IU Fellow evaluates South Bend's climate plan

NOW: IU Fellow evaluates South Bend’s climate plan

Precipitation extremes are the greatest climate concerns facing the midwest. Drought conditions like we’re experiencing now can quickly be replaced with heavy rain, something the area saw in August 2016.

Meet Kate Burnett she’s working on the next step of climate solutions for South Bend.

"I'm here this summer to help the city do a climate risk and vulnerability assessment." says Burnett.

She’s on loan, part of her coursework at Indiana University. One edge she has is she already knows the area.

"So I grew up in Granger. I was born in South Bend. My family has lived in South Bend for a long, long time. I went to Penn High School. And now I go to IU bloomington where i'm studying environmental management." says Burnett.

In the last ten years South Bend has seen two major flood events, the flash flood in 2016 and river flood in 2018.

" The McKinney climate fellowship places undergraduate and graduate students across the state of Indiana, in nonprofit, private and public organizations to kind of be environmental experts for those cities."

Leeper park and the Northshore Triangle neighborhood across the river have experienced flooding, plus a key piece of infrastructure, the city’s north side water pumping station is at risk of high water.

" Yeah, so it's a few kind of phases. The first phase is understanding the risks to a changing climate. Currently, I'm looking at past and future climate trends and predictions. Next, identifying the most vulnerable parts of your community, and then third, really being able to design and deliver those climate solutions."

Climate resilience is the ability for a community to recover from and/or mitigate vulnerabilities to more extreme weather.

" So the climate action plan was kind of released or published in 2019. And so now they're working to update it. And this assessment or the climate resilient strategies will be a part of it." says Burnett.

She’s looking back through climate data and will be meeting with different departments and organizations across the city.

" I think it's just bringing those community members all together. It's hard to say if all those people have been in the same place at the same time talking specifically about climate change. And so I think that's the exciting part of this summer is making people more aware of the issue or the climate emergency." says Burnett.

The goal is to make south bend more prepared for when the next disaster happens.

You can get involved. Your input is needed in how the city of South Bend should proceed in becoming more climate resilient.
There’s a survey for city residents to fill out and upcoming workshop Tuesday June 27, at 5:30 p.m.

Take the Climate Survey 
RSVP for the Climate Workshop
Learn more about the Indiana Resilience Cohort 

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