• Resources for Small Communities

Adaptation Strategies for Rural and Small Communities

This tab includes strategies, best practices, and legal and policy analysis relevant to adaptation efforts in rural and small communities.

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Winslow Way Street Redesign (Bainbridge Island, WA)


The City of Bainbridge Island redesigned its main downtown street to update aging water infrastructure, improve walkability and multimodal uses, and better manage stormwater using more natural and vegetated solutions. The new design is more walkable and accessible, supports biking, better manages stormwater with green infrastructure practices, and encourages social cohesion through smart design. Over half a mile in length, this innovative redesign protects street trees and incorporates stormwater planters, rain gardens, and other methods to retain stormwater and prevent flooding.

Resource Category: Solutions


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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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