Dane County, Wisconsin 2014 Budget - climate adaptation funding for infrastructure

The 2014 Dane County, Wisconsin executive budget proposal asked for nearly $1 million in funding for climate adaptation, including several transportation infrastructure improvements such as larger culverts for increased precipitation runoff. This is the first time that the Dane County Executive has included requests for climate adaptation funding in its budget. The County Board adopted the proposed budget in November 2013.

The County Executive created the Dane County Climate Change Action Council (Council) which, in a September 2013 report, identified 65 specific climate vulnerabilities for the County and adaptation strategies. The County Executive then requested that funding be allocated for the highest priority items. The major climate-based transportation infrastructure vulnerabilities of Dane County are related to the effects of more frequent and intense storm events, such as extreme wind, hail, ice, rain, snow, and increased runoff and flooding from increased precipitation. Runoff and flooding can render roadways impassable; trees felled by heavy winds are a threat to roadways; and hail, ice, and snow can affect emergency communications lines and the ability to dispatch emergency vehicles. The Council relied upon climate scenarios from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) using downscaled global circulation models.

To address an anticipated increase in runoff and flooding, the 2014 budget includes a new fund for the highway department dedicated solely for the replacement of outdated culverts under roads. The existing culverts are undersized for the volume of runoff anticipated from increased rainfall, which threatens to flood highways. The new culverts will be able to handle a greater volume of runoff as precipitation events become more intense.

The County budget also contains several items to assist first responders during severe snow events, expected to be more common under climate projections for the area. To improve the ability of county vehicles to operate in adverse climate conditions, the budget included $636,000 for 16 new four-wheel drive police interceptors for the County Sheriff's patrol car fleet. The County also relies upon the Dane County Park Rangers and their four-wheel drive vehicles to act as search and rescue responders during snow events, so the County Executive requested $40,000 to integrate the Dane County Parks Rangers into the new “DaneCom” emergency radio system, as well as $60,000 to purchase “Blizzard Buster” plow upgrades for vehicles to improve emergency response capabilities during severe snowstorms. $100,000 was also requested for the acquisition of specialized tree removal equipment to help clear downfalls from high winds, expected to increase with more frequent intense storms.


This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on February 9, 2015.


Publication Date: November 2013

Related Organizations:

  • Dane County, Wisconsin Climate Change Action Council


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Resource Types:

  • Funding program
  • Laws

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