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Climate Change

Impacts in the Northeast

A changing climate is impacting the environment in many ways, from our fisheries, to our mountains, and our cities. In the Northeast, the region is experiencing an increase in frequency and severity of extreme precipitation events. These storms contribute to more flooding, runoff, and nonpoint source pollution, negatively impacting the health of our waters and stressing wastewater treatment facilities. Climate change also influences stream flow, saltwater intrusion of coastal aquifers, the persistence and prevalence of harmful algal blooms, and much more. 

NEIWPCC’s Role

The changing climate is affecting the programs and projects of NEIWPCC’s member states, from watershed planning, restoration efforts, monitoring, and to wastewater management. To support state efforts, NEIWPCC engages and convenes water quality professionals from across the Northeast to facilitate information sharing and collaboration around climate science and related initiatives through various workgroups. 

NEIWPCC funds projects that support climate science and resiliency planning, as well as community education and engagement. NEIWPCC also provides public comments on national and regional climate policy. Additionally, NEIWPCC offers wastewater operator training that includes classes about preparing for extreme weather events.

NEIWPCC’s Water Program Priorities recognize that all our work is completed on a backdrop of climate change and resiliency. Each of these five priority areas outline considerations linked to the impacts of climate change.  

Contact NEIWPCC’s climate change coordinator, Courtney Botelho for more information.

Flooding along the Ipswich River in Massachusetts. Climate change increases the risk of flooding, which can result from river flooding, coastal flooding from hurricanes and nor’easters, flooding from dam failure, and urban flooding as runoff overwhelms storm drains.

Climate Change with our Program Partners

NEIWPCC program partners are also incorporating climate change throughout their projects and programs. Here are a few examples: 

Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) – The Lake Champlain Federal Partners Workgroup is currently undertaking a climate change initiative.

Long Island Sound Study (LISS) – The Climate Change and Sentinel Monitoring Program is a multidisciplinary scientific approach to collect and synthesize data to identify how climate change will impact Long Island Sound.

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve (HRNERR) – The System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) is a long-term monitoring effort to collect baseline data which can be used to assess climate change trends.

Federal Climate Change Initiatives  

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – EPA Region 1 is working to develop a Climate Resilience Plan specific to New England.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Climate change science and information, including a Sea Level Rise Viewer and State Climate Summaries.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) – The latest science on climate change for policy makers, resource managers, and the public.

Additional Resources

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. 

Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center – Research hub hosted by the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.