Across the state, we are seeing and feeling impacts related to a changing climate. Wildfire and smoke are threatening the health and welfare of people throughout the state. Orca and salmon runs are in decline. Communities are confronting coastal flooding, water shortages, and drought. As these impacts mount, already highly impacted communities and vulnerable populations will face increasing risks.
Frequent and intense droughts have caused ecological and socioeconomic impacts in Wyoming. A collaborative project between the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, university and federal agency scientists, and drought experts was initiated to provide critical decision support tools to help the tribe better prepare for and respond to drought events.
Kinston, a city of about 20,000 in Lenoir County, North Carolina, suffered repeated flood losses during the 1990s. After Hurricanes Fran, Dennis, and Floyd damaged or flooded more than 75 percent of the county’s homes, the community embarked upon a comprehensive approach to improve resilience. Flood-prone properties were purchased, and whole neighborhoods were relocated to higher ground. As a result, natural floodplain functions were restored, and the purchase of the first 100 homes saved approximately $6 million in avoided flood losses during the next big storm.
Population growth, urbanization, and environmental degradation have led to the exposure of a rising number of people to disaster risk, with statistics showing a steep rise in the number of disasters caused by natural hazards in recent decades. These numbers are likely compounded by the effects of a changing climate that is already increasing and predicted to increase even more the frequency and ferocity of a number of natural hazards.
Ellicott City is an unincorporated town in Howard County, Maryland. Founded in 1772 at the bottom of a valley by Johan and Joseph Ellicott, specifically to harness the power of the Tiber and Patapsco Rivers to power the brothers’ mills, the terrain of the city includes steep inclines and an abundance of nonporous granite. The town has been prone to flooding since its founding, with most previous floods originating from the Patapsco River at the bottom of the valley and spreading into the city.
In coordination with a consultant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the University of Oregon’s Community Planning Workshop (CPW) researched four post‐disaster recovery plans (PDRPs) developed by select communities in the United States. The purpose of this research was to find innovative post‐disaster plans that incorporate effective strategies for recovery with the intent of evaluating strategies for providing credit for such efforts as part of the Community Rating System (CRS). The case studies focus on communities at risk for flooding.
Cultural heritage-specific research is scarce within the climate change literature and climate change policy documents, challenging climate adaptation efforts to minimize adverse impacts on cultural heritage. Engaging and assessing diverse stakeholders' values and integrating those with evidence-based knowledge is critical for timely, effective and transparent preservation and climate adaptation of coastal cultural heritage.
Climate change poses great challenges for cultural resource management, particularly in coastal areas. Cultural resources, such as historic buildings, in coastal areas are vulnerable to climate impacts including inundation, deterioration, and destruction from sea-level rise and storm-related flooding and erosion. However, research that assesses the trade-offs between actions for protecting vulnerable and valuable cultural resources under budgetary constraints is limited.
Climate change is increasingly being recognized as a threat to natural and cultural World Heritage (WH) sites worldwide. Through its interaction with other stressors, climate change accelerates existing risks while also creating new obstacles. A more considerable focus is needed in both research and practice to explore proactive measures for combatting this issue (e.g., mitigation and actions prior to impacts occurring). World Heritage values in climate change decision-making processes is an important factor in this regard.