New Haven’s improved coastal resilience paying off

NEW HAVEN -- With all of the vicious coastal storms over the past several years, creating a resilient coastline has been a primary goal of New Haven over the past several years.

And now, the city and many residents are being rewarded.

To help the city withstand storm surge and flooding, not only has the city built walls and floodgates, they've created bio-swales so that water can percolate into New Haven's sandy soil easily.

"They are sort of planting beds that have an inlet from the street," said Giovanni Zinn, the city's chief engineer. "They intercept the flow of the rain water down the gutter before it gets to the catch basin."

The water flows into the planted area and filters down into the soil.

"And, all of the water that goes into there goes into the soil doesn't go into our storm water system so we have more capacity in our storm water system for larger rain events," said Zinn.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rewards communities that are not enforcing flood plain management laws the best.

"And, a better rating means lower premiums for work homeowners and businesses in New Haven," said Karyn Gilvarg, the New Haven City Planner.

Recently, New Haven joined Stamford were recognized as the two Connecticut communities to most exceed the minimum standards of the National Flood Insurance Program, which "could mean about a 15 percent discount to homeowners, who shave purchased NFIP insurance," said Gilvarg.

The city says there are roughly 1,800 parcels in New Haven's 100 year flood plain area, including 400 in the Morris Cove area.