Adaptation planning in the present complements future GHG emissions reduction to adequately and equitably prepare for unavoidable damages and to mitigate risks as much as possible. Several departments in SMC are working towards developing adaptation strategies and frameworks to manage long-term risks and vulnerabilities highlighted throughout this report. Important adaptation strategies in SMC:

  • SMC’s Energy Efficiency Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2013 focuses on the risks to the following sectors and proposes actions to adapt and built resilience in each: agriculture and forestry, built environment threatened by SLR on both the ocean coast and bay side, coastal ecosystems, wildfires, public health, and water supply. Read the full report here.
  • Community wildfire protection plan can be accessed here.
  • Adaptation strategy to coastal hazards and erosion can be accessed here.
  • Information on transportation resilience planning in response to sea level rise can be accessed here.
  • SMC’s Climate Change Preparedness Action Plan, which aims to integrate adaptation planning into county plans, policy, operations, and decision-making and provide technical assistance and resources to cities, can be accessed here.

Image above: SMC’s Adaptation Planning Framework

Source – Energy Efficiency Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2013, pg 96


Community engagement in adaptation planning: SMC’s chipper program provides no-cost chipping to select neighborhoods to assist homeowners in creating and maintaining defensible spaces around their homes to improve chances of surviving a wildfire. To know more about the chipper program, read here and to know more about defensible spaces, read here.

Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science (YESS) is a no-cost education program that educates students about sea level rise and empowers youth to have a voice in adaptation planning. Click here for details. Activities such as Game of Floods actively engage communities in developing adaptation strategies on sea level rise adaptation, including traditional flood protection measures, nature-based shoreline protection approaches, and policy/zoning changes.  

Special high-tide events such as King Tides occur when the sun and moon align, causing an increased gravitational pull on the Earth’s oceans. This bi-yearly phenomenon, occurring around January and July, offers a window into the future to show what sea levels could look like every day with about one foot of sea level rise. Check here for upcoming dates for king tides and coffee events.

Business engagement in adaptation planning: SMC’s Energy Watch offers no-cost energy audits, technical assistance and installation support, and financial incentives for lighting and refrigeration projects to small and medium-sized businesses within the county. Click here for details.  SMC’s Green Business Program is a certification program that recognizes small and medium local businesses greening their operations and achieving a certain standard level in terms of reducing their environmental impacts. The Green Business Program provides local businesses with many benefits, including technical assistance and resources as well as promotion of certified businesses. If you are interested in getting your business certified as a Green Business, click here.  New England Lobster Market & Eatery earned its Green Business Certification in October 2017 by upgrading to energy efficiency fixtures and reducing its waste streams. To know more about specific steps taken by this business, click here. Another local business, Devil’s Canyon Brewery, earned its Green Business Certification in January 2017 when it upgraded to more efficient lighting and developed its own ”recycled” heat exchange system that saves about 3,000 gallons of water a week and thousands of dollars a year on the brewery’s energy bills. To know more details, check here.

Multi-stakeholder engagement: Climate Ready San Mateo County Collaborative brings together leaders from across sectors –  non-profit, community-based organizations, local government, businesses – and jurisdictions to foster collaboration and collectively find solutions to make San Mateo County climate ready. Click here to read the Collaborative’s first year action plan.

Responding to climate change and resilience building requires systematic efforts that ranges from awareness building on threat and exposure, to knowledge sharing and multiple stakeholder engagement for adaptation and mitigation planning in medium and long term. Ownership and implementation of planning efforts should include communities, businesses and public agencies for maximum impact.


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