Climate Change


Climate ChangeIn the 21st century, the whole planet, and especially coastal communities such as Martha's Vineyard, will be impacted by climate change, with accelerated sea level rise, heavier rain storms and stormwater runoff, short-term drought and wildfire risk, and a myriad of habitat changes.


Key Planning Documents

  • Hazard Mitigation Plan for Dukes County  The 2015 update of the Island’s Hazard Mitigation Plan for Dukes County was completed by MVC staff working closely with various town staff and other concerned groups and individuals. This plan will be updated in 2019/2020.

For each town's HMP maps, click below:


  • MVP: The towns of Chilmark, Westisbury, and Gosnold have completed their Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Summary of Findings reports.  These reports summarize the outcome from the Community Resilience Building Workshops that occured in the late Spring of 2018.


How to Read Flood and Storm Maps

Flood and Storm maps may be confusing.  There are storm surge maps of inundation from the dangerous surge of rising hurricane waters. There are flood maps for a nor'easter type of storm.  FEMA produces the flood maps to determine rates for its federally-subsidized flood insurance policies. Towns (except Chilmark) use the maps in floodplain regulations to keep the subsidies available.

Here is a handy 2-sided guide to reading each type of map.

  • Visualizing Sea-Level Rise (video):  In order to illustrate the impacts of sea level rise, the MVC prepared a series of maps showing what the impact might be on the Island, and visual simulations showing what this could look like in a number of critical locations. These illustrations use an estimate of 1.5 feet by 2050 and 5.0 feet by 2100, representing a plausible sea-level rise scenario, corresponding roughly to Rahmstorf’s moderate-emissions scenario that assumes no significant decrease in the global production of greenhouse gases, along with at least 4.4” per century added to account for land subsidence.

  • VCS Climate Change Resources: The Vineyard Conservation Society’s website includes links to a number of reports about climate change and Martha's Vineyard including: Emissions Scenarios and Global Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, and Human Health Impacts.


For more in-depth info and primer on Climate Change, see these other pages on our website.
  • Worldwide and Local Climate Change: gives general background about climate change and explains why we are focusing on climate change adaptation.
  • Sea-Level Rise:  looks at projections for sea-level rise on Martha's Vineyard, what the impacts could be on critical infrastructure, roads, and wetlands, and what we can do about this.
  • Rainfall and Stormwater: looks at the impacts of projected increases in rainfall and the challenges this presents for stormwater management.
  • Drought and Wildfire: looks at vulnerability to drought and wildfire and potential mitigation measures.
  • Habitat Change: looks at some of the potential impacts of climate change on local habitats such as saltmarshes.  

Office location:

Office location:

The Stone Building
33 New York Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Telephone: 508-693-3453
Fax: 508-693-7894

Mailing Address

Mailing address:

Martha's Vineyard Commission
P.O. Box 1447
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

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