Municipal Task Forces in Salisbury, Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, and Essex were convened in 2015 to work on the Great Marsh Resiliency Planning Project. Convened and appointed by the mayors and town managers of the six towns, the task forces are comprised of:
- Town employees (planners, conservation agents, engineers, emergency management directors, and public works staff)
- Regional experts (ecologists and biologists from multiple organizations in the Great Marsh region)
- Coastal coordinators from MA Coastal Zone Management and Eight Towns & the Great Marsh
- Local residents and advocates (Storm Surge members)
- Teachers and students from community schools
In the first year of the project, the MTFs met every few months to identify those important community places, infrastructure, and natural and recreational resources that are vulnerable to climate change events. Videos of the northern “SNN” Task Force meetings (towns of Salisbury, Newburyport, and Newbury) and the southern “EIR” Task Force meetings (Essex, Ipswich, and Rowley) can be seen here:
- 2015 SNN Task Force meetings (May, July, and October)
- 2015 EIR Task Force meetings (May, July, and October)
Two community workshops, held in November, 2015, were designed to engage the broader public. At the Great Marsh Coalition’s Annual Symposium and another evening meeting in Salisbury, task force members reported on their lists of vulnerable areas and received input on their priorities from the public.
The task forces next met in late March, 2016. During the meetings, Ipswich River Watershed and National Wildlife Federation staff facilitated discussions with the task force members in which they began to explore activities that can be used to address the areas that have been identified as vulnerable to climate impacts. A link to the task force meeting presentation in Ipswich can be found here.
During the summer and fall of 2016, task forces will be working with NWF and IRWA to finalize the vulnerability assessments and further identify technical adaptation strategies.