Climate Change Resilience & Adaptation Planning

Our Experience

At Fernleaf we work with partners that include governments, planning organizations, architectural and engineering firms, and academic organizations to provide resilience plan development and decision support services focusing on vulnerability and risk assessments. We work directly with all levels of government – from federal to local – to support a deeper understanding of climate vulnerabilities and risks as well as the mitigation and adaptation actions necessary to address them equitably.

To get an idea of the real-world work we do, we’ve included three climate change resilience and adaptation examples from projects we’ve done (see below). These projects provide a glimpse of the types of approaches and solutions to the climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges encountered by our clients. You may be facing some of the same challenges and have some of the same questions they do. We’re here to help. Contact us to find out more about how we can help develop actionable, cost-effective and equitable adaptation and resilience solutions for your community.

Charleston, SC

The Problem

The City of Charleston had already done much work on sea-level rise and flooding threat when we were contacted to bring their climate and non-climate vulnerabilities and risks into focus. Charleston faced challenges from long-term sea-level rise, precipitation deluges, storm surge flooding, heat, growth in flood-prone areas, and its location in the most seismically active area on the east coast of the United States. The City needed to understand the full scope of its vulnerabilities and risks and develop a plan to address them. 

 

The Solution

In 2020, the City of Charleston worked closely with Fernleaf and other partners to guide them through the process of developing an All Hazards Vulnerability and Risk Assessment using the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit Steps to Resilience, our analytical engine to power the analysis, and an “all of government” approach to building the plan. Not only were flood-related hazards, such as tidal flooding and storm surge, assessed, but other threats, such as HAZMAT releases and seismic activity, were also analyzed. This plan enabled the City to have a deeper understanding of their vulnerabilities and risks, a more effective response in each government functional area, and broad community support. It also was a key foundational document from which important strategies and actions were integrated into the 2021 Charleston City Plan recommendations for resilience and equity.  

Charleston, SC

The Problem

In recent years, the City of Tallahassee, FL, experienced unprecedented disruptions from extreme weather events, from hurricanes and tornadoes to the first snow event in the last 30 years. As the capital of Florida and home to two major universities, Tallahassee’s population is growing and dynamic. The impacts of extreme weather events on infrastructure and services affect hundreds of thousands of people in the city and surrounding region. The City of Tallahassee needed a plan for understanding its climate vulnerabilities and responding to them.

 

The Solution

To get a better handle on the growth of the city and the increasing number of extreme weather events, the City of Tallahassee took a step toward a resilient and sustainable future in 2018 with Fernleaf. Using the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit Steps to Resilience, we facilitated a series of hands-on workshops. In 2019, the Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Assessment was completed, which was incorporated in the Tallahassee Resilience Plan. The Plan uses the Assessment to identify strategies that strengthen the community and offer achievable, measurable, and impact-driven outcomes. One such strategy was to prioritize capital investments that build resilience by considering risk within design standards. Fernleaf also used the AccelAdapt tool to generate quantified decision support information for the City's Plan development, such as the number and type of residential properties highly vulnerable to flooding and which areas of the City that may be outside of a 5-minute drive time to fire stations.

In 2021, the City of Tallahassee realized the amount of progress made on their goals warranted a refresh of the assessment in AccelAdapt. Using updated data, Fernleaf underwent a refresh of the analysis to gain renewed insights on climate adaptation priorities.

Charleston, SC

The Problem

The Land of Sky Regional Council of Governments (“the COG”) is comprised of a five-county area in Western North Carolina. It is a local government planning and development organization which includes the City of Asheville and surrounding areas. Realizing the diversity in characteristics in the region and the size of the area, the COG needed a way to determine vulnerability and risk so they could best serve the entire population throughout the region.

 

The Solution

In 2017, the Land of Sky Regional Council partnered with Fernleaf, the regional economic development coalition, and the National Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) at UNC Asheville to undertake a multi-phased, multi-year process of assessing climate and non-climate vulnerabilities and risks on the economy and assets of the community.

Using the national climate assessment tool, the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit Steps to Resilience framework, Fernleaf guided the COG through the resilience planning process. Using a phased approach to the assessment, the objective of Phase I was to determine the climate and non-climate threats on which to focus the assessment and to examine their potential impacts on economic development and transportation. This phase also considered trends and future changes in climate conditions and determining exposure. Phases II and III built on this work by expanding the assessment into new asset and threat classes: flooding on commercial property and flooding, landslides, and wildfire on residential properties. Phase III also included providing these assessments in AccelAdapt to interactively explore and use all assessments. While still having the opportunity to continue to build out the assessment, the COG now has this information and data available to them to make regional decisions, prioritize projects, and identify strategies for funding opportunities to continue to build resilience. 

Customers Served

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Partnerships

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This is a representation of current and prior Fernleaf customers and partners and does not constitute an endorsement of, or by, Fernleaf.

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