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NBS New England States

New England is a northeastern United States region recognized for its natural beauty and varied landscapes. Several states in the region are taking considerable measures to alleviate the effects of climate change using nature-based solutions.

Rhode Island


Aquatic Environment - Marsh Restoration

Marsh restoration is a nature-based solution that enhances important local salt marshes. One example of this type of restoration happened at Ninigret Pond in 2016. The goal of this project was to slow the amount of sediment entering the pond and to restore the health of the salt marshes. Sediment was taken from the ocean channel and moved to the salt marshes to increase their elevation, and along the beach to reinforce the shoreline. This project restored eelgrass beds in the pond which are important habitats for marine animals. Restoring salt marshes is important because they become more resistant to future sea-level rise and help protect coastal communities against heavy storms. Despite being time-consuming and expensive, marsh restoration is still a valuable way to protect salt marshes and surrounding shorelines.

Sustainable Agriculture - Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture is a farming and grazing practice that prioritizes soil health. The goal is to reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. This results in carbon drawdown, improving the water cycle, and a healthier soil that is more resistant to drought, denser, and more productive. While regenerative growers need specialized knowledge and certification as organic farmers to understand the benefits of the growing method, the socio-economic benefits may outweigh the costs of implementation. One example of a farm that has adopted regenerative agriculture practices is Little Rivers Farms in Exeter, Rhode Island. The farm had a vision of providing the most nutritious food options to their community and after trying various farming techniques, they became fully no-till. In addition to selling their crops to local grocers and food co-ops, they started a home delivery service during the pandemic to provide healthy yields to local community members.

Sustainable Forestry - Forest Action Plan

The Forest Action Plan, created by the National Association of State Forests and the Department of Environmental Management, aims to conserve, protect, and enhance Rhode Island's forests. It includes the BMP program, which works with private landowners and local governments to spread awareness of land management and forestry practices. The plan was established in 2010 by all 50 states and is updated every ten years to ensure its effectiveness. It benefits Rhode Island's ecosystems by protecting forests, restoring damaged ones, and planting new trees and vegetation. The plan also benefits economic and social aspects, as it helps private landowners learn better land management, benefiting them greatly. However, the plan has drawbacks, such as being costly to implement, challenging to enforce, and only updated every ten years. Overall, the Forest Action Plan is a vital program for protecting, preserving, and restoring forests in the United States, as forests are essential for a healthy ecosystem.

Urban Spaces - Fort Adams State Park

Fort Adams State Park in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, is a green urban space that offers various leisure activities and concerts. Originally owned by William Brenton, the park was later used as a military base. Today, it provides a serene environment for civilians to engage with nature and the bay, promoting an eco-conscious mindset and mitigating climate change. The park's greenery reduces air pollution, prevents industrial pollution, and promotes open spaces for wind and air circulation. Socially, the park promotes a healthy lifestyle, reduces stress, and educates about the area's history. Economically, the park encourages ecotourism, stimulates spending on sports, and increases property value. However, the park's concerts may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and litter, which can contribute to trash collection and consumerism. Despite these drawbacks, parks are a valuable tool for improving civilian health and the environment, while also promoting economic progress.

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, but it is making a significant impact in climate change mitigation. The state is promoting green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and green roofs, coastal restoration, and renewable energy sources. Rhode Island has also set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and transition to a green economy. The state's Climate Change Action Plan identifies actions to reduce emissions, enhance resilience, and promote the transition to a green economy.


Aquatic Environment - Lake Wise

Echo Lake in East Charleston, Vermont, has become the first recipient of the Vermont Gold Lake Wise Award, an initiative launched by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The program awards lakeshore property owners who work towards preserving the quality of the neighboring aquatic environment. Vermont ranks lowest in the northeast ecoregion and in the nation for degraded shore land disturbance. The program offers Best Management Practices (BPM) to establish protective lakeshore landscaping, including solutions to minimize development, reduce erosion and runoff, support native vegetation, and stabilize septic systems. BMPs include installing rain gardens, infiltration stairs, and top waterbars. The Lake Wise award program incentivizes neighbors to protect the lake environment and generates social and economic benefits. Property owners can enjoy a beautiful, vibrant natural space with improved water quality for drinking and recreation. Additionally, the program can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation by adding vegetation, sequestering atmospheric carbon, improving soil quality, biodiversity, and water quality. Native flora attract essential pollinators, supporting ecosystem productivity and creating storm-resilient properties.

Sustainable Agriculture - Mob-grazing

Modern livestock farming often produces compound feed products, increasing nitrous oxide emissions and releasing stored carbon. Mob-grazing, a livestock management technique, mimics natural grazing and migration patterns of herbivore cattle, encouraging constant movement of high-density cattle herds. Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne, VT, has experienced a 400% improvement in plant productivity since implementing this system. This approach can shift agricultural livestock practices from contributing to the climate crisis to becoming part of the solution. Regenerative livestock agriculture improves biodiversity, moisture retention, fertility, and carbon sequestration of soil. Mob-grazing prevents repeated defoliation, increases perennialization, and reduces hay purchases and time expenses for winter bedded pack systems. This nature-based solution can generate higher income for farmers and lower costs over time compared to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). However, the higher upfront costs and need for increased labor may pose financial obstacles to certain farms. The impact of mob-grazing on soil carbon sequestration depends on factors like previous management practices, climate, vegetation, soil microbiome, and soil type. Combining mob-grazing management with other regenerative practices can be most efficient.

Sustainable Forestry - Silvopasture

Silvopasture is an agroforestry practice that combines trees and grazing livestock on the same land. It can be used in two ways: introducing foraging to tree plantations or woodlands or introducing trees into a pasture/grazing system. The practice has gained popularity in the Northeast due to increased education. Examples include Maple Wind Farm in Richmond, Vermont, which uses silvopasture alongside rotational grazing to reduce heat stress in animals and increase product value. Silvopasture also benefits wildlife by creating habitats, filtering water, and protecting soil from erosion. It also optimizes tree and crop production through periodic thinning, pruning, and understory control. Additionally, livestock fertilization may increase tree growth. Silvopasture can provide multiple income sources and aesthetic value to land, but it has faced mixed reviews due to lack of accurate information and potential mismanagement.

Urban Spaces - Recovery Green Roofs Design Build

Green roofs are a form of a nature-based solution in which a vegetated layer is designed and built on top of a building's roof. Their primary function is to provide a variety of advantages such as stormwater management, minimizing the urban heat island effect and enhancing air quality (US EPA, 2014). Green roofs function by receiving and holding rainwater and gently releasing it through evaporation and transpiration by plants. This can assist to lower the amount and velocity of stormwater runoff, hence reducing floods and the stress on stormwater infrastructure. Green roofs may provide an area for urban agriculture, boosting local food security, and they can help buildings consume less energy by adding insulation and shade. Green roofs can enhance local air quality by absorbing and filtering pollutants by providing habitat for flora. They can also assist to reduce the urban heat island effect by giving additional shade, lowering energy consumption, and decreasing heat absorption by hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt (Master Balcony Green Roof, 2023).Green roofs can provide a variety of social and economic benefits in addition to environmental benefits. They can also reduce the need for costly stormwater management infrastructure, ultimately saving communities money.

Vermont is known for its natural beauty, and the state government is taking steps to preserve it. Vermont is moving towards a green economy by promoting sustainable agriculture and forestry, green infrastructure, and renewable energy. The state is also focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency. Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources has also developed the Vermont Climate Action Plan to guide the state's initiatives in mitigating climate change.


Aquatic Environment - Wetlands

Wetlands are water treatment systems that are used to fortify vegetation, soil, and other healthy bacteria. They are composed of pools of water and many species of vegetation. They improve the water quality of the surrounding areas by allowing water to slowly flow through the wetlands and trapping sediment, nutrients, and unhealthy pollutants. Additionally, they are aesthetically pleasing and can reduce odors typically associated with wastewater. The Maine Wetland Program, a division of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, offers a comprehensive monitoring program that assesses the health of wetlands throughout the state. Each wetland is monitored for the amount of algae and macro invertebrates living in the water. There are excellent indicators of the water quality, as even small changes from pollutants or other toxins cause these levels to change. Keeping these wetlands in optimal health ensures that flooding prevention and water absorption are maximized. It also keeps wells from going dry due to consistent water flow. Though the solution is fairly labor-intensive, it is comparatively less expensive than traditional wastewater treatment options and has low operating costs. Overall, this nature-based solution is a good choice for using water to mitigate climate change.

Sustainable Agriculture - Packard Littlefield Farm

Packard Littlefield Farm, located in Lisbon, Maine, is a regenerative farm that practices organic farming to preserve ecosystems and utilize organic animal manure instead of chemical fertilizers. The farm, owned by the Daley Family and protected by the Androscoggin Land Trust and the Farms for Maine Future Program, provides land, food security, and training to refugees and immigrants. The farm uses no-till techniques to prevent carbon dioxide emissions and maintain soil integrity, making the soil healthier and more effective at storing carbon and nutrients. Locally grown crops also reduce transportation emissions, keeping produce fresh with fewer preservatives. Additionally, crops and plants provide fresh oxygenated air and absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, which helps mitigate climate change. Socially, Packard Littlefield Farm offers financial assets and food security to immigrants and refugees, while also fostering a healthy community through the provision of fresh and local produce. The sale of local foods boosts the regional economy and deters the payment of large importing costs on foreign produce. Overall, regenerational farms support ecosystems and promote healthy communities while also benefiting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change.

Sustainable Forestry - Forest Carbon Task Force

The Forest Carbon Task Force was created by the local Maine government and was primarily developed as a result of the state’s 4-year climate action plan. The program aims to develop a voluntary program for small-to-medium-size woodland owners in Maine who want to utilize their land for long-term storage of carbon emissions. There are a variety of benefits that are associated with the Carbon Task Force, the obvious being that more carbon emissions are stored in the forest and the air is cleaner. This program also helps conserve forests so endangered and critical species are not at risk for habitat loss. Aside from the ecological benefits, this program can help jumpstart the local economy and bring the community together. However, some things need to be taken into consideration when implementing this program. Firstly, this program requires a lot of funding, which is not always accessible to the government. This program also takes a lot of time to implement and only works if local woodland owners volunteer to be a part of the program. Local laws and policies also may dictate how the program runs. Overall, this is a really great program that can be a useful tool for small local communities in Maine to combat climate change.

Urban Spaces - Green Roof Eco-Home

Near New Meadows River, a new homeowner wanted a house that was eco-friendly and consciously made, so she decided to construct an eco-home with a green roof. Her house contains a “planted roof”, which is a roof that has a variety of plants growing on it. It also mainly uses natural materials for the rest of the house, such as different types of timber and stone flooring. Natural sunlight lights up and heats the house, lowering emissions and heating costs (Falzano, 2012). These types of homes provide homeowners with a sustainable, cost-effective house that keeps them close to nature. In addition, they are extremely beneficial to the environment that surrounds them. Minimal development is needed to build these homes, and they allow animals and insects to stay in the area. Furthermore, less pollution is emitted into the environment, they are more energy efficient, and planted roofs reduce water runoff (Falzano, 2012). These houses also give people more opportunities to be outside while they tend to their planted roofs, and they cost less than traditionally-built houses. However, one drawback is that zoning limitations or other regulations could inhibit the construction of an ideal structure. Eco-homes like these are an important solution that can help Maine reduce its carbon footprint.

Maine's vast forested areas provide an excellent opportunity for nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change. The state government is actively promoting sustainable forestry practices, such as selective harvesting, to reduce carbon emissions. Maine is also promoting innovative solutions like green infrastructure, coastal restoration, and conservation actions to mitigate climate change effects.