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Adaptation to Climate Change in Public Lands Management

February 2010

This issue brief recommends a number of short- and long-term changes in federal land management policy to adapt to climate change.  Policy recommendations include the use of vulnerability assessments and strategic planning, development of effective monitoring systems, implementation of adaptive management and ecosystems management, coordinated research programs, and use of public lands planning and management processes to test adaptation strategies and tactics.

Related Organizations: Resources for the Future (RFF)

Authors or Affiliated Users: Joel B. Smith, William R. Travis

Resource Category: Law and Governance


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Options for Improving Climate Modeling to Assist Water Utility Planning for Climate Change

December 2009

This report, which was commissioned by the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), considers how federal investments in the science of climate change, and in particular climate modeling, can best be directed to help improve the quality of  research so that it may be more useful to water utilities and other possible users in adapting to climate change.   It explains how climate models work, describes how some WUCA members have used climate models and downscaling to assess impacts on their systems and develop adaptation options, and makes seven initial recommendations for how climate modeling and downscaling techniques can be improved so that these tools and techniques can be more useful for the water sector.

Related Organizations: Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA), Iowa State University Climate Science Initiative, Western Water Assessment (WWA) - RISA, Stratus Consulting

Authors or Affiliated Users: Joseph Barsugli, Chris Anderson, Joel B. Smith, Jason M. Vogel

Resource Category: Data and tools


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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments: A Review of Water Utility Practices

August 2010

The study describes the activities of eight water utilities who have conducted climate vulnerability assessments: East Bay Municipal Utility District (CA), City of Boulder Utilities Division (CO), Denver Water (CO), Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Portland Water Bureau (OR), Lower Colorado River Authority (CO), and Seattle Public Utilities (WA). This report provides a review of best practices in this emerging effort across the industry for the purpose of informing utilities considering engaging in this issue about the various methods used by their peers.

Related Organizations: Denver Water, Portland Water Bureau, Seattle Public Utilities, Stratus Consulting, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), City of Portland, Oregon

Authors or Affiliated Users: Joel B. Smith, Jason M. Vogel

Resource Category: Assessments


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The Cathedral Engulfed: Sea-level Rise, Property Rights, and Time


Sea-level rise will require many new initiatives in land use regulation to adapt to unprecedented climate conditions. Such government actions will prompt regulatory and other takings claims, and also will be shaped by apprehension of such claims.

Related Organizations: Georgetown Law

Author or Affiliated User: J. Peter Byrne

Resource Category: Solutions


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Implications of Climate Change for Urban Water Utilities

December 2007

This paper explains in high-level terms climate change processes and effects to urban water utilities, and considers the issues involved in developing suitable water sector responses. Two adaptation strategies to reduce or avoid impacts of climate change are discussed -  vulnerability analysis and integrated response planning. Mitigation strategies that utilities could adopt to reduce their operation's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions are mentioned. .

Related Organizations: Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), Stratus Consulting

Authors or Affiliated Users: John E. Cromwell, Joel B. Smith, Robert S. Raucher

Resource Category: Planning


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Georgetown Climate Center

The nonpartisan Georgetown Climate Center seeks to advance effective climate and energy policies in the United States and serves as a resource to state and local communities that are working to cut carbon pollution and prepare for climate change.  As part of Georgetown Law, the Center works extensively with government officials, academics, and an array of stakeholders. It analyzes the provisions of federal policy relevant to state and local government, works with states on developing innovative new policies, and encourages policymakers to learn from state experience.