Over several decades the climate has drastically changed in Western Massachusetts. Already we have seen a shift where spring is arriving earlier and bringing more precipitation, heavy rainstorms are more frequent, and summers are hotter and drier. According to the EPA, average annual precipitation in the Northeast increased 10 percent from 1895 to 2011, and precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased 55% since 1958. Rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns will likely increase the intensity of floods and droughts. Regional climate data reinforces the importance and urgency for towns to prepare for and adapt to climate change.
In 2017, Massachusetts implemented the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program (MVP) to support cities and towns improve resilience to climate change. In 2018, Monterey completed its MVP Planning process and Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan. These assessments qualified the Town to be a Certified MVP Community and, therefore, eligible for grant funding to implement the priority actions identified in the planning process. With funds from the Mass DEP and The MVP program, the Town of Monterey is working on the following climate resilience projects.
Main St./Route 23 Culvert Replacement
Streams are routed through under-road structures (culverts) that are often significantly narrower than the width of the streams during normal flow. Culverts that are too small can cause flood hazards, need more maintenance, and are more likely to fail (flood or wash out completely) during storm events. The undersized culvert on Route 23, Main St., next to Monterey Town Hall, routes the Konkapot River and constricts the flow of the upstream inlet. During heavy storm events, the constriction can cause flooding of the Town’s center, especially the basement level of Town Hall. Upgrading the culvert is considered a top-priority project identified in the MVP Plan. This project involves preparing the final engineering evaluation, developing conceptual plans, and securing permitting for the enlargement of the Main St. culvert. The upgraded culvert design will increase flood resiliency, reduce community risk, and restore natural habitats.
The images in the tab to the left show the estimated flooding of a current 100-year (1% chance) storm without culvert replacement and that same storm with the replacement of a 25’ wide structure that meets Massachusetts Road-Stream Crossing Standards.
Current Status: Engineering designs are underway
Hupi Rd. Lake Garfield
Lake Garfield is an important natural resource for the Town of Monterey and Berkshire County. It provides habitat and recreational opportunities, with a town beach, a public boat launch, and many private residences along its shore. It supports a variety of fish, including several species of bass and trout. It also hosts a diverse aquatic plant community, which includes one endangered species (Vasey's pondweed) and non-native invasive species (Eurasian watermilfoil).
Eurasian watermilfoil grows and rapidly spreads while invading and replacing native plants. It negatively impacts fish and wildlife populations and human activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, etc. The overabundant growth of Eurasian watermilfoil is a symptom of excessive nutrients (phosphorous) from different sources but namely stormwater pollution. The lake is currently on the MA Integrated List of Waters as impaired due to low oxygen, excessive phosphorus, and non-native plant growth of Eurasian watermilfoil.
The primary goal of the Hupi Road project is to reduce phosphorus loading from snowmelt, and stormwater flows into Lake Garfield. To date, the Town has created conceptual design plans that include installing catch basins and drainage along 1000’ of road between Elephant Rock Rd. and Peppermint Brook. This system will lead to a hydrodynamic separator and rain garden to remove sediments carrying phosphorus and other floatables such as oil and grease. A bioswale will be installed at the uphill area to capture runoff from the surrounding landscape. On the Hupi Road Design tab is a sketch of the conceptual designs developed by Foresight Land Services last year. Reducing phosphorus will improve the lake's water quality while limiting invasive plants' overabundant growth.
This is project is one of the identified actions in the Lake Garfield Watershed Plan, which you can find on the tab at the left.
Current Status: Grant received through Clean Water Act Funds
Get involved in climate resiliency
You can do your part too. Stay current on project progress through this page, by reading monthly articles in Monterey News, or contact Courteny Morehouse, the contractor working with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will also be two public projects that community members can help volunteer for. The first will be a spring planting of vegetative buffers at Bidwell Park in collaboration with the Monterey Native Plant Working Group. This project will be part of the tree work and ongoing restoration. Next year the Town plans to install a rain garden behind Town Hall next to the parking lot. Residents are encouraged to assist with these plantings.
The Town is also offering free stormwater property assessments. In these assessments, Berkshire Regional Planning walks the property with you to determine opportunities to improve landscaping and operations to reduce stormwater runoff, nuisance flooding, erosion, and geese.
If you are interested in having your property assessed sign up using this form.