Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Identified Smart Growth Strategies for More Resilient Communities

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Identified Smart Growth Strategies for More Resilient Communities

Project Summary

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The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through a technical assistance project to help develop climate adaptation policy options for the consideration of its local jurisdictions. The project sought to help local communities prepare for climate change impacts while bringing other environmental, economic and social benefits. To determine regional vulnerabilities, the Council of Governments used regional climate change projections from the 2009 National Climate Assessment combined with findings from the Maryland and Virginia state climate commissions, university studies, regional planning group assessments and input from local government staff. The Council of Governments relied on its standing committees made up of representatives from its member jurisdictions for input on the project and to keep its members engaged throughout the process.. The committees were related to buildings, land use, transportation and water sectors. This regional effort provided localities with information that would have been difficult to develop and duplicative if conducted separately. An example is an analysis of projected climate impacts and how they would affect different sectors. The effort also raised awareness of climate adaptation in the region and encouraged local governments to explore multi-benefit strategies while anticipating, planning and preparing for climate change. This effort also resulted in EPA developing the report: Using Smart Growth Strategies to Create More Resilient Communities in the Washington, D.C., Region (2013).

Implementation

The Council of Governments reviewed climate vulnerabilities and identified potential adaptation strategies. They analyzed regional climate change projections from the 2009 National Climate Assessment to assess projected climate impacts to the region. Projected climate risks were supplemented with findings from the Maryland and Virginia state climate commissions, universities and local staff and regional planning groups. The Council of Governments also hosted adaptation trainings and educational events that shared lessons learned from previous hazards to help develop local jurisdiction staff capacity on adaptation.

Under the technical assistance program, and with input from the Council of Government stakeholders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed Using Smart Growth Strategies to Create More Resilient Communities in the Washington, D.C. Region to give local governments policy options to consider when preparing for future climate risks.

The Council of Governments also engaged member jurisdictions to spread awareness of potential adaptation strategies. They engaged representatives from the Maryland Council of Government member jurisdictions in discussions about their priorities, needs and concerns related to climate change adaptation, They also held a day-long symposium to go into more depth on climate impacts and their implications for the region and local decision-makers.

Applicable Tools

Similar Case Studies

To find out more about the region’s activities on climate adaptation, visit the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation web page. Many other communities have collaborated with neighboring municipalities, regional entities or with non-profits to support adaptation planning efforts.

  • To view another case where multiple government jurisdictions collaborated to perform a regional projection for sea level rise and identify adaptation options, view the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.
  • Finally, view the Anacortes Water Utility case study to see how another community used a regional climate assessment, conducted by a neighboring municipality, to rebuild their water treatment plant and account for future climate risk.