Connecticut’s Vanishing Shoreline: Towns Trying to Beat the Odds

CT POST: Rebecca French is blunt when she’s asked about hurricanes and Connecticut’s preparedness for them.

“Have we figured out as a state, as a region, individually figured out how to not have damage from those storms? No!” she said. French ought to know.
 
Until recently, she was with the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) - a joint government and University of Connecticut research and funding clearinghouse formed in the aftermath of Irene and Sandy. French now directs the implementation of two federal grant programs that are providing a small amount of money to Connecticut for climate resiliency projects, chiefly in Bridgeport.
 
“I don’t know that it’s realistic to say we’ll never have damage from a hurricane,” she said, noting that the financial cost of ensuring there is no damage is prohibitive. Managing risk and learning to live with water is more practical and affordable.
 
“I don’t think the vision for Connecticut is we will never sustain damage from a storm,” she added. “The vision is you recover as quickly as possible.”

But whether the state is significantly closer to even that is doubtful. A quirk of Connecticut government as a home-rule state means the state has only limited authority to supersede local governments. Individual cities and towns handle their own zoning and development regulation and that mostly - though not entirely - puts resiliency matters in the hands of local governments. Continue reading>>