For Immediate Release - June 08, 2017

Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $1 Million in Climate Vulnerability Preparedness Funding to 71 Communities

Program Will Help Communities Prepare for Climate Change and Build Resilience

WAREHAM – June 8, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced over $1 million in grant funding and designation status has been awarded to 71 towns and cities across the Commonwealth through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The new grant and designation program, which builds on Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 as well as other administration-led state and local partnerships, will provide communities with technical support, climate change data and planning tools to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience. The grant awardees, announced by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton during a tour of the Wareham coastline, represent 20 percent of the state’s municipalities.

“Massachusetts is committed to combating and preparing for the impacts of climate change, and our Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program is designed to ensure our communities can work together on building resilience with the best planning tools, data and resources from the state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud that so many of our cities and towns are involved and using their local knowledge and community strengths to partner with the Commonwealth.”

“By becoming a part of the Commonwealth’s new Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program these 71 cities and towns are committed to taking on the challenge of climate change at the local level,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “Through this partnership our communities will build resilience and prepare for the impacts of climate change while helping our administration design better adaptation solutions across the Commonwealth.”

As part of the MVP Program, municipalities will work through a community-based workshop process to identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps.  Results of the workshops and planning efforts will be used to inform existing local plans, grant applications, budgets, and policies.  One area of focus will be using the process to update or develop local hazard mitigation plans. 

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this program to so many communities in every corner of the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The MVP Program is a critical component of implementing Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 and by working with so many of our local communities we will be able to create a strong network of cities and towns taking leadership to address climate change.  We look forward to working together to better understand the local impacts of climate change and to plan and implement the best strategies to build community resilience.”

The program, funded through the Five-Year Capital Plan, will be led by an experienced Project Coordinator from the town with a core team of town staff and volunteers representing town planning departments, emergency managers, conservation commissioners, economic councils, the business community and other key stakeholders. Technical assistance will be delivered by state-certified MVP Program providers using a standardized toolkit for assessing vulnerability and developing strategies, and newly developed climate projections and data from the Northeast Climate Science Center at UMass-Amherst. Upon successful completion of the program, municipalities will be designated as a “Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program Community.”

The following communities will receive funding to complete the planning process and achieve designation status by June 2018:

Acton - $19,000

Grafton, Millbury and Northbridge - $32,000

(Regional Partnership)

Northampton - $20,000

Adams - $20,000

Holden - $16,000

Norwood - $20,000

Arlington - $23,000

Holyoke - $26,000

Peabody - $25,000

Ashfield and Conway - $20,000

(Regional Partnership)

Lanesborough - $15,000

Pelham - $15,000

Belchertown - $15,000

Lawrence - $34,000

Rehoboth - $15,000

Blackstone - $15,000

Littleton - $15,000

Rockport - $15,000

Buckland - $15,000

Manchester - $15,000

Sandwich - $17,000

Carver - $15,000

Marblehead - $17,000

Sherborne - $15,000

Charlemont - $15,000

Marion - $20,000

Shrewsbury - $22,000

Charlton - $15,000

Mattapoisett - $16,000

Spencer - $16,000

Chelsea - $25,000

Medford - $26,000

Springfield - $26,000

Chilmark - $15,000

Melrose - $19,000

Stow - $15,000

Cohasset - $15,000

Mendon - $15,000

Swansea - $16,000

Colrain - $15,000

Milford - $20,000

Ware - $17,000

Deerfield - $15,000

Montague - $17,000

Wareham - $24,000

Devens - $15,000

Monterey - $15,000

West Tisbury - $15,000

Essex - $15,000

Natick - $21,000

Westport - $16,000

Falmouth - $20,000

New Bedford - $36,000

Weymouth - $25,000

Freetown - $20,000

Newbury - $15,000

Williamstown - $17,000

Gloucester - $20,000

Newburyport - $16,000

Winthrop - $17,000

Gosnold - $15,000

North Reading - $16,000

Wrentham - $15,000

The communities of Boston, Cambridge, Salem, Somerville and Swampscott have achieved MVP Program designation based on work they have already completed within their communities. 

“Communities will need new tools and resources to prepare for, and recover from, more volatile and extreme weather patterns,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Daniel Bennett. “While climate change will not affect all communities in the same way, our goal is to serve as a partner to cities and towns as they work to address their individual needs.”

In September 2016, Governor Baker signed an Executive Order which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.  The Order, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth, represents the collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and key state, local and environmental stakeholders. The Executive Order ensures that Massachusetts will continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency within government operations. The Order also directs the development and implementation of a statewide comprehensive climate adaptation plan that will provide a blueprint for protecting the built and natural environment of the Commonwealth, based on the best available data on existing and projected climate change impacts. Recognizing the need to strengthen the resilience of communities throughout Massachusetts, a key commitment in this order is coordinating assistance to cities and towns as they prepare for the impacts of climate change.

“Our leadership on climate change is now more vital than ever to reduce the future threat of global warming and keep Massachusetts healthy, strong and sustainable,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “By working with our communities to address the future impacts of climate change, we are doing our part to conserve the Commonwealth for generations to come.”

“This grant will help the Commonwealth prepare for the effects of climate change in a more thorough way and will allow Winthrop to build a plan that is targeted to our coastal community while collaborating with other municipalities on best practices,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I thank the Baker Administration and look forward to hearing from officials in my hometown about the implementation of these funds.”

“Now more than ever, we must work on local, state and regional levels to make our communities more resilient to the harmful effects of climate change,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), founding chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Vulnerability preparedness plans for our municipalities are great first steps in the protection of our economy, public health and built and natural infrastructures, and a complement to Governor Baker’s executive order last year. Wareham is a town in my district that has much to lose from climate change, both environmentally and economically, and these awards will help develop smart, protective strategies for this community and 70 others. As we go forward, we must commit to codifying such preparedness plans in statute for the entire state; the Massachusetts State Senate, recognizing the importance of such planning, passed a climate adaptation management plan three times in our last legislative session. I remain committed to seeing it through.”

“The MVP grants announced today will help communities identify the potential hazards associated with climate change so they can develop and implement an effective response plan at the local level,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “Thanks to the leadership of Secretary Beaton and the Baker-Polito Administration, cities and towns across the Commonwealth will now be better positioned to address the environmental challenges posed by climate change.”

“Addressing climate change requires a coordinated effort, and that effort must include actions at the municipal level,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  “The MVP gives cities and towns a framework to take effective and timely actions in ways that make sense not only for one community, but also for the proactive statewide plan envisioned by Governor Baker's executive order.  There is no time to lose in moving forward to confront climate change."

“Cities and towns have always been on the forefront of innovation in taking on new challenges,” said State Representative Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams). “As the issue of climate change shifts to a local approach, this program will create a partnership between the Commonwealth and its cities and towns to foster new solutions.”

“I am very pleased that Wareham and Carver will be receiving MVP grants. This program emphasizes the importance of local control in the matter of climate change,” said State Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham). “The Baker-Polito Administration is once again affirming their commitment to our cities and towns by giving our communities financial and technical assistance to analyze data and prepare for our future.”

“Extreme weather events have wreaked havoc in our area of the state before.  We have seen firsthand the damage done and how hard it can be to recover as a community,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).  “Preparing cities and towns for anything and everything is a no-brainer and I am pleased to see the Baker-Polito Administration is taking the proper steps to equip municipalities with the resources necessary.”

“The Nature Conservancy applauds the Baker Administration’s leadership on the MVP program,” said Wayne Klockner, State Director of the Nature Conservancy. “We see MVP as a national model for climate resiliency and adaptation and are seeking to replicate MVP in other states.”

This round of funding ends in June 2018 and additional opportunities for communities to apply will be announced in early 2018.