Flooding and wind damage from coastal storms is a regular occurrence in the rural island towns of Chilmark and West Tisbury, and climate change will likely make weather-related hazards more frequent. In 2017, the towns decided to build on previous hazard mitigation planning by jointly pursuing Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) certification. The MVP process expands the usual scope of hazard mitigation planning by identifying infrastructural, societal, and environmental vulnerabilities in light of current climate change data. Dodson & Flinker facilitated a pair of workshops that brought together the knowledge of local experts, stakeholders, and community members. The team shared current climate change projections and a summary of previous hazard mitigation plans, and then guided participants through a process of identifying key hazards, vulnerable features in the towns, and specific action items to build resilience against climate change and rising sea levels.
Dodson & Flinker compiled the findings into a report with a prioritized list of next steps. Prioritized action items include managing stormwater runoff, protecting the towns’ water supplies, protecting transportation and communication lines, and improving forest management to protect against wildfire and vector-borne disease. Upon completion of this report, the two towns received their MVP designation from the state, and are now eligible for grant funding to implement these action items.