~ Develop Disaster Preparedness Plans & Policies

Climate change may exacerbate natural disasters in the Great Lakes region, including droughts, floods, severe storms, and extreme heat that will harm people, property, and water resources. Disaster preparedness and mitigation plans can help communities identify risks and develop response and recovery options. There are few examples from the region that incorporate climate change impacts. The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission (RPC) provides hazard mitigation planning support to the coastal communities along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The RPC incorporated climate change issues into A Guide for Hazard Mitigation Planning for Wisconsin Coastal Communities243 and began educating managers and planners on climate change impacts.

The guide encourages practitioners to develop multi-hazard mitigation plans that integrate the projected increases in the intensity and frequency of events, such as temperature extremes, storms, floods, and droughts.244 Leelanau County, Michigan’s Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan lists the projected climate-driven changes in rainfall, evaporation, and groundwater recharge rates as important natural hazards to address. The strategies listed within the plan include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing existing stressors on water resources and the natural environment, and enhancing emergency preparedness efforts (e.g., public health response and warning, flood control infrastructure).245

243 Bay-Lake RPC. (2007). Guide for Hazard Mitigation Planning for Wisconsin Coastal Communities.

244 Gregg, R. M. (2012). Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Planning in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Coastal Communities [Case study on a project of the Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program (Last updated October 2012)

245 Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. (2006). Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan: Leelanau County, Michigan. Traverse City, Michigan.