Climate Change Resiliency Committee

Supported by a Commonwealth of Massachusetts "MVP" Grant to Examine and Prepare for Climate Change Impacts

FY24 Action Grant to Evaluate Climate Change Impacts on River Road and its Environs

On August 30, 2023, the Commonwealth’s Municipal Vulnerability Program announced a $150,000 grant to the Town of West Newbury for a study of climate change impacts on River Road and its environs. This follows a unanimous vote at the October 2022 Town Meeting to appropriate $50,000 in matching funds for this purpose. The MVP Action Grant funds will address flood risk and road stability concerns at vulnerable locations subject to Merrimack River flooding. The project will evaluate the risks due to more frequent and extreme flooding events caused by climate change and sea level rise, and will enable the Town to identify, develop consensus about, and plan for an array of near-(2030), mid-(2050), and long-term (2070) resiliency options.

Click here for more information about the grant project.

Specifically, the project will focus on River Road and the lower portions of Coffin and Bridge Streets where they intersect with River Road. This directly affects the Rocks Village Bridge, which is a critical connector to Haverhill and Merrimac, neighboring municipalities with Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. Among other things, school buses serving West Newbury and Merrimac traverse this bridge, as do public safety vehicles, commuters, and others traveling from and to adjacent areas and beyond. Additionally, the Town will proactively explore climate resiliency solutions to provide access to houses that may be impacted by road erosion and flooding, and to preserve recreational resources for birdwatching, hiking, biking, fishing, and similar activities.

This assessment will allow Town officials and residents to better understand the timeline and locations of future flooding and explore both interim and long-term climate adaptation strategies.  It will also inform planning and consideration of alternatives to foster resiliency. The proposed project consists of:

  • public activities, meetings and outreach to inform and engage citizens and Town officials;
  • an existing conditions survey (including bank erosion, watershed delineations, and other factors) of the areas shown susceptible to Merrimack River flooding;
  • a study of culverts and stormwater infrastructure;
  • a report of vulnerabilities in 2030, 2050, and 2070; and
  • options for shoreline stabilization as well as other solutions (preferably nature-based) for longer timeframes.  

Thanks go to all who submitted letters of support, including State Senator Tarr, neighboring riverine towns, Town departments and committees, individuals, and groups representing an array of interests ranging from birdwatchers to boaters. We look forward to their ongoing engagement in the project, and invite all those interested to participate.



The Climate Change Resiliency Committee’s mission is to promote West Newbury’s resilience to climate change, addressing preparation for threats, the ability to absorb impacts, and to recover and adapt after disruptive events.  This will be accomplished through action and public education.  Working with other affected Town departments, boards and committees, the Committee will build on the Town’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Community status to address our climate change vulnerabilities, seeking and implementing grant funding to  take on action items identified in the Town MVP Plan completed in 2020.  The Committee will seek members on and coordination with boards/commissions/committees such as Open Space, Conservation, Energy and Sustainability, Planning, Aging, Capital Improvements, and Water and will seek to coordinate with the Department of Public Works and all other Town departments or organizations affected by climate change.

The Committee will have no more than 9 voting members and a simple majority of existing membership as a quorum.  Member reappointment will be annually at the beginning of each fiscal year.



Climate Change Resiliency Committee

NameCommittee TitleOther Dept/CommitteeTerm
Elisa Grammer

Chair & Clerk

Energy & Sustainability, Capital Improvements, Historical, River Access

7/1/23 to 6/30/24

Elizabeth Callahan

Energy & Sustainability

7/1/23 to 6/30/24

Richard Parker

Select Board, Energy & Sustainability, Capital Improvements

7/1/23 tp 6/30/24

Arthur (Chip) Wallace

Energy & Sustainability

7/1/23 to 6/30/24

Nancy Pau

Biologist. WN Wild & Native

7/1/23 to 6/30/24

Michael Dacey

7/1/23 to 6/30/24

Vacancy One
Vacancy Two
Vacancy Three