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Citizen Science: Mapping Urban Heat Islands in Richmond, Virginia

The urban heat island mapping project in Richmond, Virginia is a collaborative project that brings community members together to collect temperature variation data in order to design community-scale adaptation plans. Richmond is a highly populated city that has encountered increased urban heat island effect in recent years. While current technology such as satellites can provide city-scale urban heat data, a more detailed, block-by-block examination of temperature variation in each community has to be studied to understand which communities are most vulnerable to the extreme heat. "Citizen-scientists" were gathered to help measure temperatures in their own city, and related human activities or land use. The citizen-scientists included students from the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University; the Virginia Academy of Science; the City of Richmond’s Sustainability Office; and Groundwork RVA, a nonprofit focused on empowering local young people in the communities.  

Resource Category: Monitoring and Reporting

 

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North Carolina Executive Order No. 246: North Carolina’s Transformation to a Clean, Equitable Economy

January 7, 2022

On January 7, 2022, North Carolina's Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order (EO) No. 246 entitled, "North Carolina’s Transformation to a Clean, Equitable Economy. " EO 246 calls for the state to take several actions related to climate change to improve the health and well-being of North Carolina's residents, prioritize and advance environmental justice and equity, engage with stakeholders and incorporate public input into decisionmaking processes, increase awareness about the health impacts of climate change including the disproportionate effects on underserved communities, and build a diverse workforce that is prepared to address climate change.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — King County, Washington: Transfer of Development Rights Program

July 15, 2020

The King County Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program in Washington State uses a unique market-based tool to achieve long-term planning goals and incentivize development in strategic areas that can be coupled with other legal and policy tools as a part of comprehensive coastal retreat strategies. King County created the TDR Program in response to state growth area management requirements and objectives. Participating local governments designate two areas "sending areas" — typically farmland, forest, open space, or priority natural resources areas — where they want to limit new development; and "receiving areas" in mostly urban areas where existing services and infrastructure can accommodate growth. Landowners in sending areas can sell their development rights to project proponents in receiving areas who can then use those rights to increase the size or density of a development project. Between 2000 and July 2019, 144,290 acres of rural and resource lands were conserved and protected through the King County TDR Program. The King County TDR Program provides one example of how several types of land acquisition programs and funding sources can be leveraged to achieve the benefits of both conservation and new, more resilient development. In a managed retreat context, TDR Programs modeled after King County can be used to preserve lands for ecological benefits through conservation easements, while ensuring new development is concentrated in areas that are less vulnerable to flooding and coastal hazards, such as sea-level rise and storm surges. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program

In 1999, the Florida Legislature passed the Florida Forever Act that established the Florida Forever land acquisition and protection program. The Florida Forever program serves as the state’s blueprint for conservation of natural resources. Through the Florida Forever program, the state is implementing effective land acquisition and preservation strategies supported by mapping tools and ecological data that help the state conduct scientific review and establish conservation priorities based upon climate change risks. Florida’s state legislature prioritized climate change considerations in the Florida Forever Act (Florida Stat. ch. 259.105(17)(d) (2018)) by requiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands to evaluate lands for acquisition based on their potential benefits to sequester carbon or adapt to climate change impacts, among other criteria. Florida Forever can serve as an example of how other governments and partners can incorporate climate change into land acquisition programs to enhance adaptation and natural resource conservation. 

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Yankeetown, Florida Natural Resource Adaptation Action Area

The Town of Yankeetown, Florida is utilizing a state authorized land-use planning tool  called Adaptation Action Areas  to mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise on local ecosystems. Specifically, Yankeetown is experiencing coastal inundation due to sea-level rise that is causing large swaths of coastal forests to rapidly decline and salt marshes to migrate inland, creating a phenomenon known as “ghost forests.” Yankeetown has taken a unique approach to planning for coastal change by utilizing Adaptation Action Areas. Adaptation Action Areas are overlay districts local governments can utilize to increase management attention and oversight over defined areas within their municipality with the goal of increasing resilience to sea-level rise impacts. Yankeetown amended its local comprehensive plan to create a “Natural Resource Adaptation Action Area,” which is the first instance of a locality in Florida using this tool for the purpose of natural resource management rather than solely infrastructure protection. The tool is helping Yankeetown shape future growth and development to conserve and protect its natural resources in the face of rising seas. Local governments could consider adopting overlay districts like Adaptation Action Areas or other zoning, land-use, or planning tools to reduce or limit development in wetland and forest migration pathways as a part of comprehensive retreat strategies. 

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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City of Evanston, Illinois Resolution to Support Environmental Justice

September 2020

The City Council of Evanston, Illinois adopted a resolution that acknowledges the harm that communities of color have experienced due to environmental injustices, and pledges to support environmental justice through initiatives such as creating a public engagement policy, incorporating environmental justice into City ordinances, policies, and processes, and developing a geographic information system (GIS) inventory of environmental justice areas in Evanston. By addressing the disproportionate impact that the climate crisis has on communities of color, the City of Evanston aims to foster a stronger and more climate resilient city.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Louisiana Executive Order Number JBE 2020-19 on Coastal Resilience

August 19, 2020

In August 2020, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed Executive Order (EO) Number JBE 2020-19 to require all state agencies to pursue Louisiana's coastal protection and adaptation goals and incorporate resilience planning into every state agency's operations. To accomplish these goals, the governor established the position of Chief Resilience Officer and resilience leads in each state agency to coordinate actions with Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan to make the coast more resilient in the face of climate change.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Maryland Senate Bill 457: Resilience Authorities

May 8, 2020

Passed on May 8, 2020, Maryland’s Senate Bill 457 authorizes local governments to establish and fund a Resilience Authority under local law, outlines the requirements to do so, and specifies the powers local governments may grant to an Authority. A Resilience Authority enables a local jurisdiction to flexibly organize funding structures for and manage large-scale infrastructure projects specifically aimed at addressing the effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, flooding, increased precipitation, erosion, and heatwaves.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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MN EO 19-37: Establishing the Climate Change Subcabinet and the Governor's Advisory Council on Climate Change to Promote Coordinated Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience Strategies in the State of Minnesota

December 2, 2019

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order 19-37 establishes a Climate Change Subcabinet to be comprised of leaders from across 15 state departments and agencies. The Subcabinet will identify state policies and strategies to build climate resilience, and to significantly mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The order acknowledges the disparities facing vulnerable populations, and commits Minnesota to develop climate adaptation strategies with and for frontline communities. 

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Florida Senate Bill 178: An Act Relating to Public Financing of Construction Projects

March 11, 2020 (effective July 1, 2021)

On March 11, 2020, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 178 (Florida Statute § 161. 551) that establishes new rules and enforcement mechanisms for state-financed coastal construction projects. According to the law, “state-financed constructors” are public entities that manage or commission “a construction project using funds appropriated from the state. ” The purpose of the law is to ensure that (1) projects funded by public monies can better withstand coastal flooding and will not exacerbate flooding impacts on surrounding communities; and (2) project managers consider all design options and alternatives in the face of sea-level rise.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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