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State doles out $32M for climate resiliency

Posted on September 5, 2023

BOSTON — More than 100 cities and towns have received a slice of nearly $32 million from the state to harden their infrastructure to the impacts of climate change, but like other rounds of grant funding, demand far outstripped available funds.

The state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program gives local governments money to fortify seawalls, prevent coastal erosion and reduce flooding.

“The MVP program is one of our critical tools to partner with communities and build resiliency,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said in a statement. “We’re grateful to this year’s recipients for their hard work to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

Several communities north of Boston got money from the program in the latest round of disbursements.

Ipswich was awarded $235,000 to relocate a pump station from the town wharf and for coastal resiliency projects. Andover is getting $81,900 for projects to help prevent flooding along the Shawsheen River.

Newburyport is getting $191,377 for climate resiliency projects. West Newbury was awarded $150,000 for resiliency planning and projects along River Road along the Merrimack River.

Gloucester is set to receive $58,506 for a project that seeks to reduce flooding from coastal storms along low-lying roads. Neighboring Rockport is getting $242,067 for a coastal resilience planning project.

Peabody is one of 30 communities each getting a $95,000 grant from a pilot program that focuses on “equity” in climate change resiliency projects.

State leaders say communities are searching for ways to protect against the worst impacts of climate change as scientists issue increasingly dire warnings about rising seas, excessive heat and powerful storms. About 93% of the state’s cities and towns participate in the grant.

Despite the record level of grant funding this year, there still wasn’t enough money to meet the demand.

In the latest round, the state received 153 requests for grants totaling more than $50.8 million, according to the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. It awarded $31.5 million to 109 projects.

The state Office of Coastal Zone Management also has a grant program that provides limited funding to communities to fortify their coastlines against storms driven by climate change.

Last year, that program doled out about $12.6 million in grants for nearly 30 resiliency projects in coastal communities including Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Marblehead.

Another climate change resiliency program has distributed $120 million in grants and loans over the past decade to address deficient dams, seawalls, and levees in dozens of communities, including Haverhill, Gloucester and Ipswich.


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