Targeted Adapation Strategies for Climate Impacts on Water

Targeted Adapation Strategies for Climate Impacts on Water

The adaptation strategies provided below are organized by climate impact. The strategies are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address current and future climate threats to water sources. 

Climate Impacts

Sea Level Rise

  • Incorporate consideration of climate change impacts into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., homes, businesses)
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management – using an integrated approach to achieve sustainability
  • Land acquisition program – purchase coastal land that is damaged or prone to damage and use it for conservation

  • Retreat from, and abandonment of, coastal barriers

  • Harden shorelines with breakwaters – structures placed offshore to reduce wave action
  • Harden shorelines with bulkheads – anchored, vertical barriers constructed at the shoreline to block erosion
  • Harden shorelines with revetments that armor the slope face of the shoreline
  • Harden shorelines with seawalls

  • Create dunes along backshore of beach; includes planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands
  • Increase shoreline setbacks
  • Plant submerged aquatic vegetation (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
  • Redefine river flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent
  • Remove shoreline hardening structures such as bulkheads, dikes and other engineered structures to allow for shoreline migration
  • Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishment, planting vegetation, etc
  • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Flooding & Stormwater Management

  • Design new coastal drainage system
  • Develop adaptive stormwater management practices (e.g., remove impervious surface, replace undersized culverts)
  • Plug drainage canals

  • Incorporate consideration of climate change impacts into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., homes, businesses)

  • Redefine river flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent

Erosion & Sedimentation

  • Create a regional sediment management (RSM) plan
  • Develop adaptive stormwater management practices (e.g., promoting natural buffers, adequate culvert sizing)
  • Maintain Sediment Transport
  • Promote wetland accretion by introducing sediment
  • Prohibit hard shore protection
  • Trap or add sand through beach nourishment – the addition of sand to a shoreline to enhance or create a beach area
  • Trap sand through construction of groins – a barrier type structure that traps sand by interrupting longshore transport

  • Design new coastal drainage system

  • Harden shorelines with breakwaters – structures placed offshore to reduce wave action
  • Harden shorelines with bulkheads – anchored, vertical barriers constructed at the shoreline to block erosion
  • Harden shorelines with revetments that armor the slope face of the shoreline
  • Harden shorelines with seawalls

  • Composite systems – incorporate elements of two or more methods (e.g., breakwater, sand fill, and planting vegetation)
  • Create dunes along backshore of beach; includes planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands
  • Increase shoreline setbacks
  • Plant submerged aquatic vegetation (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
  • Redefine river flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent
  • Remove shoreline hardening structures such as bulkheads, dikes, and other engineered structures to allow for shoreline migration
  • Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishment, planting vegetation, etc
  • Restrict or prohibit development in erosion zones
  • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Wetland Protection

  • Expand the planning horizons of land use planning to incorporate longer climate predictions

  • Integrate coastal management into land use planning
  • Land acquisition program – purchase coastal land that is damaged or prone to damage and use it for conservation
  • Land exchange programs – owners exchange property in the floodplain for county-owned land outside of the floodplain

  • Create marsh by planting the appropriate species – typically grasses, sedges, or rushes – in the existing substrate
  • Plant submerged aquatic vegetation (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
  • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Change in Fish Species

  • Install rock sills and other artificial breakwaters in front of tidal marshes along energetic estuarine shores
  • Plant submerged aquatic vegetation (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
  • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Estuaries

  • Create water markets – transferring land and water from agricultural to community use
  • Design new coastal drainage system
  • Develop adaptive stormwater management practices (e.g., remove impervious surface, replace undersized culverts)
  • Establish or broaden "use containment areas" to allocate and cap water withdrawal
  • Incorporate sea level rise into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., sewage systems)
  • Integrate climate change scenarios into water supply system
  • Manage water demand (through water reuse, recycling, rainwater harvesting, desalination, etc.)
  • Plug drainage canals
  • Prevent or limit groundwater extraction from shallow aquifers

  • Create permitting rules that constrain locations for landfills, hazardous waste dumps, mine tailings, and toxic chemical facilities
  • Incorporate consideration of climate change impacts into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., homes, businesses)
  • Integrate coastal management into land use planning
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management – using an integrated approach to achieve sustainability
  • Land acquisition program – purchase coastal land that is damaged or prone to damage and use it for conservation
  • Land exchange programs – owners exchange property in the floodplain for county-owned land outside of the floodplain
  • Manage realignment and deliberately realign engineering structures affecting rivers, estuaries, and coastlines

  • Fortify dikes
  • Harden shorelines with breakwaters – structures placed offshore to reduce wave action
  • Harden shorelines with bulkheads – anchored, vertical barriers constructed at the shoreline to block erosion
  • Harden shorelines with revetments that armor the slope face of the shoreline
  • Harden shorelines with seawalls
  • Headland control – reinforce or accentuate an existing geomorphic feature or create an artificial headland (e.g., Geotextile tubes)

  • Composite systems – incorporate elements of two or more methods (e.g., breakwater, sand fill, and planting vegetation)
  • Create dunes along backshore of beach; includes planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands
  • Create marsh by planting the appropriate species – typically grasses, sedges, or rushes – in the existing substrate
  • Increase shoreline setbacks
  • Install rock sills and other artificial breakwaters in front of tidal marshes along energetic estuarine shores
  • Plant submerged aquatic vegetation (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
  • Redefine riverine flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent
  • Remove shoreline hardening structures such as bulkheads, dikes, and other engineered structures to allow for shoreline migration
  • Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishment, planting vegetation, etc
  • Restrict or prohibit development in erosion zones
  • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Source Documents

These strategies are adapted from existing federal sources, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others. Please view these strategies in the context provided by the primary source document:

Disclaimer

The adaptation strategies provided are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address current and future climate threats. Read the full disclaimer.

 

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