Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Planning in San Luis Obispo County, California

This report presents climate adaptation strategies for San Luis Obispo County (SLO) with a focus on increasing the resilience of both human and natural communities. The report reflects the collective efforts of many people in SLO, including elected leaders, county planners, land managers, public health officials, concerned citizens, and others who attended four workshops in 2009 - 2010.  These meetings were held to discuss the threat of climate change to the community and establish some initial strategies to reduce vulnerability. 

The report first gives an executive summary of the County’s vulnerabilities to climate change and potential adaptation strategies. It goes on to review temperature and sea level rise projections both globally and within the County, and explains why adaptation planning is important even though there is some uncertainty remaining about the extent of climate change impacts. It then reviews the role of California state government and the County government in planning for climate change.

In considering those most exposed to climate change hazards, the assessment portion of the plan identifies outdoor workers, farmers, and people who live at the wildland-urban interface as populations facing disproportionate risks. In assessing who is most sensitive to climate risks, the plan identifies infants, elderly people, children, and those affected by asthma. In assessing who will be least able to respond to climate risks, the plan identifies institutionalized populations, low-income households, and coastal residents.

The plan recommends that more work should be done to target these populations for outreach around emergency preparedness. 


Next, the report examines local vulnerabilities, impacts and recommended adaptation strategies in six different areas: public health and emergency preparedness, agriculture, water resources and infrastructure, other infrastructure, coastal and marine resources and related tourism, and species, ecosystems and ecosystem services. The report examines the vulnerabilities and potential adaptation strategies for four different types of ecosystems: coastal and nearshore marine, freshwater aquatic and riparian, woodlands and forests, and grasslands and shrublands. The report acknowledges that some members of the community will be more vulnerable to climate change risks, and commits to further study of those groups.

Finally, the report examines barriers to action for adaptation efforts as well as the opportunities and co-benefits of adaptation. Throughout the report, there are defined terms and analogies that make the report accessible to stakeholders with varied climate change knowledge.

A companion report, "Projected Future Climatic and Ecological Conditions in San Luis Obispo County,” provides more information on the of climate change model assumptions, emissions scenarios, uncertainty, and projections for SLO.


Publication Date: November 2010

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Marni E. Koopman
  • Kate Meis
  • Judy Corbett

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


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