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Wellesley receives $25,000 grant to help combat climate change

Wellesley has received a $25,000 state grant to help start projects designed to combat climate change, the town’s Natural Resources Commission said in a statement.

The town was recently accepted into the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, the commission said in the July 26 statement, which was posted to the town website.

The program provides support for cities and towns to plan and implement projects to address climate change, according to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which offers the program.

Several Wellesley town boards, including its Natural Resources Commission, worked on the application for the grant.


The money will be used to conduct a vulnerability assessment report that will be coordinated by the commission, with input from other town boards, departments, and the community, the statement said.

Once the town completes the program, it will be eligible for other grant opportunities, the statement said.

Climate change already has begun to affect the town’s natural resources, including additional flooding, according to Brandon Schmitt, the Natural Resources Commission director.

“Drought in recent summers has significantly impacted Wellesley’s tree canopy, and warmer water temperatures have increased the growth of invasive aquatic plants which requires expensive weed harvesting to keep drinking water safe and protect ponds, streams, and other bodies of water,” he said in the statement.

Environmental impacts from climate change also can affect residents’ health.

Lenny Izzo, the town’s Health Department director, said in the statement that temperature changes have the potential to exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.

“Our local public health infrastructure should have the resources to plan for and prepare for these potential impacts,” Izzo said.

Aside from the grant, the town has taken other steps to address climate change.

The Board of Selectmen recently adopted a Unified Plan that prioritizes making resource-efficient choices to conserve energy, water, and materials, the statement said.


That same plan also calls for improvements to water and air quality, reduced carbon emissions, and strategies to adjust to changing environmental conditions, according to the statement.

John Hilliard can be reached at .