Climate Change Adaptation Initiative: Participatory hazard mitigation using the Vulnerability and Consequence Adaptive Planning Scenario (VCAPS) process

Objectives:The goal of this project is to work with coastal communities to help them better understand and mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events which are projected to increase in frequency and severity as the climate changes. Specific objectives include: (1) Using the Vulnerability and Consequence Adaptive Planning Scenario (VCAPS) to identify and prioritize specific, locally relevant climate related hazards for each town or community; (2) Work with towns and communities to translate that information into concrete, adaptive strategies that can be incorporated into new zoning regulations, planning documents, and management actions. Methodology:Working with local towns at high risk for climate-related impacts, we will use the VCAPS process to lead municipal officials and planners through a participatory exercise to diagram the impacts and consequences climate change may have on their town.Rationale:Climate change poses significant hazards for coastal towns in Massachusetts. Extreme weather events are predicted to increase in the northeastern U.S., including droughts, heavy rainfall and flooding, and more intense storms. In addition, sea level is rising at increasing rates and threatening many towns with homes, buildings, and infrastructure at low elevations. Adaptation and preparation for these increasing hazards is critical, and the likely social and economic costs of inaction are enormous. The VCAPS process provides a systematic approach to access local knowledge, frame and analyze vulnerabilities, and support local planning and decision-making.