Community Resilience Planning, Public Health and Emergency Management

Resilience IconRead the Draft Recommendations:

Community Resilience (PDF)

Public Health (PDF)

Emergency Management (PDF)

Download the Presentation Slides (PDF)

Meet the Working Group Members

About Community Resilience, Public Health and Emergency Management

Climate change is already harming Maine communities, infrastructure, natural systems and economies. Coastal towns and working waterfronts are seeing flooding and flood damage more often. Inland areas are seeing increased heavy rainstorms and seasonal shifts affecting everything from growing seasons to winter sports.

Maine people should also be concerned about increased asthma rates from heat and high ozone days, fishing closures due to pollution and algae blooms, and rising rates of tick-borne diseases.

Watch the Community Resilience, Public Health and Emergency Management strategies

As Maine reduces greenhouse gas emissions to slow the cause of climate change, our people, businesses, natural resources must also be protected from the effects of climate change now occurring. “Resilient” communities are ready to withstand the effects of climate change, and have worked with their citizens, businesses, infrastructure and systems on ways to prevent costly climate-related damage.

Many communities need state support and partnership for important resilience planning. A 2018 study found $1 invested in prevention or preparation for natural disaster, such as a storm, flood or fire, saves about $6 in rebuilding. Not investing in the long-term future of Maine communities and people risks much greater costs and complicated recoveries in the future.

Proposed Strategies

Please note: the summaries below may not reflect the comprehensive details of each proposed strategy, please see the Draft Recommendations file or slides above for a more complete description. 

Update and modernize Maine’s land use regulations: Provide the best available science about sea level rise and flooding impacts for communities to make decisions about development. Reduce the regulatory burdens for projects that help communities become more resilient to climate change impacts so they can save money by being proactive rather than reactive.

Provide data and technical assistance to communities about the impacts of climate change: Tailor assistance to Maine's various regions and communities. For example, regional resilience assistance can allow many communities solve shared problems at one time. Nonprofit organizations, universities, and businesses should all contribute to finding solutions.

Provide funding for municipal infrastructure projects that help communities plan for and respond to climate change: Create a state fund to help towns meet local cost requirements for federal funds to repair and upgrade infrastructure. Improve ability to use existing funding options like tax-incentives and bonds. Create incentives for communities to cooperate to include climate resilience in their plans, regulations, budgets, and staffing.

Monitor and educate about the public health impacts of climate change: Inform Maine people about health risks from climate change, in order to protect themselves and their families. Invest in monitoring and reporting of air quality, freshwater and marine water quality, and diseases carried by insects (like Lyme disease). Expand public education about how climate change affects health, and resources to help people to manage risks including air quality alerts, high heat and cold warnings, and water contamination, disease, and health advisories.

Reduce health impacts from high intensity weather events: Storms, floods, fires, and droughts can cause injury, property damage, and costly recovery. Protect drinking water sources. Prevent sewage overflows and the associated harms to fresh and marine water bodies. Identify municipal drinking water systems and private wells that are in danger of contamination from flooding.

Ensure Maine’s healthcare systems are prepared for climate change: Support healthcare systems to plan for extreme weather events including protecting their buildings, patients, and employees, and preparing for larger numbers of injured people seeking care during a storm emergency. Create incentives for Maine’s major healthcare systems to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

After reading these draft strategies, please take a few minutes to tell us what you think, and how you’d prioritize action. Click the icon to take a short survey.

Header photo: Phil Savignano