Bridgeport, Connecticut Climate Preparedness Workshops - Summary of Findings

In 2011 a partnership formed between the City of Bridgeport, Greater Bridgeport Regional Council, The Nature Conservancy, Clean Air Cool Planet, and the Regional Plan Association to address climate impacts in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The partnership's focus was on increasing awareness of risks associated with extreme weather and natural and climate-related hazards, and assessing the risks, strength and vulnerabilities within the City of Bridgeport. This focus was achieved through a series of Climate Preparedness Workshops in 2012. The goal of the workshops was to advance the engagement with and between community stakeholders in order to facilitate planning and ultimately implementation of priority adaptation actions. The workshop findings are summarized in this report.

The central objectives of the workshops were to:

- Define extreme weather and local natural and climate-related hazards
- Identify existing and future vulnerabilities and strengths
- Develop and prioritize actions for the City of Bridgeport and a broad stakeholder network
- Identify opportunities for the community to advance adaptive actions

The climate preparedness workshops used NOAA’s Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk and The Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience Decision Support Tool. The workshops integrated maps showing potential flooding from extreme events and sea level rise into a community-driven process and dialogue through which the community identified top hazards and priorities for action.

This summary report provides an overview of the potential local climate impacts, concerns and challenges, strengths and assets, and recommendations to improve the Bridgeport’s resilience to natural and climate related hazards.

The recommended actions from workshop participants to reduce exposure to natural hazards fall into categories of pre-disaster planning, post-disaster response and recovery, infrastructure development/redevelopment, and overall improvements to the City’s climate preparedness and resilience. The top recommendations from each of these areas are detailed in the report. 

After living through several coastal hazards events over the course of only a few years - tropical storm Irene and a nor’easter in 2011, and a tornado in 2010 - the City of Bridgeport began to better prepare for disasters, as described. This was before Hurricane Sandy struck the community in October 2012, carrying an unprecedented 13-foot storm surge. Bridgeport’s preparations from this planning effort successfully reduced some of the super storm’s impacts.

Publication Date: August 2012

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