THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, July 9, 2021 Page 11 Cities and towns applaud increase in state climate resilience funding Early heat waves signal need is far greater than available resources C ities and towns involved in the Resilient Mystic Collaborative (RMC) applauded the doubling of annual funds for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Grant Program to $21 million in the Baker Administration’s FY2022 Capital Plan. In the latest MVP grant round, the Commonwealth received 92 applications requesting a total of $28 million for action grants out of $10 million available. “Chelsea has already suffered through two debilitating heat waves and a dozen days over 90 F even before July 1st,” said Chelsea’s Housing and Community Development Director, Alex Train. “Our same residents who suffered disproportionately through COVID are now at risk from heat-related illnesses. We need to upgrade our infrastructure and services for the summer of 2050, not 1950.” “Extreme heat, storms, drought, and flooding are no longer a thing of the future. Climate resilience needs to become a core government function, just like schools and roads,” said Mystic River Watershed Association Deputy Director Julie Wormser. “This funding increase is a critical down payment.” Below are details of some of the projects in Greater Boston’s Mystic River Watershed seeking MVP funding this year. “Twelve municipalities depend on the Charles River and Amelia Earhart Dams to prevent catastrophic coastal flooding of residential neighborhoods and businesses,” said Cambridge’s Department of Public Works Commissioner, Owen O’Riordan. “It is of critical importance that these dams and portions of our shoreline be elevated to ensure we protect tens of thousands of people and billions in property from harm. We could use every penny in the MVP program over the next decade just to solve this one issue.” “Belle Isle Marsh is by far the largest remaining salt marsh in Boston Harbor providing a crucial buffer for flooding to neighboring communities and critical habitat for over 250 bird species, mammals and marine animals, said Friends of Belle Isle Marsh President Mary Mitchell. “Funding for restoration projects and nature-based resiliency projects within the marsh is needed now to best protect against climate change and sea level rise.” “One of Winthrop’s most valuable resources is Ingleside Park, a vast green space enjoyed by the entire Town,” said Winthrop’s Director of Planning and Development, Rachel Kelly. “The Park floods after heavy rains and snowmelt. Winthrop would greatly benefit from additional MVP funding to mitigate flooding with improved drainage and green infrastructure.” The RMC includes 20 of 21 communities (Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Burlington, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Watertown, Winchester, Winthrop and Woburn) and over 98 percent of the population and land base in the Mystic River Watershed. Together, RMC municipalities represent one percent of the state’s land base and 10 percent of its population. The partnership focuses on fresh water and coastal flooding and protecting vulnerable residents and workers from extreme weather, including heat. “The Resilient Mystic Collaborative and MVP Program has brought together cities and towns in ways that we could not foresee,” said Reading Senior Civil Engineer Alex Rozycki. “As these communities continue to work together and evaluate shared MVP grant possibilities the scope and breadth of these complex projects quickly expands as well. Regional MVP funding is supporting a revitalized trail system and green stormwater treatment systems to increase storage and water quality in Reading, which provides similar benefits to downstream communities. The estimated cost to complete this project alone is over two million dollars.” “Climate change is bringing intense rainfall that overwhelms our aging stormwater systems with increased frequency,” said Melrose Director of Public Works Elena Proakis Ellis. “We are working with 16 other communities to manage local and regional flooding through expanded wetlands and other nature-based solutions. With enough small projects combined, we can make a real difference in our region. These projects are too costly for communities like Melrose to afford with local funding alone, however. This work is essential to the region and brings other habitat and social benefits along the way.” “The industrial district that spans Chelsea and Everett provides thousands of good-paying jobs and billions in annual economic activity,” said Chelsea’s Alex Train. “It was unfortunately also built by filling in the Island End River, which is now chronically flooding during heavy storms. The price tag for protecting this area from flooding over the next fifty years is north of $50 million.” For more information: resilient. mysticriver.org – https://www. mass.gov/municipal-vulnerability-preparedness-mvp-program Mystic River Watershed at a glance The 76-square-mile Mystic River Watershed stretches from Reading through the northern shoreline of Boston Harbor to Revere. Its name is an anglicized version of the Pequot word missi-tuk (“large river with windand tide-driven waves”), and it is now one of New England’s most densely populated urbanized watersheds. The seven-mile Mystic River and its tributaries represented an early economic engine for colonial Boston. Ten shipyards built more than 500 clipper ships in the 1800s before roads and railways replaced schooners and steamships. Tide-driven mills, brickyards and tanneries along both banks of the river brought both wealth and pollution. In the 1960s, the Amelia Earhart Dam transformed much of the river into a freshwater impoundment, while construction of Interstate 93 filled in wetlands and dramatically changed the river’s course. Since then, many former industrial sites have been cleaned up and redeveloped into new commercial areas and residential communities. The Mystic is facing growing climate-related challenges: coastal and stormwater flooding, extreme storms, heat, drought and unpredictable seasonal weather. The watershed is relatively low-lying and extensively developed, making it prone to both freshwater and coastal flooding. Its 21 municipalities are home to a half-million residents, including many who are disproportionately vulnerable to extreme weather: environmental justice communities, new Americans, residents of color, elders, low-income residents and employees, people living with disabilities and English-language learners. The Immigrant Learning Center Awarded $50,000 Grant from Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation M ALDEN, Mass, July 7, 2021/ Malden’s The Immigrant Learning Center (The ILC) has received a $50,000 grant from the Malden-based Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation. This grant will help fund The Immigrant Learning Center’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. Since opening its doors in 1992, The Immigrant Learning Center has offered free ESOL classes to 11,000 adult students. The ILC now offers ESOL and citizenship classes to more than 900 students in a typical year. This grant is particularly helpful to The Immigrant Learning Center in the wake of a very challenging year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Immigrant Learning Center had to pivot almost overnight to virtual classes. The pandemic also forced The ILC to cancel The Immigrant Learning Center’s Barry M. Portnoy Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards and the annual Golf Classic fundraisers. This grant will help recoup the lost funds and ensure that The ILC can continue its mission of giving immigrants a voice. “We’re so grateful for The Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, which has supported our immigrant and refugee students for more than 20 years,” says The ILC’s Director of Development Mark Correia. The Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation has two policies guiding their grant-giving: “To support organizations, the activities of which are centered in Malden, Massachusetts and surrounding communities. To support organizations elsewhere, the activities of which give substantial benefits to Malden, Massachusetts and surrounding communities.” While The Immigrant Learning Center’s students come from far and wide, the center has deep roots in Malden. The ILC’s Founder and CEO Diane Portnoy’s family immigrated to Malden when she was a toddler and she returned as an adult to create the free adult education program that she wished her parents had when they were newcomers. The majority of The ILC’s students live in Malden, a place where more than 40 percent of residents belong to the city’s rich, diverse community of immigrants. In offering this grant, the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation is honoring and supporting Malden’s newcomer neighbors. About The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. of Malden, MA, is a notfor-profit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways. The English Language Program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members. The Public Education Institute informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society, and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants. For more information, visit the website http://www.ilctr.org. The ILC can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest.

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