Groton – Rain gardens on the city’s municipal building campus, more trees in Washington Park and a Resilience Corridor Trail along Birch Plain Creek are some of the ideas for a climate resiliency plan for the town.
As the consultants finalize the community resilience plan, they presented an overview at a public workshop on Thursday. The plan will include recommendations and concept designs that the city could then seek funding for, if it decides to do so.
Noah Slovin, associate resilience planner at SLR Consulting, said the three central effects of climate change – rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and rising sea levels, which can contribute to coastal flooding – have a wide range of impacts on a community and region. The aim is to understand the specific impacts on the city and how to deal with them.
The consultants are developing recommendations based on a risk assessment that considered four types of hazards – flooding, erosion, stormwater runoff and heat – and their potential impacts on socially vulnerable populations, residential areas and trade, infrastructure, community resources and natural resources. Resources. The plan then includes risk ratings for different parts of the city.
For example, the Five Corners area has a low overall risk of flooding and erosion, but a high risk of stormwater runoff and heat, while the Brandegee Avenue area has a moderate risk of flooding and erosion. erosion, low risk of stormwater runoff and high risk for heat.
Dense buildings, impermeable surfaces and low tree cover can lead to an “urban heat island” effect with particularly high heat levels in some areas, but ideas, such as urban forests, can help with cooling, explained Slovin.
The goals of the plan outlined by Slovin are to: reduce the impacts of stormwater flooding, mitigate the impacts of extreme heat on residents, improve the resilience of local businesses, create a flood-resistant coastline and a resilient transportation network. , increase the resilience of socially vulnerable populations and improve the resilience of municipal assets.
Ideas for Resilience “Pilot Projects”
Four resiliency concepts were presented: installing rain gardens on the municipal building campus to reduce runoff, planting shade trees in Washington Park, resiliency improvements on Shore Avenue, and a trail project Birch Plain Creek.
Slovin said the overall plan will also have citywide recommendations, but these are site-specific examples that the city could pursue as “pilot projects.”
Cierra Patrick, economic development specialist for the Town of Groton, said the concept project combines expertise from SLR and city departments with community insights, focuses on city-owned lands and are examples of projects short term of one to three years that the city could implement.
The proposed rain gardens on the Municipal Building campus “would capture runoff from the surrounding roadway and allow the water to seep into the ground rather than enter the stormwater management system”, according to a description of the concepts.
Several potential “nature-based” concepts “to reduce the risk of flooding along a section of Shore Avenue” were outlined in the description.
“Sea level rise projections show that this road area will experience near-daily minor flooding by 2050,” according to the description. “By constructing a low berm and regrading a small city-owned park on the shore, this water will be prevented from accessing the road. The proposed berm project would include the installation of tidal gate structures on the outlets of drainage to prevent high tide water from flowing back through the drainage pipes and into the street.”
Other potential solutions include “pursuing a living approach to the shore or nature to replace the retaining wall on Shore Avenue”, “planting shade trees in open spaces or along the road itself” and the planting of trees at locations in Eastern Point Beach Park.
Another concept, planting shade trees in areas of Washington Park, “could serve as a case study for more widespread tree-planting efforts in the city,” according to the description.
The proposed tree plantings would not only address a slightly elevated heat hazard in this area, but also bring the benefits of trees – including providing shade and reducing the risk of stormwater runoff – to an easily accessible location. of the city, explained Slovin.
“It’s a place that everyone in the city uses, and it’s pretty easy to get to,” Slovin said.
The idea for the Birch Plain Creek Trail, which would “connect and enhance existing trail systems in the Birch Plain Creek Open Space area and behind the Municipal Building”, “would include educational signage and highlight related features to resilience”, such as retention ponds and rain gardens, according to the description.
“The proposed trail would be a path constructed using permeable materials, allowing its use by cyclists, and bike-sharing stations would be placed at both ends,” according to the description.
Slovin explained that concept designs are the initial phase. If the city goes ahead with the ideas, they will need to secure funding for them, then move to the design phase, then to implementation and construction.
During Thursday’s workshop, people provided feedback and did activities, such as placing stickers on a map of Eastern Point Beach to show where they thought it would be a good idea to place trees. Feedback will be incorporated into the final plan, Slovin said.
Patrick said the current plan is to present the findings of the study to city council at the May 23 committee of the whole meeting.
There are also plans to launch a page on the Greater Groton website to further engage the public on resilience topics and also hold workshops in the spring and summer, she said.