Back To State Adaptation Overview
Local Support Overview
 

Summary of State Agency Action

The Connecticut Climate Change Preparedness Plan: Adaptation Strategies for Agriculture, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Public Health Climate Change Vulnerabilities (“The Preparedness Plan”) was published in 2011 and finalized in 2013. It includes 76 discrete goals related to climate change adaptation. These goals cover the following sectors: agriculture, biodiversity, coasts and oceans, emergency preparedness, forestry, infrastructure, public health, and water. This page describes some of the progress Connecticut agencies are achieving related to each of these sectors.

Agriculture

Connecticut’s Preparedness Plan includes goals to protect critical soil landscapes, minimize water use, support local agriculture markets, and provide technical assistance and education to the agriculture community to enhance their adaptive capacity.

To implement these goals, the state supports research and education on climate issues in the agricultural sector through UCONN’s College of Agriculture and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES). In addition, the state is using some existing programs to preserve farmland, such as the Connecticut Farmland Preservation Program, which focuses on supporting critical soils and has preserved more that 41,500 acres of farmland since 1978.

Biodiversity

The Preparedness Plan identifies a number of goals related to maintaining biodiversity including collaborating across agencies and with nearby states to protect habitats; enhancing regulation of invasive species; assessing climate risks to key habitats (e.g., streams, forests, and tidal marshes); and acquiring land and conservation easements to protect critical habitats.

Notably, Connecticut’s 2016-2020 Green Plan includes strategies for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to update its land acquisition and open space grant program to prioritize land most at-risk of climate impacts, including sea-level rise and coastal erosion.

 

Coasts & Oceans

The 2013 Preparedness Plan includes a number of goals around developing sea level rise projections; preserving ecosystem services, and modeling inland migration of tidal marshes.

To implement these goals, Connecticut has worked regionally with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission to better model sea-level rise risks in coastal Connecticut. In addition, the Connecticut Housing Development Fund administers the Shore Up Connecticut Program that provides low-interest loans to help property owners elevate flood-prone structures in coastal municipalities.

Forestry

 The 2013 Preparedness Plan sets the goal of increasing active management of upland forests; protecting habitats by expanding forest block; and taking action to protect and establish urban forests.

To implement these goals, the CT Department of Energy and Environment has, for example, developed an initiative to increase the percentage of state forests that are actively managed from 50,000 acres to 100,000 acres, but there is no evidence that these actions are directly linked to addressing climate-related risks.

Infrastructure

Connecticut’s Preparedness Plan identifies a number of goals around protecting critical buildings (health facilities, historic structures, schools); engaging and educating private landowners to take action to protect their assets; reducing repetitive flood losses; and identifying risks to transportation routes.

To implement these goals, the state has pursued activities to enhance the resilience of infrastructure throughout the state. In April 2016, Gov. Malloy issued Executive Order 53, which directs state agencies to work with the State Building Inspector to ensure that the next revision to the State Building Code contains standards that increase the resiliency of new and renovated homes and buildings. Similarly, the 2013-2018 Connecticut Conservation and Development Plan includes a policy to "minimize the potential risks and impacts from natural hazards, such as flooding, high winds and wildfires, when siting infrastructure and developing property.” Finally, Connecticut was selected as one of the winners of the National Disaster Resilience Competition and is implementing the “Resilient Bridgeport” project to ensure that access is maintained along transportation routes linking critical facilities such as hospitals and fire stations.

Public Health & 

Emergency Preparedness

Connecticut’s public health-related goals include improving climate change health education; ensuring that adaptation planning considers the needs of vulnerable populations; monitoring health issues related to air quality; and developing legislation to allow regulatory agencies to respond to extreme heat in occupational settings and schools.

While the Connecticut Department of Public Health has not published many resources directly addressing connections between health risks and climate change, the Department of Energy and Environment maintains a webpage outlining air quality indices for the state and information related to health risks.

Connecticut’s Preparedness Plan sets goals of evaluating its early warning systems, emergency response plans, and cooling station best management practices.

To implement these goals, the state has, for example, created an emergency alert app with information about emergency preparedness. The CT Prepares app also allows users access to real time news and provides a way for families to communicate during an emergency.

 

Water

Connecticut’s water-related goals include incorporating climate change projections into water planning; enhancing water conservation and reuse; and assessing climate change impacts to wastewater treatment facilities.

One example of how the state is implementing goals related to water is the January 2018 update to the State Water Plan, which includes a technical assessment of climate change impacts on water supply and flood-related risks, specifically focusing on river basin hydrology. It also addresses water reuse and wastewater treatment needs. In June 2018, Governor Dannel Malloy mandated, in Executive Order No. 66, that the January 2018 update be implemented recognizing that water is a “public trust” resource under state law (Section 22a-15) and that the state cannot afford inaction at a time when “climate and economic conditions are changing.”

(Research last updated: June 25, 2018). 

 
 
 
 

Powered by the Georgetown Climate Center's