The state awarded more than 11 million dollars in grant money to cities and towns preparing for climate change.
The money will be used to identify climate threats, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement plans to adapt to climate change.
David Ismay, Massachusetts’ Undersecretary of Climate Change, says the state initiated these first-in-the-nation grants in 2017 to invest in communities and encourage local resiliency.
“It can help mobilize towns, or help towns do the work they want and see a need to do,” he said.
Of the 52 communities awarded grant money, four are based on the Cape, coast, or islands.
The Buzzards Bay Coalition in partnership with the Town of Gosnold received $1.4 million, the second highest amount awarded.
It will go towards the Cuttyhunk Land Conservation Project, which is expected to conserve around 300 acres of beaches, hills and walking trails in perpetuity.
“I think [this grant] is a recognition of the fact that there was never going to be another chance to preserve… a very special piece of the Massachusetts coastline,” said Marc Rasmussen, president of Buzzards Bay Coalition.
The Buzzards Bay Coalition has until the end of June to raise $7 million to acquire large chunks of the island. This grant got them to $6 million.
“It’s not Nantucket and it’s not the Vineyard,” said Sarah Berry, selectman for the town of Gosnold. “It is, as any small island, a pretty fragile place, so [this grant could help] keep Cuttyhunk as this little gem in Massachusetts.”
Yarmouth and New Bedford each received more than $50,000 to create resilience plans for new and existing buildings given the growing risk major storms and sea level rise poses to the communities.
Martha’s Vineyard received $54,000 to develop and “Island-Wide Specific Adaptation Strategy” that will employ “nature-based solutions/strategies that rely on ecological processes to achieve climate resilience objectives,” according to a press release from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
“What stands out here is towns working together in concert to start taking on the bigger challenges that we have,” Ismay said.
The state received 110 grant applications from towns and cities requesting over $30 million, which, Ismay says, speaks to the growing threat of climate change.
“This is really preparing and building ourselves some capacity to adapt and deal with things so that we’re not paying the huge cost disaster by disaster.”