Adaptation and Resilience

Issue Summary
Other Federal Agencies/Programs
Organizations/Non-government Programs
Databases and Tools

Issue Summary

Localities around the world are facing the impacts of climate change today. Experts predict that continued shifts in the global climate will result in widespread adverse effects, including sea level rise, flooding, coastal erosion, drought, heat waves, wildfires and more frequent and severe extreme weather events. Adaptation and resilience refer to the adjustments that decision-makers can implement to stave off or minimize the damages of these impacts.

Local governments can actively assess their communities' vulnerability to climate change and begin to develop programs, policies and strategies accounting for anticipated impacts on community infrastructure, economy, health, safety and welfare.

For information and resources on climate mitigation, please visit our Climate Change Mitigation page.


Presidential Executive Orders

The president issued executive orders addressing national climate change mitigation actions, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accords. Some of these call for implementation through federal actions and funding decisions that may affect local governments.

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EPA Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center. Online compendium of EPA climate adaptation resources. Provides links to financing resources, technical training, case studies and state programs. Includes a regionally-tailored search tool so users can find the resources most relevant to their locality.

EPA Library for Climate Change Adaptation. Repository of EPA publications on climate adaptation. Organized to include resources related to air quality, water management, emergency response, public health and adaptation planning.

EPA Local Government Climate Adaptation Training. Online, self-paced module discussing the basics of climate change and vulnerabilities unique to local governments. Provides strategies and resources for addressing these impacts through drought, fire and flood management planning.

EPA Resilience and Natural Disaster Debris Workshops. Summary reports from an EPA workshop focused on preparing for climate change-related natural disasters. Provides key considerations for planning, including strategies for increasing community involvement in planning and ensuring environmental justice in debris disposal activities.

EPA Guidance About Planning for Natural Disaster Debris. Lists recommended components for a debris management plan, management options for expected debris streams, case studies and links to additional resources to consult when crafting your locality's plan.

EPA Disaster Resilient Design Concepts. Strategies for landscape investments to protect life and property from natural disasters, such as wildfire, extreme heat, and landslides.

EPA Interactive Map Exploring Effects of Coastal Sea Level Rise on US Hazardous Waste. This interactive map displays coastal sea level rise scenarios across the United States and details how these effects are predicted to impact hazardous waste facilities along the U.S. coastline. 

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Other Federal Agencies/Programs

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Climate and Health Program. Agency program focused on helping state, tribal and local government health departments identify and prepare for climate-related health impacts in their communities. Provides grants, training and guidance materials for capacity-building.

  • Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework. Five-step process that allows public health officials to assess climate-related vulnerabilities and develop strategies and programs to help communities prepare for climate-related health impacts. Focuses on incorporating short- and long-term climate projections into public health planning.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Climate Portal. Compilation of online tools, databases and guidance documents to increase knowledge and capacity for climate-sensitive disaster preparedness and emergency management.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Climate Preparedness and Resilience Program. Summary of USACE climate adaptation strategy with links to reports and publications from USACE adaptation-focused projects and assessments.

NOAA Disaster and Risk Mapping Tool. Interactive mapping tool with county-level data on disaster risk and costs relating to droughts, floodings, freezes, storms, winter storms and cyclones.

Compendium of Federal Nature-Based Resources for Coastal Communities, States, Tribes and Territories. Compilation of federal resources and information for understanding nature-based approaches to climate adaptation. Includes information for designing projects like coastal habitat restoration, barrier islands, beach nourishment and sediment removal and wetland and estuary projects. Also provides detailed guidance for funding, financing and valuing such projects.

DOI Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience. Program page focused on climate preparedness and resilience resources for federally-recognized Tribal Nations and Alaska Native Villages. Includes links to technical and financial assistance, scientific tools and educational opportunities. This new website provides the public and decision-makers with clear, timely and science-based information to understand and reduce the health risks of extreme heat. will provide a one-stop hub on heat and health.

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation Tool. Tool compiling information from across the federal government to help people consider their local exposure to climate-related hazards and help local governments develop equitable climate resilience plans. The site also points users to federal grant funds for climate resilience projects, including those available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

National Water Dashboard. Interactive map displaying provisional real-time stream, lake, reservoir, precipitation, water quality and groundwater data from USGS observation stations across the country.  

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. A compilation of resources and tools by NOAA to help decision-makers across the US identify their local climate threats and vulnerabilities and reduce their risks from impacts of climate​ variability and change.

Resilience Project Funding Guide. Department of Defense (DOD) Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program guide featuring key funding information and application dates for all federal and non-federal resilience and conservation programs. 

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Organizations/Non-Government Programs

Extreme Heat and Resilience Alliance: Reducing Extreme Heat Risk for Vulnerable People. Multi-sectoral coalition focusing on addressing issues of extreme heat and climate change through providing guidance documents, developing policy recommendations, supplying access to funding and implementing interventions.

Georgetown Climate Center. An initiative of Georgetown Law School dedicated to creating and accumulating resources for local, state and federal climate action. Includes links to climate change databases, guidance documents, policy briefs and toolkits for both mitigation and adaptation.

Adaptation Clearinghouse. Repository of adaptation focused resources for policymakers. Content focal areas include water, coastal, transportation, infrastructure and public health sectors, concentrating on adaptation planning, policies, laws and governance.

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Global network of local governments and related stakeholders. Provides publications, webinars, toolkits and other guidance documents focused on local climate action. Offers member cities opportunities for peer-to-peer learning exchange.

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Databases and Tools

Community Resilience Estimates Equity Supplement. U.S. Census Bureau tool providing information on communities' capacity to absorb external stresses from disaster. Includes data for the nation, states, counties and census tracts.

Climate. Park. Change. Climate change data accumulated to assist parks and recreation officials prepare for local climate impacts. Includes interactive map with locality-level data on climate impacts, adaptation strategies, case studies and a ready-to-use toolkit.

EPA Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU). EPA initiative to provide drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities with technical training, resources, assessment tools, case studies and historical and projection data to help improve the water sector's climate resilience.

EPA Climate Adaptation Tools. Repository of online tools to help with adaptation efforts related to air quality, water management, waste management, emergency response and public health.

National Integrated Heat Health Information System. Center for Disease Control and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration database for understanding and combating the public health and safety concerns posed by extreme heat. Includes a suite of experimental mapping tools as well as topical news and events.

Ready-to-Fund Resilience Toolkit. American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP) toolkit targeted at small and mid-sized municipal governments seeking to improve resilience. Provides strategies for designing fundable projects by focusing on specific policy levers, identifying opportunities for partnership, improving accounting practices and rethinking internal processes.

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) Killer Heat Interactive Tool. Interactive web tool to help local governments and communities make future projections for the incidence of extreme heat days in cities and counties across the U.S.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity. Provides information regarding HHS actions on climate change adaptation and environmental justice such as their work with the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice, the creation of their web pages detailing the nexus between climate change, environmental justice, and public health, and their newsletter sharing key news and events on related subject-matter. Includes links to ongoing programming as well as the HHS 2021 Strategic Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. Comprehensive online toolkit created by the federal government to provide cities with step-by-step guidance, comprehensive data, regionally-tailored advice and case studies to improve America's collective climate resilience.

Adapting Stormwater Management for Coastal Floods. Step-by-step guidance for developing climate-resilient, flood-prepared stormwater infrastructure by understanding, assessing and analyzing your current system and local flood projections.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Dashboard providing information on extreme heat to assist decision-makers in designing locally-tailored interventions. Shows extreme heat progression over time, heat-related health impacts and data visualizations of LIHEAP program impacts. 

ICC Resilience Toolkit. A toolkit created by the International Code Council Building on how municipalities can contribute to resilience through building codes. 

Climate Change State Resource Locator. Find examples of adaptation plans developed by local governments in communities facing a wide range of potential climate challenges. 

Urban Cooling Toolbox. The Urban Cooling Toolbox provides guidance for municipalities on how to lower urban temperatures and reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect. It also includes advice to inform cities' actions to adapt to extreme heat as part of climate action planning. Each option is presented on a 'card' that is designed to be used as facilitation tools in planning workshops.

My Community Explorer. This U.S. Census Bureau arcGIS site includes community resilience estimates based as well as data on active hurricanes, cyclones & typhoons, current wildfires, temperature, and air quality. This interactive map is intended to be used to ensure equitable access to transportation and health care, as well as to understand regions potentially impacted by events.

OnTheMap for Emergency Management. This U.S. Census Bureau arcGIS site maps recent federally declared disasters including tropical storms, wildfires, and floods.

Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation Assessment Tool. The Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) Assessment tool provides current and future climate hazard information to assist federal agencies and the recipients of federal funds with prioritizing, identifying, and implementing climate-informed infrastructure investments. As a single source of historical and future climate data, the app offers information that can support the planning and implementation of climate resilient projects down to the census tract level.

EPA Heat Island Mitigation Examples in Community Actions Database. Comprehensive directory of local governments actions to address and mitigate the heat island effect.

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Changing Land Use and Building Codes and Policies to Prepare for Climate Change. EPA guidance document providing strategies for overcoming common barriers to adaptation planning and discussion of local government actions for adaptation to flooding, extreme precipitation, sea level rise, extreme heat, droughts and wildfires.

Floodplain Buyouts: An Action Guide for Local Governments on How to Maximize Community Benefits, Habitat Connectivity and Resilience. Offers practical recommendations for communities on how to optimize use and management of buyout properties to provide habitat and improve community resilience. Includes an action guide to help local governments maximize the benefits of their floodplain acquisition programs. (Environmental Law Institute)

Killer Heat. UCS report including city-level data for projected increases in extreme heat across the U.S. Includes discussion of key adaptation measures including investment in heat-smart infrastructure and climate-smart power systems.

National Climate Assessment. Interactive online publication assessing the science of climate change and highlighting its importance to the U.S. Provides regional climate outlooks and a comprehensive review of important actions for American climate adaptation.

Principles for Locally Led Adaptation. Eight principles endorsed by 70 different organizations, led by the World Resources Institute, providing a framework for a bottom-up, inclusive and equitable approach to climate change adaptation planning.

Regional Climate Action Planning Framework. Provides methodology and other considerations for calculating the costs of implementing local climate action plans (CAPs) and performing CAP implementation cost-analysis. Developed by the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC) for the San Diego Regional Association of Governments with best practices applicable to cities across the U.S.

Resilient Cities, Thriving Cities: The Evolution of Urban Resilience. ICLEI publication tracing the evolution of urban resilience over the last decade. Explores a variety of resilience approaches including nature-based solutions and includes successful examples from around the world.

Sea Level Rise Technical Report. Provides sea level rise projections for each U.S. state and territory as well as different scenarios and probability for related hazards and extreme weather. Also includes use cases to assist decision-makers in staving off future negative impacts.

Status of Tribes and Climate Change (STACC) Report. Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) report on how Indigenous peoples across the U.S. are impacted by climate change and the innovative solutions they are implementing. Provides holistic, in-depth review of the unique experiences of and threats to Tribes, reviews resilience strategies spanning environmental media (air, water, soil, ecosystems and more), health and wellbeing, energy, economic development, cultural resources, emergency management and relocation; and provides recommendations for decision-makers and others supporting Tribal efforts.

Toward Climate Resilience. UCS report detailing a framework of 15 key principles to help decision-makers prioritize investments in climate adaptation efforts, emphasizing science, sustainability, social equity and financial feasibility.

Planning for Urban Heat Resilience. This report, written by the American Planning Association and NOAA, provides practitioners guidance for increasing urban heat resilience equitably in the communities they serve. In addition to providing an in-depth overview of what contributes to urban heat and equity implications, the report presents a resilience framework and collection of strategies for mitigating and managing heat across a variety of plans, policies, and actions.

Implementing the Steps to Resilience: A Practitioner's Guide. NOAA handbook designed to help local governments, community organizations, and other adaptation professionals incorporate climate risk into equitable, long-term decision-making. 

Urban Heat Island Severity for U.S. Cities. ArcGIS map created by The Trust for Public Land containing the relative heat severity for every pixel within every city in the United States. 

Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard for Heat. This report, written by the American Planning Association, explains the rationale for the Scorecard for Heat, provides a step-by-step guide for any practitioner or researcher interested in applying the methodology, includes a detailed and ready-to-go worksheet, and summarizes key plan integration findings from five communities across the U.S.

HUD Community Resilience Toolkit. The toolkit is intended to help recipients of HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) funds learn how current and future natural hazard risks may impact their community and actions they can take to reduce those risks.

Tribal Climate Adaptation Handbook. This Guidebook is designed to support Tribes' efforts to proactively adapt to climate change and thrive for generations to come. It builds on existing climate-related work in tribal communities, provides a framework for climate change adaptation planning in the context of existing tribal priorities, and directly considers the unique issues facing Indigenous communities. 

Resiliency Guidebook: Vulnerable Populations. This Guidebook describes how some populations are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than others. This report is a response to Executive Order B-30-15, which directed state agencies to integrate climate impacts into all planning and investment.

Report on the Impacts of Extreme Heat on Global Cities. This report assesses the social and economic effects of extreme heat through the prism of twelve cities that are already enduring and addressing dramatic impacts of heat waves.

Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaigns. A set of high resolution air temperature and humidity data and report by CAPA Strategies that provides a detailed analysis of distribution of heat in the morning, afternoon and evening. Interactive, high resolution web maps of the modeled air temperature and heat index are also provided. Developed by NOAA and NIHHIS. 

Traditional Knowledges - Tribal Climate Adaptation Guidebook (2023). Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) guidelines and benchmarks to promote the integration of traditional knowledge (TK) into the development and execution of climate change initiatives for federal agencies, Tribes and Traditional Knowledge holders.

Resilience Science and Technology Grand Pathways Framework Report. Federal National Science & Technology Council report describing the Resilience Grand Pathways Framework, intended to help local agencies and other actors evaluate resilience-related programs and prioritize investments.

Nature Based Solutions Guidebook 2023. FEMA toolkit detailing strategies to help community leaders use nature-based solutions (NBS) to reduce the risks of climate hazards.


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Cool Cities Podcast. Podcast episode featuring a climate scientist, a legal expert and a local elected official's discussion on local governments' use of air conditioning mandates to address extreme heat, along with this strategy's associated advantages, disadvantages and alternatives. (Environmental Law Institute)

Cool Cities Webinar. An expert panel of municipal officials, public health experts and legal scholars discuss innovative strategies localities can take to address the increasing temperatures and more frequent heat waves associated with climate change. (Environmental Law Institute)

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For more information on financing for climate adaptation and resilience, visit our Financing page.

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