August 2023

A Goldilocks Summer

A Goldilocks Summer

Thanks to a Congressionally Dedicated Funding request submitted last December by Senator Markey, $500,000 in federal funds, managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will be distributed to several Cape Ann-based projects, nonprofits, and grassroots organizations starting in October. This funding will address building local capacity to manage extreme weather events in four areas.

  • Build robust community engagement and public awareness.
    $150,000 will be awarded to the following organizations over two years (2024-2025):

    • TownGreen will work with the Cape Ann high school green teams to bring the student community together and foster collaboration on climate impact and ecological restoration projects ($10,000);
    • Cape Ann Interfaith Climate Action Group will engage faith-based communities to explore spiritual traditions related to nature and environmental concerns ($10,000);
    • Cape Ann Climate Coalition will work with local writers ($10,000);
    • Gloucester Cultural Initiative will produce multi-arts events ($10,000);
    • University of Massachusetts, Boston will engage residents of the downtown Gloucester environmental justice neighborhood ($20,000); and
    • Water Alliance will facilitate conversations among the partners and develop a database that will serve to record activities, outcomes, and actions ($40,000).

The remaining funds ($350,000) over two years will support another phase of Harvard Graduate School of Design Office for Urbanization’s ongoing Case for Cape Ann academic study to include:

  • Understanding the impacts of extreme weather events for financial and economic stability, such as damages to physical assets, infrastructure, and industries, effects on tax bases, availability of disaster relief and rebuilding subsidies or investments, and possible management scenarios.
  • Ideas and suggestions around new governance systems needed for effective climate adaptation to extreme storms. For example, there are significant challenges that municipalities face: siloed departments, home rule traditions, insufficient staff and technical capacity to apply for grants and implement projects, low levels of public participation, competing demands for local funding, and state and federal regulatory impediments to innovative solutions.
  • Establishing the vulnerabilities of hard and soft, gray and green resilience infrastructure and emphasizing nature-based and hybrid solutions. The study will provide advanced project concepts.

More funding for climate on Cape Ann…

$75K in 2024 State Funding for Cape Ann Emergency Preparedness

A state-funded emergency planning effort will involve public safety and health professionals from the four Cape Ann communities, as well as draw on the expertise of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (MA CZM), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other professionals.

The need for a more indepth plan arose as a top priority during community conversations about climate change. A few of the issues that need more attention include preparing for, surviving, and recovering from an extreme weather event. This includes addressing emergency evaluation routes, functioning of water utilities, community shelters, food distribution, emergency supply depots, alternative transportation solutions, and emergency utility (electricity) plans. Consideration of the health and safety of under-resourced populations and neighborhoods will be a priority.

The goal is to develop detailed emergency plans that outline pre-emergency mitigation measures and to educate and engage the Cape Ann community on the essential information they need before, during, and after a major storm. Senator Bruce Tarr and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante sponsored the MA budget funds for this purpose in the budget.

TownGreen’s Newest Sponsor

Common Crow Natural Market

TownGreen Announces Essex Planning for Reality Series

TownGreen Planning for Reality Essex Webinar #1
Tuesday, September 26th 6:30-8:30pm

Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Impacts on Essex Road Infrastructure
Register with this link
Harvard Professor Charles Waldheim, Dr. Jayne Knott, and Essex Police Chief Paul Francis will discuss how climate change and sea level rise will impact the town's roads, bridges, and related infrastructure. Special attention will be given to likely scenarios on the Causeway on Rte 133 and Apple Street. Our panel guests will present slides and visuals/maps and the webinar will include Q & A, breakout groups, and/or a community engagement session.

Essex Field Trip #1
Friday, September 29 from 9:00-10:00am Apple Street at Southern Avenue in Essex

Town Administrator Brehndan Zubriki will be guiding the group to look at the proposed Apple Street project area near Southern Avenue in Essex. Park along Southern Avenue and meet at the entrance to Apple Street. This program is free and no registration is required, just show up.

Essex Field Trip #2
Friday, October 6th from 9:00-10:00am on the Causeway in Essex

We will visit Paglia Park adjacent to the Essex River Bridge on the Rte 133 Causeway. Town Administrator Brehndan Zubriki will guide the group. Meet and park in the lot behind Essex Town Hall, and we will walk to Paglia Park. This program is free and no registration is required, just show up.

TownGreen Planning for Reality Essex Webinar #2
Wednesday, October 25th, 6:30-8:30 pm

Losing the High Marsh: Ecological Restoration and Significant Sea Level Rise Impacts on Essex Marshes
Register with this link
A panel including Harvard Professor Charles Waldheim, Dr. Jayne Knott, and Professor Gregg Moore from UNH will look at the significant issues facing the ecological restoration of the Essex marshes and climate change impacts. Special attention will be given to scenarios of what could happen if the high marsh is degraded, the cultural significance of the marsh, and equally compelling issues, such as sediment issues, beach erosion, and impacts on Essex Bay. The webinar will include Q & A and a community engagement session.

Essex Field Trip #3
Friday, October 27th from 9:00-10:00am with a marsh walk

This guided field trip led by Peter Phippen will begin at the end of John Wise Lane in Essex. Peter will show us marsh die-off, ditching, thin layer sediment accumulation, invasive species, and other marsh attributes. It is easy walking but participants definitely need water-proof boots. There is parking for 10-15 cars. This program is free and no registration is required, just show up.

Gloucester’s Comprensive Plan!

The City of Gloucester is inviting the public to participate in an Open House on Saturday, September 9th starting at 10:00am at City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium as part of its Comprehensive Planning process.

This is an opportunity to learn more about the focal areas of the plan as well as provide input. The last time Gloucester engaged in this process was 2001. The website says that the purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to “guide local decision-makers over the next ten years on topics including land use, demographics and housing, employment and economic development conditions, open space, natural resources and sustainability, cultural and historic resources, transportation, and public services and facilities.”

This open house and other planned community engagement efforts, like Meeting-in-a-Box, are designed to gather and record opinions, feedback, and concerns. From a climate perspective, participants can contribute their future hopes in several areas of the plan: land use, open space, natural resources and sustainability (ecological restoration, renewable energy), and transportation and public facilities (electrification).

For more information on the Gloucester Comprehensive Plan process, view this slide deck prepared by the consulting firm leading the process.

The September Open Forum will provide updates on TownGreen projects and offer you the opportunity to ask questions and bring up issues of concern.
Use this Zoom link to access the meeting.

Upcoming Events

September 9
City of Gloucester Comprehensive Planning Open House starting at 10:00am at City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium

September 12-14
City of Gloucester officials, partners, and volunteers will be canvassing small businesses with the National Grid Community First Partnership vendor Energy Source to encourage businesses to increase participation in energy efficiency programs and offer to schedule an optional, no-cost, no-obligation energy assessment. To schedule an assessment in advance, call 888-490-7555.

September 14
2nd Annual Cape Ann Climate Coalition Interfaith Retreat: “Befriending Earth, Befriending Each Other" 10:00am-5:00pm at the Eastern Point Retreat House. Use this link to register by September 6th. Cost is $60 per person and includes lunch. Contact Rev. Sue Koehler-Arsenault ( if a scholarship is needed.

September 17
March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City
A day trip to NYC sponsored by Mass
Bus Boarding 6:30-7:00am; March from 1:00pm to 5:00pm; Return boarding 6:00pm and home by 11:00pm. More information here.

September 19
TownGreen Open Forum from 7:00-8:00pm on Zoom. Use this link.

September 21-26
Student Exploration: The Great Marsh & Climate Change
Open House 4:00-6:00pm at the Essex County Greenbelt Headquarters Cox Reservation 82 Eastern Avenue, Essex, MA
Exhibit is open 12noon to 4:00pm September 22-26
The exhibit will showcase a student climate art project with a mural artistically depicting the science of the salt marsh made by middle school students at the River Valley Charter School in Newburyport. It also includes silk paintings inspired by the marsh and a 13-minute video that documented the project. For more information, contact Susan Quateman (

September 26
TownGreen Planning for Reality Essex Webinar #1
from 6:30-8:30pm
Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Impacts on Essex Road Infrastructure
Register with this link

September 29
Essex Field Trip #1
from 9:00-10:00am meet at Apple Street in Essex near Southern Avenue

Seaside Sustainability is hosting beach clean ups on Cape Ann
Use this form to register

  • September 16: Conomo, Manchester 9:00-11:00am
  • September 30: Front Beach, Rockport 9:00-11:00am
  • October 14: Tuck’s Point, Manchester 9:00-11:00am

Coming in October

TownGreen launches Nature Wins Podcast in early October
Nature Wins Podcast is exclusively covering Cape Ann’s journey to adapt to climate change. Follow TownGreen on our social platforms to learn more about when the debut episode will drop during the first week of October.

Join TownGreen for the Tuesday, October 17th Open Forum from 7:00-8:00pm
TownGreen is working on its Strategic Plan and we want your feedback and ideas. Use this Zoom link to access the meeting.