CIRCA Awards Four Municipal Resilience Grants

Author and contact: Katie Lund, CIRCA Project Coordinator (


CIRCA’s Municipal Resilience Grant Program (MRGP) awards municipal governments and councils of government for initiatives that advance resilience, including the creation of conceptual design, construction of structures, or the design of practices and policies that increase their resilience to climate change and severe weather.  These projects develop knowledge that is transferable to multiple locations in Connecticut.  The following four projects were awarded in the latest round of MRGP Grants and will be completed by December 2018.  To date, CIRCA has awarded 17 MRGP projects across the state of Connecticut.


The Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG) received an award for a “Beardsley Zoo Green Infrastructure Project”, which is a highly visible green infrastructure retrofit project at the zoo located along the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport. This collaborative project between MetroCOG, the Beardsley Zoo, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound will build on regional resilience planning efforts and the successful completion of a green infrastructure demonstration project at the Zoo in spring 2016.  Through the installation of 2,000 square feet of porous pavement and up to 2,000 square feet of bioretention gardens, over 1,000,000 gallons of stormwater runoff will be captured and filtered annually from an acre of existing parking area.  Interpretive signage, targeted outreach, volunteer engagement opportunities, and workshops will help to educate public who visit the Zoo each year about stormwater runoff and flood resiliency.


The City of New Haven was awarded for a project entitled, “Assessing Impacts of Tides and Precipitation on Downtown Storm Sewer System Through Use of Real-Time Depth and Flow Monitoring.”  The city experiences frequent flooding at several locations crucial to the functioning of the City and regional transportation systems during high intensity, short duration rainfall events, which are exacerbated during high tide events. Until now, the City’s lacked a long-term data gathering component to provide information on the performance of the City’s stormwater infrastructure in widely varying conditions. This CIRCA funded project will create a low-cost “smart city” stormwater sensor network to provide a detailed record of the interaction of rainfall, tides, green stormwater infrastructure, and sewer conveyance systems on the hydrology of New Haven’s urban core.


The Northwest Hills Council of Government (NHCOG) received an award for its project, “Enhancing Rural Resiliency: A Vision and Toolkit for Adaptation in the Northwest Hills.”  NHCOG and regional partners will use CIRCA’s support to craft a vision for A Resilient Northwest Hills and produce a web-hosted climate change adaptation toolkit for municipalities.  The NHCOG’s Municipal Resilience Grant project is consistent with their 2017 regional Plan of Conservation and Development, which identifies climate change-related policies and specifically lists preparing, “a climate change adaptation plan including a web-based toolkit” as a strategy to help achieve the goal.  While this project achieves several regional objectives, it will also be highly transferable to other towns in Connecticut.


The City of Stamford was awarded a CIRCA grant for its “Resilience Opportunity Assessment” for a pilot project to review the potential vulnerability to climate change hazards at the Stamford Government Center and Stamford High School.  Government Center is where the majority of City operations are housed the school is one of several locations serving as a public emergency shelter during blackouts and storms.  The City is partnering with New Ecology, Inc., a Hartford-based non-profit that has developed a resilience assessment process for identifying hazards (including flooding, erosion, drought, extreme heat and cold, storms, fires, etc.) and implementation priorities (including but not limited to: elevating mechanical and electrical equipment, flood proofing buildings, flood barriers, perimeter drains, backflow preventers, portable water storage, etc.).  This pilot assessment will not only provide an opportunity to advance resiliency in specific municipal buildings, but is also an opportunity to improve how the entire City functions and recovers from possible disaster.


To learn more about all of the 17 MRGP projects visit our webpage.