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New Interactive Map, Webpage Highlight Local Climate Plans


January 14, 2022  by  Lisa Pool
Category:  Climate Change MRSC News and Updates

New Interactive Map, Webpage Highlight Local Climate Plans

Last summer, MRSC launched its Local Climate Response Project featuring climate-related blogs, webinars, and new topic pages to assist local governments in their climate planning efforts. The first of these new topic 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. Accessible in two formats — an interactive map and a detailed list — these documents address frontline communities (those that experience the “first and worst” impacts), mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions), and adaptation (lessening climate impacts).

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

Interactive Map

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

WashingtonStateClimateResourcesMap_shaddow_618x586

By using the tabs at the top of the map, you may limit the results to just one jurisdiction type (counties, cities, tribes, or other public agencies).

To view a specific jurisdiction’s documents, you can click on the associated icon, and you will see an option to “Click Here to View Document(s).” That link will open in a new window with links to all the documents for that jurisdiction.

To reset the view, click on the white area inside the map box but outside the Washington State outline.

Document List

As an alternative to the interactive map, you may also browse these documents by geography and entity type in the sections below the map (see screenshot below). This list draws from the same documents available through the map.

ListCountyClimateDocuments_shaddow_618x586

Example Plans and Studies

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

Climate Action Plans

As noted in this MRSC blog on climate action plans (CAPs), a CAP identifies greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals based on local priorities and provides a framework for achieving these goals. Also referred to as mitigation or sustainability plans, CAPs may include resiliency and adaptation (see section below) goals. Examples of CAPs include:

  • Spokane Sustainability Action Plan — This 2021 plan is centered on equity and identifies strategies and actions to meet the city's 100% renewable energy goals that were first adopted in 2018.
  • Whatcom County Climate Action Plan — This 2021 plan calls for the formation of an Office of Climate Action that would house staff dedicated to coordinating efforts across multiple county departments and the public and promoting community engagement in projects that boost climate resilience.
  • Climate Action Plan for the Territories of the Yakama Nation — This 2019 plan emphasizes strategies that promote healthy communities, ecologies, and river systems to support historical, cultural, spiritual, and economic practices of the tribes.

Resiliency and Adaptation Planning

Per the Whatcom County Climate Action Plan (referenced above), climate resilience is the capacity of a system to deal with change and continue to function. It is especially important given the uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of climate change impacts. Adaptation involves altering human behavior and/or systems to reduce or avoid likely climate impacts. Examples of resiliency and adaptation plans include:

  • Chelan County-Wide Climate Resilience Planning — The county is developing a strategy that will address impacts such as wildfire, snowpack and streamflow, flooding, and water supply. This webpage includes a climate resiliency resource library and other planning-related resources.
  • Shoreline Climate Impacts and Resiliency Study — This 2020 study identifies impacts and areas of vulnerability, with a core focus on Shoreline’s stormwater system. Educational materials and a mapping tool were developed to communicate these vulnerabilities.
  • Thurston County Climate Adaptation Plan — This plan was developed by the Thurston Regional Planning Council to help the county and broader South Puget Sound region prepare for climate change. It was funded with a National Estuary Program grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in-kind support from the community.  

Hazard Mitigation Plans

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

Comprehensive Plans

As discussed on our Comprehensive 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, like those below, connect the Washington State Growth Management Act planning goals (e.g., encouraging development in urban areas with adequate public facilities and services, reducing sprawl, encouraging multimodal transportation systems, etc.) to climate action, while others don’t make this direct link.

As part of the 2021 legislative session, the legislature issued a budget proviso that appropriates more than $3 million over the next two years to support the Department of Commerce in developing guidelines to help jurisdictions integrate mitigation and resiliency goals into their comprehensive plans.

Conclusion

This blog highlighted a sampling of climate documents available in our new interactive map and related topic webpage. If your community has adopted a plan or study that is not included, or if you have questions or feedback, please contact me at lpool@mrsc.org. Also, check our website regularly in the coming weeks for additional climate blogs and topic pages regarding climate equity, GHG emissions, and adaptation.


MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may 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 a senior planner for Bellingham. In this role, she primarily focused on long-range planning projects, including the city’s comprehensive plan and new housing-related regulations. Prior to moving to Bellingham, she worked on regional sustainability and transportation issues for a metropolitan planning organization and conducted development review for cities and counties in the Midwest.

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

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