Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resilience Vision Project

This report summarizes a year of dialogue organized by The Nature Conservancy, the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, and Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region that aimed to develop a shared understanding of resilience for the region and potential solutions. This was the first regional resilience effort in Connecticut. The report details the key issues identified through a series of “challenges workshop dialogues,” in which participants conceptualized challenges relevant to water, food, ecosystems, transportation, energy, and the economy. It also outlines findings from the “solutions workshop” where participants were given the top challenges and brainstormed possible strategies.  The report provides a more comprehensive account of the objectives, process, and details from these dialogues; for a shorter summary see the related Guidebook

The report provides an overview of the geology, climate, and sea-level rise risks within the region. It also describes demographic patterns and shifts. For example, the region has seen the traditional military and pharmaceutical industries change to more service based industries with lower wages. These shifts have important planning implications, as the region needs to diversify the housing stock to meet the needs of existing residents and take steps to attract younger professionals. Planning for extreme weather is particularly important around the water sector since Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority must develop and protect groundwater sources to meet the needs of a growing population.

The report presents the challenges and solutions for each sector in detail. Challenges are divided into “top challenges” and “other challenges.” For each of the top challenges, the report provides some context and discusses how climate change is likely to play a role. The solutions section provides several options for addressing each of the top challenges. For example, to address concerns around nonpoint source pollution and saltwater intrusion into septic systems, the report outlines the following options:

  • Using rain gardens and bioswales to infiltrate stormwater before it enters waterways.
  • Requiring septic system inspection at point of property sales.
  • Improving combine sewer systems to minimize the change of direct discharge during heavy rain events.
  • Building upon past projects to foster opportunities for green and gray infrastructure.
  • Developing a long-term plan for upgrading identified infrastructure at risk of saltwater intrusion.

To illustrate the types of actions needed to support regional resilience, the core team also identified specific projects that would exemplify design options. The report provides a high level summary of these projects.

Publication Date: March 2017

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  • Engagement
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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