All-In Clark County: Clark County's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
On February 16, 2021, the Clark County, Nevada Board of Commissioners approved the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan under the initiative “All-In Clark County.” This initiative works to build a more sustainable future through taking bold actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change. The Plan is guided by four principles: resilience (social, economic, and built environment), transparency, equity, and greenhouse gas reductions. To integrate sustainable practices and climate action within County operations, the plan focuses on five key areas of growth, which each contain potential sub-actions to be implemented by policymakers: clean and reliable energy; resilient county operations; smart waste management & reduction; sustainable transportation; and water conservation & protection. It offers specific metrics that compare baseline performance to 2030 and 2050 targets for every sector.
One hundred percent of Nevada’s population is already experiencing drought, and Las Vegas is recorded to be the fastest warming city in the country, rendering Clark County residents especially vulnerable to the changing climate conditions and ensuing environmental hazards. Throughout a seven-month planning process, the Clark County Board of Commissioners and their partners engaged with various stakeholders through organizing 12 interviews with County employees, focus groups for the 5 key topic areas and sustainability, and 3 surveys distributed to County staff, regional organizations, and the public.
The section “Resilient County Operations” specifically outlines policies to bolster the resilience of County operations and communities to future climate conditions. The plan outlines the county’s goal to conduct a climate vulnerability assessment of all County critical assets to prioritize upgrades and develop contingency plans to prepare for emergency events. Action items contained within this portion of the Plan prioritize the development of internal County emergency communication protocols to employees, the screening of County capital projects for resilience to climate-induced hazards, and an assessment of equity in the distribution of cooling stations. Furthermore, the plan also outlines the importance of minimizing contributions to urban heat islands -- defined as the retention of heat due to high absorption surfaces in urban areas -- as well as the enhancement of tree canopy and green infrastructure.
Climate adaptive strategies are also included in other sector sections within the Plan, such as “Water Conservation & Protection.” Rising temperatures and increasing populations put heat stress on the critical water infrastructure of Clark County. Accordingly, the County will need to conserve water through reducing operational impacts of water supply, providing training on personal water consumption, and adopting green infrastructure and stormwater management strategies. Green infrastructure projects will involve leveraging soil systems, plants and landscaping to reduce pollution run-off and to reduce flooding. Authors list xeriscaping, the design of landscapes to reduce the need for irrigation, as one of the many low-impact design techniques that can be adopted in the County to prepare for climate pressure on water resources.
The Plan concludes with a section on what is next for Clark County on its path to achieving sustainability and resilience. To complete Phase 1 of the All-In Clark County timeline in Spring 2021, the County will build on the goals outlined in this plan through developing implementation blueprints for a prioritized set of actions. Following the completion of the County Operations Implementation Strategy, the County will begin Phase 2, which is the development of a Community-Wide Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. Phase 2 will focus on adaptation, and building a more resilient and sustainable community.
Publication Date: February 16, 2021
- Clark County, Nevada
- Adaptation plan