The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) and the town of Oak Bluffs have been awarded grants from the state to conduct climate resiliency projects this year on the Island.

Both grants are from the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, which aids communities in their efforts to combat climate change.

The MVC will apply its $163,540-award to three specific climate resiliency projects. Oak Bluffs will use its $146,658-award to plan a relocation of the Dukes County avenue pump station away from a high-risk flood zone.

The first MVC project, said MVC climate change coordinator Liz Durkee, will map the Vineyard and Nantucket’s terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. The commission plans to hire consultants to survey the Island's land and three Vineyard ponds, noting areas with especially high biodiversity and rare species. It will also be working with experts on Nantucket to do similar work.

“This kind of work is way overdue,” said Ms. Durkee. “It will help us navigate future land use. Like, if we need to move a coastal road inland because of flooding, we want to make sure we’re not moving it to an area that’s rich in biodiversity.”

In Sengekontacket, Lagoon and Tashmoo ponds, researchers will search specifically for eelgrass and sites for future aquaculture. Aquaculture can harm eelgrass, so tracking the plant in order to find suitable places to grow the seafood is critical, said Ms. Durkee.

“More aquaculture means more shellfish in the ponds, helping to improve water quality since they’re filter feeders,” she said. “It’ll also produce more local jobs and provide more traditional local food for us.”

The MVC is also partnering with BiodiversityWorks to conduct a study on climate resilient landscaping. The study will investigate the prevalence of green lawns on the Vineyard and how to design a campaign for more natural, biodiverse yards.

Lastly, the grant will also support a second MVC Climate Action Fair to take place next spring, after the success of the first fair earlier this year.

“This year, the entire [MVP] team is going to come,” said Ms. Durkee. “It’s so encouraging to know that they are excited about what we are doing. Hopefully that will mean even more funding opportunities for the Island in the future.”

In Oak Bluffs, Patrick Hickey, facilities manager of the town’s wastewater department, is preparing to relocate a building that houses all of the electrical equipment for the Dukes County avenue pump station to mitigate flooding risks.

The station pumps approximately 90 per cent of the town’s commercial and residential wastewater, said Mr. Hickey, and is increasingly susceptible to flooding as sea levels rise.

Last year, the town received an MVP grant to determine the feasibility of moving the station. Now, it is making the plans to do so.

“We’re certain now that this pump station is vulnerable to flooding just because of where it happens to be,” said Mr. Hickey. “And, you know, it’s pretty much our entire sewer system.”

Mr. Hickey plans to have designs for the building’s relocation complete by June 2024. He hopes to receive an additional MVP grant next year to officially move the building and other station components.