Climate Mitigation and Adaptation News
September 9, 2015
A biweekly newsletter of the Climate Readiness Collaborative

Those familiar with Sacramento's geography and history would not be surprised that in the midst of a drought, policymakers are thinking about flooding. Historical floods devastated Sacramento in 1850 and 1861 - even forcing the capitol to relocate for 18 months - and more recently, heavy rainfall flooded the region in 1955, 1986, and 1995. Now with a record-breaking El Ni�o event predicted for the winter, the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a timely reminder of the importance of resiliency and preparedness, especially for our vulnerable communities. 
News and Research
We must build resilience into our communities
What have we learned from Katrina? What new scientific knowledge can help us to be better prepared? And how do we encourage investments that make our communities more resilient? Innovative approaches can better equip society to deal with natural disasters and other shocks, says risk management expert Erwann Michel-Kerjan. (Nature)
10 years after Katrina, will Sacramento be the next New Orleans?
Photo: Shutterstock/Dylan Petrohilos
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calls the Sacramento area "among the most at-risk regions in America for catastrophic flooding," affected by unique geographic, seismic, and economic factors. The Natomas area is protected by a 41-mile levee system, but just one break could fill up the whole area, due to its shape; effective protection has to be system-wide. Fortunately significant levee improvements have been completed or are underway in metropolitan Sacramento, but FEMA needs to revise its flood mapping and levee assessment to account for elevated risks in which a 100-year-flood may become much worse. (Climate Progress)
Sacramento's worst-case flooding scenario
Photo: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncell
Located on a massive, deep floodplain at the intersection of the American and Sacramento River,the Sacramento metropolitan area has nearly 2.5 million people and is the capital of the world's eighth-largest economy. According to a recent state report, Sacramento could be buried under 20 feet of water and face a worst-case scenario of 500 dead, 102 square miles flooded, 300,000 residents displaced, and a cost of $25 billion. Sacramento is working hard to reduce risks, but considering that this year may bring a record-breaking El Nino, the risk is still enormous, particularly for low-income neighborhoods. (City Lab)
In the midst of drought, California communities prepare for flooding
Officials are already preparing for a rainy winter due to signs of a strong El Ni�o event, clearing basins and channels to increase stormwater storage and prevent flooding. Prolonged drought conditions may increase vulnerabilities to flood-related damage. However, only half of all massive El Ni�o events have brought California heavy rainfall. And the heavy rainfall is unlikely to reach the levels needed - 1.5 times the normal rainfall - to end the extreme drought. (CBS)

Tahoe-Truckee businesses support California climate action

Living in a tourist-dependent economy, businesses in the Sierra Nevada are uniquely affected by climate change. Lack of snow creates consequences that ripple through the economy, which impacts families as well as reduces tax revenues to fund basic public services. Small businesses face a particular set of challenges and must play a role in protecting and defending the environment they depend on for their livelihoods. (Tahoe Daily Tribune)

As wildfires rage and budgets dwindle, more federal funds sought for firefighting

Photo: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
In a letter to regional foresters and other employees, Tom Tidwell, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, said the agency would have to borrow money from other programs the agency runs, a practice that has become increasingly common as wildfires grow in size and intensity. This year, for the first time, the agency is spending more than half its budget to fight wildfires. "Once again we have to shut down many parts of our mission to fulfill our wildfire suppression responsibilities within the funds available to the agency," Tidwell wrote. (LA Times)
Wildfire bill is House panel's most bipartisan
Unlike other natural disasters, even the most serious wildfires cannot access special disaster funding for firefighting costs. The U.S. Forest Service currently must pay for all firefighting costs out of its own budget, which takes away funds from important programs, such as fuel thinning and restoration work, which reduce fire risk. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act would correct this, and has unusual bipartisan support from lawmakers and interests groups. (Link
Wind technology soars to new heights in U.S.
Wind energy in the US is being installed at a rapid rate, costs are plummeting, the technology is advancing, and it is creating a growing number of jobs, says two new reports from the Department of Energy. Now at 66 GW of installed capacity, wind energy provides roughly 5 percent of U.S. demand, enough to power 17.5 million homes, and supplies 73,000 jobs. Wind now generates over 20 percent of the energy in 3 states, helping to dispel fears that its variable production will disrupt the grid. Turbines of the future are getting taller and bigger, helping them to generate more electricity. (Washington Post
Resources and Tools
Lessons learned from rebuilding New Orleans
This case study of post-Katrina rebuilding efforts in New Orleans offers valuable lessons for all communities seeking to rebuild more resiliently after a disaster. Rather than rebuild to the original, officials worked with citizens to create profound change in the design and function of public schools and stormwater systems to create a more resilient city. The case study details the major barriers that the city encountered when trying to use disaster relief funds for these goals and explores federal, state, and local efforts to overcome these barriers. It also examines policy changes that FEMA is initiating to increase flexibility in its disaster relief programs. (GCC)
The Climate Hubs Tool Shed: An inventory of tools for land managers
Established in 2014 to deliver science-based knowledge, practical information, and program support to farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and resource managers, the USDA Regional Climate Hubs are excited to announce the release of the Climate Hubs Tool Shed. The Tool Shed is an online, searchable database of tools (data-driven, interactive websites and mobile apps) that can assist land managers, land owners, and extension professionals in adapting working lands to the impacts of climate change. (Link)
Upcoming Opportunities
Job opening: Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator
The Local Government Commission (LGC) is recruiting to fill the Statewide Local Government Energy Efficiency Best Practices Coordinator position for the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative. This position will focus on assisting local governments to meet goals within the California Long-term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. The coordinator is responsible for developing and disseminating local government energy efficiency best practices, tracking statewide progress, facilitating partnerships between local government staff, and more. Application deadline is October 2, or until the position is filled. (More information)
CivicSpark: Helping local governments on climate change and sustainability
CivicSpark is an AmeriCorps initiative that supports local governments in their climate change and sustainability work. In its first year, CivicSpark members have been supporting urban forestry for disadvantaged communities in South Sacramento, building community engagement on climate action in Davis, evaluating the Yolo County climate action plan, and analyzing the regional transportation infrastructure's vulnerabilities to climate risks. If you are a local government looking for additional capacity and support on your climate change projects, please consider hiring a CivicSpark member on a 3- or 6-month, or full-year basis. Learn more about how the program works; applications for the 2015 to 2016 service year are now open. 
Local Government Commission Seeks Regional Coordinators for CivicSpark
CivicSpark is seeking Encore Fellows to serve as Regional Coordinators. Encore Fellowships are paid, time-limited fellowships that match skilled, experienced professionals with social-purpose organizations in high-impact assignments. Each CivicSpark Encore Fellow will spend 1,000 hours over a 13-month period supervising a team of 3-8 AmeriCorps Members, managing partner relationships, and proving support to project management and implementation. Encore Fellows would act as an integral part of the CivicSpark team, supporting the AmeriCorps members and coordinating closely with LGC staff in Sacramento to ensure the program is implemented successfully in the region. We are currently looking for applicants for teams in Fresno, Sacramento, Truckee, and San Luis Obispo. (Application form)
USDA Innovation Challenge
The USDA Innovation Challenge is seeking applications that help build a sustainable U.S. food system by putting USDA data into the hands of farmers, researchers, and consumers. Given its complexity, agriculture has great potential for the use of big data and analytics, but the data must be accessible and insightful for users. Deadline: November 20, 2015. (More info)
Upcoming Events

Webinar: Health Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Thursday, September 10, noon-1pm PDT

Featuring three eminent green infrastructure practitioners and researchers, this webinar will discuss the health benefits of green infrastructure and how to incorporate health considerations into green infrastructure plans and projects. Speakers from the American Planning Association, AECOM, and the University of Washington will provide an overview of promoting health through green infrastructure, identify design elements that lead to health-promoting activities, and discuss the connection between nature and mental health benefits. (Register)

Navigating the Stafford Act for Community Resilience

Thursday, September 17, 9-10.30am

Communities think that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will step in to cover the costs of disaster recovery, but this is rarely the case, and getting funds approved for resilience can be significantly expedited by pre-event planning. In this training designed for local public works, planning and city/county administrators, consultants, community leaders, and state officials, participants will learn the basics of the FEMA Recovery Programs, advice on resilience funding, and how to avoid pitfalls while navigating Stafford Act requirements. (Register)

Advancing Bicycling in the Capital Region

Wednesday, September 23, 8.30am-5pm

Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento

The Local Government Commission, in partnership with the Sacramento Metropolitan AQMD, is organizing a one-day workshop on what can be done to take bicycling to the next level in the Capital Region. Topics include the economic benefits of cycling, advancing bicycling in underserved communities, changing the culture around bicycling, bikeway design best practices, and more. Join us at this workshop and connect with a comprehensive network of leaders who have a strong commitment to advancing bicycling in our region and beyond. Scholarships are available for community organizations, non profit organizations and youth to attend the event. Visit the event website to learn more. (Register

California Financing Coordinating Committee (CFCC) Funding Fair

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sacramento County Sanitation, 10060 Goethe Rd, Sacramento

CFCC Funding Fairs provide opportunities to obtain information about currently available infrastructure grant, loan, and bond financing programs and options for local governments. CFCC agencies fund primarily the following types of infrastructure projects: drinking water, wastewater, water quality, water supply, water conservation water use efficiency, energy efficiency, and flood management.  (More info)

National Adaptation Forum Webinar: Evaluation and Monitoring Examples from the Field

Wednesday, September 30, 10-11am

Good adaptation is going to require monitoring and evaluation in order to determine what is working and what is not working. Practitioners in the field are starting to look at ways to integrate monitoring and evaluation into their work. Join us to learn more about examples of climate adaptation evaluation and monitoring efforts. (Register)
About the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative

The Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative is a membership based collaborative network designed to promote greater climate change resilience planning coordination in the six-county Sacramento Region. The purpose of this collaborative network is to create a forum where leaders from government, academia, environmental and community groups, the business community, and labor can come together to exchange information, identify vulnerabilities and data gaps, leverage resources, and advance comprehensive solutions in an effort to create stronger, sustainable, and economically viable communities in the Sacramento Region.  If you are interested in learning more about the Climate Readiness Collaborative, joining the Collaborative, or being added to the list serve, visit: