Truckee Climate Adaptation, Community Resilience, and Sustainable Transportation

SB1 Adaptation Planning Grant: Final Case Study

 

Summary

As part of a broader General Plan update, the Town of Truckee developed a climate change adaptation plan during 2019 and 2020 which will be incorporated into its new 2040 General Plan. The adaptation project began in January 2019, and Council adopted the final adaptation plan in July 2020.

Town staff and the consultant team conducted a Vulnerability Assessment to evaluate climate-related risks in Truckee. The rigor and outcome of the assessment ensures a robust safety element meeting the requirements of SB 379, among other objectives from OPR’s General Plan Guidelines.

The goal of the project was to facilitate on-going collaboration between sectors, governments, and diversified stakeholders. By creating partnerships, the project identified co-benefits of adaptation work, climate change risks to multimodal transportation infrastructure, adaptation strategies, and specific actions to remedy climate related vulnerabilities. The Town also employed a robust engagement process focusing on disadvantaged communities using the Geos Institute’s Whole Community Adaptation Framework.

Key project deliverables included notes from community workshops, a vulnerability assessment analyzing local impacts of climate change, a comprehensive adaptation plan with a list of adaptation strategies, and draft safety element goals, policies, and actions. The process resulted in the creation of community- driven adaptation strategies that will be integrated into the general plan and with climate mitigation policies.

Lead Agency and Partnerships

The Town of Truckee and the Geos Institute convened an Implementation Taskforce of civic leaders and subject matter experts to identify climate vulnerabilities in Truckee and create strategies that increase resilience. Organizations and agencies represented included CalTrans, Sierra Community House, USDA Forest Service Region V, Tahoe Forest Health System, Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Truckee Chamber of Commerce, Truckee Fire Protection District, Truckee River Watershed Council, Town of Truckee Emergency Services, Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association, and Nevada County Health and Human Services.

Drivers

The project was driven by the requirements of SB 379 and the Town’s 2040 General Plan update. Additionally, the Town Council and community expressed support for increased climate action and adaptation measures, committing to 100% renewable Goals in 2017. The project was made possible with grant funding from Senate Bill 1 through the CalTrans Adaptation Planning Grant Program.

Engagement Process

The project included two community workshops and two stakeholder workshops, in addition to the monthly taskforce meetings and other online and social engagements. The first workshop focused on a review of the vulnerability assessment, while the second emphasized prioritization of adaptation strategies and their incorporation in the general plan. Each workshop was complemented by a community survey. Each adaptation strategy can be traced back to input from one of these workshops, surveys, or stakeholder meetings. This collaborative process resulted in strategies based on local community values and the expertise of residents.

Engagement specifically focused on reaching vulnerable populations and community-based organizations. Vulnerable communities in Truckee tend to have fewer English speakers, rely more heavily on public transit, and live in homes less resilient to extreme weather. The Town employed a Latinx Outreach Specialist who engaged these community members in various ways, including through two electronic surveys and 56 in-person surveys. Each workshop was advertised in Spanish and offered free childcare and translation services.

Even with this consistent effort, the majority of the community members who participated in the advisory committee, workshop, and surveys were already involved in Town activities and were not members of historically disadvantaged groups.

Climate Impact Area

The Plan responds to the climate impacts of declining snowpack, wildfire and smoke, loss of nature, rain- on-snow, pests and disease, larger storms, severe heat, and drought.

The Vulnerability Assessment for Truckee employed Global Climate Models (GCMs) adjusted to local scales to determine how Truckee’s climate will continue to change. In addition, it explores which populations and resources are most at risk.

The adaptation planning process was complemented by the creation of a climate action plan (CAP). The policies and actions outlined in the CAP will be integrated into Truckee’s General Plan under a new climate resilience element and satisfy CEQA GHG mitigation requirements.

Funding Source

The project was funded with $155,193 from a Caltrans Adaptation Planning Grant and $20,207 from the Town of Truckee for a total project budget of $175,400.

Research and Data

The Town used state and local resources including California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, Safeguarding California, CalAdapt, the California Adaptation Planning Guide, and the Nevada County Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. Data was also taken from localized Climate Analogs, USGCRP, NASA, NOAA, OEHHA and four global climate models.

Throughout the project, the Town tracked participation in the engagement process.

Challenges

Engaging the Truckee community, specifically Latinx residents, on the topic of climate change and creating a sense of immediacy was challenging.

To increase the topic’s accessibility, engaging videos were produced and broadcast online. Town staff attended community events to conduct educational outreach in English and Spanish. At the workshops, performances, speeches, art, and collaborative processes were used to connect individuals to the concept of climate change.

Outcomes

The project resulted in:

  • A vulnerability assessment with a summary of local climate change impacts, identification of vulnerable infrastructure and populations, and analysis of risk and onset.
  • Adaptation strategies and implementation programs to address urgent needs with associated goals, policies, and actions for general plan integration.
  • An updated safety element and a new climate resilience element incorporating aforementioned goals, policies and actions and meeting SB 379 requirements.

Next steps include creating an implementation plan in coordination with the actions from the CAP.

Replicability

The approach of a vulnerability assessment, and use of a core Taskforce to drive strategy ideation, can be replicated by jurisdictions across California working to meet the requirements of SB 379. Project results are applicable to jurisdictions with similar high-elevation and rural geography particularly those that may face impacts from snow pack variability and wildfires.

Additional Resources

The final plan can be found online.

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment

Safeguarding California

CalAdapt

California Adaptation Planning Guide

Nevada County Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

 

Further Information

Contact Nicholas Martin nmartin@townoftruckee.com.