Climate Resiliency


Climate Resiliency

Thanks to funding from the EPA, Groundwork Lawrence has been working to educate the Lawrence community about climate change, its potential impact on Lawrence neighborhoods, and climate change mitigation options including increasing the urban canopy and permeable surfaces. We began this process with our Green Team members in the summer of 2016, who went citywide to conduct a climate competency questionnaire. Take a look at the results from our climate competency questionnaire and the original climate competency questionnaire. Here's the questionnaire in Spanish.


Further, we have been working to educate the Lawrence community about the damaging effects of cooking oil/grease/fat disposal on the city’s wastewater infrastructure and river health, and about proper disposal methods to bring about their long-term behavioral change in this area so that this critical infrastructure will be maintained in the long-term, especially during extreme weather events. Here are some Do's and Don'ts around Fats, Oils, and Grease, and in Spanish. For more resources please visit the City of Lawrence website.

We have also planted trees in the 100/500 year flood zone to absorb storm water, sequester carbon dioxide, and help mitigate anticipated increased flooding due to climate change. Through these measures, we aim to reduce flooding, improve the health of Lawrence’s rivers, municipal water system, and outdoor environment while mitigating the effects of climate change and fostering a community that is better informed about and more resilient in the face of climate change.

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Tree Planting - In 2016 with support from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, GWL has embarked on a journey to plant 2400 trees in Lawrence over the next three years as a part of our Green Streets program. Check out the flyer here! For more information email Eddie or call him at (978) 974-0770, x7013

Local Food - Urban Farm, Farmers Markets, Community Gardens 

Since our founding, GWL’s work to increase urban green space, tree canopy and access to locally grown food has had the added benefit of climate change mitigation. In addition, we have partnered with the City of Lawrence around stormwater education.

Further, we completed a 2012 EPA Urban Waters cooperative agreement which enabled us to develop a water quality baseline for the Spicket River used to determine that it is healthy for an urban stream. However, Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), commercial waste water discharge, impervious surface runoff and storm water overflow put pressure on the Spicket River’s health and on that of the Merrimack and Shawsheen rivers. We also determined that there are two areas of concern on the Spicket: Stevens Pond, where we found suspended solids, and the Bloody Brook culvert, where we discovered high E. coli levels. This project also enabled GWL to connect to the Lawrence DPW’s initiative to conduct a thorough review of the City’s municipal drainage system (the majority of which dates back to the early 1900s), digitize a city riverfront zone protection area GIS layer onto a 100/500 year city flood zone map. The city highlighted cooking oils, grease, and fat disposal as a primary issue for Lawrence’s aging water system. And so it is with this in mind that we are undertaking a project to increase community awareness about climate change, increasing the urban canopy and reducing impervious surfaces, will help minimize flooding and will have the added benefit of creating a community that is more aware of climate change and therefore better prepared for it. Increasing community awareness about proper cooking waste disposal will help keep the municipal water system efficiency from deteriorating.

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