• Resources for Small Communities

Rural and Small Community Plans

This tab includes federal, state and local vulnerability assessments and plans that discuss adaptation options for rural areas and small communities.

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77 results are shown below.

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Annexing Higher Ground and Preparing Receiving Areas in Hamilton, Washington

June 2021

In 2019, after decades of repetitive flooding, the town of Hamilton in Skagit County, Washington partnered with Forterra, a local land conservancy nonprofit, to annex a 48-acre parcel of land located outside of the town’s 100-year floodplain. Annexing this land will provide Hamilton with a higher, drier ground area where town residents could voluntarily relocate to new homes. Forterra is developing plans for the annexed parcel to build affordable, environmentally conscious homes for Hamilton residents. Hamilton provides an example for other municipalities and local governments either in a pre- or post-disaster context for revitalizing a community challenged by frequent flooding through adaptation actions. As done in Hamilton, local governments may consider possibilities for providing relocation options to residents within a floodplain, including by annexing new land, particularly where sufficient higher ground land within existing municipal boundaries is not available. Annexation can allow local governments to maintain local communities, tax bases, and economies.

 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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The Cost of Climate: America’s Growing Flood Risk

February 2021

In February 2021, the First Street Foundation released a report -- The Cost of Climate -- that analyzes the financial risks and economic impacts of flooding across the country. As a whole, the report estimated losses from current and future flood risks to residential properties in the contiguous United States. Current annual flood losses are estimated to be around $20 billion. With sea-level rise and increased freshwater flooding from climate change, these annual flood losses are estimated to increase by 61% to $32 billion by 2051.

Related Organizations: First Street Foundation

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland: Blackwater 2100

2013

In 2013, The Conservation Fund, National Audubon Society, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered to produce a “salt marsh persistence” report for Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) titled Blackwater 2100 to address marsh migration in response to sea-level rise and tidal erosion. The objectives of the report are to identify areas of current tidal marsh most resilient to sea-level rise and of the highest value to salt marsh bird species as well as future locations that may support marsh migration corridors. The report’s authors utilized several tools, including the Sea-Level Rise Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM), to select one of three different adaptation strategies for wetland areas within Blackwater NWR to create a comprehensive management plan. The three adaptation strategies include: (1) in-place restoration actions targeted at improving existing tidal marsh health and productivity; (2) strategic conservation in priority marsh migration corridors; and (3) actions supporting the transition of uplands into marsh. Blackwater 2100 can provide a useful example for natural resources, open space, and coastal managers to plan for minimizing coastal habitat loss due to sea-level rise by evaluating the tradeoffs of different adaptation strategies; and building partnerships with stakeholder groups and the community to examine marsh migration on an ecosystem scale that necessitates public and private land acquisitions and involvement. 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.

Related Organizations: National Audubon Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Quinault Indian Nation, Washington: Taholah Village Relocation Master Plan

July 15, 2020

Quinault Indian Nation (QIN), a federally recognized tribe located in Washington state, is currently implementing a phased relocation plan as part of a managed retreat strategy in response to the impacts of sea-level rise, flooding, and concerns about the increased likelihood of tsunamis and storm surges attributed to climate change. In 2017, QIN adopted the Taholah Village Relocation Master Plan that outlines a vision and development plan for relocating a portion of QIN living in the Lower Village of Taholah to a higher ground location in the Upper Village Relocation Area. The Master Plan contains eleven chapters covering the history and the need to relocate, goals and principles of the plan, and different aspects of the Upper Village blueprint including appropriate community facilities, housing, infrastructure, culture, sustainability, and resilience. It also sets forth implementation steps for the project through phasing, necessary regulatory changes, and funding. QIN developed the Master Plan with significant community input. The community engagement processes and sustainable planning strategies can provide transferable lessons for other state and local jurisdictions considering similar questions of strategic planning for coastal retreat and relocation, even on a smaller scale. 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: Planning

 

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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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Lac du Flambeau Climate Change Resilience Initiative

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) Indians have developed the Climate Change Resilience Initiative incorporating traditional knowledge and western science to better understand how the land, waters, species and resources have been and will be affected by climate change. The Initiative is built around the greater goal of protecting minobimadiziiwin (culture and way of life) and the economy of the Waswagoning (Lac du Flambeau) community for the next seven generations. Four climate related plans were developed by the Lac du Flambeau including an Energy Reduction Plan, Hazard Mitigation Plan, Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, and a Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Related Organizations: Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) Indians, Great Lakes Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments Center (GLISA) - RISA, Bullock & Haddow, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Karuk Tribe Climate Adaptation Plan

August 16, 2019

Karuk have lived in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains in the mid-Klamath River region of northern California beyond documented history, and now face severe climate change impacts to their territory and way of life. The Karuk Climate Adaptation Plan details climate impacts and adaptation strategies for the Karuk tribe and culture, local species and habitats, human health, critical infrastructure, tribal programs, tribal sovereignty and management authority. The climate adaptations evaluated have combined western science and Karuk traditional knowledge, and are recommended based on 22 focal species cultural indicators “for human responsibilities and necessary human actions” across seven habitat management zones.

Related Organizations: Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources

Authors or Affiliated Users: Kari Norgaard, William Tripp

Resource Category: Planning

 

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City of Punta Gorda Adaptation Plan Update

June 28, 2019

On June 28, 2019, the City of Punta Gorda released an Adaptation Plan update to assess public infrastructure vulnerability to coastal flooding and sea-level rise. An addendum to the update report to 2009 climate adaptation plan with a living shoreline element, the updated plan is the product of the NOAA’s 2018-2019 Florida Resilient Coastlines: Resiliency Planning grant, administered by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and in collaboration with Taylor Engineering, Inc.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Ola Oahu Resilience Strategy

May 31, 2019

The O‘ahu Resilience Strategy, developed by the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii is focused on adapting to shocks and stresses on the island - primarily increased cost of living and climate change impacts in Honolulu. The Strategy offers 44 Actions across four focal areas or Resilience “Pillars” of Long-term Affordability (local economy), Disaster Preparedness, Climate Security, and Community Cohesion for the island and communities of O’ahu. The Strategy is critical for planning on O’ahu’s social, economic and environmental sustainability as, according to the report, “45% of O‘ahu residents live in a household where someone is contemplating leaving, and 78% of residents believe that climate change is going to impact them personally.

Related Organizations: City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Anchorage, Alaska Climate Action Plan

May 21, 2019

Anchorage, Alaska’s Climate Action Plan offers both climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies that support a vision for resilience and 80% less greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Climate adaptation planning is focused on emergency preparedness, watershed, urban forest and public health measures. Social equity and inclusion of indigenous communities impacts and needs are also prioritized, with Alaskan Native values incorporated throughout the plan.

Related Organizations: City of Anchorage, Alaska, University of Alaska Anchorage

Resource Category: Planning

 

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