Plymouth Municipal Vulnerability Workshop

Town of Plymouth

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness

Virtual Workshop

Climate Ready Healthy Plymouth
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Public Forum

Tuesday, May 26
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Join us for the final public forum.

Hear about the most critical vulnerabilities to Plymouth’s infrastructure, environment, and public health in the face of climate change.

Workshop attendees will vote to prioritize actions to respond to these vulnerabilities and provide their own suggestions for climate action.

Welcome to the Town of Plymouth's online Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) workshop! Through the MVP program, the state of Massachusetts awards communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop action-oriented resiliency plans. Communities who complete the MVP program become certified as an MVP community and are eligible for MVP Action grant funding and other opportunities.

The Town is working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in partnership with Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) to do a comprehensive climate change and public health action plan and become MVP-certified. You can learn more about Climate-Ready Healthy Plymouth here. This online workshop is a critical step to secure the Town’s MVP designation. Your expertise and connection to Plymouth will provide the foundation toward a Climate-Ready Healthy Plymouth.

Remember, watching the videos and reviewing boards is an essential part of this workshop. You'll receive background information and context that will be essential to giving feedback.

Plymouth Climate Chat

Two optional live sessions will give workshop participants the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts with others in town. While we've tried to provide a breadth of different perspectives in this virtual workshop, there's no substitute for hearing the lived experiences and knowledge of a range of Plymouth residents and sharing your own. Participation is not expected the whole session, but MAPC staff will be on hand to respond to your questions!

Friday, April 24
10 a.m. to Noon

Click here for the Zoom meeting
Meeting ID: 676 845 160
Password: 619410

Agenda

The full workshop should take you less than two hours to complete. Here's your agenda for the workshop:

I. Town of Plymouth Welcome and Introductions (5 minutes)

II. Introduction to Climate-Ready Healthy Plymouth, Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Workshop, and Goals (35 minutes)

III. Climate-Ready Healthy Plymouth: Informational Boards (15 minutes)

IV. Workshop Questions: Share Your Expertise

    • Question: Plymouth's Environmental Strengths and Vulnerabilities (8-10 minutes)
    • Question: Plymouth's Infrastructure Strengths and Vulnerabilities (8-10 minutes)
    • Question: Plymouth's Society and Public Health Strengths and Vulnerabilities (8-10 minutes)
    • Question: Environment Resilience Actions (5-8 minutes)
    • Question: Infrastructure Actions (5-8 minutes)
    • Questions: Society and Public Health Actions (5-8 minutes)
    • Question: Priority Actions (5 minutes)

Welcome from the Town of Plymouth

Introduction to Workshop

Background Information

For the following section, listen to the video audio or read the transcript as you review the board. Later, as you think through Plymouth's strengths and vulnerabilities in the face of climate change, you may want to refer back to the videos, posters, or written transcripts.

Environment & Natural Resources

Workshop Questions: Share Your Expertise

Please use the embedded survey below to think through:

  • Plymouth's strengths and vulnerabilities when it comes to environmental resources, infrastructure, and society/public health
  • Potential actions Plymouth could take to enhance these strengths or mitigate these vulnerabilities

Need help answering the question? To the right of the survey (on your desktop) or below (on your mobile device), you can find more information on each question , as well as examples of how other residents have responded. You can also scroll back up to review the posters and their descriptions again.

Question Help

Environment

Below are some questions to ask yourself as you think through the strengths and vulnerabilities of Plymouth's natural resources.

What natural resources are important to your community? What benefits do these natural resources provide?
    • Shoreline protection from storm surge
    • Erosion control
    • Clean water, both drinking and ponds
    • Conservation land for recreation, beauty, and wildlife habitat
    • Parks for greening and cooling urban areas
    • Parks for community gathering and recreation
    • Clean air
What natural resources are exposed to current or future climate change or public health hazards?
    • Places where there has been toxic exposure or storage of toxic materials.
    • Air pollution
    • Sea Level Rise
    • Extreme heat
    • Warming and increased growing season
    • Drought /Increased precipitation
What effects have you seen from these climate change or public health hazards on natural resources?
    • Wildfire
    • Algal blooms
Where are the high-risk areas that and what vulnerabilities or strengths exist for the environment?

Examples of Vulnerabilities:
    • Beachfront development reducing protection provided by dunes.
    • Proliferation of subdivisions in wildfire and flood prone areas.
    • Lack of urban tree canopy increasing heat island effects.
Examples of Strengths:
    • Oyster reefs and tidal wetlands help reduce wave damage to property.
    • Forested watersheds maintain drinking water supply during droughts.
    • Native, vegetated slopes remain stable after intense 24-hour rain events.
    • Floodplains provide stormwater storage and downstream flood reduction.
Environment Strengths and Vulnerabilities: How other Plymouth residents responded.
    • Warming temperatures attract invasive species and harmful species, contributing to worsening health of local forests
    • Warming temperatures promote blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which harm the health of local ponds
    • Longer growing seasons resulting from warming temperatures are a boost to backyard gardeners, but fewer frosts impair local cranberry production
    • Trees and large forested area provide shade, but street trees are not being replaced and forest is being cleared to make way for development and solar farms
    • Dam removal and land conservation has helped mitigate temperature increases on local waterways
    • Stormwater runoff contaminates local ponds with blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and other bacteria
    • Dam removal and land conservation has helped improved health of local waterways
    • Poor tree health, more frequent heavy precipitation, and strong winds result in greater loss of trees during storms
    • Stormwater runoff contaminates local waterways and ponds
    • Fire risks heightened by poor forest health

Infrastructure

Below are some questions to ask yourself as you think through the strengths and vulnerabilities of Plymouth's infrastructure.

What infrastructure/facilities are exposed to current and future climate change hazards (extreme heat, drought, inland flooding, sea level rise/storm surge, extreme storm events).
    • Roads
    • Waste water treatment and septic systems
    • Nursing homes
    • Affordable housing
    • Schools
    • Hazardous material facilities
    • Energy facilities
    • Dams
    • Stormwater infrastructure
What makes this infrastructure vulnerable?
    • Location
    • Age
    • Building Codes
    • Housing Type
What are the consequences of this infrastructure being vulnerable?
    • Diminished access to medical facilities, housing, or emergency response
    • Displacement or homelessness
    • Environmental exposure to mold, toxic substances, or extreme heat
    • Business interruption, unemployment
Examples of Vulnerabilities:
    • Main road floods during storms, blocking emergency response.
    • Power outages during heat waves lead to health concerns.
    • Wildfire and high winds resulting in supply chain interruptions.
    • Sewer pump stations become submerged and inoperable.
    • Compromised rail system due to heat-related warping of tracks.
Examples of Strengths:
    • Critical road elevated and passable by emergency management.
    • Hurricane roof installed at school with improved sheltering capacity.
    • Hardened utility lines reduce outages due to ice storms.
    • Undersized culvert replaced to reduce flooding in key intersection.
    • Improvement to communication systems during extreme weather
Infrastructure Strengths and Vulnerabilities: How other Plymouth residents responded.
    • Impermeable surfaces are contributing to urban heat island effects, especially in shopping centers and new development areas
    • Flooding has occurred and continues to be a risk to roads and critical facilities (e.g. fire stations), requiring recurrent and expensive repair
    • Town has made recent investments to protect roads and town facilities from flooding
    • Coastal parks and recreation facilities are more prone to flooding (Stevens Field being designed into climate smart park)
    • Coastal roads impacted by erosion and flooding, requiring recurring and expensive repair
    • Coastal residential properties are damaged by flooding and erosion, yet people are still building and renovating homes along the coast
    • Coastal property owners are armoring (one house may be protected, but neighbor takes the brunt of the damage)
    • Seawall requires maintenance and upgrading, which represents a high and recurring cost
    • Coastal parks and recreation facilities have been damaged by storm-related flooding and wind
    • Coastal roads impacted by coastal flooding, requiring recurring and expensive repair
    • Coastal residential properties are damaged by coastal flooding and wind, yet people are still building and renovating homes along the coast
    • The downtown business district is vulnerable to storm-related flooding (e.g. winter storm Riley)
    • Severe winds knock down trees, which result in frequent power outages
    • Fire Stations are in poor condition, which could affect emergency response
    • Seawall is outdated and in need of expensive maintenance and upgrading
    • Fire response limited by narrow roads and isolated, low density housing in forested areas; cottage conversions and continued development in forested areas perceived to increase vulnerability to wildfire

Society and Public Health

Below are some questions to ask yourself as you think through the strengths and vulnerabilities of Plymouth's public health.

What are the population characteristics of the people living in high-risk areas?
    • Seniors or people over the age of 65
    • Low and moderate income individuals
    • Homeless
    • People with physical or mental heath disabiltiles
    • Young children and children at daycare facilities
    • People with limited access to transportation
    • People with chronic medical conditions such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or immune-compromised
    • Pregnant women
    • People with limited English proficiency
What are the strengths and vulnerabilities of people in your community?
    • Active civic groups and organizations
    • Medical facilities
    • Emergency service and/or response
    • Strong communication
    • Community values, culture, and cohesion
How can extreme heat, sea level rise/storm surge, extreme storms, and drought/wildfire intensify these characteristics? Where are areas for improvement in the community?

Examples of Vulnerabilities:
    • Senior housing without back-up generators during heat waves.
    • Residents without access transportation during hurricane evacuation.
    • Household contaminate and sewage mobilization during flooding.
    • Limited areas of refuge in elementary schools during tornadoes.
Examples of Strengths:
    • Reliable communications protocols across departments for all employees.
    • “Neighbor-helping-neighbor” program aligned with emergency operations.
    • Well-supported volunteer or service organizations
    • Faith-based and civic groups with emergency preparedness plans or strong social networks.
Public Health and Social Vulnerability: How other Plymouth residents responded.
    • People housing, schools, or workplaces without Air Conditioning are more vulnerable to heat-related illness, especially isolated older adults
    • Urban heat islands with lots of impervious surface, such as Colony Place, get too hot to allow for outdoor physical activity
    • Turf athletic fields and recreational facilities without AC will get too hot to allow for physical activity
    • Warmer winters are pleasant but they lead to increased populations of mosquitos and ticks, which carry vector-borne illness (e.g. EEE, Lyme disease, West Nile virus)
    • Warming temperatures promote blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which harm the health of local ponds and can be a hazard to recreational pond users
    • Stormwater runoff contaminates local ponds, contributing to blooms of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that harm the health of recreational pond users
    • Stormwater runoff from could pollute local aquifers, which supply drinking water
    • SLR could result in seawater intrusion into local aquifers, contaminating drinking water
    • Town is currently working on Water Master Plan, which includes conservation actions to protect the aquifer
    • Coastal erosion of beaches represents a loss of recreational opportunities
    • Coastal parks and recreation facilities have been damaged by storm-related flooding and wind
    • Power outages expose people to extreme cold, extreme heat, loss of power to medical devices, and refrigeration for food and medications, etc.
    • Older adults are more likely to be socially isolated during a severe storm and require more assistance
    • Aquifer is under a lot of demands (e.g. residential, commercial, agricultural), new construction and future prospect of drought threatens drinking water supply
    • Town is currently working on Water Master Plan, which includes conservation actions to protect the aquifer

Environment Actions

Environment Actions: How Other Plymouth residents responded.
    • Develop a forest management plan and/or hire staff to increase local forest management
    • Control run-off to local ponds and waterways and maintain buffer areas; increase water-quality testing at local ponds
    • Enhance the resilience of local cranberry growers by removing regulatory barriers and providing incentives to install on-farm solar
    • Encourage solar panel installation in parking lots to create shade and on roofs to prevent forest clear-cutting for solar farms, and generate renewable power
    • Control polluting sources of stormwater runoff (e.g. maintain buffer areas, don’t use fertilizers in critical areas, control dog waste, pump septic tanks, upgrade cesspools, regulate golf course and other types of development that exacerbate pollution)
    • Conserve open space surrounding ponds and other waterways
    • Brand, promote, and celebrate conservation action and climate investments that mitigate inland flooding impacts
    • Conserve coastal properties and open space
    • Implement natural shoreline protections strategies (e.g. dune nourishment, climate smart parks, potentially reroute Eel River)
    • Brand, promote, celebrate conservation action and climate investments that mitigate impacts of coastal erosion/flooding (e.g. climate smart parks, land conservation)
    • Develop a forest management plan and/or hire staff to increase local forest management
    • Control polluting sources of stormwater runoff (e.g. maintain buffer areas, don’t use fertilizers in critical areas, control dog waste, pump septic tanks, upgrade cesspools, regulate golf course and other types of development that exacerbate pollution)
    • Conserve open space surrounding ponds and other waterways
    • Develop a forest management plan and/or hire staff to increase local forest management

Infrastructure  Actions

Infrastructure Actions: How other Plymouth residents responded.
    • Encourage cluster zoning and low impact development
    • Conserve open space, especially in forested areas
    • Encourage solar panel installation on roofs, and parking lots to create shade, prevent forest clear-cutting for solar farms, and generate renewable power
    • Avoid locating critical facilities in wetland areas, elevate roads (when feasible), and integrate LID features into new facilities
    • Support implementation of Stevens Park redesign
    • Implement shoreline protections strategies, both natural and structural (e.g. sea wall maintenance, dune nourishment, rigid revetment, potentially reroute Eel River)
    • Promote managed retreat through buy-outs and conservation of coastal land as an alternative to recurring public expense on reconstruction of sea walls, coastal roads, and properties
    • Regulate cottage conversions (i.e. discourage property owners from enlarging/investing more resources into properties that are vulnerable to coastal flooding and erosion)
    • Support implementation of Stevens Park redesign and pursue cost-effective renovation of promenade
    • Implement shoreline protections strategies, both natural and structural (e.g. sea wall maintenance, dune nourishment, rigid revetment, potentially reroute Eel River)
    • Promote managed retreat through buy-outs and conservation of coastal land as an alternative to recurring public expense on reconstruction of sea walls, coastal roads, and properties
    • Regulate cottage conversions (i.e. discourage property owners from enlarging/investing more resources into properties that are vulnerable to coastal flooding and erosion)
    • Bury power lines, develop a forest management plan, and/or hire staff to increase local forest management
    • Develop local power production and back-up capacity (e.g. community solar, microgrids)
    • Encourage cluster developments and regulate cottage conversions
 

Society and Public Health Actions

Public Health and Social Vulnerability Actions: How other Plymouth residents responded.
    • Improve outreach to older adults and hard to reach populations, provide transportation to cooling shelters if necessary
    • Leverage social media to enhance outreach related to heat waves and related public health threats (e.g. allergies, vector-borne disease)
    • Ensure all affordable housing residents have access to AC and encourage green buildings
    • Develop walking trails with permeable surfaces and increase access to shade (e.g. tree-planting and maintenance); improve pedestrian and bicycle access to shaded recreational areas and ponds
    • Preserve open space, particularly forested areas that provide local cooling effect
    • Control run-off to local ponds and waterways and maintain buffer areas; increase water-quality testing at local ponds
    • Control polluting sources of stormwater runoff (e.g. maintain buffer areas, limit fertilizers use, control dog waste, pump septic tanks, upgrade cesspools, regulate golf course and other types of development that exacerbate pollution)
    • Conserve open space surrounding ponds and other waterways
    • Increase water-quality testing at local ponds
    • Leverage social media to enhance outreach related to water quality and other public health threats (e.g. allergies, vector-borne disease)
    • Implement conservation actions being promoted through Water Master Plan advocacy
    • Implement shoreline protections strategies, both natural and structural (e.g. sea wall maintenance, dune nourishment, rigid rebutment, potentially reroute Eel River)
    • Improve outreach to older adults and hard to reach populations, provide transportation to cooling shelters if necessary
    • Leverage social media to enhance outreach related to heat waves and related public health threats (e.g. allergies, vector-borne disease)
    • Support implementation of Stevens Park redesign and pursue cost-effective improvements to coastal recreational facilities
    • Bury power lines, develop a forest management plan, and/or hire staff to increase local forest management
    • Develop local power production and back-up capacity (e.g. community solar, microgrids)
    • Implement conservation actions being promoted through Water Master Plan advocacy