Toward a Resilient Denver: Preparing for Climate Change. Celia VanDerLoop Denver Environmental Health

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1 Toward a Resilient Denver: Preparing for Climate Change Celia VanDerLoop Denver Environmental Health

2 GETTING STARTED Western Adaptation Alliance Semi-Arid Cities Facing similar issues Shared learning Denver Salt Lake City Park City Boulder County Fort Collins Tucson Flagstaff Las Vegas Phoenix Santa Fe Aspen

3 APPROACH FOR PLANNING Department of Environmental Health coordinating multi-agency effort Convened working group (primarily city agencies) Public Works Parks & Recreation Denver Water Office of Emergency Management General Services DIA Economic Development Starting internal to City and County organization Familiarize ourselves and gain buy-in Establish priorities

4 Process Resilient Denver Planning Team Literature review Inventory City plans Vulnerability assessment Gaps analyses Develop planning document Working Group Review work product Prioritize vulnerabilities Develop strategies Implement agency strategies Environmental Management System Embed climate objectives and targets Ensure implementation Measure success

5 ACCOMPLISHMENTS Prepared front range climate science summary (summer 2012) Higher temperatures More extreme weather events Later snowpack, early snowmelt Identified components/relationships to existing Denver plans (summer 2012) Agencies pay attention to their own plans

6 ACCOMPLISHMENTS Performed vulnerabilities assessment (summer 2012) Identified response strategies (summer and fall 2012) Prepare planning documents (fall and winter ) Environmental Management System objectives and targets for 2013 (Winter ) Gaps assessment (Spring 2013)

7 VULNERABILITIES High water and energy demands/cost Impacts on vulnerable populations (cooling, working conditions, inadequate housing, etc.) Effects on built environment Design considerations (buildings, stormwater management, pavement, etc.) Extreme weather impacts (housing, transportation, cooling systems, etc.) Livability/Health Air and water quality impacts (ozone, particulate) Recreation Habitat (people, plants, animals) Economic impacts (tourism, transportation /business disruption)

8 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS) Business Management Tool to drive adaptation into day-to-day operations.

9 LESSONS LEARNED Start learn by doing Already working towards many goals Water conservation Energy conservation Green infrastructure Dense development Connected communities Many co-benefits available Sustainable communities are resilient communities

10 NEXT STEPS Complete planning Agency priorities Implementation through EMS Gaps assessment Broader engagement Climate Plan (mitigation + adaptation) Iterate

11

12 COMMUNITY, PLANNING, AND DEVELOPMENT VULNERABILITIES Increase in temperature and urban heat island effect Decrease in quality of living/reduced comfort (Denver Citizens) Extreme heat events affecting vulnerable populations Higher energy demands/costs (Private property) Higher water demand/costs (Private property) Climate induced out-migration of populations Climate refugees stress on community resources Increase in extreme weather events Built environment's lack of resiliency and ability to withstand multiple climate scenarios Interruptions to transportation

13 GENERAL SERVICES: VULNERABILITIES Increase in temperature and urban heat island effect Higher energy demands/costs (City-owned property) Higher water demand/costs (City-owned property) Reduced occupant comfort in buildings resulting in negative impacts to workforce productivity (City employees) Higher maintenance costs/ HVAC equipment failures Higher building equipment costs (HVAC, roofs, hardscape/landscape) Increase in extreme weather events Increased costs and availability of supplies needed by agencies Damages to city facilities

14 PUBLIC WORKS: VULNERABILITIES Increase in temperature and urban heat island effect Paving materials exacerbating urban heat island effect. Higher fleet maintenance Degradation of roads Impacts to outdoor workforce Increased level of infrastructure monitoring Increase in extreme weather events Increased stress on stormwater management and flood control Contaminant loading from increased flooding and heavy rain spells Stress on physical infrastructure Increased demands on staff to respond to damaged infrastructure

15 PARKS AND RECREATION: VULNERABILITIES Increase in temperature and urban heat island effect Reduced amount of water available for irrigation, changes to ditch water supplies Stress on street trees and urban landscaping Increased threat of pests, invasive species, and noxious weeds Warming of stream and lake systems affecting aquatic species Changes in or reduced amount of recreation spent outdoors in the summer months/ increased pressure on recreation centers Increased cooling needs for visitors and inadequate cooling technology in buildings Increased number of heat related emergency responses and/or overcrowding at cooler parks Localized extinctions and loss (or shifting) of biodiversity

16 PARKS AND RECREATION: VULNERABILITIES Increase in extreme weather events Park damages: debris generation Stress on landscape and trees Damage to riparian corridors Degradation or damage of historic structures, wooden structures, and green infrastructure Streamflows shifting two weeks earlier and lower snowpack Increase in frequency, size, and duration of wildfires in mountain parks Reduced amount of recreation on rivers (fishing, rafting)

17 DIA: VULNERABILITIES Increase in temperature and urban heat island effect Higher energy demands and use/less cost competitive with other airports Higher building/ infrastructure equipment costs Less dense air potentially requiring longer runways Increased use of jet fuel to cool aircrafts and increased use of pre-conditioned aircraft increasing electric costs Difficulty meeting environmental regulations and compliance (increased levels of ozone/ decrease in air quality) Increase in extreme weather events Interruptions in business and flight schedule Damaged infrastructure

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