With over 500 miles of coastline and beaches, almost 1,000 freshwater ponds and more than 100,000 acres of habitat, wetlands, and protected open space, the natural beauty, environmental resources, and historic character of Cape Cod have made the region a globally-recognized destination.
But what makes us unique also makes us vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
As an agency charged with protecting the unique values and quality of life on Cape Cod, and balancing the quality of our shared environment and sustainable economic progress, the Cape Cod Commission recognizes the need to help build more resilient communities capable of withstanding the effects of climate change today and minimizing its impacts in the future.
Mitigating the causes of climate change and adapting to its effects includes regional planning and policy decisions with both environmental and economic considerations. Increasing resiliency from the impacts of climate change and coastal storms is a regional priority.
Episode One: Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness
The Municipal Vulnerability Program (MVP) offered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides support to cities and towns to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects. Cities and towns that achieve designation as an MVP community are eligible for funding for implementation of actions to improve their climate resiliency.
The Cape Cod Commission is a certified MVP provider, and along with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and Woods Hole Sea Grant has helped a number of Cape Cod towns achieve designation as an MVP community, including the Town of Harwich.
In this episode, we talk with Cape Cod Commission Chief Planner Chloe Schaefer and Town of Harwich Planner Charleen Greenhalgh to discuss this important program and learn how it’s helping Cape Cod towns prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Episode Two: Historic Structures in the Floodplain
Aside from its natural beauty, Cape Cod’s historic character is one of its most defining qualities. But many of our historic structures are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The Cape Cod Commission, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, and Woods Hole Sea Grant have created a new guide to floodplain regulations and historic structures in Massachusetts that aims to clarify common questions and help identify when structures are eligible for exemption from the Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage floodplain requirements.
In this episode, we discuss the important topic of balancing preservation with protection and learn about a new guide to historic structures and floodplain regulations in Massachusetts with Cape Cod Commission Historic Preservation Specialist Sarah Korjeff and Shannon Hulst, who serves as deputy director and floodplain specialist for the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and also works with the Woods Hole Sea Grant.
Episode Three: Adapting Regional Transit for Climate Change
The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on Cape Cod. Climate change mitigation and adaptation involves adjusting the way the transportation community plans, designs, constructs, operates, and maintains transportation infrastructure to protect against the impacts caused by changes in climate and extreme weather events.
The Cape Cod Commission’s Regional Transportation Plan includes a number of measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has made a number of changes and upgrades to its systems and amenities to help offset its carbon footprint.
This episode focuses on the Cape's regional transit system with Cape Cod Commission Transportation Program Manager Steven Tupper and Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir.
Episode Four: Creating a Climate Action Plan for Cape Cod
The Cape Cod Commission is in the process of creating Cape Cod’s first-ever climate action plan, a strategic framework that details the policies, measures, and activities our community will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and track progress.
Research and review of existing climate action plans is an important step in the process. Cape Cod Commission staff reviewed a number of state, regional, and local climate action plans, and in this episode, we discuss that research, the important elements of a climate action plan, and the process moving forward.
This episode features Cape Cod Commission Deputy Director Erin Perry, Commission Natural Resources Program Manager Heather McElroy, and stormwater and resiliency director for the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, Shaun O'Rourke. Shaun also serves as the chief resilience officer to Governor of Rhode Island Gina Raimondo, and assisted in creating the climate action plan for the state of Rhode Island.
Episode Five: Creating a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Cape Cod
Certain gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are known as greenhouse gases (GHGs) and are widely acknowledged to contribute to climate change. GHGs occur naturally, and they are also emitted from human activities like using fossil fuels, through certain land management practices, or from the manufacturing of products we use. To prevent climate change from worsening, it is critical to understand greenhouse gas contributions at various scales.
The Cape Cod Commission recently completed an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for the region. This baseline can provide communities with the information to understand the contributing factors to Cape Cod’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In this episode, we talk about the creation of the inventory and its uses with Cape Cod Commission Transportation Program Manager Steven Tupper, Cape Cod Commission Special Projects Coordinator Michele White, and Katherine Eshel, Carbon Neutrality program manager for the City of Boston.
Episode Six: Climate Policy
Keeping a special place special, the mission of the Cape Cod Commission, includes ensuring that Cape Cod is protected against the impacts of climate change. On this episode, we will explore climate policy on the local and state level.
Join us for a robust discussion about shaping climate policy on Beacon Hill and in Barnstable County with Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr, Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori, and Plymouth, Dukes, and Barnstable State Representative Dylan Fernandes.