Missoula County Climate Action: Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Community

This assessment summarizes the current and anticipated climate impacts on Missoula County, Montana, and offers strategic recommendations in five focal areas including: water supply, wildfire, flooding and water quality, changes to species and habitats, and the local impacts of global change. The report is a result of a community-based process in which residents and cross-sector leaders of Missoula County convened over local climate impacts and solutions. The assessment also includes a comprehensive review of Missoula County’s socioeconomic systems and vulnerabilities to climate change.

For each focus area, the assessment outlines the top concerns of residents, recommended strategies, a set of actions to achieve each strategy, and the likely synergies or conflicts associated with each action. Participants also identified a list of ongoing efforts or existing groups can potentially be leveraged for implementation of each strategy. For example, related to the “local impacts of global change” focus area, residents were most concerned about more people moving to the Missoula as other parts of the world face more extreme climate impacts. A recommended strategy is to implement more smart growth principles to better incorporate population density. While a barrier for this strategy is that it could be more expensive, the plan identifies a number of co-benefits including more open space and increased walkability.

The planning process followed a model designed by the Geos Institute called ClimateWise. In an effort to produce “whole community solutions,” the consulting team engaged citizens, elected officials, county planners, public health officials, resource managers, business leaders, and other local experts through a workshop and local steering committee. By focusing on strategies that support local values in an integrated manner across different sectors and interests, ClimateWise seeks to reduce conflict, increase communication, and lower overall costs of implementation.


Publication Date: November 1, 2011

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  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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