About this Page
This webpage will be the City’s portal to communicate information about resiliency, planning work and providing tools and resources pertinent to coastal resiliency awareness. The tabs below provide access to pertinent documentation you may find of interest. These documents are building blocks for the development of a Community Resiliency Plan.
What is Resiliency?
Resiliency is a community’s ability to recover or adapt from a significant event caused by the forces of nature or human action.
Hazard mitigation is the “sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property” from such an event. (Source: Maryland EMA).
As a coastal community with industry leaders essential to our national defense, the City possesses vulnerabilities that we must understand and be prepared to address.
Community Resiliency Plan
The City of Groton is developing a resiliency plan to respond to the anticipated long range changes that will be shaped by climate change, sea level rise (SLR), and increased storm frequencies and intensities. To assist with this work, the City applied for and was awarded a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) to cover the majority of the costs to develop the plan. Along with in-kind and monetary matches, the grant provides substantial aid in forming the initial stages of the Community Resiliency Plan. The Plan will be a working document that will evolve over time and guide decision making for City leadership, staff and residents. For more information about the LISFF Grant, refer to this fact sheet.
The objective is to develop a working document identifying future planning needs, outlined with incremental and prioritized strategies to proactively respond to and protect natural and manmade resources while building the City’s capacity and capabilities to absorbed and rebound from natural events.
Planning for resiliency began in January 2019, when The Nature Conservancy led a Community Resiliency Building Workshop, a roundtable with City staff, regional leaders and City businesses. City Council went on to establish an ad-hoc committee. This working group is tasked to assess issues related to resiliency and develop strategies to address vulnerabilities. The Coastal Vulnerability Working Group (CVWG) will provide recommendations to the City Council and help guide the formation of the Community Resiliency Plan. Development of the Community Resiliency Plan commenced November 2020 with the selection of Malone & MacBroom as the preferred consultant.
Coastal Vulnerability Working Group
The CVWG is proactively assessing the community’s risks related to resiliency while is assisting staff in the development of strategies to address vulnerabilities. CVWG will provide recommendations to City Council and help guide the formation of the Community Resiliency Plan.
Several studies and reports have been prepared by various governmental agencies and organizations, many relevant to the City of Groton, but most not specific to the needs of the community. Here are some of the pertinent documents that will help shape the City’s Community Resiliency Plan.
- The Nature Conservancy: City of Groton January 2019 Workshop Summary: This summary outlines key findings of a facilitated workshop conducted by the Nature Conservancy to identify, on a preliminary basis, vulnerabilities and concerns related to coastal issues.
- Sea Level Rise in CT by James O’Connell: This report was prepared by CIRCA, using prior research and guidance prepared by NOAA, providing guidance to coastal planning community associated with anticipated sea level rise in Long Island Sound.
- SECT Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan Update: December 2017: This Plan is the Region’s plan to identify and prepare for responses to possible hazards. An update is required every five years.
- City of Groton Hazard Mitigation Plan: December 2017: This plan is specific to hazards associated specifically to the City of Groton and was prepared with the SECT Multi-Jurisdiction HMP. This plan and the Region’s plan should be utilized together as the City’s HMP.
Additional Relevant Plans:
Managing activities within areas susceptible to flooding assists with:
- Protecting against loss of property and human life
- Preserving natural resources and habitats
- Planning for long-range stormwater management and water quality
- Becoming a resilient community following storm events
As a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the City of Groton is required to regulate development within certain flood prone areas. These requirements are found in Section 5.3 Flood Protection Overlay Zone, of the City of Groton Zoning Regulations. Section 5.3 outlines the requirements of a Flood Development Permit which is necessary for certain improvements within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHAs are locations that have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year, sometimes referred to as the “100-year flood”. It is important to note that this 100-year “description” does not imply such a flood will only occur once per 100-years. SFHAs are depicted upon Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
Certain SFHAs are locations within the City designated as Coastal High Hazard Areas. In general terms, the Coastal High Hazard Area occurs along an open coast and areas subject to “high velocity waters caused by, but not limited to, hurricane wave wash.” These areas have great potential to cause damage to property and loss of life.
City of Groton FIRMs are provided for download at the bottom of this page. Additional technical information supporting the FIRM panels is provided within the Flood Insurance Study (FIS).
For Zoning Regulations and FIRM maps please refer to the Regulations, Maps and POCD webpage.
City Sea Level Rise (SLR)
20″ by 2050
Long Island and Southeastern CT should plan for a 20” sea level rise by 2050. This conclusion was reached by James O’Donnell of UConn’s Department of Marine Sciences and CT Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaption. A precursor to Mr. O’Donnell’s conclusion was a technical report issued by NOAA entitled “Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment”. This document identified 4 sea level rise scenarios ranging from an 8” rise to a 6.6’ rise by 2100. This document was not specific to one area but gave guidance for planners and researchers to determine how sea level may impact local communities.
Utilizing this guidance, which has also been adopted by the US Army Corp of Engineers in their long range planning, Mr. O’Donnell concluded that by 2100, Connecticut may experience a rise in sea level from nearly 2’ to 6.8’. Planning for such a distant time frame is very challenging so the guidance provided is to plan for the year 2050, which is coincident with a typical mortgage of 30 years. The extrapolated data suggest a 20” rise by 2050. “However, alerting the public with property in the altitude zone impacted if a 1.0M (3.3’) increase in mean sea level was to occur is also prudent” the text also states. It should also be noted that Mr. O’Donnell suggests that the science behind these conclusions could change as more data is collected and analyzed. Thus, he suggest a 10-year reassessment of planning threshold.
To explore an interactive mapping tool on how sea level rise, and other scenarios, may impact the City of Groton and other coastal regions click here.
City Flood Exposure
Flood exposure is the vulnerability to flooding caused by storm events such as extreme high tides, storm surge and hurricanes. To explore an interactive mapping tool on how a category 3 hurricane may impact the City, click here and select the Flood Exposure tab. This link will provide access to other tools and maps to help you understand vulnerabilities in the City of Groton.