Resilient Mystic Collaborative
The Resilient Mystic Collaborative (RMC) is made up of twenty-one communities of the Mystic River Watershed Association, all of which work together to protect people and places from climate-intensified risks. The RMC offers communities the opportunity to share knowledge and resources to support our common climate resiliency goals; flooding is not a city-by-city issue, so the solutions can’t be either.
Massachusetts lacks the county government structure of most states, so the RMC is the vehicle through which we are planning, financing, and implementing regional climate resiliency. Together, we are working to manage chronic flooding, address urban heat islands, storm-proof critical infrastructure, and protect our most vulnerable residents and workers.
The RMC is organized by the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), and Malden is represented by Maria Luise, Special Assistant to the Mayor, and Emily Granoff, Grant Writer.
You can read more about the RMC at their website.
Urban Heat Islands
In 2020 the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program funded an RMC project called “Wicked Hot Mystic,” which sought to measure ground level temperatures, humidity, and air quality during heat waves. RMC communities have used this data to understand more about how urban heat island effects are impacting our communities.
The MVP program has just announced funding for the second phases of this project, called “Wicked Cool Mystic,” which seeks to design cost-effective pilot projects to help people stay cooler during heat waves. It will focus on engaging vulnerable residents, workers, and other community stakeholders to in designing and piloting these solutions, the most successful of which can then be replicated across the City.
Over eighteen months and in partnership with seventeen communities, the RMC has been working to rebuild wetlands in the watershed to help manage current and future flooding, particularly during extreme weather events. The RMC has mapped out flood plains in 2050 and 2070, which show that significant parts of Eastern Malden and areas around the Malden River will flood on average every five years. This information gives us time to take action and improve our stormwater management now, before we are actively experiencing the crisis. You can find more information and the maps themselves here.
We know that climate change will disproportionately affect residents who have already been harmed by decades and centuries of institutional racism, which has increased their exposure and reduced their ability to recover from heat waves, chronic flooding, and storms.
One clear example of this is the overlap of 1930s redlining maps and current urban heat islands (NYT article on this here).
We must help these most vulnerable residents to increase their resiliency and make sure that their health, housing and ability to work are protected both during and after extreme weather events. Malden is a part of the RMC’s Social Resiliency working group, which works to identify and pursue policies and funding to help people stay safe.