Climate Change and Public Health Preparation Plan | Multnomah County

Climate change has serious and far-reaching health implications for present and future generations. A team of international scientists recently described these challenges in The Lancet as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” (Lancet 2009).

Even if there is local and global action to immediately reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we will likely feel the impacts from the current build up of emissions in the atmosphere for decades. These impacts, such as hotter summers and wetter, warmer winters for the Pacific Northwest, will likely affect our health, especially those most vulnerable. Communities must, therefore, begin to plan and prepare for the likely impacts that will be experienced because of the emissions already present in the atmosphere.

The Multnomah County/City of Portland Climate Action Plan identified “Climate Change Preparation” as one of its eight key action areas with the objective to “adapt successfully to a changing climate”. Adaptation means “to adjust to a new situation or environment” such as an increase in consecutive days over 95 degrees. This public health plan is a part of broader ongoing efforts by the City of Portland and Multnomah County to make our infrastructure, our natural environment, and our society more resilient to climate change. This plan communicates why we as a community, as policymakers and as public health professionals should care about climate change; what the local impacts may be; which populations and areas may be impacted; why equity and justice are key parts of this work; and what we can do to further prevent health issues and disparities.

Climate and Health Adaptation Plan | Crook County Health Department

The Crook County Health Department Climate and Health Action Plan was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative which was assigned to assist 16 states and 2 cities develop ways to anticipate health effects by applying climate science, predicting health impacts, and preparing flexible programs. The grant was administered by the Oregon Health Authority and the project ran from August 2011 through August 2013.

This grant opportunity was meant to enhance the ability of public health to engage in this important work. The Crook County Climate Health Action Plan developed by Public Health will:

  • Develop strategies for public health staff to be a source of leadership, expertise, and guidance concerning sustainable development in Crook County;
  • Raise awareness in Crook County as to the important responsibilities of, and actions regarding sustainable development and climate change; and
  • Help shape local policy promoting sustainable development, with strategies to mitigate climate change for Crook County.

Climate and Health Action Plan | Jackson County Public Health

Jackson County Health & Human Services (JCHHS) is ideally suited to coordinate and plan local adaptation strategies relating to the health impacts from climate change. The climate issue is a global problem, but responses may be ideally dealt with at a local level. Much of what we do as a county health department is appropriate to the monitoring, assessment, and response to the health effects from climate change. Surveillance of communicable diseases and outbreaks, public health emergency preparedness planning, and environmental health messaging and oversight are core functions of Public Health.

This plan was an outgrowth of JCHHS’s role in a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) project from July 2011 to August 2013, using the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework. This project was designed to help states, cities and county health departments investigate, prepare for, and respond to the health effects that climate change may have on people.

Public Health staff and managers worked with external advisors and stakeholders to define the projected climate outlook for Jackson County Oregon at mid-century. Engaged advisors came from public and non-profit agencies, scientists, local business, and interest groups. Adaptation interventions and actions were jointly developed with input from multiple sources to insure appropriateness to the local social, economic, and political milieu.

Climate Adaptation Plan | North Central Public Health District

NCPHD staff determined which climate factors might already be addressed via other public health programs and local emergency management plans, and which factors would likely need more attention. Drought seemed the most likely factor that is currently not focused on by public health, and due to its chronic nature, not as well addressed via emergency management lens. So for now, NCPHD will focus on building community resiliency to address the many possible public health sequela of drought. Climate health will be rolled into the All Hazard Response plan cycle so that the NCPHD Climate Action Planning Team may revise the priorities and adaptation strategies to align with new climate and health discoveries and new insights provided by climate health scientists.

Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (2014)

The Regional Plan, as adopted in 2006, emphasized a balanced approach to development and established targets for directing housing growth over the life of the Regional Plan (2006-2031). Twenty-five percent of the growth was to be directed to the Regional Centre (Peninsula Halifax and Dartmouth between the Circumferential Highway and Halifax Harbour); fifty percent directed to the urban communities (communities serviced with publicly managed water and wastewater services outside the Regional Centre) and the remaining twenty-five percent to the rural areas.

In preparing the first five year review of the Plan, the Stantec Quantifying Study was commissioned to assess the public, private and social costs and benefits of various growth scenarios from 2011 to 2031. That Study also considered how these scenarios may impact our environment, health and social well-being and benchmarked HRM with other Canadian and US municipalities to assist in this evaluation. 

Durham Community Climate Adaptation Plan

This document constitutes Durham’s Community Climate Adaptation Plan. It includes 18 proposed programs that have been approved in principle by Durham Regional Council on behalf of the Durham community on December 14, 2016. These program concepts have now been referred to a number of responsible agencies across Durham and beyond for further development, costing, approval and implementation. In addition to addressing its own responsibilities, the Regional government will monitor progress on behalf of the community. 

 

Resilience in Land Management Planning: Policy Mandates, Approaches, and Resources

Climate change adaptation presents a challenge for federal land management agencies in the United States. Increasingly, these agencies are turning to the concept of resilience to guide planning for an uncertain future. Resilience refers to the ability of a system to withstand disturbances and maintain its general structure and function. However, the concept can be challenging to operationalize, and a range of types of resilience and definitions for the concept exist. Nonetheless, the concept of resilience can aid in planning by emphasizing uncertainty, nonlinearity, adaptability, and consideration of cross-scale linkages. It also requires accepting the inevitability of ecological disturbances, including wildland fires. This working paper aims to provide background and context to support individuals and groups working to implement resilience in various land management planning contexts and we summarize various frameworks for planning for resilience.

Three common types of resilience exist. Engineering resilience is a function of the speed and ease with which a system returns to its equilibrium state following a disturbance. Ecological or social resilience is defined as “the ability of an ecological system or social system to withstand disturbance while still maintaining necessary functions.” Social-ecological resilience is defined as “[the] capacity of an integrated social-ecological system to adapt to disturbance” (Bone et al. 2016). To date, ecological resilience has been the form used most often in federal agency planning.

Various agency policies mandate or encourage the use of resilience in planning. For example, various strategic documents from the U.S. Forest Service emphasize resilience as a key element of climate change adaptation. The concept makes up a component of ecological integrity, a central element of the U.S. Forest Service’s land management planning regulations promulgated in 2012. Accordingly, many planning units working on revising their land management plans are using the concept. The concept also plays a central role in the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. Other agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service are all embracing the concept in adaptation efforts and approaches to responding to disturbances. U.S. Forest Service researchers have developed two cyclical approaches to planning for resilience. The Resilience Alliance has produced a workbook that offers a useful approach to planning for social-ecological resilience, and various other resources, approaches, and data sources are available for a range of contexts, including human communities and specific places.

Based on our review of these mandates and resources, we propose suggestions for how to plan for resilience. Partnerships drawing on scientists, managers across different agencies, and local communities play an important role in planning and executing resilience actions. Breaking up resilience planning into specific steps or phases makes the challenge less daunting and more understandable. These step-bystep processes are cyclical and iterative. It is important to monitor the system and revisit earlier assumptions to modify management activities accordingly. These processes should seek to define the system in question, identify stressors, and use climate projections to understand future conditions. Subsequent working papers will provide more specific recommendations about how to incorporate resilience into land management planning frameworks.

The Monaco Ocean Acidification Plan

This Action Plan was developed by the Ocean Acidification international Reference User Group (OAiRUG), with representatives from both the scientific and research users communities. The Plan aims to share progress and set priorities for developments in science and policy to keep pace with impacts we are starting to see in ecosystems and economic sectors most vulnerable to ocean acidification. This plan is as much for governments, policy advisers and decision makers, as it is for new stakeholders and the existing ocean acidification experts who form the current ‘ocean acidi cation community’. Whilst this plan is not comprehensive, it highlights major achievements and is intended to take stock of scientific and political activities, whilst also fostering a broader debate on priorities for action in the coming decade. 

Metro-Boston Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

The primary purpose of this Strategy is to outline specific sub-strategies and recommendations to fulfill the stated adaptation goal and associated objectives (explained in Section 2). The overarching public purpose of the Strategy is to reduce the impacts of climate change through effective risk management. The Strategy is intended as a proactive approach in response to the findings of the vulnerability assessment conducted for the Metro-Boston Region. A primary planning recommendation of the Strategy is the integration of information about emerging climate change risks into current disaster planning systems and arrangements at the community and/or regional level, as appropriate. Such a strategy is urgently needed because any increase in the number or intensity of disasters due to climate change will adversely impact quality of life and economic development in the region. Ideally, the Strategy can significantly limit the adverse effect of climatic hazards on public health and safety, critical infrastructure and the built environment, and the region’s natural resources and ecosystems. This in turn will reduce the disruption of the local economy and lessen the costs of post-disaster response.

Sagadahoc Region, Maine Climate Change Adaptation Plan

Adapting to climate change in the Sagadahoc region will be a multifaceted endeavor with planning and implementation required at both the local and regional scales. At the regional scale, a shared vision of a resilient landscape will be essential to informing local planning and development decisions. In an effort to build on previous regional planning initiatives and add climate change considerations to the analysis, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences analyzed riparian resources, important habitat areas and prime farm land to identify the regional green infrastructure network depicted in Maps 1-4. The green infrastructure network for the Sagadahoc region is a starting point for local and regional decisions on adapting to climate change. Refining development controls to protect high priority conservation lands will support resiliency to freshwater flooding and nonpoint source pollution, minimize exposure of new development to sea level rise, enhance biodiversity and support food security for the region. The Sagadahoc region has a significant opportunity for climate smart planning in that the relatively intact natural landscape provides valuable adaptation services at little or no cost. Health and safety benefits and minimization of tax burden are available to the communities of the region if they work together to protect a functional green infrastructure network as future development takes place.