• Resources for Small Communities

Laws and Regulations in Rural and Small Communities

This tab includes laws, proposed legislation, regulations, agency guidance, and executive orders relevant to adaptation in rural and small communities.  

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Lessons in Regional Resilience: Case Studies on Regional Climate Collaboratives

January 19, 2017

The Georgetown Climate Center report, Lessons in Regional Resilience, documents lessons learned from regional climate collaboratives, which are bringing together local governments and other stakeholders to coordinate climate change initiatives at a regional level. This synthesis report shares lessons from each of the collaboratives in individual case studies, and offers insight to their goals, planning processes, and funding sources. The report is intended to help local governments consider models for coordinating at the regional level to facilitate planning and action to prepare for the impacts of climate change and draws on examples from six regional collaboratives from around the country.

Related Organizations: Georgetown Climate Center

Authors or Affiliated Users: Annie Bennett, Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Higher Standards: Opportunities for Enhancing Flood Resilience in the Eastern Shore of Maryland

January 2019

Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) prepared this report to help the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership (ESCAP) identify strategies for adapting to increasing sea-level rise and flood risk in the Eastern Shore region of Maryland. This publication is a part of a series of reports assessing the sea-level rise vulnerability of communities in Maryland's Eastern Shore, as well as potential adaptation responses. ESCAP worked with the Eastern Shore Regional GIS cooperative to assess sea-level rise vulnerabilities in the six counties and two municipalities that participate in ESCAP.

Related Organizations: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Georgetown Climate Center

Authors or Affiliated Users: Jessica Grannis, Katie Spidalieri, Jennifer Li

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies

July 15, 2020

This report, produced by the Georgetown Climate Center, features 17 case studies about how states, local governments, and communities across the country are approaching questions about managed retreat. Together, the case studies highlight how different types of legal and policy tools are being considered and implemented across a range of jurisdictions — from urban, suburban, and rural to riverine and coastal — to help support new and ongoing discussions on the subject. These case studies are intended to provide transferable lessons and potential management practices for coastal state and local policymakers evaluating managed retreat as one part of a strategy to adapt to climate change on the coast. The case studies in this report were informed by policymakers, practitioners, and community members leading, engaging in, or participating in the work presented in this report. This report was written to support Georgetown Climate Center’s Managed Retreat Toolkit, which also includes additional case study examples and a deeper exploration of specific legal and policy tools for use by state and local decisionmakers, climate adaptation practitioners, and planners.

Related Organizations: Georgetown Climate Center

Authors or Affiliated Users: Katie Spidalieri, Isabelle Smith

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Local Land Use Response to Sea Level Rise

This report summarizes selected local land use ordinances and regulations that include specific mention of sea level rise or that incorporate appropriate policy responses that may be used to address sea level rise. While developed for The Nature Conservancy Long Island, it is a useful resource for any coastal state.

Related Organizations: Pace University School of Law, Land Use Law Center, The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

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. 

Related Organizations: Town of Yankeetown, Florida

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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CA EO N-05-19 CAL FIRE to provide recommendations on wildfire prevention and mitigation, including at-risk populations

January 8, 2019

From California Governor Gavin Newsom, this Executive Order directs CAL FIRE and other state agencies to recommend administrative, regulatory, and policy changes to prevent and mitigate wildfires. To support the California communities most vulnerable to wildfire impacts, the California Department of Fire and Forest Protection (CAL FIRE) will also recommend a methodology to assess what communities are at greater risk from wildfire that includes socioeconomic factors. The order states that California's “present emergency condition” with wildfire is due to a history of fire exclusion, forests managed to be overcrowded, climate change and drought.

Related Organizations: State of California

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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California SB 901 - Wildfire Preparedness and Response

September 21, 2018

California Senate Bill 901 will support the state’s adaptation and resilience to increasingly frequent and extreme wildfires. Reducing forest fuel loads with thinning and prescribed fire, reduce fire danger in hundreds of communities around the state in high-risk areas, and climate adaptation research are primary focal measures. $200 million a year through 2024, or $1billion, will be allocated to fund grants to fire departments, cities, counties and nonprofit organizations. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) will distribute the funding, which will come from California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).

Related Organizations: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), State of California

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas

2017

From the American Planning Association (APA), this report discusses strategies for using local subdivision ordinances and the site plan review process to enhance flood resilience. Recommendations are given for creating standards that protect natural floodplain function. The report discusses how climate change is increasing flood risks in communities.

Related Organizations: American Planning Association (APA), Association of State Floodplain Managers

Author or Affiliated User: James Schwab

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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California AB 2722: Transformative Climate Communities Program

September 14, 2016

California AB 2722 creates the Transformative Climate Communities Program, and requires the CA Strategic Growth Council to award competitive grants to specified eligible entities for the development of “transformative” climate community plans. Priority is to be given to projects that implement the community plans, improve air and water quality, contribute to the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and demonstrate potential climate, economic, workforce, health, and environmental benefits in disadvantaged communities.

Related Organizations: State of California

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: SB1168, SB1319 and AB1739

September 16, 2014

Approved by Governor Jerry Brown on September 16, 2014, the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implements new groundwater rules for California. Effective as of January 1, 2015, the three-bill package will create local agencies to oversee groundwater extraction, changing the state’s historic practice of allowing landowners to extract any water that lies beneath their land.

Related Organizations: California Department of Water Resources

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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