Shoreline resiliency against sea level rise and flooding in Connecticut is largely in the hands of local governments. But with money tight and local budgets reliant on the taxes shoreline properties generate, efforts to protect coastal communities from climate change have been slow and underfunded. Some communities, however, are making more progress than others.
Connecticut is fortunate it hasn’t been hit by a tropical-style storm since the successive storms of Irene and Sandy in 2011 and 2012 swamped the coastline, illuminating its vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change. That’s because there’s a general consensus that if either of those storms were to hit now, they would be just as damaging.
More than six years after Irene, five years after Sandy, and tens of millions of dollars later, Connecticut’s shoreline communities have been slow to embrace resiliency and now look much as they did before the storms hit. But there are exceptions.
Thousands of Connecticut homes have been repeatedly damaged by flooding due to storms. costing the government millions in insurance claims. The losses are now causing some to question the wisdom of policies that encourage rebuilding. They say that with climate change, those properties will grow more vulnerable and money would be better spent moving people out. So far, however, few homeowners are interested.
Just over a year after shoreline politicians along with a panicked real estate industry and homeowners fought successfully to roll back scheduled dramatic increases in National Flood Insurance Program rates, most of them are back in only slightly modified form. As policies renew, shoreline homeowners are likely to face a new round of sticker shock, their penalty for living in flood zones.
NEW HAVEN – Nearly two years after storm Sandy sacked the Connecticut coast, federal funds for recovery are still being parceled out. But issues surrounding a couple of Connecticut shoreline grants raise questions about how the money is being allocated and whether it ever will be used.
The Northeast is already suffering pronounced effects from climate change according the National Climate Assessment. And it faces daunting challenges to keep those effects from getting worse.
About a half-dozen shoreline communities are angered that none of their homes damaged by Storm Sandy will receive hazard-mitigation funding for elevations or buyouts.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Friday will unveil plans for a new Institute for Community Resilience and Climate Adaptation as an all-purpose resource for municipalities, individuals and other private and public groups in need of assistance to plan for climate change.
Charlie Dill’s dose of reality about living on the Connecticut shoreline hit right in the bank account this past summer. That’s when he discovered his 1920s-era home, four houses off the water on the peninsula in Stamford known as Shippan Point, had been reclassified into a flood zone. It meant even though the house went through both Tropical Storm Irene and storm Sandy without taking on a drop of water, his mortgage lender would now require flood insurance.