PRESS RELEASE: RESILIENCE ‘STARTUP’ HIRES VETERAN POLICY PRO

Rhode Islander Michele Jalbert, former Green Chemistry and Commerce Council COO, New England Council executive and a top staffer for former Mass. Congressman Bill Delahunt will build out and scale the Providence Resilience Partnership’s vision

PROVIDENCE–Buff Chace, the chairman and one of the founders of the Providence Resilience Partnership, announced today the organization has hired veteran policy counsel Michele Jalbert to lead the organization through its plans to grow and scale in order to help make Providence a climate-ready community.

“Providence’s institutions and job creators need to take the lead at this moment to make our city climate-ready. The bipartisan federal infrastructure bill will have an enormous impact on climate resiliency when passed and Providence needs to be ready to compete for these resources,” said Buff Chace, chairman of the Providence Resilience Partnership. “Michele’s policy and management background makes her the right choice as we scale and commit to a long term process to engage, process, dialogue, plan and execute adaptation projects and actions to make all of Providence thrive.”

Jalbert, a Rhode Island resident, has deep experience founding organizations to galvanize stakeholders and create momentum for important public policies. Most recently, Jalbert led the establishment of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) as a mission-driven trade association. With over 100 members, many in the Fortune 100, the GC3 drives large scale commercial adoption of safer, sustainable, high-performing chemical solutions by: fostering value chain collaboration, cultivating first- movers, convening industry decision-makers to secure major commitments and creating a supportive policy environment.

“Providence is a city I love and a community I know is passionate about being climate ready. The opportunity to align stakeholders, utilize our broad membership and advocate for the projects and actions to make Providence resilient is an opportunity I am excited to begin,” said Jalbert. “The scientists, engineers, planners, philanthropists, academics and job creators that started this organization had the vision. Now, we need to make Providence a leader in adapting to the challenges climate change is bringing to all coastal communities.”

Jalbert interrupted a promising corporate career to enter public service. She became the Washington Director for then-Congressman Bill Delahunt (MA) eventually managing all aspects of the congressional office, developing and implementing all policy objectives, including policy and project work related to coastal management, appropriations and environment/energy issues that affected both Massachusetts and Rhode Island

She left Delahunt’s office in 2007 to become the chief of staff and general counsel to the New England Council, the region’s premier voice for economic growth and the country’s oldest business organization. The council is a non-partisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations t\and which promotes economic growth and a high quality of life in all six New England states, including Rhode Island.

 

Last week, the Providence Resilience Partnership announced two priority climate resilient infrastructure projects its member scientists, engineers, planners, philanthropists, academics and job creators have deemed “funding ready” in order to spur greater community planning. 

The Woonasquatucket Greenway and Seekonk Riverbank Revitalization will be featured as model projects for advocacy by PRP. The release of these first two projects is the beginning of a long-term process to engage, process, dialogue, plan and execute adaptation projects and actions to make Providence thrive. PRP is reaching out to the Providence community for more submissions and extending its deadline until Oct. 15.

PRP will continue to accept projects or actions here

The Providence Resilience Partnership is a collaboration of private business, not-for-profits, and institutional representatives focused on preparing for the impact of climate change and sea level rise in Providence. Providence’s vulnerabilities including, the risk from storm surge, sea level rise and extreme rain events is urgent and will increase over the next two decades to unmanageable levels.

[PROVIDENCE JOURNAL] Taming the torrent won’t be cheap: Climate projects in Providence need federal money

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Arnold “Buff” Chace Jr. was 7 years old when Hurricane Carol ravaged Rhode Island, with a storm surge that submerged downtown Providence in 12 feet of water and crippled the city even after the flood receded.

For many property and business owners too young to remember the 1954 hurricane, flooding is more of an abstract threat, not a priority amid the more-immediate demands of life. And the local, state and federal agencies have, so far, not told them they need to be worried.

But the flood risk is mounting.


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PBN: SURGE MENTALITY: Warning sounded about Providence’s widespread flood risks

Arnold “Buff” Chace Jr. was 7 years old when Hurricane Carol ravaged Rhode Island, with a storm surge that submerged downtown Providence in 12 feet of water and crippled the city even after the flood receded.

For many property and business owners too young to remember the 1954 hurricane, flooding is more of an abstract threat, not a priority amid the more-immediate demands of life. And the local, state and federal agencies have, so far, not told them they need to be worried.

But the flood risk is mounting.


Read More

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PROVIDENCE JOURNAL: What places in Providence are most at risk from climate change?

PROVIDENCE — It’s no secret that Providence is at risk from climate change. 

There are numerous reports detailing the vulnerability of the Port of Providence, the downtown and other low-lying areas to storm surges and tidal flooding. Other studies detail the risks of heat exposure and respiratory illnesses in such neighborhoods as Elmwood and Washington Park as temperatures rise.

But environmental experts and civic leaders say the city is facing another big risk: that without a coordinated plan that prioritizes places in the city that are most vulnerable and details what protections they need, Providence could lose out on federal infrastructure funds that are expected to soon be made available under a new administration in Washington that has made confronting climate change a priority.

PRESS RELEASE: Providence Must Mobilize . . .

REPORT: PROVIDENCE MUST MOBILIZE AROUND INFRASTRUCTURE PREP NOW TO PROTECT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITIES 

PROVIDENCE–Providence’s vulnerabilities, including the risk from storm surge, sea level rise and extreme rain events, are urgent and will increase in the next decade to unmanageable levels according to a new report from the Providence Resilience Partnership (PRP). The partnership is a collaboration of private business, not-for-profits and institutional sector representatives focused on preparing for the impact of climate change and sea level rise on Providence.

In the next 60-90 days, PRP, a partner of The Providence Foundation, will engage the community to develop a list of the priority infrastructure projects. The group will utilize its member scientists, engineers, planners, philanthropists, academics and job creators to advocate for resiliency investments. 

“This report underlines the urgency for the larger community to join together to address Providence’s vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise,” said Buff Chace, PRP’s chairman. “We are in the process of engaging the community to prioritize the projects that need addressing immediately. Our work is about protecting and enhancing Providence’s future.”

According to PRP, potential federal action on infrastructure spending creates a major opportunity nationally. The Providence community must find consensus on a plan to implement infrastructure projects now in order to advocate for the potential federal resources. The implementation of these critical projects will buffer against the worst effects of the next two to three decades. 

“Providence can survive climate change without mobilizing, but it will not thrive,” said senior advisor Curt Spalding, former EPA Region One administrator and professor of the practice at Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. “Early adapters to climate resiliency investments can also grow sectors like affordable housing, clean energy and tourism, building a better economic base for its effort. Cities like Boston and Charleston, S.C. are reaping the benefits of their actions already. If Providence doesn’t urgently compete for climate resources, it will lose out.”

Pam Rubinoff and her team at the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center (URI-CRC) and Rhode Island Sea Grant built a baseline from dozens of previous studies. They compiled what is already known, as well as what needs to be further studied regarding Providence’s risk profile. The study area focused on the floodplain from the Save the Bay Center on Fields Point extending north along the port area, through the hurricane barrier and downtown under the Providence Place Mall and up through neighborhoods along the Woonasquatucket River.

“Building resiliency means learning to manage the risks climate change will bring. It means learning to act rather than react to what we know is coming. It starts with assessing vulnerability and proceeds with taking action to limit the risks,” Rubinoff said. “The research revealed the broad and deep work already completed by local governments, from advocacy groups and in communities.  This report will synthesize these resources and provide a foundation to build upon.”

The report identifies key findings to support the need for action at the federal, state and local levels:

 

  • Climate change is impacting different areas of the city in unique ways. There is significant momentum in neighbor scale and sector plans, but we must plan comprehensively, while aligning different communities and interest groups around an integrated city-wide resilience plan.  Water organizations and regulators need better coordination when it comes to preparing for the effects of climate change. Currently, the planning is siloed into multiple jurisdictions, but the reality is water (drinking, waste, storm) is a single system.

  • The lack of a single, predictive, future-looking flood model that incorporates coastal, riverine, and upland flooding ─along with the hurricane barrier─ is hampering abilities to plan for current and future impacts. This creates a paralysis for getting infrastructure needs researched, designed, and funded.