The Coastal Hazard Wheel is a universal coastal adaptation system to address all coastal challenges simultaneously. It can be used as a complete coastal language and aims to boost adaptation action and bridge the gap between scientists, policy-makers and the general public. It is based on a new coastal classification system and functions as a key for classifying a particular coastal location, determining its hazard profile, identifying relevant management options and communicating coastal information.
In the fall of 2016, a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, and the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region convened a group of over fifty stakeholders from Southeastern Connecticut to discuss the impacts of rising sea levels, extreme weather, and changing social and economic conditions on the resilience of the region and its communities.
The need for municipalities, corporations, organizations, and government agencies to build community resilience and adapt to extreme weather and climate is now strikingly evident. Ongoing events continuously reinforce this urgency and compel leading communities to proactively plan and act. In response to this ever increasing need and urgency, the Community Resilience Building Workshop was created.
The Community Resilience Building Workshop is a unique, “anywhere at any scale,” community-driven process, rich with information, experience, and dialogue, where participants identify top hazards, current challenges, strengths, and priority actions to equitably improve community resilience to all natural and climate-related hazards today, and in the future. After a decade in development, the CRB Workshop has been tried, tested and is now trusted by over forty five communities in Connecticut, New York, and most recently Minnesota.
The CRB Workshop Guidebook provides clear instructions on how to lead your community towards resilience. The Guidebook carefully illustrates the essentials of the process as well as the “before” and “after” workshop steps to help ensure immediate goals, outcomes, and strategic direction are realized within your community.
An increasingly common post-disaster mitigation approach, home buyout programs are generally intended to reduce vulnerability to future disasters. However, to date, there has been virtually no quantitative evaluation of whether or not coastal buyout programs are successful in reducing vulnerability. Through a change in vulnerability analysis, this study quantifies the success of the Staten Island buyout program in reducing the nationwide vulnerability of people and property to coastal flood hazards.
The urban forest of the Chicago Wilderness region, a 7-million-acre area covering portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, will face direct and indirect impacts from a changing climate over the 21st century. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of urban trees and natural and developed landscapes within the Chicago Wilderness region to a range of future climates. We synthesized and summarized information on the contemporary landscape, provided information on past climate trends, and illustrated a range of projected future climates. We used this information to inform models of habitat suitability for trees native to the area. Projected shifts in plant hardiness and heat zones were used to understand how nonnative species and cultivars may tolerate future conditions. We also assessed the adaptability of planted and naturally occurring trees to stressors that may not be accounted for in habitat suitability models such as drought, flooding, wind damage, and air pollution. The summary of the contemporary landscape identifies major stressors currently threatening the urban forest of the Chicago Wilderness region. Major current threats to the region’s urban forest include invasive species, pests and disease, land-use change, development, and fragmentation. Observed trends in climate over the historical record from 1901 through 2011 show a temperature increase of 1 °F in the Chicago Wilderness region. Precipitation increased as well, especially during the summer. Mean annual temperature is projected to increase by 2.3 to 8.2 °F by the end of the century, with temperature increases across all seasons. Projections for precipitation show an increase in winter and spring precipitation, and summer and fall precipitation projections vary by model. Species distribution modeling for native species suggests that suitable habitat may decrease for 11 primarily northern species and increase or become newly suitable for 40 species. An analysis of tree species vulnerability that combines model projections, shifts in hardiness and heat zones, and adaptive capacity showed that 15 percent of the trees currently present in the region have either moderate-high or high vulnerability to climate change, and many of those trees with low vulnerability are invasive species. We developed a process for self-assessment of urban forest vulnerability that was tested by urban forestry professionals from four municipalities, three park districts, and three forest preserve districts in the region. The professionals generally rated the impacts of climate change on the places they managed as moderately negative, mostly driven by the potential effects of extreme storms and heavy precipitation on trees in the area. The capacity of forests to adapt to climate change ranged widely based on economic, social, and organizational factors, as well as on the diversity of species and genotypes of trees in the area. These projected changes in climate and their associated impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for urban forest management, including the planting and maintenance of street and park trees, management of natural areas, and long-term planning. will have important implications for urban forest management, including the planting and maintenance of street and park trees, management of natural areas, and long-term planning.
Hundreds of US mayors have signaled their intent to assume a leadership role in combating climate change following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. The challenge now for these local leaders is to go beyond the pledge and implement substantial climate action. STAR Communities developed the Climate Change Guide with support from local leaders and members of its technical and governance committees.
This national briefing paper examines the interconnections between water management and vulnerable communities in the United States. Too often, when we think of vulnerable communities that struggle with water-related challenges, we think of places like sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and other developing regions. The overall high quality of water systems in America—one of our most monumental achievements as a nation—obscures the fact that water challenges are a daily reality for some communities.
The US Water Alliance developed this briefing paper to expand national understanding of the water-related challenges that vulnerable communities face. This paper is inspired and informed by the contributions of diverse stakeholders—utility managers, policymakers, community leaders, advocacy coalitions, direct service providers, and more. It spotlights the promising practices that have emerged to make water systems more equitable, and offers recommendations for their implementation.
During June of 2014, the town of Bowdoinham, Maine approved a new Comprehensive Plan for the coming years. As part of this plan, they included a section on adapting to sea-level rise and more severe rainstorms caused by climate change. By looking at past sea-level rise in the region and IPCC reports, the town developed projections for how much sea-level would rise nearby. Bowdoinham estimates sea-level in the area will rise at least one foot by 2050 and two feet by 2100, although they mention these estimates may be conservative. The report details the quantities of roads, railroads, buildings, and land that would be inundated by such sea-level rise. They also predict how much inundation would occur during a 100-year storm if various rises in sea-level were to occur. Additionally, they note that extreme precipitation events in the future may be 20% more severe than current local storm drains have been built to effectively deal with. Finally, they propose a number of recommendations including community education, participation in the FEMA National Flood Insurance CRS Program, and increasing resiliency of crucial transportation infrastructure.