Weather in Massachusetts keeps getting more extreme – but our ability to counteract the impact of severe storms and climate change has recently improved.
Since 2010, Massachusetts has experienced four storms that caused more than one billion dollars in damage each. Since Executive Order no. 569, established in 2016, the development of policy to empower our state to adapt to climate change has been gradual. This includes the development of the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program that provides necessary resources for municipalities to plan for climate change and improve their resilience strategies. Recently, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) announced a second round of funding available for the MVP Program in 2021. This includes additional MVP Planning Grants and MVP Action Grants. The EEA is open for funding applications through June 18, 2020 for MVP Action Grants (extended from the initial deadline of June 11, 2020) and through August 7, 2020 for MVP Planning Grants. The Requests for Responses are available on COMMBUYS.
The MVP Program & Municipalities
The MVP Program aims to provide support to municipalities seeking to prepare for the changing climate through mitigation or adaptation strategies. The focus of the MVP planning phase is to identify resilience strategies through identifying climate related hazards, vulnerabilities, and strengths specific to a municipality, and then prioritizing opportunities and possible actions towards implementing risk mitigating strategies.
The process starts by supporting a complete and full assessment of a municipality’s vulnerabilities and strengths. This is done through MVP Planning Grants that provide funding for municipalities to contract with a state-certified MVP provider (like Nitsch Engineering!) that has been trained in facilitating Community Resilience Building workshops.
The long-term vision of the MVP Program is municipalities developing individual plans of action to be prepared for the impacts of climate change on their specific community. When a municipality has become MVP-Certified through a completed workshop that sets in place this structure, it is then eligible to apply for MVP Action Grants to fund their priority projects. MVP action projects are geared towards climate adaptation and mitigation; Nitsch Engineering works with clients throughout Massachusetts to assist them in identifying the best strategies for their municipality.
Our Certified MVP Planning Grant Providers
Nitsch Engineering is a certified MVP service provider with four staff members who have gone through training to assist in: 1) engaging community; 2) identifying vulnerabilities and strengths; and 3) prioritizing actions. Our Certified MVP Planning Grant Providers on staff include:
Isabel C. Kaubisch, Project Manager
Isabel Kaubisch is an urban and environmental planner, and public outreach specialist. She has spent most of her 17-year career working with communities on developing sustainable and resilient planning solutions, including MVP Plans, HMPs, combined MVP/HMP updates, and Complete Streets programs. Contact Isabel at email@example.com.
Jennifer L. Johnson, PE, CFM, CPSWQ, LEED AP, Project Manager
With 15 years of experience, Jenn specializes in tailoring sustainable stormwater management techniques to site-specific conditions to meet the challenges of climate change. Her experience includes supporting the MVP Action Grant funded Northampton Designs with Nature to Reduce Storm Damage project in Northampton, Massachusetts. Contact Jenn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandra A. Brock, PE, CFM, LEED AP BD+C, Vice President and Principal
Sandy Brock has over 30 years of experience in the civil engineering field. Sandy has developed an expertise in sustainable site design, and is also chair of her Conservation Commission and participated in her Town’s MVP workshop. Contact Sandy at email@example.com.
Brian Creamer, SITES AP, Senior Planner
Brian Creamer brings eight years of sustainable planning and design experience, focused on designing sites that sustainably integrate stormwater into the landscape. His project background includes supporting the MVP Action Grant funded Northampton Designs with Nature to Reduce Storm Damage project in Northampton, Massachusetts. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keys to Success in Working within the MVP Program
To comprehensively identify vulnerabilities and strengths, develop and prioritize actions, and identify effective opportunities (and means) to reduce risks and build resilience, communities can benefit from Certified MVP Planning Grant Providers who are supported by an experienced multi-disciplinary team of civil, transportation, and structural engineers; surveyors; and planners who understand the importance of practical and realistic solutions.
Nitsch Engineering specializes in developing work products that build on a thorough understanding of the issues and include implementable nature-based solutions that meet a community’s needs in a thoughtful, integrated way that offers co-benefits for the community, environment, and economy – both now and in the future.
For MVP Planning Grants, our areas of expertise include:
- risk and vulnerability assessments
- GIS analysis
- community engagement and lead facilitation
- creative strategizing and prioritization
For MVP Action Grants, our areas of expertise include:
- climate action planning
- greenhouse gas emission analysis
- stormwater management solutions
- site specific analysis & vulnerability assessments
- green infrastructure design
- green complete street design
- low impact development solutions
- development of sustainable regulatory and bylaw language to increase LID
Nitsch Engineering’s project experience providing services for MVP planning and action grants in the Towns of Nahant, Waltham, Fairhaven, and Northampton is complemented by our understanding of the unique challenges facing municipalities today. We have gained this understanding based on the services we have provided in 272 Massachusetts municipalities, and the 22% of our employees who serve on local municipal boards and commissions – which gives us a true understanding of what it’s like to be on the municipality’s side.
How do I get MVP Program funding?
The MVP Program is built on the premise that municipalities are best equipped to lead their own vulnerability preparedness process and are the stewards of local knowledge regarding climate change impacts. For more information on eligibility for the MVP Program, reach out to our Certified MVP Planning Grant Providers listed earlier in this post, or visit the EEA website here.
The map image at the top of the page is courtesy of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.