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Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X)

Adaptation Actions for Water Management and Ecosystem Protection

The adaptation strategies provided below are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address anticipated current and future climate threats to contaminated site management.

Rain barrel for collecting water
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Case study available = Case Study available
 

Adaptation Actions

 

Maintain and Restore Wetlands

Preserve Coastal Land and Development

  • Create permitting rules that constrain locations for landfills, hazardous waste dumps, mine tailings, and toxic chemical facilities
  • Incorporate consideration of climate change impacts into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., homes, businesses)
  • Integrate coastal management into land use planningCase study available
  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) – using an integrated approach to achieve sustainability
  • Land acquisition program – purchase coastal land that is damaged or prone to damage and use it for conservation
  • Land exchange programs – owners exchange property in the floodplain for county-owned land outside of the floodplain
  • Manage realignment and deliberately realign engineering structures affecting rivers, estuaries, and coastlines

Use "Soft" Shoreline Maintenance

  • Composite systems – incorporate elements of two or more methods (e.g., breakwater, sand fill, and planting vegetation)
  • Create dunes along backshore of beach; includes planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands
  • Create marsh by planting the appropriate species – typically grasses, sedges, or rushes – in the existing substrate
  • Increase shoreline setbacks
  • Install rock sills and other artificial breakwaters in front of tidal marshes along energetic estuarine shores
  • Plant SAV (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosionCase study available
  • Redefine riverine flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent
  • Remove shoreline hardening structures such as bulkheads, dikes, and other engineered structures to allow for shoreline migration
  • Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishment, planting vegetation, etcCase study available
  • Restrict or prohibit development in erosion zones
  • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Use "Hard" Shoreline Maintenance

  • Fortify dikes
  • Harden shorelines with breakwaters – structures placed offshore to reduce wave action
  • Harden shorelines with bulkheads – anchored, vertical barriers constructed at the shoreline to block erosion
  • Harden shorelines with revetments that armor the slope face of the shoreline
  • Harden shorelines with seawalls
  • Headland control – reinforce or accentuate an existing geomorphic feature or create an artificial headland (e.g., Geotextile tubes)

Preserve Habitat

Maintain Water Quality & Availability

  • Create water markets – transferring land and water from agricultural to community use
  • Design new coastal drainage system
  • Develop adaptive stormwater management practices (e.g., remove impervious surface, replace undersized culverts)
  • Establish or broaden "use containment areas" to allocate and cap water withdrawal
  • Incorporate sea level rise into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., sewage systems)Case study available
  • Integrate climate change scenarios into water supply systemCase study available
  • Manage water demand (through water reuse, recycling, rainwater harvesting, desalination, etc.)
  • Plug drainage canals
  • Prevent or limit groundwater extraction from shallow aquifers

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Source Documents

These strategies are adapted from existing EPA, CDC and other federal resources. Please view these strategies in the context provided by the primary source document:

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Disclaimer

The adaptation strategies provided are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address anticipated current and future climate threats to contaminated site management. Read the full disclaimer.

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