The Town of Auburn will be holding a one-day workshop on February 28, 2019 for invited stakeholders as a key part of their Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. About forty representatives from town government, community organizations and businesses will share their ideas and priorities for actions to make the town more resilient to natural hazards such as winter storms, heatwaves, and hurricanes that are likely to get worse due to the changing climate.

Auburn was awarded an $18,000 grant from the state last summer and has assigned Adam Menard, Auburn Town Planner, to serve as the Project Coordinator from the town with a core team of town staff including Town Manager Julie Jacobson. Technical assistance is being provided by the Blackstone River Watershed Association and its team of state-certified MVP Program providers. They are using a standardized toolkit for assessing vulnerability and developing strategies, and newly developed climate projections and data from the Northeast Climate Science Center at UMass-Amherst. Upon successful completion of the program, Auburn will be designated as a “Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program Community.”

There were 66 towns and municipalities that received grants in 2017 including Grafton, Millbury, Northbridge, Blackstone, Milford, Mendon, Shrewsbury and Holden. An additional 82 towns and municipalities received grants in 2018 including Auburn, Leicester, Sutton, Uxbridge, West Boylston and Worcester.

Ms. Jacobson said, “We see this program as an important next step in preparing for storms and other hazards into the future. We will identify strengths and also those areas where we need to do more to protect the residents, businesses and environment of our town. Becoming MVP certified will make dedicated funds available to implement our plan and help us to be more competitive in competing for grant funds. It builds on our recently updated Hazard Mitigation Plan and through this workshop we look forward to receiving a range of input from employees, citizens and stakeholders.”

Ted Beauvais, the team leader for the Blackstone River Watershed Association for this project said, “We are very pleased to work with Auburn to help them through this process to become an MVP Program Community. It fits well with our mission to improve the watershed and that can only be done by working with the people and communities that live there. This program looks at hazards and vulnerabilities to society, infrastructure and the environment and will help Auburn to better plan and prepare for natural disasters that are likely to get worse as the climate changes.”

The new grant and designation program, which builds on Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569 as well as other administration-led state and local partnerships, provides communities with technical support, climate change data and planning tools to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience.

“The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program is the cornerstone of our administration’s efforts to work with communities on further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker when grants were announced last May. “Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change, so we are proud to provide our communities the resources, data and planning tools they need to build resiliency to severe weather and other impacts.”

For additional information please contact Adam Menard, Auburn Town Planner, at amenard@town.auburn.ma.us or 508-832-7704 ext. 1261.