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Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans

Created: 11/18/2014 - Updated: 7/10/2019


Identifying risks associated with climate change and managing them to reduce their impacts is essential. This Workbook presents a guide to climate change adaptation planning based on EPA’s experience with watershed management, the National Estuary Program and the Climate Ready Estuaries program. The Workbook will assist organizations that manage environmental resources to prepare a broad, risk-based adaptation plan.

The audience for this Workbook is professionals at organizations that manage environmental resources, especially organizations with a coastal or watershed focus. They are knowledgeable about their systems but not necessarily sophisticated about climate science or risk management. They may be addressing a myriad of issues that require immediate attention and have limited time to focus on adaptation planning for the future. Furthermore, they may need to adapt to climate change impacts within their organization’s existing resources. Despite these challenges, managers who realize that climate change will affect their ability to meet their goals will see the need to incorporate climate change risk into their planning.

Although risk management and risk-based vulnerability assessments have been highlighted or recommended by experts in the field of climate change adaptation,1 to date only a handful of risk-based plans have been published. Interviews with coastal managers conducted by Climate Ready Estuaries staff in 2011 revealed that managers are not sure what is meant by a “risk-based vulnerability assessment,” and would like tools to help them proceed.

Published On

Friday, August 1, 2014


Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Sea level rise
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Create/enhance resources and tools
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Habitat/Biome Type: 

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