Two cars drive through water in a flooded street.

Infrastructure, Transportation, and Waste

Actions in this focus area aim to build more resilient ferry transportation and infrastructure and a reliable supply chain to ensure an adequate flow of goods, materials, and services. Actions also include building self-sufficiency and reducing waste.


Progress Toward Our Goals

Many actions are underway in this thematic area from various partners but here are some highlights.

  • MVC Task Force began phase one of a supply chain/carrying capacity study with a focus on water related components through a Planning Assistance for States (PSA) agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers- Engineering and Research Development Center.   
  • The Construction and Demolition Waste Committee and Vineyard Vision Fellowship implemented a pilot project on a house going through a major renovation to harvest a significant portion of the materials that normally would have gone to the transfer station. This project was documented and will be used in future reclamation projects and training
  • For more updates, take a look at our 2023 Progress Report!

Climate Change and Infrastructure

Risks to Infrastructure

Climate change poses numerous risks to our critical infrastructure: 

Damage to coastal roads and infrastructure from stronger and more frequent storms, sea level rise, and higher storm surge. 

Damage to ferry and harbor infrastructure and increased ferry cancellations from extreme weather, disrupting the supply chain and access to off-Island resources.

Increased tidal flooding to coastal roads and infrastructure (including wastewater, water, communications). 

Loss of access to critical facilities such as the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Steamship Authority due to coastal storms, storm surge, and flooding. 

Flooding on the roadway with two cars driving through water.
Truck hauling a boat out of the ocean at a boat ramp.

Climate Change and Infrastructure

Building Resilient Infrastructure

Making sure that our critical infrastructure - including our roadways, harbor facilities, the hospital, and schools - are safe from climate impacts, like rising sea level and storms, is essential. In some cases, this may mean relocating infrastructure or facilities to areas that are less vulnerable, and in other cases we can take action to make this infrastructure more resilient.

Did you know? Recent improvements to the fixed piers and platforms at the Steamship Authority's Woods Hole facility were designed to accommodate sea level rise for the fifty-year service life of the project.

Transforming Transportation

Resilient Supply Chain

The Steamship Authority is the lifeline to the Island carrying goods, materials, and services we rely on daily.  Between 2018 and 2020 there  were over 1700 boat cancellations due to weather.  Extreme weather will get worse with climate change.  Actions in this plan are aimed at understanding our supply chain vulnerabilities and identifying key actions to ensure essential goods and service are consistently available including in times of emergencies.

Steamship in the ocean.
Food waste being loaded into compost pile by tractor.

Martha’s Vineyard Statistical Profile, February 2019


Reducing Waste

Living on the Island means we have to do some things differently. That includes getting rid of waste! Between 2020 and 2040, it would cost $19.4 million dollars to export the average food waste we produce every year (some 6,500 tons) off the Island.

By supporting on-Island composting, and reducing the amount of food waste we generate, we can save money and supply compost for local food production.

In addition to minimizing wasted food, we can also support a self-sufficient Island economy that re-uses materials and limits the importing of single-use items.

Equity Considerations

Enhancing Community Resilience

Older residents and people with existing health concerns may be disproportionately impacted by transportation and infrastructure disruptions. This plan seeks to improve the resilience of our critical transportation and infrastructure which will improve resilience of these vulnerable populations. This includes improving access to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital during storm events, improving the supply chain to ensure the availability of medical supplies such prescriptions during and after storm events, more resilient ferry service to ensure consistent access on and off-Island, and an improved communications infrastructure.  

Rocks strewn over a coastal road after a storm.


Thematic Working Group Members

Liaison: Juliet Mulinare

Jim Malkin

Angela Gompert

Adele Anderson

Isaac Taylor

Cindra Trish

Mike Biros

John Cahill

Allen Carney

Geoff Freeman

Bill Veno

Alec Sargent

Dan Doyle

Marcene Mitchell

Jonathan Harris

John Cahill 

Annabelle Brothers

Joe Sollitto

Matt Merry

Bob Davis

Matthijs Bouw

Rebecca Haag

Woody Filly

How You Can Help

Take Action for Resilient Transportation, Infrastructure, and Waste Systems!

Drive less, and walk, bike, or take public transportation instead.
Reduce the size of hard surfaces like driveways and patios by using stones or shells that absorb storm and rainwater.
Reduce the amount of waste you produce. Buy less stuff; reuse, repair, and share items to reduce waste transport on and off-Island; and compost food scraps.
Shop locally instead of importing more items from off-Island.
Sign in front of a large pile of finished compost.