Climate Change Adaptation Case Studies

Adaptation planning for climate change is a risk management strategy that helps communities understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change on local assets.  The following case studies provide an example of how different communities are going about adaptation planning.  An overview of climate change planning can be downloaded here.  Several more case studies can be found on the NOAA Coastal Services Center site and on the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange.  


Local Case Studies

Santa Cruz

Coastal erosion and armoring in Santa Cruz.  (photo: Brad Damitz)

The City of Santa Cruz recognizes the potential threat of climate change and is taking steps to prepare for these threats through climate adaptation planning.

Links for more information:

Presentation on Santa Cruz from the Preparing for the Future Workshop on Dec. 6, 2011: Climate Adaptation Planning In Santa Cruz, Cathlin Atchinson

City of Santa Cruz Climate Adaptation Plan

City of Santa Cruz Climate Adaptation Planning Webpage

Video: CalEMA features Santa Cruz County storm damage

Southern Monterey Bay 

Ocean Harbor House Condominiums during high tide. (photo: Mike Fox)

The shoreline along the southern Monterey Bay has historically been subject to extensive coastal erosion, and on average has the highest erosion rates in the State of California.  The potential threats to coastal structures and communities from this erosion has been of growing concern and has led local municipalities, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders to address it through a collaborative adaptation planning process.  

Links for more information:  

Presentation on southern Monterey Bay from the Preparing for the Future Workshop on Dec. 6, 2011: A Collaborative Planning Process for Adapting to Coastal Erosion and Sea Level Rise in the Southern Monterey Bay, Brad Damitz

Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan for Southern Monterey Bay 

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Webpage - Resource Management Issues: Coastal Armoring


Other Case Studies

King County, Washington

Downtown Seattle, Washington. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

King County in Washington State is a community that has developed a comprehensive program to equip itself to deal with climate change. Many of the tools and strategies that King County has employed can be applied in other communities.  

Links for more information:  

Presentation on King County, Washington from the Preparing for the Future Workshop on Dec. 6, 2011: Case Studies and Strategies: King County, Washington, Matt Kuharic 

King County Climate Change Webpage

Adapting to Climate Change: Strategies from King County, Washington

Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments

King County 2009 Climate Report

Toward a Sustainable, Prosperous King County: 2010 Annual Report of King County's Climate Change, Energy, Green Building and Environmental Purchasing Programs 


City of Berkeley

View of Berkeley as seen from Claremont Canyon in the Berkeley Hills. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Berkeley has developed a plan that guides community-wide efforts to reduce global warming emissions and achieve associated benefits such as improved public health, increased energy affordability, and improved access to green jobs.  

Links for more information:  

City of Berkeley Climate Action Webpage

City of Berkeley 2009 Climate Action Plan: Full Report 

City of Berkeley 2009 Climate Action Plan: Executive Summary 

City of Berkeley Climate Change Adaptation in Action