DEEP: Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan

Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan
 
 
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has finalized the state’s Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan.   The plan –  required by Public Act No. 08-98 - An Act Concerning Connecticut Global Warming Solutions – evaluates the projected impacts of climate change on Connecticut agriculture, infrastructure, natural resources and public health and recommends strategies to lessen those impacts.
 
The strategies outlined in the Climate Preparedness Plan center around five basic themes: 
  • Intensify efforts to ensure preparedness planning;
  • Integrate climate change adaptation into existing plans;
  • Update existing standards to accommodate change expected during infrastructure design life;
  • Plan for flexibility and monitor change; and
  • Protect natural areas and landscape features that buffer potential impacts from climate change.
Building on the strategies outlined in the Climate Preparedness Plan – as well as the state’s experience with major storms of the past two years, the work of Governor Malloy’s “Two Storm Panel,” and the outreach and analysis undertaken by the General Assembly’s Climate Change & Shoreline Preservation Taskforce -  DEEP is working on a number of action items to accomplish key resiliency and adaptation goals.

Dan Esty, Commissioner
July 2013
 
 
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is proud to release the state’s final Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan.  As required by Public Act No. 08-98 - An Act Concerning Connecticut Global Warming Solutions, the Adaptation Subcommittee of the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change developed and issued a draft Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan in early 2011. The subcommittee is made up of federal, state and local officials, academics, non-governmental organizations, and legislators, and was established to “evaluate the projected impacts of climate change on Connecticut agriculture, infrastructure, natural resources and public health,” and to develop strategies to lessen those impacts.  The subcommittee outlined a menu of initial strategies that could help address the potential effects of climate change described in their earlier 2010 report entitled:  Impacts of Climate on Connecticut Agriculture, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Public Health (the “Climate Impacts” report).  For more information on the effects expected from changes in Connecticut’s climate view the full report.

Adaptation subcommittee working groups made up of subject matter experts looked at anticipated changes to Connecticut’s climate and proposed adaptation strategies under agreed upon guidelines.  The workgroups recommended several overarching and specific adaptation strategies, grouped into five basic themes:
  • Intensify efforts to ensure preparedness planning;
  • Integrate climate change adaptation into existing plans;
  • Update existing standards to accommodate change expected during infrastructure design life;
  • Plan for flexibility and monitor change; and
  • Protect natural areas and landscape features that buffer potential impacts from climate change.
Following the development of the draft Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan, Connecticut was hit with Tropical Storm Irene in late August 2011 and an October 2011 snowstorm that clearly demonstrated a need for additional preparedness planning.   In light of the findings of Governor Malloy’s “Two Storm Panel,” and the evaluation initiated by the legislative Climate Change & Shoreline Preservation Taskforce, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) posted the draft plan for public review and comment in April 2012.  After Storm Sandy, the state redoubled its efforts to assess preparedness and improve resiliency in light of the potential increase in frequency and intensity of natural hazards.  Through the continued efforts of the Shoreline Preservation Taskforce and other efforts such as the development of Connecticut’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, we have gathered additional public input related to resiliency. 
In light of the enactment of Public Act 13- 179 AN ACT CONCERNING THE PERMITTING OF CERTAIN COASTAL STRUCTURES BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, Special Act 13-9 AN ACT CONCERNING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND DATA COLLECTION, and adoption by the General Assembly of a revised State Plan of Conservation and Development it is now time to finalize the draft Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan.  The strategies in this plan have been used to inform the General Assembly’s and state agencies’ work on resiliency and will be available as a basis for developing action plans across state and local government to address the myriad of potential impacts related to a changing climate in Connecticut. 
 
Over the next 18 months, DEEP will use the strategies in the Connecticut Climate Preparedness Plan as a starting point to accomplish the following resiliency and adaptation goals:
  • Develop a state Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan in cooperation with the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHAS) of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP);
  • Incorporate the considerations of climate change and sea level rise into the recently adopted 2013 - 2018 Plan of Conservation and Development as the Office of Policy Management and State agencies implement the new Plan;
  • Partner with UCONN to establish a Center for Climate Resiliency at Avery Point to serve coastal communities and promote multi-disciplinary collaboration of energy and engineering programs at UCONN that will support resiliency efforts statewide;
  • Develop an action plan for ensuring a resilient energy infrastructure (e.g., microgrids and hardening of poles, wires and substations);
  • Collaborate with municipalities in adapting publicly owned sewage treatment facilities to reduce potential for system failures;
  • Assist the Department of Transportation as they implement a pilot program to resize culverts to accommodate increases in storm flows;
  • Support Storm Sandy recovery efforts to ensure that rebuilding along the coastline is done in a sustainable manner;
  • Collaborate with the Department of Insurance and the insurance industry to reduce loss of life and property;
  • Incorporate adaptation planning into the prioritization of state and local open space protections and ensure that consideration of ecosystem services is included in the revision to the state’s Green Plan;
  • Include adaptation strategies in the statewide Wildlife Management and Forestry action plans as these plans are revised; and
  • Support and provide technical assistance to municipalities interested in developing local adaptation plans.
 
 
Content last updated July 2013