Planning for Climate Variability
The Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry recognizes that climate variability presents many challenges and opportunities at the local level. Fortunately, many Maine communities are taking action today to address these challenges and seize these opportunities. Whether it's upgrading road culverts for heavier rains or modifying local floodplain building standards, there's much that towns can and should do. Below, you'll find a brief list of resources to support both initial and ongoing climate change planning in your community.
Existing action in Maine to address climate change
Coastal Hazard Resiliency Tools in Saco Bay The Maine Coastal Program, Maine Geological Survey, and Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission have been exploring strategies to help Saco Bay communities prepare for sea level rise. This website offers an overview of the possible policy and regulatory responses.
Maine Cool Communities/Cities Campaign empowers communities to reduce energy costs, save tax payer dollars, improve public health through cleaner air, and create good clean jobs in a clean energy economy. As of summer 2009, the following 29 Maine communities had joined Cool Communities and signed the US Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement: Biddeford, Belfast, Falmouth, Brunswick, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Saco, Yarmouth, Portland, Waterville, Lewiston, South Portland, Bath, Kittery, Auburn, Bangor, Bar Harbor, Bowdoinham, Cumberland, Cranberry Island, Eliot, Fairfield, Freeport, Montville, Orono, South Berwick, Topsham, Winslow, and York.
EPA hosts the Local Climate and Energy Webcast Series to assist local government with climate change and clean energy efforts.
These regular webcasts highlight EPA resources available to local governments, and present examples of successful climate and energy programs and policies implemented locally. For more information or to view past webcasts, visit EPA's State and Local Climate and Energy Program.
Guidance resources for local climate change planning
Building a Resilient Coast: Maine Confronts Climate Change (DVD) Hear and see what your neighbors, town officials, and scientists have to say about sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and erosion; what it means to you; and what you can do about it. The documentary is composed of five segments:
- Changing Climate, Changing Coast: Science & Economics
- How Shoreline Property May Be Affected
- How Coastal Communities May Be Affected
- What Individuals & Communities Can Do To Protect Themselves
View "Building a Resilient Coast" online , or contact the Maine Sea Grant office for a free DVD.
Climate Change Worksheet - (MS Word) This one-page worksheet was designed to support local planners and officials to brainstorm municipal responses to climate change. It identifies the likely climate change impacts, as well as the challenges and opportunities by sector (e.g., municipal services, natural resources, etc.). The back side offers real examples of municipal responses from around the country.
Informal Guidance for Integrating Climate Change into a Comprehensive Plan - (MS Word) It is our hope that providing this informal guidance will both streamline comprehensive planning for climate change, as well as provide the DACF with insight into how communities are choosing to address climate change.
US EPA: Climate Ready Estuaries - (PDF) This document can be used as a resource for coastal communities as a starting point for planning to adapt to climate change. The document describes five critical elements of adaptation planning, and provides examples of these elements and suggestions for additional resources. Also available is a Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas - PDF)
Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional and State Governments This ICLEI guidebook offers outstanding instruction for how to: identify the impacts of climate change to your region; build community support to address climate change; conduct a climate change vulnerability and risk assessment; create a climate change plan; and more. A planner of Keene, NH writes, 'It helps you think through the process and understand what you need to look at in your community.'
Climate change science and reports
Maine's Climate Future: An Initial Assessment Prepared in 2009 by the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute, the report provides a brief look at Maine's climate past, present, and likely future, an assessment of climate change upon Maine's diverse environments, as well as a breakdown of issues and opportunities by sector (agriculture, tourism & recreation, energy, etc.). An executive summary of Maine's Climate Future - (PDF) is also available. This has been a central resource to the stakeholder workgroups in developing a Maine climate adaptation plan).
The Effects of Climate Change on Economic Activity in Maine: Coastal York County Case Study Published in the Maine Policy Review, authors Charles Colgan and Samuel Merrill of the University of Maine examine the economic impacts of climate change on coastal York County. The findings were presented at the Maine Beaches Conference on July 10, 2009.
Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment - (PDF) This study draws on recent advances in climate modeling to assess how global warming may further affect the Northeast climate. Using projections from three state-of-the-art global climate models, researchers compared the types and magnitude of climate changes that will result from higher versus lower further emissions of heat-trapping gases. Includes a concise executive summary of climate change impacts on Maine - (PDF).
Climate Literacy: A Guide for Individuals and CommunitiesProduced in 2009 through a collaborative effort of many Federal agencies, this colorful 17-page guide provides a simple overview of the principles and concepts surrounding Earth's climate. In about 20 minutes, this guide will help you to make more informed decisions about climate change.
- Regional Councils
- Planning Consultants
- Form-Based Codes
- Planning Webinars for Maine Communities
- Maine Farmland Preservation Ordinances
- Planning for Climate Variability
- Maine Coastal Program
- Maine Code Enforcement and Training Certification
- Maine Municipal Association
- Maine Association of Planners
- Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association
Municipal Planning Assistance Program
22 SHS/Harlow Bldg
Augusta, Maine 04333-0022