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Pioneer Valley Communities, PVPC Acting on Climate Change

SPRINGFIELD — Nine new Pioneer Valley municipalities recently joined six already working on Municipal Vulnerability Program (MVP) certification, bringing the total to 15 communities seeking greater resiliency in the face of climate change.

That represents 35% of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission’s (PVPC) member municipalities — home to approximately 410,000 people, or more than 66% of the region’s population.

“Pioneer Valley municipalities, working jointly and individually, have been leading the way with respect to acting on the climate crisis since we developed the first regional clean-energy climate action plan in 2008, and we are so grateful to the Commonwealth, especially Katie Theoharides and her colleagues at the Executive Office on Energy and Environmental Affairs, for their ongoing funding support for climate action,” said PVPC Land Use and Environment Section Manager Catherine Ratte.

In 2017, six pioneering municipalities applied for and secured MVP planning grants, and four of these six have now successfully secured action grants in the highly competitive first round of funding. Of these, Belchertown will assess stream crossings and culverts, Holyoke is learning from Hurricane Maria survivors how to adapt and care for vulnerable residents affected by extreme weather, Northampton is reducing storm damage by designing with nature, and Pelham aims to improve small-town resilience.

Together, these 15 municipalities have secured $1,186,512 in state funding to plan for ($348,000) and adapt to ($838,512) the changing climate. The funding allows the PVPC to engage with local officials and community stakeholders, while leveraging its unique technical capabilities.

Any of the 43 cities and towns of Hampden and Hampshire counties not currently engaged in MVP work, but interested, should contact PVPC Senior Planning Emily Slotnick at (413) 781-6045 or [email protected].

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