This page provides an overview of the actions Colorado is taking to support adaptation efforts at the local level.
As part of the Colorado Climate Preparedness Project, the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, Boulder developed an Adaptation Database, cataloging climate vulnerabilities and current adaptation activities in the state. The database is a searchable collection of resources relevant to state-level adaptation planning efforts, including groups and individuals actively engaged in climate adaptation work in Colorado.
In December 2016, the Colorado Resilience and Recovery Office developed the CO-Resiliency Resource Center to provide local government officials, the private sector, and communities with technical resources to help them understand, plan for, and become more resilient to natural hazards, climate change, and other challenges. The Resource Center includes planning guidance, case studies, templates, training modules, and links to a broad range of technical information from across the United States and Colorado. The site also includes an interactive story map, Colorado’s Resiliency Story, which examines the climate-related challenges the state may encounter in the future; details what the state and communities are doing to tackle these climate-related challenges; and discusses what resources are available for communities to become more resilient.
In November 2017, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) developed a Planning for Hazards guide and website to provide Colorado municipalities and counties with tools to reduce risks to natural hazards, including guidance on developing a local climate and resilience plan. DOLA also provides training and technical assistance to communities to implement land-use strategies that reduce climate risks.
In 2013, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) created the Colorado Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program in response to floods. The program provides communities with financial and technical assistance to become more resilient to floods by reducing risks to life and property and enhancing the buffering impacts of water ecosystems through a collaborative, watershed-based approach that incorporates the needs of diverse stakeholders.
Water Scarcity and Drought
The CWCB developed the Drought Planning Toolbox, which is designed to assist water users and local planners across the state in resiliency planning and responding to droughts.
The toolbox provides drought information and data, as well as a comprehensive suite of planning resources and tools, including information on financial assistance, drought planning, and general overviews of climate change’s impacts on drought. CWCB also created the Municipal Drought Management Plan Guidance Document that municipal water providers and local governments can use as a reference tool to develop local drought management plans.
Forest Health and Wildfires
In January 2017, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) developed the Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests, which details many actions CSFS took to assist Colorado landowners to adapt to increasingly severe and frequent wildfires as a result of climate change impacts, such as increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation. Some of CSFS’s actions include developing Community Wildfire Protection Plans, which are community-driven plans to define an area’s “wildland-urban interface” (the area where human development meets with wildlands) to shape concerns about public safety and community and environmental sustainability; Firewise Communities/USA, a program administered by CSFS and the National Fire Protection Association that provides communities with educational resources on how to adapt to and minimize their wildfire risks; and the Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, an online tool maintained by CSFS that includes information about wildlife risk across the state to support wildlife mitigation and wildfire prevention efforts.
Support for Rural Communities
In 2017, the state legislature established the Rural Response, Recovery, and Resilience Program (4R) to support community-driven efforts to adapt mineral extraction-dependent economies in the face of a changing climate. Coordinated by DOLA and several other state agencies, the program will provide strategic technical and financial assistance to eight pilot counties over a five-year period in order to diversify distressed economies and build community resilience in rural areas.
(Research last updated: June 29, 2018).