California SB 379: Land use; general plan; safety element; climate adaptation

California SB 379 requires all cities and counties to include climate adaptation and resiliency strategies in the Safety Elements of their General Plans upon the next revision beginning January 1, 2017. The bill requires the climate adaptation update to include a set of goals, policies, and objectives for their communities based on the vulnerability assessment, as well as implementation measures, including the conservation and implementation of natural infrastructure that may be used in adaptation projects. 

Specifically, the bill requires that upon the next revision of a General Plan or local hazard mitigation plan, the Safety Element is to be updated as necessary to address climate adaptation and resilience strategies applicable to the city or county. This review and update is to include all of the following:

A. A vulnerability assessment that identifies the risks that climate change poses to the local jurisdiction and the geographic areas at risk from climate change impacts. The vulnerability assessment is to utilize information from:

  • the Internet-based Cal-Adapt tool;
  • the most recent version of the California Adaptation Planning Guide.
  • local agencies on the types of assets, resources, and populations that will be sensitive to various climate change exposures
  • local agencies on their current ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.
  • historical data on natural events and hazards, including locally prepared maps of areas subject to previous risk, areas that are vulnerable, and sites that have been repeatedly damaged.
  • existing and planned development in identified at-risk areas, including structures, roads, utilities, and essential public facilities.
  • federal, state, regional, and local agencies with responsibility for the protection of public health and safety and the environment, including special districts and local offices of emergency services.

B. A set of adaptation and resilience goals, policies, and objectives based on the information specified in the climate vulnerability assessment for the protection of the community.

C. A set of feasible implementation measures designed to carry out the goals, policies, and objectives identified pursuant to the adaptation objectives, including but not limited to the following:

(i) Feasible methods to avoid or minimize climate change impacts associated with new uses of land.

(ii) The location, when feasible, of new essential public facilities outside of at-risk areas, including, but not limited to, hospitals and health care facilities, emergency shelters, emergency command centers, and emergency communications facilities, or identifying construction methods or other methods to minimize damage if these facilities are located in at-risk areas.

(iii) The designation of adequate and feasible infrastructure located in an at-risk area.

(iv) Guidelines for working cooperatively with relevant local, regional, state, and federal agencies.

(v) The identification of natural infrastructure that may be used in adaptation projects, where feasible. This may include, but is not limited to, floodplain and wetlands restoration or preservation, combining levees with restored natural systems to reduce flood risk, and urban tree planting to mitigate high heat days.


Publication Date: October 8, 2015

Related Organizations:

  • State of California


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Laws

States Affected:

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