The Buffalo Sewer Authority is conducting a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment to address Climate Change in WNY, and its impact on our stormwater infrastructure, natural systems, public health, and socioeconomic populations.
It is predicted that the amount of rain in our region will dramatically increase, due to climate change. By 2050 it is predicted that there will be an additional 4″ of rain each year, and by 2100 that number would escalate to an additional 7″ of rain, according to the Buffalo Sewer Authority. Those increases will have compounding ripple effects on other aspects of our region via shifting weather patterns.
“Buffalo New York is surrounded by large water bodies and resides along the eastern edge of Lake Erie. The influence of these water bodies, specifically Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, creates a climate consisting of extremely cold winters and hot summers. However due to climate change, these weather patterns are expected to shift. Total wet weather has increased by 14.9% since the 1950s and rain storms are likely to get more frequent and intense. Average air temperature has increased by 1.6˚F since the 1990s and may rise 3˚ to 5˚F by 2050.”
Currently, WNY residents are being asked to participate in a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (via email, phone, website), as part of Mayor Byron W. Brown’s efforts in combating climate change. The initiative is designed to aid in “future planning efforts to build infrastructure and community resilience in Buffalo.”
This assessment complements Buffalo Sewer’s efforts in maximizing equitable investments by understanding the local complexities that make communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“Buffalo Sewer Authority is leading the City of Buffalo’s implementation of green infrastructure to respond to the climate crisis. Our Rain Check initiative leverages partnerships across multiple City departments and agencies as well as community groups and academic institutions. Together, we respond with collective action in ways that build community adaptive capacity, resilience, and advance environmental justice.”
Perhaps the answer is additional green spaces, rain gardens, trees, permeable parking lots, fewer surface lots, edible urban forests, rooftop gardens, pollinator pathways, maintained meadow areas (MMAs)? All of the above? The City is already implementing some of these strategies, but as the world heats up, these small measures will not be enough to combat problems such as flooding and urban heat islands. Therefore, we must come together, to figure out the important steps that we must follow, while implementing as many eco-conscious and sustainable projects as possible.