Integrating Climate Risks into Local Planning in Alameda County, California

Location

Alameda County, California CA
United States
37° 45' 53.9892" N, 122° 13' 20.9532" W
California US
Organization: 
Four Twenty Seven
Organization: 
Summary: 

Cities across the United States face the challenge of integrating climate change considerations into their planning. Climate data is complex and fragmented, and often presented in a format and scale that are not aligned with planners’ needs. To support the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant plans such as local hazard mitigation plans, Four Twenty Seven, a California-based climate risk consulting firm, worked with the Alameda County waste authority to develop:

Design for Future Climate: Opportunities for Adaptation in the Built Environment

 

The Earth’s climate is changing – wetter winters and drier summers will affect existing buildings and alter the requirements of new ones. Whatever the cause of climate change, we will need to adapt our buildings so that they can cope with higher temperatures, more extreme weather and changes in rainfall.

The Technology Strategy Board of Innovate UK has developed the report 'Design for Future Climate: Opportunities for adaptation in the built environment' in order to assist the construction sector to construct buildings that are energy efficient and resilient towards flooding, heat and drought. The report describes the main climate change impacts on buildings and demonstrates studies, projects and initiatives on climate proof building designs.

The report concludes that the construction industry is requesting government to develop a coherent framework to enable design teams to develop and test new and holistic adaptation strategies.

Climate Change in Point Hope, Alaska: Strategies for Community Health

On a narrow promontory extending far out into the Chukchi Sea, the village of Point Hope enjoys one of the nest locations in Alaska for the harvest of subsistence resources, including sh, marine mammals, birds and caribou. This amazing place has allowed the Inupiat of Point Hope to ourish for centuries, and it is one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in Alaska. But it is also one of the most exposed, vulnerable to the full force of coastal storms and the constant shaping of the land by the wind and the sea. Shore erosion and the risk of ooding has forced relocation in the past. Today with the added pressure of climate change, Point Hope continues its struggle with increased urgency; against erosion and against other new emerging challenges to the community, the culture, and to public health.

Three issues were identified that are of special public health concern: first, the permafrost that cools traditional underground food storage cellars is thawing, and there are currently no community alternatives for storage of whale meat and blubber. Secondly, warming is contributing to changes in 7 Mile Lake, the community drinking water source. Temperature in uenced blooms of organic material have clogged water lters, adversely affecting water treatment. Thirdly, the community is increasingly vulnerable to flooding, due to storm intensity, erosion and late freeze up. The airstrip and 7 Mile road are also vulnerable. Emergency planning should continue to address these vulnerabilities, encourage early warning systems for storm events and ensure that evacuation routes and adequate shelter is available in a safe location.

Flood and Erosion Hazard Assessment for the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe Phase 1 Report for the Sauk River Climate Impacts Study

The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe initiated a pilot study to assess the impacts of anticipated climate changes to both tribal infrastructure and the Sauk river ecosystem that supports fish and wildlife critical to the tribe. The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe’s homeland encompasses a broad area including the Sauk and Cascade River watersheds in northwestern Washington. The Sauk River is a large meandering alluvial river that flows north into the Skagit River. Sauk River Miles (RM) start at its confluence with the Skagit. The Tribe’s reservation is located on an alluvial terrace within the Sauk River valley at RM 14, five miles north (downstream) of Darrington and one mile south of the Suiattle River confluence (Figure 1). In the 1940s the main channel of the Sauk River flowed on the eastern side of the reservation, directly adjacent to current residential housing. This old channel was still active and clearly evident in 1954 (Figure 2). In the last 60 years the river’s main channel has been located on the eastern side of the valley but between 1989 and 2013 it has migrated back to the west, toward the reservation, at an average rate of 43 ft/yr (Figure 3). Un-interrupted at this rate, the river would reach housing within 25 years. This could potentially happen much sooner given the old 1940s channel could be rapidly re-occupied by the river (Snohomish County Surface Water Management 2009). The alluvial terrace underlying tribal housing, offices and community buildings is easily erodible and thus at serious risk given the river’s tendency to migrate (Figure 3). The Tribe wanted to know whether the warming climate could worsen flood and erosion risks, and whether changes could adversely impact salmon habitat. This report focuses on flood an erosion risks and how they may be impacted by climate change.

Natural Systems Design, Inc. (NSD) prepared this report for the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe as part of the first phase of an interdisciplinary effort designed to contribute critical understanding of Sauk River ecosystem dynamics and sensitivity to climatic changes. The objectives of this report are to: (1) describe the hydrology and geomorphology the Sauk River near the reservation, (2) evaluate available information on potential for climate change to affect future flood flows in the Sauk River basin, (2) document historical changes in river channel and floodplain characteristics of the Sauk-Suiattle Reach, and (3) evaluate the near- term and future threats to tribal infrastructure posed by Sauk River streambank erosion and flooding.

England & Wales: Policy options for shorelines to manage sea level rise risks

Location

United States
52° 50' 22.8876" N, 1° 34' 55.3116" E
US
Summary: 

In the United Kingdom, shoreline management plans (SMPs) provide the framework for coastal regulatory officials to assess long-term changes and risks associated with coastal processes, such as tidal patterns, wave height, and sea level rise. These plans provide strategies to help reduce risks associated with coastal flooding and erosion on built and natural environments. Like most marine management plans, SMPs are non-statutory. Instead, they are high-level policy documents that take into account existing legislative requirements and compatibility with adjacent coastal areas.

East Hampton, NY: Planning that includes a coastal erosion overlay district

Location

United States
40° 57' 56.8332" N, 72° 10' 58.5192" W
US
Summary: 

East Hampton, on Long Island, New York, is both a vacation destination and home to a strong year-round community with its early economic roots in agriculture, fishing, and shellfishing. Development pressure and population growth has caused some degradation of coastal resources, and in 1999 the Town enacted a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) to protect and promote waterfront resources.

The State of Climate-­Informed Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) is a science-based, collaborative process used to sustainably manage resources, interests, and activities among diverse coastal and ocean users and sectors. Climate change is affecting marine and coastal ecosystems throughout the world, manifesting in warming air and sea temperatures, increasing coastal storms, and rising sea levels. The existing and projected impacts of climate change and ocean acidification need to be incorporated into planning processes to ensure long-term success. Because CMSP is an emerging field, it is important to look to other coastal and marine planning and management frameworks to identify opportunities for climate-informed action.

With the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, EcoAdapt created the Climate-Informed CMSP Initiative to examine the connections between climate change and coastal and marine planning. This included conducting a needs assessment survey to identify what practitioners need in order to integrate climate change into their planning efforts, as well as research into the state of climate-informed CMSP efforts with the intention of identifying case study examples of adaptation in action. Our key research questions included:

  1. How is climate change currently being integrated into CMSP-related efforts?
  2. How can climate-informed CMSP be done?
  3. What do practitioners need in order to integrate climate change into CMSP?

Planning, permitting, and risk: Effects of sea level rise on the California coast

Location

United States
39° 39' 57.4956" N, 123° 18' 37.9692" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Mallory Morgan, Katie Thompson
Summary: 

The California Coastal Commission Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance serves as interpretive guidelines for addressing sea level rise primarily in local coastal program (LCP) certifications and updates, as well as in coastal development permit (CDP) decisions (California Coastal Commission 2015).

Climate Change Hits Home: Adaptation Strategies for the San Francisco Bay Area

We have known about the perils of climate change for more than two decades. But global efforts to slow it down by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions have largely failed. Even if we could stop producing greenhouse gases tomorrow, the high concentration of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere will cause the climate to continue to change. As a result we must not only intensify our efforts to reduce climate change but start preparing for its inevitable effects.

In this report, SPUR addresses how we should adapt to climate change in the Bay Area, including which tools and strategies will make us resilient to its most severe impacts, including drought, higher temperatures and sea level rise. We recommend more than 30 strategies for local and regional agencies to begin minimizing the region’s vulnerabilities to these long-term but potentially catastrophic effects.

Growth Fixes for Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Changing Land Use and Building Codes and Policies to Prepare for Climate Change

This January 2017 EPA publication outlines more than 70 policies local government officials, staff, and boards can consider to help adapt to current or projected flooding and extreme precipitation, sea level rise and storm surge, extreme heat, drought, and wildfire. These policies range from modest adjustments to wholesale changes, giving communities a range of options to consider depending on their needs and context. The publication includes examples of communities implementing these policies, resources for more information, and metrics that communities could use taken from three community-scale sustainability rating systems.