New interactive map, webpage highlighting local climate plans

January 14, 2022
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Pool Lisa



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Last summer, the MRSC launched its Local Climate Response Project featuring blogs, webinars and new thematic climate pages to help local governments in their climate planning efforts. The first of these new thematic pages, Local Government Climate Change Documents, is now available.

On this page, MRSC staff have compiled a selection of over 300 climate impact-related resources from local governments across the state. Available in two formats — an interactive map and a detailed list — these documents focus on frontline communities (those experiencing the “first and worst” impacts), mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation (reduction of climate impacts).

This blog provides tips and tricks for using the interactive map and highlights some of the resources included in our new topic page.

Interactive map

The interactive map (see screenshot below) includes icons for Washington State jurisdictions that we know of that have adopted climate-related documents.

WashingtonStateClimateResourcesMap_shaddow_618x586

Using the tabs at the top of the map, you can limit the results to a single type of jurisdiction (counties, cities, tribes or other public bodies).

To view documents from a specific jurisdiction, you can click on the associated icon, and you will see an option “Click here to view document(s)”. This link will open in a new window with links to all documents in this jurisdiction.

To reset the view, click the white area inside the map area but outside the Washington state outline.

Document list

As an alternative to the interactive map, you can also browse these documents by geography and feature type in the sections below the map (see screenshot below). This list is based on the same documents available via the map.

ListCountyClimateDocuments_shaddow_618x586

Examples of plans and studies

Selected documents on our new webpage include climate action plans, resilience and adaptation plans, risk mitigation plans, and comprehensive plans that reference climate change. Below are examples of these resources by plan type.

Climate Action Plans

As discussed in this MRSC blog on Climate Action Plans (CAPs), a CAP identifies greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets based on local priorities and provides a framework for achieving those targets. Also called mitigation or sustainability plans, CAPs can include resilience and adaptation goals (see section below). Here are some examples of CAPs:

  • Spokane’s Sustainability Action Plan – This 2021 plan focuses on equity and identifies strategies and actions to achieve the city’s 100% renewable energy goals that were first adopted in 2018 .
  • Whatcom County Climate Action Plan – This 2021 plan calls for the creation of an Office of Climate Action that would house staff dedicated to coordinating efforts between multiple county departments and the public and promoting climate change. community engagement in projects that build climate resilience.
  • Climate Action Plan for Yakama Nation Territories – This 2019 plan focuses on strategies that foster healthy communities, ecologies and river systems to support tribal historical, cultural, spiritual and economic practices.

Resilience and adaptation planning

According to Whatcom County’s Climate Action Plan (mentioned above), climate resilience is the ability of a system to cope with change and continue to function. This is particularly important given the uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of climate change impacts. Adaptation involves modifying human behavior and/or systems to reduce or avoid likely climate impacts. The following are examples of resilience and adaptation plans:

  • Chelan County-Wide Climate Resilience Planning – The county is developing a strategy that will address impacts such as wildfires, snow accumulation and stream flow, flooding and supply in water. This webpage includes a library of resources on climate resilience and other planning-related resources.
  • Shoreline Climate Impacts and Resilience Study – This 2020 study identifies impacts and areas of vulnerability, with a focus on the Shoreline stormwater system. Educational materials and a mapping tool have been developed to communicate these vulnerabilities.
  • Thurston County Climate Adaptation Plan – This plan was developed by the Thurston Regional Planning Board to help the county and the greater South Puget Sound region prepare for climate change. It was funded by a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program and in-kind support from the community.

Risk mitigation plans

Hazard mitigation is any sustained action to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to human life and property from hazards. The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Stafford Act of 2000) requires state and local governments to develop such plans as a condition of receiving a federal grant. Below are some examples:

Complete packages

As noted on our Global Planning webpage, these plans are the centerpiece of local planning efforts and include goals and policies that guide decision-making and implementation actions. Some plans, such as those below, link the planning objectives of the Washington State Growth Management Act (for example, encouraging development in urban areas with adequate utilities and facilities, reducing sprawl, encouraging multimodal transport, etc.) to climate action, while others do not. t make this direct link.

  • Everett Global Plan: Chapter on Climate Change and Sustainability — This chapter discusses planning for climate change, greenhouse gas reduction, and adaptation. He notes that compact growth with mixed uses that support transportation options will be a key emissions reduction strategy.
  • Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan – Climate action is integrated into several chapters, including land use, environment, and transportation. For example, policy LU-P-24.3 encourages “renewable energy systems in rural areas to support local economic prosperity, gainful employment, (and) local energy resilience…”.
  • Lakewood 2021 Global Plan Update: Energy and Climate Change Chapter — This chapter describes potential impacts, energy consumption and GHG emissions; highlights key findings and recommendations; sets energy and climate change goals; and identifies responsibilities for implementation. It references the HEAL Act, the Washington State Department of Health’s Environmental Health Disparities Map, and the Lakewood City Council Equity Statement as resources.

As part of the 2021 legislative session, the Legislature released a budget reserve that allocates more than $3 million over the next two years to help the Department of Commerce develop guidelines to help jurisdictions integrate the goals mitigation and resilience into their comprehensive plans.

Conclusion

This blog has highlighted a sample of climate documents available in our new interactive map and related topics web page. If your community has adopted a plan or study that is not included, or if you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected] Also check our website regularly over the coming weeks for more climate blogs and thematic pages on climate equity, GHG emissions and adaptation.


MRSC is a private, nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible Washington State government agencies can use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

About Lisa Pool

Lisa Pool joined MRSC in June 2021. Most recently, she served as Senior Planner for Bellingham. In this role, she primarily focused on long-term planning projects, including the overall city plan and new regulations related to housing. Prior to moving to Bellingham, she worked on regional sustainability and transportation issues for a metropolitan planning organization and led development review for cities and counties in the Midwest.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy and a Masters in Urban Planning, both from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. She has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 2009.

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