Virtual Public Engagement During MVP and HMP Planning
Weston & Sampson worked with the Town of Groton to prepare a joint Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) to mitigate the effects of natural hazards, and a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Plan to increase resilience against climate change. We leveraged the common steps of both processes, including collecting and reviewing background information on existing conditions and previous natural hazard events. We assisted the town in establishing a municipal planning team whose responsibilities included guiding the public engagement process and reviewing and incorporating recommendations from the public into the town’s proposed hazard mitigation and climate resilience strategies. We engaged stakeholders through an all-day facilitated Community Resilience Building (CRB) Workshop, following guidance from The Nature Conservancy, and we assisted the town in hosting a virtual public listening session through the use of a video and online survey. These meetings with stakeholders and the public were essential components of both the HMP and MVP process.
The town’s plan describes the multiple natural hazards potentially affecting the community; including flooding, extreme weather, extreme temperatures, fire, and drought; and considers how the effects of climate change will intensify these hazards. The plan identifies town features at the highest degree of risk; including critical infrastructure, vulnerable populations, and natural resources; and assesses the vulnerabilities of these features to natural hazards and climate change. The plan also identifies and analyzes a comprehensive range of specific mitigation actions and includes a list of prioritized hazard mitigation projects that best meet the Town of Groton’s needs for multiple hazard damage reduction.
We prepared the HMP-MVP in accordance with FEMA guidelines for Hazard Mitigation Planning and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs’ requirements for Groton to become a “Certified MVP Community.” With this designation and a completed plan, Groton will be eligible for FEMA grant funding and Massachusetts MVP Action Grants, which are used to implement priority strategies.
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The team from Weston & Sampson did an excellent job organizing and facilitating our community resilience building workshop. The feedback from workshop participants was overwhelmingly positive. And the quick transition to virtual public engagement techniques allowed the Town of Groton to sustain the momentum of its climate change vulnerability assessment and hazard mitigation planning efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Town of Groton, MA