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Northfield and Warwick MVP / HMP Listening Session & Public Comment Period

Listening Session, May 27, 2021 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The towns of Northfield and Warwick, with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, is hosting a public listening session to review key findings and priority actions that have come out of over a year of stakeholder outreach and virtual workshops. Both towns are seeking to become designated as a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) communities through the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) MVP Program. Four Community Resilience Building workshops were held virtually in February and March to discuss impacts of climate change, identify the towns’ top hazards of concern, review current strengths and vulnerabilities, and brainstorm actions to increase resiliency in three categories – infrastructure, society, and environment. By becoming a designated MVP community, both towns will be eligible to apply for MVP Action Grants to pursue identified action items.

The process will also result in an updated Hazard Mitigation Plan for each town. Once the plan is approved by FEMA and MEMA, both towns will also be able to apply for hazard mitigation funding from those agencies.

The session will be held virtually on Thursday, May 27, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. An agenda with meeting link is below:

Northfield Warwick MVP HMP Listening Session_Agenda

Public Comment Period on Draft Plan, May 28 – June 11, 2021

The session will be followed by a 2-week public comment period on the final draft plan (see links below). Comments are due by Friday, June 11, 2021. Please submit comments to Alyssa or Helena, contact information below.

FULL PLAN – Northfield and Warwick Community Resilience Building and Hazard Mitigation Regional Plan

Northfield MVP Community Resilience Building Matrix

Warwick MVP Community Resilience Building Matrix

For more information please contact: Alyssa Larose, alarose@frcog.org, 413-774-3167 x127, or Helena Farrell, hfarrell@frcog.org

Franklin County Regional Pollinator Action Plan Workshop

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) will host a Franklin County Pollinator Planning workshop on Thursday, May 20th at 2:00 p.m. The workshop will be an opportunity to discuss strategies and opportunities for expanding pollinator habitat across the county and reflect on lessons learned from the work FRCOG has been doing with 8 partnering towns: Greenfield, Heath, Shelburne, Conway, Bernardston, Montague, Wendell, and Orange. The Franklin County workshop will also be an opportunity for anyone who missed the town workshops to join the pollinator habitat discussion.  Pre-register for the zoom meeting via the registration link.

With funding from an Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Planning Grant, FRCOG is working to map local pollinator habitat and resource areas and identify corridor linkages, recommend updates to local land-use regulations to include requirements for native plantings for development and pollinator-friendly landscape management practices, and create a Pollinator Habitat Corridor Implementation Toolkit.  The plan will be expandable so that with additional funding and interest from other Franklin County towns, regional pollinator corridors can be expanded across the county.  Local-level strategies such as these are critically needed to respond to climate change, habitat loss, and declining populations of wild, native pollinator species.  The sustainability of our local ecosystems, farms, and food systems is linked to pollinators.

Agenda FC Pollinator Plan Workshop 5.20.21

For additional information please contact Helena Farrell at HFarrell@frcog.org.

Northfield Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Survey and Materials

Northfield Seeks Public Input for MVP Action Items

The Town of Northfield, in collaboration with the Town of Warwick and with assistance from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, is seeking to become designated as a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) community through the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) MVP Program. Two Community Resilience Building workshops were held virtually in March to discuss impacts of climate change on Northfield, identify Northfield’s top hazards of concern, review the Town’s current strengths and vulnerabilities, and brainstorm action items to increase resiliency in three categories – infrastructure, society, and environment. By becoming a designated MVP community, Northfield will be eligible to apply for MVP Action Grants to pursue identified action items. The result of the two workshops is a draft summary matrix outlining strengths, vulnerabilities, and potential action items:

Northfield CRB Risk Matrix_Wkshp2Completed

Northfield needs resident and stakeholder input on the draft action items – what should be Northfield’s top priorities to address vulnerabilities and build upon strengths? Please fill out THIS SURVEY to let us know! 

Your input will be used to prioritize actions in Northfield’s final MVP Plan. A public listening session will be held in May to present the final plan, date TBD.

Questions? Please contact Helena Farrell, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, at hfarrell@frcog.org, 413-774-3167 x134

Warwick Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Survey Link and Materials

Warwick Seeking Public Input for MVP Action Items

The Town of Warwick, in collaboration with the Town of Northfield and with assistance from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, is seeking to become designated as a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) community through the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) MVP Program. Two Community Resilience Building workshops were held virtually in February and March to discuss impacts of climate change on Warwick, identify Warwick’s top hazards of concern, review the Town’s current strengths and vulnerabilities, and begin brainstorming action items to increase resiliency in three categories – infrastructure, society, and environment. Links to the workshop presentations are below:

MVP Workshop #1 Presentation Warwick

Moores Pond Beach in Warwick

MVP Workshop #2 Presentation Warwick

By becoming a designated MVP community, Warwick will be eligible to apply for MVP Action Grants to pursue identified action items. The result of the two workshops is a draft summary matrix outlining strengths, vulnerabilities, and potential action items:

Warwick MVP Workshop Matrix_March2021

Warwick needs resident and stakeholder input on the draft action items – what should be Warwick’s top priorities to address vulnerabilities and build upon strengths? What actions are missing? Please fill out THIS SURVEY by Sunday, April 11! 

Your input will be used to prioritize actions in Warwick’s final MVP Plan. A public listening session will be held in May to present the final plan, date TBD.

Questions? Please contact David Young, Warwick Town Coordinator, at coordinator@town.warwick.ma.us, 978-729-3224 (mobile), 413-676-9544 (broadband), or Alyssa Larose, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, at alarose@frocg.org, 413-774-3167 x127.

This is a joint project with the Town of Northfield. For more information about Northfield’s MVP progress, please see this summary document, or go to the Northfield Town website.

Community One Stop for Growth

The Community One Stop for Growth is a new, single application portal for municipal governments to access 10 state funding programs for community and infrastructure projects. Check out www.mass.gov/onestop for details about the different funding programs, the schedule of important dates, and to access webinars about how to apply. The Commonwealth is encouraging municipalities to submit “expressions of interest” that identify up to five projects that need funding. These expressions of interest can be submitted from February 8 to April 2, 2021. Based on this information, the Commonwealth will provide guidance regarding how to proceed. Full applications are due no later than June 4, 2021.

MA Drought Alert

Please be aware that Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 1-Mild Drought in all seven regions of the Commonwealth. Please see  MA Drought Alert – December 2020 for information on the current drought conditions and how communities can mitigate and prepare for long-term drought impacts.

For more information on the current drought conditions, and technical guidance regarding drought management actions, please visit www.mass.gov/ma-drought-management.

 

 

COVID-19 Data and Updates

For an archive of all the emails sent by the state on re-opening, click here
For a Franklin County data dashboard from the Public Health Institute of Western MA, click here.
For the state’s COVID data page, click here.
For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.
For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
For the COG’s Board of Health COVID Resources Page click here.
For local public health COVID case management contacts (public health nurses), click here. 
For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.
For resources and guidance for businesses, organizations, entrepreneurs, and job seekers, click here.

Click here for testing resources

 

 

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

Fluvial Geomorphology in Action! Connecting Point episode highlights the habitat restoration and flood resiliency project on the North River in Colrain.

The FRCOG’s 2014 Fluvial Geomorphic and Habitat Assessment of the North River in Colrain, funded by a grant from the MassDEP’s 604b Program, has led to the construction of a river restoration and flood resiliency project that is highlighted in this September 10, 2020, episode of Connecting Point.  The video is a great chance to see fluvial geomorphology in action.  We are happy to see the preliminary design funded through the MassDEP grant being implemented.
For further information please contact Kimberly Noake MacPhee at KMacPhee@frcog.org.

Millers River Watershed in Critical Drought Condition

Due to five months of below-normal rainfall, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 3 – Critical Drought in the Southeast Region of the Commonwealth and in the Millers and Charles River watersheds. The other six regions across the state — the Western, Connecticut River Valley, Central, Northeast, Cape Cod, and Islands regions— remain at a Level 2 – Significant Drought.

For more information on the current drought conditions, and technical guidance regarding drought management actions, please visit www.mass.gov/ma-drought-management.

Registration now open for MHP’s Western MA Housing Virtual Workshop Series

Registration is now open for the Western Mass Housing Conference, sponsored by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP).

Geared towards officials, volunteers and employees in small and rural towns in Western Mass, the conference has been redesigned as a weekly virtual series that will engage participants in discussion and problem solving around the development of affordable housing in the region.

Registration is free but you must register in advance for EACH session you’d like to attend. Please go to https://www.mhp.net/community/events to register. Contact Katie Bosse at kbosse@mhp.net or 857-317-8517 for more information about this or any other MHP-sponsored events.

Zoning for Housing Diversity in Small Towns

When: Sept. 22, 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Playbook for Building Support for Community Engagement

When: Sept. 29, 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Pathways to Homeownership in Western Mass

When: Oct. 7, 2020, 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.

Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless

When: Oct. 15, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Bringing Affordable Senior Housing to Small and Rural Towns

When: Oct. 21, 2020, 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.

Distressed and Abandoned Properties

When: Nov. 5 2020, 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

CDBG Housing Rehab 101

When: Nov. 9, 2020 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.