Regional Initiatives and Reports


The Martha's Vineyard Commission, Emergency Managers and others are focused on regional solutions to the challenges that climate change brings: how to prepare for emergencies, how to respond to the impacts and how to reduce our contribution to this planetary crisis. This section tells what is currently happening and will include information about regional efforts and progress as it occurs.

The Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee (VSEC), has put forth a non-binding resolution – 100% Renewable MV by 2040 – for consideration on each of the Town Meeting floors.  It passed unanimously in West Tisbury in October 2020. Contact your VSEC representative to be sure it is on your town’s warrant for the spring if you are in one of the other towns.  Passing this resolution is a good first step in showing our commitment as an island to working on the climate crisis before us all.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission Climate Action Task Force (CATF) is made up of MVC Commissioners and staff, along with Island leaders and professionals, and is working to develop mitigation and adaptation master plans for the Island. The CATF has two active subcommittees: an Energy Group and a Climate Resilience Committee (CRC).

Elizabeth Durkee has recently gotten the job of Climate Change Planner for the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.  This is an exciting step in getting our island focused on the climate crisis.

  1. The Energy Group is focused on issues related to climate change mitigation. They have prepared a series of Energy Working Papers that provide island energy baseline information and initial strategies for meeting the 100% Renewable by 2040 goal.
  2. The Climate Resilience Committee (CRC) is focused on island strategies for adapting to the impacts that climate change will bring and engaging the island community in this process.
    • In this 15-part series of essays, published in the Vineyard Gazette in 2011, Elizabeth Durkee dissects the causes and effects of climate change on various aspects of the Island, and issues a call to action to all who care about the future of Martha’s Vineyard.

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional Emergency Managers Association meets monthly and has managers from each town and representation from the County, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Eversource, MEMA, and other related parties. They are concerned with island health issues, including coordination of the COVID-19 response; emergency response to storms- providing services and shelter- and emergency response to wildfire and other drought-related events.

Our Emergency Managers:

• Aquinnah: Gary Robinson, [email protected]
• Chilmark: Tim Carroll, [email protected]
• West Tisbury: Russell Hartenstine, [email protected]
• Vineyard Haven: Christina Colarusso, [email protected]
• Oak Bluffs: Erik Blake, [email protected]
• Edgartown: Chief Alex Schaeffer, [email protected]

Every five years the Martha’s Vineyard Commission works with the Emergency Managers to create a Hazard Mitigation Plan, which looks at various threats to our community and sets out priority actions to address those threats. Most are climate-related, from fire hazards to flood and storm hazards. The latest Hazard Mitigation Plan for the island was recently updated. There is lots of great information in this plan, both for the island as a whole and town by town.

A Drought and Wildfire Hazards Assessment and Mitigation report were prepared by the MV Commission in 2016. Further study of wildfire risk is currently underway, led by Chief Alex Schaeffer of Edgartown.

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