Climate mitigation recommendations for birds, people, and Governor Lamont

As part of the Governor's Council on Climate Change, Audubon offers expertise on wetlands, rivers, environmental funding

Rising global temperatures are a driving force behind Audubon’s on-the-ground work for birds and people in the state. On our coasts and in our forests, our priority initiatives aim to improve the resilience of natural ecosystems that are essential to our health and happiness.

This month, the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (“GC3”) is giving all of us in Connecticut an incredible chance to help determine how this work gets done at scale.
As a reminder, the GC3 was established following Governor Lamont's executive order strengthening Connecticut's efforts to mitigate climate change.

The GC3’s seven working groups have publicly released their reports for addressing the impact of climate change on people and nature, our infrastructure, and our economy. Written comments are being accepted via email to until 11:59pm on October 21, 2020.
Included in these are recommendations from participating Audubon experts: Leslie Kane, Director of Center Operations and Business Planning, Co-Chair of the Wetlands Sub-Group, Robert LaFrance, Policy Director, sitting on the Finance and Adaptation Committee, Eileen Fielding, Sharon Audubon Center Director, sitting on the Rivers sub-working group.

As of September 2020, recommendations from Audubon Connecticut's working group participants are as follows:


There are approximately 220,000 acres of wetlands in Connecticut, representing 7% of the land within the State. Wetlands play important roles in climate mitigation and adaptation, offering carbon sequestration and storage. In fact, salt marsh ecosystems can remove over 10X the amount of CO2 from the atmosphere per hectare than forests.
Audubon's recommendations for how healthy wetlands can help mitigate climate impacts include:
  • Encourage land and ocean management behaviors that support ecosystem services
  • Advance regional research and modeling to guide conservation efforts
  • Educate and assist private landowners and developers in the management of their lands to minimize impacts to wetlands and reduce risk from climate change.
  • Implement new or modified policies that would encourage appropriate land use and reduce repetitive losses


Audubon's strategies for adapting to climate change and providing financing opportunities include:
Building the governance structure to allow for effective and efficient financing and funding.  Some examples include:
  • Increasing Connecticut’s capacity and competitiveness for securing federal funds for resilience
  • Creating a central governance authority for the funding, financing and operations of resilience infrastructure projects
  • Requiring the disclosure of physical and transitional climate risks at the state and municipal level
Generating revenue sources to pay for resilience projects and programs.  Some examples include:
  • Establishing ‘resilience fees’ to provide revenue sources for resilience and adaptation funds and matching funds for grants.  Resilience fee options include:
    • Transaction Fee -Municipal Conveyance Fee
    • Increase funding for Community Investment Act (CIA) 
    • Create guidance to use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts for resilience
    • Promote the bundling of climate resilience and adaptation measures into Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs)

Supplying grants, matching funds for federal grants and loans to fund resilience projects and programs.  Some examples include:

  • Creating an Environmental Infrastructure Bank. 
  • Providing State general obligation bond funding as green bonds for financing resilience and adaptation programs and projects and providing matching funds for federal grants.
  • Implementing 10% of the State Revolving Loan Funds that can be used to finance green infrastructure projects
  • Expanding eligibility to flood control and microgrid projects. 
Investigating the use of tax credit programs to incent the private sector to invest in community resilience. Some examples include:
  • Investigating Opportunity Zones for clean energy projects and job creation. 
  • Promoting the CT State Neighborhood Investment Act Tax Credits for use of climate resilience

Engaging the foundation and philanthropic community as a funding and financing partner.  Some examples include:

  • Convening Connecticut’s Community Foundation leaders to address investing in community capacity building, and annual climate adaptation training of environmental justice organizations 
  • Assessing Connecticut’s capacity for implementation and advancement of climate change initiatives at the community level and with environmental justice communities
  • Launching a statewide campaign for Just Climate Change Engagement. Undertaking a strategic initiative to increase available funding for Just Climate Change engagement
  • Increasing individual, crowd sourcing and corporate giving for climate resilience
  • Facilitating relationship building and partnerships among the state government, foundations in state and national foundation


Our rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds provide us with drinking water, food, irrigation, navigation, waste assimilation and energy generation. A river system in a more natural state regulates flooding.  Its watershed land keeps our surface waters and groundwater clean, and promotes soil formation and nutrient cycling. River systems act as wildlife and corridors and pollinator pathways. Our inland waters also provide recreation destinations, spiritual inspiration, and a sense of place.

Changing precipitation patterns are projected to result in more frequent drought and an increase in short-duration, heavy precipitation events. These, combined with warmer temperatures, put our inland waters at significant risk of flooding, water shortages and declines in water quality.
Recommendations of the Rivers Sub-group are aimed at:
  1. Maintaining ecosystem services provided by rivers 
  2. Balancing the in-stream vs. out-of-stream demand for water
  3. Promoting policies, public education, research and funding that supports protection of inland waters.  
Specific recommended actions include: 
  • Using nature-based solutions at scale
  • Re-establishing free-flowing character and connectivity of inland waters
  • Creating safe, equitable opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds to access and enjoy water resources
  • Promoting demand-side water conservation and water reuse
  • Exploring water rights options that protect fish and wildlife
  • Funding and enhancing stormwater management programs
  • Funding and enhancing education, outreach and research
  • Addressing barriers to wastewater solutions and funding deficiencies for wastewater infrastructure


How you can help, right now