Strategy: Create Climate-Resilient Communities
The future holds a great deal of uncertainty for our communities. The challenges we face today may only become greater as the effects of climate change become more pronounced. The impacts of a changing climate are already being felt whether as increasing flood frequency, an increase in the number of annual wildfires, drought conditions that are forcing farmers to irrigate more, or a reduced snowpack resulting in harmful stream conditions for already endangered salmon. Frontline communities - especially those subjugated to historical and current racial and systemic oppression - are acutely feeling these impacts. Our work is to engage and build trust collaboratively with local communities and diverse stakeholder groups to help identify, plan for, and address the most pressing risks our communities face in a changing climate. Together, we can make our communities more resilient to climate change impacts and reverse climate change trajectories by implementing carbon mitigation and sequestration strategies.
This strategy is seated with our Climate Resiliency Program; however, it’s all of our other programs, Farm, Water Quality, Habitat, and Harvest, that do the on-the-ground work that will have the biggest direct impact on increased climate resiliency. This strategy is largely aimed at giving each of our core programs the knowledge and tools necessary to maximize and track the impact of their ongoing work in relation to creating greater climate resiliency. To this end, we will “integrate climate impacts science (regionally downscaled models) and local applied climate research to update watershed basin prioritization and on-the-ground planning.” We can’t do everything everywhere, so we must be strategic about where and what work we do to ensure it has the greatest impact.
The scale of the work and investment needed to create climate resilient communities can be intimidating, and so we will look to ways we can leverage market economies to help bring greater resources to this work. We will “inventory carbon sequestration per program service across all Pierce CD programs (and) explore (the) feasibility of leveraging additional revenue streams through carbon offset trading programs.” We successfully launched one such program at the end 2020, becoming the first Conservation District in the country to develop a carbon credit trading program through City Forest Credits and monetizing the riparian restoration work we do in priority habitat areas.
Even with scalable impact and investment, creating truly climate resilient communities is not a task we could possibly achieve alone - we need as many partners and as much of our Pierce County community engaged in this work with us as possible. To achieve this collaboration, we will help “build a broad, diverse and inclusive climate coalition that ensures our work is impactful, coordinated and relevant to our mission.” Community engagement processes, such as “Climate Dialogues will inform the District of local needs” that we can adaptively manage into this and other regional plans. We will “meet with experts in the climate policy space once a year” to ensure program strategy is of highest value. Ultimately, this will help us “expand beyond individual services models (benefiting property owners) to include community ownership models” exploring the feasibility of community programs such as Firewise, community solar, community forestry, and aquaculture.
As a whole, we aim to position our organization as “a community leader in implementation of climate resilience actions.” We don’t view this leadership simply in the context of developing planning and implementation tools, nor only being a convener of the community, but also in terms of our own investment. We’ve set ambitious goals to install solar at our Conservation Center, to further electrify our fleet, and implement other best practices at our facility.
This strategy will put us well on our way to our long-term goal: “By 2040, Pierce County communities are leading the way with increased confidence and self-determination in building resilience to the impacts of climate change. Pierce Conservation District employs the best available science and practices social equity to provide the information, resources, and skills to mitigate climate change and support communities to achieve this goal.”
- Activity completed by and projects made possible from climate coalition and other collaborative climate action planning
- Tons of carbon sequestered as a result of our programming
Build broad, diverse and inclusive climate coalition that ensures our work is impactful, coordinated and relevant to our mission
Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
Climate Dialogues will inform the District of local needs
Meet with experts in the climate policy space once a year to ensure program strategy is of highest value e.g. Climate Solutions
Inventory carbon sequestration per program service across all Pierce CD programs
Q3 2021 - Q3 2022
Explore feasibility of leveraging additional revenue streams through carbon offset trading programs
As applicable, develop carbon trading markets/carbon monetization to leverage funding for additional on the ground work
Integrate climate impacts science (regionally downscaled models) and local applied climate research to update watershed basin prioritization and on-the-ground planning.
Q1 2021 - Q4 2023
Develop and install practical, user friendly planning tools (e.g. GIS/COMET Farm) implementing practices into each program
Conduct grant funded pilot projects with research partners to fill data gaps
Expand beyond individual services models (benefiting property owners) to include community ownership models
Q1 2022 - Q4 2025
Explore feasibility of supporting FireWise program
Explore feasibility of supporting community solar program in partnership with Native American Tribes
Explore feasibility of supporting community forest program
Explore feasibility of seagrass planting and aquaculture program for the purposes of sequestration
Be a community leader in implementation of climate resilience actions
Q1 2021 - Q2 2023
Install solar at the District's Conservation Center
Further electrify the District's fleet of vehicles
Implement multiple Water Quality BMPs at the District's Conservation Center