needed to be considered by decision makers and residents.

The outcomes of six break-out groups had common themes, such as:

  • More public education and outreach to residents is needed especially in vulnerable neighborhoods to assist those who are not yet fully aware of climate threats.
  • A deeper understanding of the impacts of climate change on our ecological and social systems and on the health and well-being of residents
  • How natural systems might be made more resilient to help protect natural and built landscapes
  • In-depth planning for evacuation routes and emergency communications in the event of a big storm
  • More public input on how to prioritize climate threats
  • Team-building approaches, including further mobilization of regional collaborative efforts, involvement of neighborhood associations, and other stakeholder outreach

Upcoming Events

May 18th at 7pm Webinar: Scenario Planning for Climate Adaptation on Cape Ann with Professor Charles Waldheim

    In this talk, Professor Charles Waldheim will share preliminary work from a year-long climate change scenario planning study graciously funded by the TownGreen, Inc., Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and the City of Gloucester. Scenario 0: The Great Storm of 2038 evaluates changes on Cape Ann that are already happening and projects a Category 3 hurricane on the centennial of the New England Hurricane of 1938. This scenario shows the potential costs of doing nothing. Scenario 1: Ideas for Adaptations evaluates the potential of a hybrid approach to adapting coastal development using hard and soft protection, as well as strategies for relocation from the coast. Scenario planning is a method of long-term strategic planning that creates representations of multiple, plausible futures that are used to inform decision-making in the present. It is complementary to probabilistic models and shifts emphasis from statistical probability to ways of thinking about the future. The goal of scenario planning is not to predict the most likely or plausible outcome, but to reveal biases and blind spots in the complex decision making around climate change. A Q&A session will follow. The link for registration will be emailed at a later date. To receive information on how to sign up and other updates, sign-up for the TownGreen newsletter at the bottom of this page.

    The second EPA Building Blocks for Resilience Workshop

    May 23rd from 9-11AM Zoom Workshop: The second EPA Building Blocks for Resilience Workshop will build on the information and insights of Workshop 1 and provide valuable information on resources and solutions to decision makers.
    This second EPA Workshop’s objectives are:

    • Confirm climate threats and impacts for Cape Ann
    • Identify new strategies for mitigation and adaptation
    • Understand local and regional capacity and other resource needs for implementation
    • Understand potential funding opportunities (state, federal, and private) to meet needs

    A registration link will be emailed to Workshop 1 participants. To receive information on how to register and other updates, sign-up for the TownGreen newsletter at the bottom of this page. Additional information about the EPA Workshop 2will be available on the Cape Ann Climate Coalition website. The workshop will be interactive with opportunities for polling and dialogue.

    A great deal of information is coming together now from TownGreen’s hard work. It is fulfilling to see the involvement of the Cape Ann community. We are feeling the momentum to expand our efforts to help Cape Ann communities address the widely recognized threats of climate change.


    Dick Prouty, Chair
    TownGreen Board of Directors