$20K grant to assess Bernardston areas impacted by climate change

Staff Writer
Published: 2/17/2020 6:16:09 PM

BERNARDSTON — The town is joining other Franklin County municipalities in researching and addressing areas that may be impacted by climate change, after receiving a $20,000 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant.

Planning Board members Christine Wysk and John Lepore spoke with the Selectboard regarding Bernardston’s MVP status Tuesday night. According to Lepore, the grant will be used “essentially to hire a contractor to facilitate a process for fleshing out the town’s vulnerabilities to climate change.”

“The Planning Board took the lead in getting this grant,” said Selectboard member Brian Keir. “This opens up the doors for all sorts of funding in the future to help us with a lot of different projects, mainly around climate change.”

Selectboard member Stanley Garland said this is the start of a process to collect information on how the town may be affected by climate change. Objectives of this project, he said, include conducting local planning and action and improving Bernardston’s understanding of how climate change will exacerbate or lead to new community issues, hazards or other challenges.

“We can see right here in our own area, the winters aren’t what the winters used to be, and the summers aren’t what the summers used to be,” Garland said.

Lepore said the town will conduct its research and work alongside the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to assess vulnerabilities. The town has already been working with FRCOG to update its multi-hazard mitigation plan.

Wysk said town officials will mail out information, seeking input on potential vulnerabilities to address through the MVP program. She said the town will also reach out to residents and students at Pioneer Valley Regional School to incorporate an educational aspect to the project.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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