Several major challenges of climate change facing East Lyme include drought, ecosystem impacts, transportation and infrastructure, energy, and economic. The Town of East Lyme seeks to enhance community sustainability and resilience to the impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and extreme weather by developing specific policies and recommendations for inclusion in the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. This CIRCA grant project builds on recent work by The Nature Conservancy and also leverages completed CIRCA research projects. This study not only increases East Lyme’s resilience and sustainability by establishing sound land use policies and regulations but, may also improve the Town’s community rating within the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This Municipal Resilience Grant award was for the amount of $50,000.
The East Lyme Coastal Resilience, Climate Adaptation and Sustainability Study creates a new Flood Ordinance and establishes a Flood Commission made up of members from the Board of Selectman, Zoning Commission, Planning Commission, and local professionals such as engineers, surveyors, and insurance professionals. The project also: 1) identifies adequate freeboard requirements (or factors of safety expressed in feet above a flood level) and areas in need of increased safety in anticipation of sea level rise and climate change; 2) identifies projects such as living shorelines within East Lyme that advance resiliency; and 3) updates the town’s Geographic Information System mapping to incorporate Coastal A-Zones, municipal wastewater infrastructure, CIRCA site suitability for living shorelines, and other flooding data. The key deliverables prepare the Town to respond and regulate development in areas that are either susceptible or will become susceptible to flood damage due to sea level rise as well as plan for future growth in areas better suited to accommodate development as a result of climate change and sea level rise.
Gary Goeschel – Director of Planning, Town of East Lyme