This page provides an overview of the steps the District of Columbia is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

In January 2013, Mayor Vincent Gray signed the Sustainable DC Act of 2012, which was passed along with the release of the District’s comprehensive sustainability plan, Sustainable DC. This plan presents a holistic approach to promoting sustainability across many sectors, including climate adaptation planning principles. Sustainable DC includes strategies for the built environment, energy, food, nature, transportation, waste, and water sectors. The goals of the plan are to create jobs and grow the local economy; improve public health; provide equal access to services and assistance; and protect the local environment and global climate.

On July 29, 2014, Mayor Gray signed into law the Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014. That law articulates the Mayor’s vision to make the District of Columbia, in one generation, “the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States.” The components of the 2014 Sustainable DC Act are meant to further the goals prioritized in the Sustainable DC plan.

District agencies have also been preparing for climate impacts. The District’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) identified climate change adaptation as one of eight priorities in DDOT's 2010 Sustainability Plan. The agency has since developed a Climate Change Adaptation Plan identifying strategies to ensure that DDOT’s transportation infrastructure can withstand climate change and extreme weather conditions projected for the Washington, D.C., region. The plan focuses solely on transportation, and was developed based on National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research and guidance.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (MWCOG) Summary of Potential Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation Strategies in the Metropolitan Washington Region was published in June 2013. This report is part of an ongoing project with the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Sustainable Communities. MWCOG is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. MWCOG’s membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 22 local governments, the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress.

The District of Columbia's district-wide adaptation planning is in progress. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed by the District to prepare for climate change, are highlighted below.

(Research last updated June 30, 2014.)

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress of states in implementing their adaptation plans, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. 


State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014 (Washington D.C.) Law and Governance July 29, 2014

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Climate Ready DC: The District of Columbia’s Plan to Adapt to a Changing Climate Land use and built environment, Transportation, Urban, Frontline Communities, Water infrastructure November 15, 2016
DC Water Green Infrastructure, Clean Rivers Project (District of Columbia/Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland) Land use and built environment, Urban, Water infrastructure May 2015
District of Columbia Department of Transportation: Climate Change Adaptation Plan Transportation, Urban February 2013
Sustainable DC Plan (Washington D.C.) Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Energy, Land use and built environment, Public health, Transportation, Urban, Frontline Communities, Water resources January 2013
Clean Rivers, Green District Agreement Land use and built environment, Water infrastructure December 2012

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
Washington, DC Flood Levee System Improvements Solutions December 2014
Using Smart Growth Strategies to Create More Resilient Communities in the Washington D.C. Region Planning November 2013
Severe Weather and Critical Infrastructure Resilience: Preparing Washington D.C. (Meeting Summary) Planning April 23, 2013
Federal Triangle Stormwater Study Assessments October 2011

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