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Planning for Climate Change: Resources for Bay Area Local Government

  • Climate Change Science and Impacts

    Links to Documents

    • Understanding and Responding to Climate Change
      Brochure that provides a primer on climate change science. It highlights findings and recommendations from the National Academies’ reports on climate change.
    • Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences
      Another good primer document/brochure to help public to understand Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting and mitigating change. Principles in the guide can serve as discussion starters or launching points for scientific inquiry. The guide can also serve educators who teach climate science as part of their science curricula.
    • Communicating on Climate Change: An Essential Resource for Journalists, Scientists, and Educators
      This report is the product of a series of un­precedented workshops that brought the na­tion’s top climate scientists and leading sci­ence and environmental journalists together to discuss media coverage and communica­tion of climate change science. Although the target audience is not local governments, the issues identified here and lessons learned are helpful insights for anyone communicating climate change.
    • DRAFT 2009 Climate Action Team Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature
      MUST READ: California Climate Action Team’s biennial science assessment report on climate change impacts and adaptation options for California.
    • Living With a Rising Bay: Vulnerability and Adaptation in San Francisco Bay and on the Shoreline. Draft Staff Report
      Draft report describes the current state of knowledge regarding the potential impacts of sea level rise on the region. It identifies vulnerabilities in the Bay Area’s economic and environmental systems, as well as the potential impacts of sea level rise on public health and safety.
    • Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the California Coast
      Institute's report on vulnerabilities of the CA coast to impacts of sea level rise. Includes cost estimates for replacing lost/damaged infrastructure as well as pro-active measures to protect infrastructure. Report includes separate values/ analysis for SF Bay Area.
    • The Climate Gap
      Report "analyzes data on the disparate impacts of climate change and climate change mitigation policies on low socioeconomic status (SES) groups in the United States that is relevant to the California context."  Includes recommendations for addressing the gap issues identified in the report.
    • Preparing for Climate Change: A Perspective from Local Public Health Officers in California
      Article presents the results of a survey of California’s local pubic health officers conducted between August and October 2007. The survey gauged health officers’ concerns about the public health impacts of climate change, programs in place that could help to mitigate these health effects, and information and resource needs for better coping with a changing climate. Background information includes overviews of public health-related impacts of climate change in CA.
    • Coastal Communities and Climate Change Maintaining Future Insurability
      Report (~20 pages) looks at how the insurability of homes and businesses might be affected by increases in risk due to climate change -- specifically flooding.This report looks at the impact of climate change on flood risk at a number of coastal locations around the world, considering sea-level rise, the effect of wind speed on storm surges and, at one location, changes in land use. Clearly-written; good descriptions of methodology and terminology; and well-chosen and presented case studies.
    • California Climate Risk and Response
      Research paper from UC Berkeley, Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics takes a look at costs of climate impacts and responses by sector.  The Real Estate section (starts page 73) provides interesting (and eye-opening) comparisons and dollar values.

    Links to Websites

    • IPCC
      Definitive body for global climate projections. Summary for Policymakers is a good executive summary of the consensus science. However, there is much more information on projected changes for regions.
    • Climate Change at the National Academies
      Links to reports on climate science and impacts prepared by the NAS.
    • Climate Action Team & Climate Action Initiative
      Links to information about California's programs to reduce GHG emissions, reports about climate impacts, and adaptation strategy.
    • Climate Choices
      A website that was created to explain to people in the United States what climate change will mean for us, our children, and our grandchildren.
    • Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. June 2009
      The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It’s also a report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels. Scale of discussion is not refined enough to be directly applicable to most Bay Area planning decisions, but overview of impacts in "Regional Climate Change Impacts" (Southwest) and Climate Change Impacts by Sector" are good overviews.
    • United States Fish and Wildlife Conference on Climate Change & Coastal Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest
      Excellent resource for grabbing relevant literature recommended by experts in topical areas such as geology, hydrology, ecology, biology, forestry, policy, and management. Includes videos of presentations and annotated bibliography of recommended literature from presenters.
    • California Climate Change Research Center
      Links to numerous reports of climate change research in CA. Of particular interest to planners are the reports under the "Impacts and Adaptations" and "Climate Monitoring, Analysis and Modeling" categories.
    • Climate Change Planning Program
      Links to maps and draft (April 2009) report on sea level rise impacts to SF Bay and its shoreline.
    • Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the California Coast
      Links to sea level rise inundation maps, GIS data downloads of inundation information, and the Institute's report (May 2009) on vulnerabilities of the CA coast to impacts of sea level rise. Includes cost estimates for replacing lost/damaged infrastructure as well as pro-active measures to protect infrastructure. Report includes separate values/analysis for SF Bay Area.
    • Climate Change Resources
      Links to power points from a series of excellent presentations by scientific experts (hosted by the CA Coastal Conservancy) concerning impacts of climate change to natural systems in CA.
    • Climate Change Adaptation
      MUST REVIEW: Exhaustive and well-organized list of adaptation resources from international to local levels.
    • Alameda Creek Watershed Sediment Forum
      Link to information about the Forum which works to develop information about sediment in the watershed and coordinate efforts of different agencies, stakeholders, and land owners in the watershed. Included here because it has a nice presentation of conflicting sediment management objectives in watersheds for SF Bay with climate change impacts.

  • Adaptation Planning Principles and Process

    Links to Documents

  • Links to Websites

    • Adaptation resources: Principles of good adaptation
      Good list (1 page) of guiding principles for adaptation.
    • Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative
      Link to the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative, launched by CCAP to "serve as a resource for local governments as they face important infrastructure and land-use decisions that affect local adaptation efforts and empower local communities to develop and implement climate resilient strategies." Check out links to a report and Capitol Hill briefing by Initiative partners on Adapting to Climate Change in Urban Regions.
    • Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate
      Link to report that "examines the growing need for climate-related decision support--that is, organized efforts to produce, disseminate, and facilitate the use of data and information in order to improve the quality and efficacy of climate-related decisions." Worth paying attention to decision-support literature because it seems to be a funding focus for the NOAA Sectoral Applications Research Program grant which local govts can apply for (see Opportunities page on NOAA Climate Program Office page).

  • Engaging Communities and Decision-Makers

    Links to Documents

    • Cities Preparing for Climate Change: A Study of 6 Urban Regions
      Section 3.1 of this report on urban and regional adaptation planning efforts has an excellent review of community engagement and awareness-building approaches taken by the 6 cities, as well as the effectiveness of these approaches.
    • Public Listening Sessions: Sea Level Rise and Population Growth in North Carolina
      Fascinating report of a series of public listening sessions held in NC to help the public learn about sea level rise and population growth in the Abermarle-Pamlico region and give participants opoprtunities to share their concerns about potential impacts of these issues.
    • Community Engagement Weblinks
      Compiled list of community engagement weblinks to background information, case studies and service providers. This resource was compiled by Pete Peterson, Executive Director of Common Sense California, a non-profit (non-partisan) organization with the state mission to "engage the citizens of this state in the policy decisions that affect our everyday lives."
    • The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides and the Interested Public
      Almost like a cartoon guide to strategies for climate change communication. (But don't let this description deter you from checking it out!) Summarizes research findings on effective and ineffective communication of climate change issues and provides specific guidance/suggestions for improving your communication methods and messages, and for avoiding costly pitfalls in outreach efforts.
    • Climate Witness Community Toolkit
      Toolkit describes pariticipatory methodologies to document local impacts of climate change and to devise appropriate adaptation measures that local communities can implement themselves. These techniques were developed for use in Pacific South West communities, so some of them are clearly not applicable in the SF Bay Area. BUT, keep an open mind and consider how some of these methods (or modified versions of them) might be unique yet effective community engagement tools for climate change adaptation in Bay Area communities.

    Links to Websites

    • Common Sense California
      Links to reports, studies and op eds about civic engagement (under the News & Resources link) as well as case studies of civic engagement projects (under Projects link) compiled by CSC, a non-profit (non-partisan) organization with the state mission to "engage the citizens of this state in the policy decisions that affect our everyday lives." CSC works with city governments, school districts, and civic organizations to sponsor, advocate for and consult on community engagement efforts.
    • Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making (book), published 2008
      Book on public engagement in federal agency decision making. It concludes that, "when done correctly, public participation improves the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment," and "increases the legitimacy of decisions in the eyes of those affected by them, which makes it more likely that the decisions will be implemented effectively." Of particular interest may be Chapter 6, "Practice: Integrating Science."
    • Climate Witness in Action
      Website about the WWF Climate Witness program that documents stories from people around the world who share how climate change impacts their lives here and now. Potentially a method for engaging certain communities by recognizing personal connections to climate change impacts. Check out the Climate Witness Map for stories.


  • Tools, Data Sources and Example Adaptation Actions

    Links to Documents

  • Links to Websites

    • Eyes on the Earth
      MUST SEE: Excellent visualizations of global climate change. Useful for demonstrating to people the magnitude of impacts in the Artic and the atmospheric changes over the historic and recent periods.
    • Applying Social Science to Coastal Management
      MUST SEE: Excellent (and accessible) resources specifically to help coastal planners make effective use of social science applications in their work. Site has tools, how-to-guides and case studies for various social science applications such as surveys, focus groups, community mapping and much more.
    • WestMap Climate Analysis & Mapping Toolbox
      Click on California on the map to go to an interactive mapping tool that allows the user to create timeseries graphs of precipitation or temperatures by county. Although the maps solely represent historic conditions, they could be useful illustrations of climate variabilities at local scale.
    • Tools: CanVis
      Link to CanVis, a visualization program used to "see" potential impacts from coastal development or sea level rise. Users can download background pictures and insert the objects (hotel, house, marina, or other objects) of their choosing. The software is used by municipalities to brainstorm new ideas and policies, undertake project planning, and make presentations.  NOTE: UPCOMING, FREE ONLINE TRAININGS FOR CANVIS SOFTWARE: October 21, 2009; November 18 2009; December 9, 2009.
    • California Climate Tracker
      Excellent state and sub-regional climate data from historic and real-time climate sensors. Allows user to construct map and data graphics on precipitation and temperature trends.
    • Climate Change Portal
      A MUST REVIEW: Well-organized, referenced and up to date library of climate change information. Click on "Sea Level Rise" link to view and use specific information and tools related to this impact. (For South Bay cities and counties, click on the link under #2 in the Tools section.)
    • USGS CaSCADE Project
      Link to an ongoing integrated set of projects that take regional projections of precipitation, temperature, and sea level rise and model the cascading effects on Bay-Delta morphology and species. Include publication list and data from downscaled models. NOTE: Under "Other Documents" heading, look for link to Google Earth overlay files for sea level rise in SF Bay (under "Potential Inundation due to Rising Sea Levels in the San Francisco Bay Region, Noah Knowles, 2008.") GIS ESRI software-compatible sea level rise data are also downloadable from "San Francisco Bay" link.
    • ABAG San Francisco Bay Area Local Hazard Mitigation Planning
      Links under "Hazards Maps and Information" to interactive maps showing areas at risk of flooding, wildfire, landslide, etc. (based on historic data).
      Links to the chapters of the Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Bay Area. The Plan has chapters that address infrastructure, health care, housing, economy, government, schools and education, environment and land use. For each of these sectors, the chapter includes various mitigation strategies to address earthquake, flooding, wildfire, landslide, tsunamis, hazardous materials release and dam failure. The chapters additionally outline regional priorities for these strategies. Hazard mitigation planning is one component of climate change adaptation planning. It is good to be aware of this Bay Area effort.
    • Communicator's Guide to Wildland Fire
      Introduces ways of communicating about wildland fire issues so we have a basic framework to reach mutual objectives of protecting people and natural resources.
    • Aquatic Buffers
      Links to a model ordinance and examples of stream buffer ordinances. Buffers serve as natural boundaries between local waterways and existing development. They help protect water quality by filtering pollutants, sediment, and nutrients from runoff. Other benefits of buffers include flood control, stream bank stabilization, stream temperature control, and room for lateral movement of the stream channel.
    • Adaptation Options Relevant to Estuarine Management Goals
      Review of on-the-ground adaptation options available to coastal managers to reduce their systems' vulnerability to climate change impacts.  For each option, the review describes what climate stressor and additional management goals are addressed, benefits and constraints of the option, and examples of specific locations where the option has been implemented (where available).
    • Smart Growth Portal
      Links to EPA's grants and programs that offer direct technical assistance to local governments for implementing Smart Growth. EPA recognizes the links between Smart Growth and adapting to climate change impacts, so it is worth keeping this website in mind as a potential source of adaptation-related funding and support.
    • Coastal Risk Atlas
      The Coastal Risk Atlas (CRA) project goals aim at aiding hurricane preparedness efforts by providing the data and methodology necessary to conduct vulnerability assessments for the coastal United States. NOT USABLE FOR CA. Included here as an example of a NOAA tool that CA may want to seek. For example, the Demographic Vulnerability Assessment Tool could assist Bay Area communities with assessment of environmental justice issues related to climate change impacts.
    • Opportunities
      Link to NOAA's Climate Program Office: Opportunities page. Worth reviewing to understand the grants available through Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) and Sector Applications Research Program (SARP) (click on the "View Information on programs accepting individual applications" link and scroll to the bottom.)
    • Climate Readies Estuaries
      Main page for the Climate Ready Estuaries. (SF Estuary is a pilot project in the Climate Ready Estuaries program.) Overall, the information is not geared for local communities. However, we did review the resources available at Coastal Toolkit link and separately included those that seemed most useful for Bay Area local governments in this virtual binder.
    • Managed Retreat Strategies
      Description of managed retreat as an adaptation strategy to address issues caused by sea level rise and increased storm surge and erosion. Describes 2 example managed retreat projects in Pacifica and Ventura California.
    • Four California Coast LID & Permeable Pavement Workshops: Reining in the Rain: Watershed-Friendly “Low Impact Development” Site Design & Permeable Pavements for Stormwater Management
      Presentations and speaker contact information for 4 workshops held in April 2008 by the CA Coastal Commission on low impact development. Participants learned about "practical application, design, implementation, and maintenance of LID techniques, and their economic and ecological benefits, from industry experts and local practitioners with first-hand experience."
    • Low Impact Development for Roads, Military Road S. at S. 272nd Street
      Case study of a Low Impact Development project that also served as an adaptation strategy for future increased flooding at the site due to climate change impacts.
    • Cedar Grove Mobile Home Park Acquisition
      Case study of a community subject to repeated flooding. The county purchased the land and worked with residents to relocate.
    • Urban Heat Island Mitigation
      A review of strategies for mitigating urban heat island (HI) effects, and a listing of federal, state and local actions to mitigate HI.
    • Solar Carports
      Description of solar carports. This is clearly a GHG emissions mitigation strategy, but it may also help mitigate urban heat island effects. No specific research has been done to test this, but US EPA's Heat Island (HI) Mitigation program identifies shading in parking lots as a priority for HI mitigation.
    • Installing and Using: Greywater
      Fact sheet from the Ecology Center in Berkeley about how to design, install and use greywater systems for homes. The Center’s building has the first permitted greywater system in CA. The fact sheet has links to resources for learning more (e.g. classes), buying kits and design drawings for the Center’s system.
    • Massachusetts SmartStorm Coasts
      MUST REVIEW: Website provides info on how to address the challenges arising from storms, floods, sea level rise, and climate change, and provides a menu of tools for successful coastal floodplain management. Although the site is Massachusetts-centric, it is worth the time to check out the links (and sublinks) under "StormSmart Coasts Buildling Blocks" and "Background and Resources".  Site resources range from legal analyses of "No Adverse Impact", to guidance on how to interpret FIRMs, to an example bylaw for accommodating projected sea level rise in development.
    • Planning for Climate Change Workshop
      Link to all the materials and video from the Planning for Climate Change Workshop offered by Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WA) in April 2009. The September 22 & 23, 2009 Bay Area workshops were modeled on this piloted workshop.
    • Role Play Exercise Rallies MD Coastal Communities Around Climate Change
      MUST SEE: Video and links to info about an innovative negotiation role-play that demonstrated the key challenges and policy options coastal communities face. The role-play exercise was done in MD with coastal community decision-makers.
    • Rising Tides San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)
      Webpage for a design competition held by BCDC in July 2009 for innovative designs for addressing sea level rise in estuaries. Winning ideas are posted and BCDC plans to make all entries available.

  • Example Adaptation Plans

    Links to Documents

    • Climate Plan
      Comprehensive, well-organized adaptation section with clear and proactive adaptation strategies and initiatives. Pages 99-138.
    • Second Report and Initial Recommendations
      Recommendations from the Counties various Climate Change Advisory Task Forces for Built Environment, Natural Systems, and Economic, Social and Health Adaptations (starting page 9). Each recommendation is supported with the Task Force's rationale. Due to the large size of M-D County, many of the recommendations are more appropriate for implementation at a regional (as opposed to local) level.
    • Berkeley Climate Action Plan: Chapter 6 Adapting to a Changing Climate
      With the stated goal of making "Berkeley resilient to the impacts of climate change" the plan identifies policies and implementation actions for achieving this goal. The implementation actions are primarily ones that can be implemented without further analysis of climate change vulnerabilities, and are extensions of existing sustainable practices.
    • City of San Rafael Climate Action Plan (Draft)
      The chapter “Our Environment” includes recommendations for adapting to sea level rise, increasing local crop production, participating in the Marin regional vulnerability assessment, and creating a local vulnerability assessment.

    • City of Homer Climate Action Plan
      Has Adaptation section (begins page 37) with a very well-written introduction that clearly and concisely lays out the reasons why adaptation (in addition to mitigation) is essential for Homer and, in general, the climate change-related impacts and issues that the city needs to address. Recommendations are aimed at creating a resilient local economy, protecting existing infrastructure, being prepared for extreme weather events and wildfires, and adopting wise policies for future development.

    • Ahead of the Storm: Preparing Toronto for Climate Change -- Highlights
      Very nice presentation of the City of Toronto's mitigation and adaptation strategies. Especially effective illustration of how the city's mitigation and adaptation actions overlap on page 3.

    • Climate Change: Challenge to Urban Planning, Infrastructure and Sustainability - A New York Example
      Presentation about vulnerability assessment that NYC did for hurricanes.  Goes through the steps done (using HAZUS software) to assess impacts and issues. Includes ideas for adaptations

    • Somerset County, Maryland: Rising Sea Level Guidance
      Example of a county-level assessment of sea level rise vulnerabilities, and recommendations that address suggested modifications to the County’s planning and regulatory mechanisms, including the Floodplain Management Ordinance/Building Code, Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, Comprehensive Plan, and Hazard Mitigation Plan. (Prepared by a consultant.)

    Links to Websites

    • Planners Energy and Climate Database
      Large collection of climate change action plans and reports. Each linked document has a summary info page with a synopsis of the resource content and more detailed information about Strategies, Tools and Techniques described or included in the linked reference (very useful). (The linked documents are not organized into sub-categories -- not so useful)
  • State and Regional Adaptation Planning Efforts

    Links to Documents

  • Links to Websites

    • Executive Orders S-13-08
      Executive order from Governor directing the CA Resources Agency to initiate a National Academy of Sciences Sea Level Rise Assessment for CA coast; development of a CA Climate Adaptation Strategy; use of a range of scenarios for sea level rise in planning for construction projects; and OPR and Resources Agency to develop state land-use planning guidance related to sea level rise and other climate change impacts.

    • Climate Action Team & Climate Action Initiative
      Links to information about California's programs to reduce GHG emissions, reports about climate impacts, and adaptation strategy.

    • Climate Change Planning Program
      Links to maps and draft (April 2009) report on sea level rise impacts to SF Bay and its shoreline.

    • Global Warming and Climate Change
      CA Coastal Commission's climate change page. Includes link to a review of the CA Coastal Commission's legal authority to address climate change in its decision making.

    • Climate Change Resources
      CA Coastal Conservancy's climate change page. Includes links to the Conservancy's new climate change policies for projects, adaptation resources for ecosystems, and excellent series of presentations offered by the Conservancy.