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Climate Resiliency Planning
The Town Council formally adopted the 2022 Barnstable Hazard Mitigation Plan Update on September 15, 2022.
The HMP is a planning document that is required by both FEMA and MEMA to be updated every 5 years in order to remain eligible for certain funding opportunities. The Planning and Development department is the lead coordinator in an interdepartmental effort to update the plan.
The purpose of the plan is to identify and profile the town’s risk and vulnerability to potential natural hazards. Specifically, this plan assesses the potential impacts of hurricanes, winter storms, shoreline change/coastal erosion, earthquakes, drought/wildfire, and dam failure and identifies properties, resources, and critical facilities which may be impacted by these hazard events. The plan identifies mitigation strategies and actions aimed at reducing the loss of or damage to life, property, infrastructure and natural, cultural, and economic resources. A corresponding implementation plan will then be prepared to address the prioritization and administration of the identified strategies and actions.
Over the years, a lot of work has gone in to developing an effective Hazard Mitigation Plan. An HMP team was originally assembled in 2004, in conjunction with the Cape Cod Commission’s initiative to develop a multi-jurisdictional multi-hazard mitigation plan in compliance with the Disaster Management Act of 2000. The Town of Barnstable Planning Department completed a considerable amount of work on a local HMP plan during 2004, but the plan was never locally adopted or submitted to FEMA for certification. The Planning & Development Department (then known as GMD) resumed the HMP planning process in 2010 by reviewing and updating the original draft of the plan.
Led by the Town’s Planning & Development department with outside support from Woodard & Curran, an update to the 2010 HMP was attempted and several of the plan’s components were completed in 2016, but the HMP was not finalized or submitted. At this time, a workshop was held with key stakeholders to obtain input on hazards, vulnerabilities and critical facilities and develop mitigation actions. Goals and objectives were revised to be more comprehensive and encompass the top hazards identified.
In 2018, the Town received a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program to identify vulnerabilities from natural hazards and climate change and develop actions to mitigate the hazards. The Town of Barnstable contracted with staff from the Cape Cod Commission and Woods Hole Sea Grant & Cape Cod Cooperative Extension to guide the process to become a MVP certified community and engage community stakeholders through a community resilience building workshop held on March 29, 2019. Subsequently, The Town published the findings from the community resilience building workshop and achieved its MVP designation.
In 2021, the Town’s Planning & Development department contracted with Woodard & Curran to revisit the work completed in 2016 and to refresh and finalize an update to the 2010 HMP. The Town of Barnstable held a half day workshop with the planning team on November 8, 2021, to discuss the 2021 HMP update. At this meeting, the Town of Barnstable reviewed the components of previous hazard mitigation documents, discussed proposed revisions and project timelines, presented major hazard concerns, identified asset changes, reviewed recent emergency events and planned preventative actions, discussed repetitive losses, and determined mitigation projects to continue and introduce in the 2021 update. To close out the meeting, the Town of Barnstable discussed the next steps for public involvement, formal adoption, and submission to MEMA and FEMA.
On November 19, 2021 and December 10, 2021 members of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and the Cape Cod Commission respectively, had a virtual meeting to provide input into the plan. Conversations focused on crucial mitigation project interests and implementation.
The draft HMP has been distributed to applicable departments for comments. The draft is to be presented before the Planning Board at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board followed by a presentation to Town Council for formal adoption.
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness
Building Barnstable’s resilience to climate change & preparing for natural hazards
The Town of Barnstable is designated by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs as a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Community. The MVP program provides support for towns in Massachusetts to plan for and implement projects that mitigate the impacts of climate change and natural hazards. The Town successfully completed the Community Resilience Building planning process.
The goal of the MVP planning process is to raise awareness about the dangers posed from natural hazards and identify priority actions to improve resilience to the significant natural hazards that the community faces. On March 29, 2019, during a day-long workshop, community participants worked with local and regional leaders to: characterize the hazards facing the community; identify community vulnerabilities and hazards; identify and prioritize community actions; and identify overall priority actions for the community.
Click here to view the presentation portion of the workshop, which includes background on the MVP program and a presentation “Science, Climate Projections, and Resources” by Greg Berman, Coastal Process Specialist with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and Woods Hole Sea Grant.
Click here to view the Cape Cod Commission’s “Story Map” for the MVP effort. The Story Map includes links to resources on climate resilience and a collection of data on local natural hazard impacts, including things like infrastructure, floodplains, and sea level rise projections.
2019 Hazard Mitigation Plan
Enabling action to reduce loss of life and property, lessening the impact of disasters
The Planning and Development Department is updating the Town of Barnstable's Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan identifies and assesses potential impacts of natural hazards, including hurricanes, winter storms, flooding, coastal erosion, wildfires, and other disasters and which critical facilities, properties and resources may be impacted by these events. Planning and Development coordinates input from the public, municipal officials and other stakeholders to identify strategies and actions aimed at reducing the loss of or damage to life, property, infrastructure and natural, cultural, and economic resources.
Developing hazard mitigation plans allows the Town to:
- Increase education and awareness around threats, hazards, and vulnerabilities;
- Build partnerships for risk reduction involving government, organizations, businesses, and the public;
- Identify long-term strategies for risk reduction that are agreed upon by stakeholders and the public;
- Identify cost effective mitigation actions, focusing resources on the greatest risks and vulnerabilities;
- Align risk reduction with other state or community objectives; and
- Communicate priorities to potential sources of funding.
Ultimately, hazard mitigation planning enables action to reduce loss of life and property, lessening the impact of disasters.
The plan is prepared to comply with Federal Emergency Management requirements and allows the Town to access funding sources to aide with plan implementation.
The Town will host a public meeting to collect input on the identified risks and vulnerabilities and actions the Town can take to reduce risk and protect the people and property of Barnstable.
View the Barnstable 2010 Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan here.
Cape Cod Commission Resilient Cape Cod
NOAA Coastal Resiliency Grant Project
The Cape Cod Commission, along with project partners including the Town of Barnstable, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and others explored strategies to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards in threatened areas of our community.
The Cape Cod Coastal Planner is a communication and decision support tool intended to educate users on the climate change hazards impacting Cape Cod's coastline, the adaptation strategies available to address them, and implications for local infrastructure and ecosystems. Choose your location and zone of impact to begin planning. View planning layers and test adaptation strategies for three coastal hazards.
Learn more about the Resilient Cape Cod project at: www.capecodcommission.org/our-work/resilient-cape-cod
View the Coastal Impact Viewer here.
Assessment of the Century Scale Sediment Budget for the Sandwich and Barnstable Coasts of Cape Cod Bay: Cape Cod Canal to Barnstable Harbor
Supporting research by the Center for Coastal Studies
The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) developed a quantitative, century-scale sediment budget for the Towns of Sandwich and Barnstable along 16.5 miles of shoreline from the Cape Cod Canal to Nobscusset Point in Dennis. Sediment budgets document the direction and volume of sediment movement as well as the sources and sinks of sediment in the nearshore zone. Sediment budgets can be used by coastal mangers to better understand coastal evolution in general and inform decisions about the impacts associated with altering the nearshore zone with coastal engineering structures, beach replenishment projects and other related activities.
New England Climate Adaptation Project Case Study
Increasing public awareness about climate change risks and adaptation opportunities in Barnstable and building support for local adaptation efforts
MIT, the Consensus Building Institute, the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Town of Barnstable participated in a project to evaluate the use of role-play simulations to help coastal communities understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Planning & Development Department facilitated the participation of over 150 town officials and residents as part of this process. Leading climate scientists developed climate change predictions specifically for Barnstable.
The findings of the Case Study demonstrate public support for additional town action to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Barnstable
Expanded Floodplains for Barnstable
Community Rating System
CZM MyCoast Storm Photos
Other Resources for Coastal Property Owners