Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness
Driven by the desire to assess its vulnerabilities, build community resilience, and expand its potential to address hazards caused by climate change, the Town of Milton chose to pursue certification from the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. In the fall of 2019, the Town received funds to start a town-wide conversation about climate change and its effects on the community. The MVP program provides funding for cities and towns in Massachusetts to plan for climate change resilience and implement priority projects. The state provides communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments, develop action-oriented resilience plans, as well as other projects. Communities that complete the MVP Planning Grant program become certified as an MVP community and are eligible for MVP Action Grant funding for priority project implementation.
Observed and predicted changes to the climate in Milton were a large motivator for becoming an MVP- certified town. Climate changes are taking shape through four primary hazards:
- Intense Storms: The frequency and severity of intense storms—including nor’easters, ice storms, hurricanes, windstorms, and heavy precipitation events— are increasing.
- Flooding: Caused by increased precipitation and intense storms, and worsened by periods of drought, inland flooding is the prolonged submerging of land by water. Flooding is expected to become more of a problem as intense storms continue to increase. Parts of Milton are prone to coastal flooding as well.
- Heat Waves: In Massachusetts, a heat wave is defined as three or more days above 90°F. Both the length and frequency of heat waves are expected to increase in the northeast, along with rising annual average temperatures.
- Drought: Periods of abnormally dry weather are expected to become an increasingly prominent issue in Massachusetts and can cause crop damage, water supply shortages, and habitat loss.
Over the course of two MVP workshops in 2020, community members generated a list of nearly 150 actions to address these vulnerabilities. Each participant was asked to vote on their top three priorities across the three community components. With a three-way tie for the third action, the following are the top five actions that were collectively identified as top priorities for Milton.
- An emergency communication plan that ensures it has the ability to reach all residents
- Assess and upgrade culverts, ensuring they are appropriately sized
- Complete a feasibility study of microgrid power and renewable energy options for the town (Learn More about our Microgrid Study)
- Risk assessment of neighborhoods impacted by flooding
- Dam removal for ecological restoration