A New Focus on Communities & Climate Change: CIRCA 2014

January saw the announcement of a new institute at UConn dedicated to providing answers and assistance to the state’s communities as they struggle to adapt to the impacts of climate change.  The Connecticut Institute for Resiliency and Climate Adaptation, or CIRCA, is a partnership of UConn and CT DEEP, and its creation is in direct response to a number of fact-finding efforts initiated by the state legislature after the pummeling in recent years of the state at the hands of Irene, Sandy, and the October ice storm.

CIRCA was announced by Governor Malloy and UConn President Herbst in January at the Branford House at UConn Avery Point.

With the state’s communities as the principal target audience of CIRCA, one might expect CLEAR to be involved, and it is.  While much of the research will come from Marine Sciences, Civil Engineering and the social sciences, the CIRCA outreach effort is largely based on expanding existing and planned outreach activities of CLEAR-related faculty in the Department of Extension and Connecticut Sea Grant.  This includes the dynamic duo of Land Use Educator Bruce Hyde and Sea Grant Educator Juliana Barrett, who have been teaming up in recent years on projects focused on coastal communities impacted by Irene and Sandy.  It also includes mad scientist Joel Stocker, a CLEAR Geospatial Educator who has been working with CT DEEP to track changes in the CT coastline over time.  On the energy side of resiliency, Extension Professor Tom Worthley has been working with Civil Engineering and the Natural Resources and the Environment Department on Stormwise, a new outreach program focused on improving the stability and resiliency of forest edges where they intersect power lines.

The first outreach program under the CIRCA umbrella will be the Climate Adaptation Academy, a one-day workshop for local officials loosely patterned after CLEAR’s long-running Land Use Academy.  Juliana and Bruce expect the first Academy session to take place in early May, so please check the CLEAR, Sea Grant and (when it appears) CIRCA websites for more information.