Barnstable County Looking to Lead in Flood Mitigation Efforts

Beachcomber Parking Lot after erosion in 2017.

HYANNIS – With coastal Cape Cod on what experts call the frontlines of climate change, Barnstable County officials are working on ways to mitigate potential damage from floods and other challenges related to global warming. 

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Deputy Director and Floodplain specialist Shannon Hulst recently attended an annual conference with flood experts from across the nation as well as Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. 

In a meeting relaying her experience to the county commissioners, she said she highlighted local tools for mitigating flood damage during an annual meeting of experts from across the nation. 

“There’s a website——which has these maps,” said Hulst.

“They’re interactive, they’re real time based on time gauges, and very, very helpful to us on the ground when we have a storm coming.”

The effort is a partnership between the Cooperative Extension, the Cape Cod Commission and Regional Emergency Planning Committee. 

She added that at the annual meeting, she was also able to speak with FEMA officials directly about incentive programs to encourage flood resilience through discounts on flood insurance. 

Hulst said that she is also investigating grant opportunities to see how local developments and mitigation efforts can benefit.

As Cape Cod continues to see significant beach erosion as well as flood risk, Commissioner Ronald Bergstrom said he was pleased with Hulst’s meetings with other experts to share tools and information.  

“Sounds like there’s considerable interest in what we’re facing here, which is floodplains right adjacent to the ocean. We’ve been lucky lately, there hasn’t been a big event now for a while, but the beaches are receding.” said Bergstrom.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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