Climate Change Resiliency Committee

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

MISSION STATEMENT

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 and take on action items identified in the Massachusetts MVP process 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.

West Newbury has been designated a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Community for its completion of the Community Resilience Building planning process.

As an MVP Community, the Town is eligible to apply for MVP Action Grants administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and may receive increased standing in future state funding opportunities, allowing West Newbury to pursue implementation of priority actions identified in the MVP Final Report. The 2020 round awarded over $10 million in Action Grants, including $1 million to Newburyport for "Resilient Critical Infrastructure: Adapting a Wastewater Treatment Facility, Underground Electric Lines, and Public Rail Trail to Future Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge," $250,000 to Salisbury for "Resilient Rings Island: Preventing a Neighborhood from Being Stranded by Flooding," and $129,693 to Haverhill for "Little River Dam Removal Feasibility Study."

West Newbury's MVP Community designation represents the culmination of its $25,000 grant, received in 2019, to participate in the state’s  Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness  program, allowing the Town to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency. Working Group participants conducted a Town survey, interviewed key stakeholders, reviewed data, and completed a vulnerability assessment. In an all day Workshop conducted on February 29, 2020, a wide range of stakeholders identified vulnerabilities and prioritized issues and actions the Town may take to mitigate climate change impacts. This culminated with a Final Report and a Listening Session.

Considering that past is prologue (and at the same time recognizing that climate change is truly unprecedented), the MVP Core Team researched major weather events in West Newbury over the centuries. Click here to learn where in Town the Merrimack jumps its bank to create a new channel in major floods, how Pipestave Hill has had a propensity toward landslides onto Main Street, and why the Newburyport Daily News reported that “the gravest threat to health and the safety of property in [Newburyport’s] history” occurred here in West Newbury.

Climate Change Resiliency Committee

NameCommittee TitleOther Dept/CommitteeTerm
Elisa Grammer

Clerk

Energy & Sustainability, Capital Improvements, Historical, River Access

June 30, 2022

Elizabeth Callahan

Interim Chair

Energy & Sustainability

June 30, 2022

Richard Parker

Member

Select Board, Energy & Sustainability, Capital Improvements

June 30, 2022

Patricia Reeser

Member

Open Space

June 30, 2022

Arthur (Chip) Wallace

Member

Energy & Sustainability

June 30, 2022

Nancy Pau

Member

Parker River Wildlife Refuge Executive & Biologist. WN Wild & Native

June 30, 2022

Thomas Craig

Member

Energy & Sustainability

June 30, 2022

Vacancy Two
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