Climate Change

Released in 2022, The Vineyard Way (the Island's Climate Action Plan or CAP) provides a comprehensive 20-year roadmap for eliminating fossil fuel use on the Island, while helping communities adapt to sea-level rise, storms, and other climate impacts in the years ahead. Key to the plan’s success is its focus on community support and engagement, which has been ramping up this year. For more information, visit  The town of Gosnold (composed of all the Elizabeth Islands) also completed their own Climate Action Plan in July of 2022.



The 2021 Dukes County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update has been adopted by all seven towns and formally approved by FEMA.  The Community Wildfire Protection Plan has been incoporated into the HMP as an amendment in the form of an initial Appendix.  The 2nd Appendix is a separate file for the sake of conforming to cloud storage limits.  Please take a look to better understand vulnerability in your area of interest, along with what actions can be taken to reduce this risk.

Aquinnah HMP maps

Chilmark HMP maps

Edgartown HMP maps

Gosnold HMP maps

Oak Bluffs HMP maps

Tisbury HMP maps

West Tisbury HMP maps

In 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. The MVC recognizes that responding to these changes will require bold action in the coming years. As a starting point for a more focused repsonse to climate change, the MVC adopted a Climate Crisis Resolution in December 2019, agreeing to further consider climate impacts in its decision-making process, and to draft both mitigation and adaptation master plans for the Island.

Climate Action Task Force

The MVC Climate Action Task Force (CATF), made up of Commissioners and staff, along with Island leaders and professionals, is working to develop an Island-wide Climate Resilience Plan with strategies for adapting to climate change impacts in the coming years. The Task Force is also working to develop a master plan for energy, with a goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions on the Island by 2040. 

The Task Force meets on the first and third Fridays at 9:30 a.m. on Zoom.

Check out our 2020 CATF Annual Report

Adaptation Context Booklets (2020)




Oak Bluffs            


West Tisbury




CATF Energy Working Groups

Energy Transformation Plan presentation  

Working Papers

Electricity Sector


Buildings and HVAC

Energy Efficiency

Key Planning Documents

Click here to expand or collapse this section
  • 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 was updated in May 2020 (draft under review).  The plan seeks to identify areas susceptible to natural disaster such as wind, water, fire; to assess the risk to natural, and man-made resources and to people; and to recommend measure to minimize the negative effects of such disasters should they occur. This revision of the plan includes an initial look at the potential impacts of sea-level rise. The plan has been approved by the Massachusetts and federal emergency management agencies, MEMA and FEMA, and adopted by the seven towns. The towns are eligible for 75% funding for mitigation measures to lessen the potential impacts of natural hazards.

The 2015 update remains the offcial approved HMP plan for the 7 Dukes County towns.  

For each town's HMP maps, click below:


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.

  • Hurricane Surge Inundation Maps
  • Flood Zone Maps - Effective
  • 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.
  • The Drought and Wildfire Hazards Assessment and Mitigation includes vulnerability assessments by town, including maps of the areas at greatest risk as well as tables of vulnerable persons and property, both for existing and potential future buildings.  The greatest risk is areas where there are houses in heavily wooded areas, or northeast of them where fire could be carried by prevailing winds (e.g. neighborhoods northeast of the State Forest).
  • 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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