Climate change threatens our natural resources in the form of coastal erosion from sea level rise, damage to trees from extreme storms, and shifting growth patterns of local plant and animal species (as well as invasive species). These impacts have real consequences for our human communities, too, affecting the viability of beaches where we relax, the natural areas where we seek refuge, and the quality of the air and water we need to survive. Resilient Together will help to build on existing efforts to maintain and enhance our natural resources.
Tree City USA
Trees, in particular, are a crucial natural resource, particularly in urban areas. They help filter our air and remove carbon dioxide. They absorb water, preventing flooding when it rains. Trees also help to mitigate the urban heat island effect, reducing the intensity of extreme heat over time, and provide shade to those seeking relief.
Both Cities are designated as Tree City USA cities, Beverly in 2001 and Salem in 2005.
What is an "urban heat island"?
An urban heat island occurs when a city experiences much warmer temperatures than nearby rural areas. The difference in temperature between urban and less-developed rural areas has to do with how well the surfaces in each environment absorb and hold heat.
To reduce urban heat island effects, we can create more green spaces, which absorbs heat. When building new construction, we can use materials that will allow water to flow through. These building materials—called permeable materials—promote the capture and flow of water, which cools urban regions.
Both Cities are establishing stewardship programs to encourage participation in open space improvements and maintenance activities to help reduce and provide refuge from urban heat island impacts.
To enhance existing natural resource planning and preservation efforts, Resilient Together prioritizes a mix of educational, research, land use, and policy interventions. Education and incentives for residents can encourage sustainable landscaping practices, water conservation, improved flood management, natural resource stewardship, and expanded use of recreational resources. Legal mechanisms like wetland ordinance updates and conservation easements can help to preserve valuable open space. Green infrastructure education for private landholders and low-impact development on municipal property can support water retention and filtration. Finally, updated plans for tree planting and invasive species management will help protect natural resources as the climate changes.