Talk of the Towns 6/28/13

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

Program Topic: The role of sustainability science in helping us weather the storms

Key Discussion Points:
a) What do we know about the effect of increased numbers and intensity of rain storms on Maine cities and towns and their businesses and residents? What is the scope of the problem, overall and specifically in Ellsworth?
b) In general, how do towns handle stormwater? (civil engineering exercise: water runs downhill, towns channel stormwater in ditches and through culverts, trying to prevent erosion, damage to roads and the problems of flooding)
c) How does Ellsworth budget for repairs to roads, culverts, etc… how many years are you looking ahead to try to plan for managing storm water… how do City Council members and voters respond to your plans to invest in “infrastructure” in hopes of preventing future damage due to storm water?
d) We suspect that these sorts of storms are part of a trend related to climate change… in simple terms, what is happening in the climate that would result in greater numbers of storms and storms of greater intensity?
e) Science has always had two kind of results: advancing basic knowledge and solving problems… the University’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative helps focus science on the latter… give an overview of this effort and what inspired you to link research and municipalities to better adapt to increases in storm water.
f) How is the project working out in Ellsworth… who is involved, what are the various components of the project, what are you learning, what have you tried so far, what shows promise for the future?
g) What are messages for other towns and municipalities? How do listeners learn more?

Esperanza Stancioff, Extension Professor, UM Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant
Michelle Gagnon, Planner, City of Ellsworth
Michelle Beal, City Manager, City of Ellsworth (by phone??)
Shaleen Jain Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Cooperating Associate Professor, Climate Change Institute