TREMONT — Last week, the Tremont Select Board moved to contract A Climate to Thrive to work on the town’s Community Resilience Plan. Tremont created a resilience plan to follow up its previous climate resolution that highlighted the effects that climate change would have on the town. The towns of Mount Desert and Bar Harbor have already written similar plans.
The climate resolutions highlight the ways in which the towns on Mount Desert Island are being affected by climate change and how they will be affected in the future if this pattern continues.
“Bar Harbor was the first to pass the resolution and started their planning process first,” said Johannah Blackman, executive director of ACTT. “Mount Desert was second; they decided to contract A Climate to Thrive to draft their plan.”
ACTT helps municipalities realize their environmental goals by working in conjunction with them to help come up with these plans. This is what Tremont has decided to do for the creation of its plan.
The climate resolution for Tremont focuses on the predicted rising sea levels around MDI. Tremont is one of the 20 towns in Maine that would be most heavily affected by climate change, with a sea level rise of 1.5 to 3.5 feet by the year 2050, as stated in the town’s climate resolution.
Blackman hopes to have a plan drafted for the town by the fall of 2023. When complete, it will be presented to the Select Board. That may seem like a long way off, but there is a reason for the wait.
“Basically, over the next few months, Tremont will do a greenhouse gas inventory, and figure out exactly where the bulk of emissions are coming from,” said Blackman.
This will make it clear where Tremont should focus its efforts when it comes to fighting emissions in the town. It will also make it easier for the upcoming resilience plan to be tailored to the specific needs of the town.
“The goals look different for each town,” said Blackman. “They have some very specific challenges when it comes to vulnerability.”
Some of the vulnerable areas in the town are highlighted in the climate resolution, which is available on the Tremont town website. The plan will include recommendations for vulnerability assessments as well as steps for mitigating climate change.
Mitigation measures would include identifying the areas that emit the most greenhouse gasses and look for ways to reduce those emissions, further reducing the impact that the town of Tremont has on climate change.
“Guidelines for how the town can transition buildings and transportation off of fossil fuels,” said Blackman, discussing possible mitigation measures.
The specifics of these parts of the plan will be decided after steps have been taken to make sure that the proper research has been done, information is available and the community has been informed.
The greenhouse gas inventory will take place this coming fall from September to December. From January to April of 2023, there will be a period of community outreach related to the findings of the greenhouse gas inventory, as well as meetings with the town leadership. From April to August of 2023, the plan itself will be drafted along with the help of ACTT and will be shared with the town.
“The timeline that was proposed to the Select Board is to have an initial draft in the fall of 2023,” Blackman said.
At this point in the planning process, the plan will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of the town and community. The period of greenhouse gas inventory and community outreach will determine what exactly in Tremont causes the most environmental damage and what is most at risk. This will be when Tremont sets its specific goals for this plan based on research and feedback.
“The town will have to set that goal,” said Blackman. “Tremont will decide what Tremont wants to include.”
September to November of 2023 will see more community outreach and education on the plan, which will by then be past the draft phase and will be being finalized. By the end of November 2023, the town is expected to have adopted this final version of the plan.
Anticipated costs for the plan are likely between $22,000 and $32,000 over a two-year time period. Grants are available for this type of work and can cover up to 18 months of activity.