Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District


June 1, 2018

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $5 Million in Grants to Address Climate Change Impacts

PEABODY — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced over $5 million in grant funding to 34 cities and towns across the Commonwealth for projects to improve their resilience to climate change through Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) ProgramAction Grants. This is the second phase of the grant and designation program, which builds on Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, as well as other administration-led state and local partnerships and is intended to build on outcomes from a state-funded and community-driven comprehensive assessment of municipal climate change hazards. The 34 Action Grant awardees, representing about 10 percent of municipalities across all regions of the Commonwealth, were announced by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito as part of a tour of a project site in Peabody.

“Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grants play a critical role in helping communities protect their residents, infrastructure and natural resources from the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We’re pleased to work with local officials and our partners in the Legislature on important grant programs like this and look forward to our continued collaboration on the administration’s Environmental Bond Bill, which includes over $300 million to help the Commonwealth prepare for and protect against the impacts of climate change.”

“These grants build on the planning stage of the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program by investing in on-the-ground, proactive projects to address the specific vulnerabilities to climate change identified by each municipality,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “The funding and support provided through this program will build more resilient communities that are better prepared for extreme weather, drought, floods, sea level rise and other challenges.”

The administration has now committed over $7 million over two years to help communities prepare for climate change and build resilience through the MVP Program, including $2 million announced earlier this week for 82 communities to complete a climate change vulnerability planning process. Governor Baker’s Environmental Bond Bill would also authorize $15 million for future rounds of the MVP Program.

To participate in the MVP program, communities first apply for Planning Grants, which are used to complete a community-based workshop process to identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, and prioritize next steps to address climate change impacts. Upon successful completion of the planning process, municipalities are designated as a “Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program community.” Designated MVP communities can then apply for MVP Action Grants to implement key priorities and projects identified through the planning process. These projects include follow-up vulnerability assessments, design studies, local bylaws and ordinances, redesigns and retrofits, natural infrastructure and storm protection, and education and outreach.

“The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program was designed to allow the state to work together with municipalities to identify areas of weakness and then employ nature-based, cost-effective solutions to address those vulnerabilities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The funds awarded from the MVP Action Grant program will allow municipalities to implement crucial measures to prepare for the effects of climate change while strengthening community engagement and collaboration among town departments.”

The program is 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. There are currently 156 MVP communities across the state, representing 43 percent of the state’s municipalities.

The MVP Action Grants were open to all municipal governments in Massachusetts in FY 2018 that have received MVP designation. Projects that proposed nature-based solutions or strategies that rely on green infrastructure or conservation and enhancement of natural systems to improve community resilience received higher scores.

The following communities will receive funding to complete the planning process:

Applicant Project Title Grant Amount
Cape and Islands
Sandwich Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment/Adaptation Planning for the Town of Sandwich $88,025
Charlton, Spencer Integrated Water Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Resiliency Plan $300,000
Holden Water/Sewer Infrastructure Green Emergency Power Study $24,588
Mendon Integration of Low Impact Development Standards into Local Bylaws and Subdivision Regulations $8,025
Arlington Mill Brook Corridor Flood Management Demonstration Project: Pilot Study and Implementation $399,260
Boston ​Climate Ready Zoning and Design Guidelines $250,000
Brookline Climate Resiliency Policy Audit/Amendments and LID and Design Guidelines $56,188
Cambridge Cambridge Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience Catalyst Project $118,000
Medford Medford Open Space Plan Update $60,000
Medford Drainage Model and Conceptual Strategies to Reduce Future Flooding in South Medford $60,830
Somerville Detailed Vulnerability and Risk Assessment, Green Infrastructure, Public Education & Communication $350,000
Winthrop Ingleside Park Feasibility Study and Permitting $156,750
Natick Tree Planting Plan to Mitigate Heat Islands and Reduce Runoff $9,025
Natick Water Conservation Campaign $16,640
Natick Low Impact Development Regulation Development and Zoning Bylaw Inclusion $39,053
Essex Feasibility Study for an Essex Bay Living Shoreline $15,000
Essex, Ipswich, Newbury Documenting Effects of a Large-Scale, Natural Sediment Event on Salt Marsh Resiliency in the Great Marsh Estuary: Assessing Applicability for Potential Salt Marsh Management Strategies in Massachusetts $60,000
Gloucester Watershed and Water Supply Vulnerability, Risk Assessment and Management Strategy $107,044
Manchester-by-the-Sea Sawmill Brook Central Pond Restoration Design $88,180
Newbury Assessing storm energy reduction by the vegetated salt marsh platform in Newbury, MA: a background to enhancing natural protection by the living shoreline $225,840
Newburyport Wastewater Treatment Plant Climate Resilience $122,695
Peabody Peabody North River Canal Resilient Wall, Riverwalk and Park $224,216
Peabody Lawrence Brook Watershed Flood Mitigation and Water Quality Improvement $243,400
Salem Salem Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line Relocation Assessment $345,000
Carver Climate Change Water Resource Vulnerability and Adaptation Strategy Assessment for Carver, MA $196,979
New Bedford Comprehensive Climate Adaptation and Resilience Action Plan and Interactive Community Dashboard $165,120
Scituate Comprehensive Wastewater Treatment Resilience Feasibility Study $75,100
Swansea Public Water Supply Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment $28,495
Wareham Climate Change Flood Vulnerability Assessment/Adaptation Planning $62,735
Weymouth Fort Point Road Coastal Infrastructure Resilience Project $129,557
Adams Assessment and Design for Adaptation and Resilience $56,250
Belchertown Town-wide Road Stream Crossing Assessment and Climate Change Adaptation Plan $151,437
Deerfield Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Plan Implementation $47,325
Holyoke Meeting an immediate need by learning from Hurricane Maria Survivors in Holyoke $149,825
Montague Montague City Road Flooding Protection Project: Design and Permitting $33,750
Northampton Northampton Designs with Nature to Reduce Storm Damage $400,000
Pelham Resilient Pelham $137,250
TOTAL $5,001,582

“We recognize that many public spaces – places that have helped shape our culture and communities – are being threatened by climate change. Massachusetts is a leader in supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and supporting policies to reduce our emissions,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “While we are doing our part, we still see the impacts of climate change. Giving our municipalities the tools to pinpoint key risks, prioritize protection measures and implement necessary safeguards will help protect people and property for generations to come.”

“Dollars spent wisely today on research, planning and design can yield cost-beneficial actions in the future to adapt to changing environmental factors, and those actions will be critical for our communities and our state,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “There is a lot to do to address the need for resilience, but the partnership being supported here by the Baker Administration demonstrates an effective way to get it done.”

“The MVP Action Grant program provides municipalities across the Commonwealth with the resources necessary to be prepared and address impacts related to climate change,” said State Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “I am grateful for the Baker-Polito Administration’s strong partnership with the legislature and municipalities on climate change and resiliency efforts and for their leadership, commitment and action on these issues.”

“Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for awarding these funds and recognizing the importance of promoting sustainability by encouraging climate change preparedness in communities across Massachusetts,” said State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden). “I am thrilled that Holden was chosen as a recipient and congratulations to all of the communities who received grants.”

“The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program is the perfect example of how state and local government can work together for the mutual benefit of environmental improvements and economic benefit,” said State Representative Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody). “The grants Peabody receives today from the Baker Polito Administration will augment Peabody’s efforts to mitigate downtown flooding during severe storms and will enhance the aesthetics along the banks of the river and at Veterans Memorial Park. We are grateful to be the recipients of these grants.”

“This grant greatly supports the City’s efforts to improve the flow of water while assisting in making a beautiful natural resource available for all of us to enjoy,” said State Representative Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers).

“The Nature Conservancy applauds the leadership of the Baker-Polito Administration on climate change resiliency and adaptation,” said Steve Long, Director of Government relations for the Nature Conservancy. “We are proud of our partnership with EEA to help communities to take action under the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program. The partnership has helped communities address the escalating impacts of climate change by enhancing safety, avoiding costs and using nature-based solutions. The Conservancy thinks the MVP Program can be a national model for other states and we are working to make that a reality.”

To further assist communities in planning for climate change impacts, the Baker-Polito Administration recently launched a new website, the resilient MA Climate Clearinghouse, to provide communities access to the best science and data on expected climate change impacts, information on planning and actions communities can deploy to build resiliency and avoid loss, and links to important grant programs and technical assistance. The site, which was built with data developed through a partnership between EEA, the Northeast Climate Center at UMass-Amherst and the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, provides access to statewide climate change projections showing how temperature, precipitation and sea level rise will change through the end of the century, which any user can overlay with other data of interest, including information on emergency facilities, infrastructure and natural resources.

As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to combat and prepare for climate change, Governor Baker recently filed legislation to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities. The legislation would put into law essential components of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, which established an integrated strategy for climate change adaptation across the Commonwealth, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program and the Statewide Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation Plan – a blueprint to protect residents, communities, and local economies. The funding available through these grant programs builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.