Learn about Resilience and Adaptation in New England (RAINE)
- Learn about the database
- How RAINE can be used
- Commonly asked questions about the database
Learn about the database
New England communities are taking action to adapt to the impacts of climate change in new and creative ways. This database catalogs what is happening so we can learn from these experiences, share lessons being learned, discover how to better assist municipalities, and promote collaboration. RAINE provides information about actions at the state, regional or local level. It not only includes links to web pages, reports and plans but also examples of presentations that communities use to engage their citizens, what tools they used to identify their vulnerabilities and who funded their projects.
The results from RAINE include:
- Lists of states, municipalities, organizations or waters that meet your search criteria, which can be downloaded into an excel spreadsheet
- Links to the products or plans
- Reports for each state, municipality, organization or water body of interest and detailed reports with information about a specific document or product
- Spotlights that highlight unique adaptation and resilience efforts
How RAINE can be used
Communities can use the RAINE database to share what they have done and learn from others. They can find examples of products and plans and read about what neighboring communities are doing to be resilient and adapt for climate change.
Planning agencies can identify where work has been conducted and where gaps may exist. The database can be used to target vulnerable areas that have yet to plan for climate change.
The database can be used to support collaboration. Communities can see how plans and products have been funded and who has partnered on different resilience and adaptation projects.
Commonly asked questions about the database
How do you define 'community'?
The word 'community' is used to describe any group of people working on or planning for climate change adaptation. This can include municipalities, cities, towns, states, specific New England waters, regional planning commissions, and other groups.
How do I use the search function?
- The search function allows you to filter results based on a defined set of keywords.
- Searches can be conducted by filtering by state, population size, or type of community.
- These can be further narrowed down by choosing Topics, Impacts, Partners, Funding, Programs, Plans, or Spotlights.
- You do not need to choose a particular state, community, or population size to run a search.
How do I search to find out if information about my community is included in the database?
Using the search feature, select your state and then town or organization or waterbody. Run the search and it will produce a map and list of communities currently in the database. If that doesn't yield results we might not have anything from your community in the RAINE database. Please contact us if you know of a plan or product that should be added to the database.
What is the source of the data for RAINE?
Products and plans for the RAINE database were originally identified through web searching and personal knowledge. These are tagged to identify relevant topics, impacts, programs, partners and funding. We will continue to add data to the database from our web searches and personal knowledge. In addition, we'll add data that New England communities send us via our Contact Us page.
How did we identify communities entered into the database?
Communities were identified through web searching and personal knowledge. Information about their published plan(s) or product(s) on the web that include climate change resilience and adaptation was added to the database. Also, if a community is a participant in an adaptation or resilience program, but has not published any documents or webpages, it is still included in the database. For example, a town that has participated in the FEMA Community Rating System program, but does not have written plans for climate change adaptation, is included in the database.
What is a "spotlight"?
Spotlights highlight unique, and/or innovative practices being implemented in New England to help communities be more resilient and adapt to climate change.
The spotlight reports include:
- a short description of the project
- cost information if available
- benefits and lessons learned
Spotlights include examples of specific practices as well as the use of incentives, collaborations, ordinances or bylaws, and planning and communication efforts.
How are we updating the information?
As new information is identified it is uploaded to the database. We will update the site on a biannual basis.
- Adaptation Taking actions to avoid, benefit from, or deal with current and future climate change. Adaptation can take place in advance (by planning before an impact occurs) or in response to changes that are already occurring
- Impacts The direct environmental effects of climate change that might be addressed in a RAINE plan or product
- Air Temperature Air temperature in RAINE refers to changes over time not extreme temperature events
- Drought Severe decreases in precipitation or a period of unusually dry weather lasting long enough to cause serious shortages of water for ecosystems and human use (such as drinking water and agriculture) in the affected area
- Ecosystems Where any portion of a natural community of plants, animals, and other living organisms and the physical environment in which they live and interact may be altered by climate change and it is in a plan or product it will be noted in the RAINE database.
- Erosion When soils are depleted/reduced by wind or water
- Extreme Cold Episodic temperature decrease (not average temperatures)
- Extreme Heat Episodic temperature increase (not average temperatures)
- Extreme Storm Event A storm event that has sufficient intensity to cause loss of life, injuries, significant property damage, and/or disruption to commerce.
- Flooding When a usually dry area is covered or submerged by water
- Indoor Air Quality Refers to how indoor air quality will be impacted by climate change.
- Ocean Acidification Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in sea water causing an increase in acidity of ocean waters (i.e., a reduction in ocean pH). Decrease in pH in coastal waters can be caused by dissolved inorganic carbon, dissolved and particulate organic carbon, and nutrients from riverine and estuarine sources.
- Outdoor Air Quality Refers to how outdoor air quality will be impacted by climate change.
- Precipitation Average and extreme rates of rain, hail, mist, sleet, snow, or any other moisture
- Salt Water Intrusion Advancement of salt water causing displacement of fresh or ground water (due to salt water’s greater density) when encroaching on freshwater boundaries
- Sea Level Rise The increase in ocean water levels at a specific location, taking into account both global sea level rise and local factors, such as local land subsidence and uplift.
- Seasonal Shift Includes changes in the timing of natural events, such as flower blooms and animal migration, which is influenced by changes in climate
- Storm Surge Abnormal rise of water generated by a storm
- Vectors Changes in number, type or occurrences of organisms that transmit disease or parasite from one organism or plant to another
- Water Temperature Changes in average water temperature
- Wildfire An unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area
- Wind Movement of air relative to the surface of the earth.
- Products and Plans Products and Plans in the RAINE database are documents created by or for a community to aid in their strategizing to improve community environmental and public health and resiliency.
- Adaptation Plan Plans that identify actions to avoid, benefit from, or deal with current and future climate change. Adaptation can take place in advance (by planning before an impact occurs) or in response to changes that are already occurring.
- Capital Improvement Plan These plans identify and prioritize capital project needs and equipment; including purchases, schedules and options for financing.
- Case Study Provides an in-depth examination of a situation, project, report or plan.
- Climate Action Plan Consists of an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions through an inventory and provides a set of strategies intended to guide efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it focuses on mitigation.
- Coastal Plan or Coastal Element in Other Plan Plans that address natural and man-made conditions that threaten the health of coastal ecosystems or communities and opportunities to address them. This includes restoring shorelines (coastal or inland) and/or protecting shorelines from the impacts of climate change.
- Continuity of Operations Plan Ensures that essential functions continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including acts of nature, accidents and technological or attack-related emergencies.
- Disaster Recovery Plan Minimizes the disruption of mission-critical operations and ensures organizational stability and orderly recovery in the event of a disaster within a given community.
- Economic Development Plan or Strategy A plan of action or policy designed to address a communities business, finance or budgeting to set future direction.
- Emergency Response Plan Identifies the plan of action for the efficient deployment and coordination of services, agencies and personnel to provide the earliest possible response to an emergency.
- Evacuation Plan Identifies the protocol for the movement of people away from a threat or occurrence of a hazard.
- FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plan A plan that identifies policies and actions that can be implemented to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from a variety of hazards.
- Floodplain Management Plan Outlines the operation of a community program of corrective and preventative measures for reducing flood damage. These measures include zoning, subdivision, or building requirements and codes and special-purpose floodplain ordinances.
- Harbor Management Plan Provides a comprehensive evaluation of municipal harbor management activities; a detailed assessment of current and/or proposed municipal harbor management programs, ordinances or regulations and delegate authority for harbor management.
- Historic Preservation A process that organizes preservation activities include, identification, evaluation, registration and treatment of historic properties.
- Land Use Planning The process of evaluating and categorizing different activities occurring in a particular area, the human behavior patterns they create, and their effects on the environment.
- Measurement and Evaluation Reports that provide an evaluation of actions, activities, or implementation of programs or plans.
- Municipal Master or Comprehensive Plan A plan that determines community goals and aspirations for community development. A comprehensive or master plan usually covers a wide range of issues, including transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing.
- Open Space Plan A plan that identifies needs and actions to develop and/or protect areas for recreation, green spaces, such as parks and playing fields, as well as areas for habitat protection and land conservation.
- Presentations This includes PowerPoint slides, recorded webinars, or other types of presentations that discuss issues related to adaptation and resilience.
- Resiliency Plan Addresses a community's capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy, and the environment.
- Stormwater Management Plan A plan that describes how runoff from precipitation events and related water quality issues will be managed for regulatory or non-regulatory purposes.
- Transportation Plan A plan that provides strategies for the operation, provision, and management of facilities and services for any modes of transport.
- Vulnerability Assessment Characterize the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed; its sensitivity; and its adaptive capacity.
- Watershed Management Plan A strategy and/or work plan for achieving water resource goals that provides assessment and management information for a geographically defined watershed. It includes analysis, actions and resources related to its implementation and development.
- Webpage This includes webpages with links on adaptation and resilience resources.
- Zoning Ordinance Regulations and laws that define how property in specific geographic zones can be used for residential or commercial purposes, and may also regulate lot size, placement, bulk (or density) and the height of structures.
- Resilience A capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy, and the environment.
- Topics Topics in the RAINE database are areas of focus found in plans or products that describe how the impacts of climate change will affect the community. These topics are divided into six subcategories; economic, ecosystems, government/academic planning, infrastructure, response and social.
- Economic Topics in the RAINE database which address the financial aspects of a community's climate change adaptation or resilience practices; cost/benefit analysis, economic resilience, and ecosystem services.
- Cost/Benefit Analysis Provides a comparison of the expected costs of implementing or not implementing various aspects of a plan versus the benefits of implementation.
- Economic Resilience The potential to withstand disturbances to economic systems, including critical infrastructure (communications, drinking water, wastewater and energy), resources, businesses and services.
- Ecosystem Services The economic value of maintaining or creating natural processes or systems which provide and regulate clean air, water and soil.
- Ecosystems Topics in RAINE which address how climate change will impact the community's ecosystems and/or how the community plans to mitigate, become more resilient to, or adapt to these effects; agriculture/forestry, coastal protection, natural resources, riverine and soils.
- Agriculture/Forestry How community or regional agricultural and/or forestry industries will be impacted or proposed strategies or plans to mitigate impacts to agriculture and/or forestry included in RAINE database.
- Coastal Protection Addresses coastal ecosystem vulnerabilities to climate change, such as sea level rise affecting marsh migration, and/or how communities plan to mitigate, become more resilient to, or adapt to these vulnerabilities.
- Natural Resources Includes groundwater, surface water and forests but does not include the financial consequences of losing a particular natural resource.
- Riverine Issues related to rivers such as fluvial geomorphology, erosion and riparian buffer protection.
- Soils Impacts on the loose top layer of the Earth's surface, consisting of rock and mineral particles mixed with decayed organic matter (humus), and capable of retaining water, providing nutrients for plants, and supporting a wide range of biotic communities.
- Government/Academic Planning in RAINE Topics in RAINE that are primarily concerned with measures taken or to be taken by government or academic entities; bylaws/ordinances/codes, downscale climate modeling, flood zone mapping, greenhouse gas mitigation, and land use regulation are examples.
- Bylaws/Ordinances/Codes Local legislative action to promote town or regional resilience is noted in the RAINE database.
- Downscale Climate Modeling Uses large scale (global or regional) climate data to predict local impacts.
- Flood Zone Mapping Visualization of flooding impacts of all causes (i.e. precipitation, sea level rise), either past, present, or projected.
- Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Actions a community has considered or taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Land Use Regulations Includes requirements, permits, codes/regulations to uses of land, includes matters related to zoning and land acquisition.
- Infrastructure Topics in RAINE relating to basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed by communities to function properly; built infrastructure, communication infrastructure, energy, stormwater/green infrastructure, drinking and wastewater infrastructure.
- Built Infrastructure Non-residential private and public buildings; roads and highways are captured under transportation infrastructure in the RAINE database.
- Coastal Infrastructure Hard (seawalls, revetments) and/or soft (beach nourishment, dune restoration) engineering of or within an environment with the intent of reducing damage to a natural or human community.
- Communication Infrastructure The technology and network, including the physical structures, for information transmission.
- Drinking Water Infrastructure Includes collection and distribution systems, treatment plants and other systems that collect, treat and deliver potable water.
- Energy Infrastructure Includes the natural gas and electrical power network, including generation (power) plants, electrical grid (transmission), substations and local distribution.
- Green Infrastructure Encompasses many practices to protect, restore or mimic natural processes to reduce impact to communities from flooding or excessive heat and to improve air, soil, and water quality.
- Small Septic Systems Infrastructure for landfills including transfer stations, converting waste to energy (WTE), and recycling or composting.
- Solid Waste An onsite sewage system consisting of a septic tank that collects all the sewage.
- Stormwater Management Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. Communities can manage stormwater using structural and non-structural best-management practices, including green infrastructure (see separate definition).
- Transportation The physical network and services needed for transportation, can include roads, highways, rail and air transportation.
- Wastewater Infrastructure This includes the plant or network for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage.
- Response This includes topics in RAINE relating to how a community plans to respond to climate change impacts; dams, debris management, emergency/disaster preparedness, and mitigation.
- Dams Issues regarding safety of dams and levees are entered into the RAINE database.
- Debris Management Plans addressing disposal of materials, including vegetative, construction and demolition, hazardous or infectious, soil, mud, sand, garbage, and/or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-contaminated debris are noted in the RAINE database.
- Emergency/Disaster Preparedness/Mitigation Systems or plans to be used in case of an emergency or disaster.
- Hazardous Waste Waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment.
- Social Topics in RAINE categorized as social represent aspects of a community that are framed in terms of how they impact society; these topics are primarily concerned with how climate change will affect the people in a given community; cultural/historical resources, environmental justice, food security, housing, outreach/communication/education, public health, and vulnerable populations.
- Cultural/Historical Resources Cultural resources include buildings, objects, features, locations that a community values; historical resources can include documents, buildings, etc.
- Environmental Justice The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
- Food Security The reliable access to sufficient affordable, nutritious food. Climate issues can include changes to food systems, such as impacts to agricultural systems and transportation.
- Housing Residential housing, can also include consideration of emergency housing such as sheltering and refugee accommodations as items to note in the RAINE database.
- Outreach/Communication/Education How climate change related issues are communicated to the public in an effort to create a widespread understanding.
- Public Health Organized measures to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life.
- Vulnerable Population Groups of people particularly impacted, may include children, people with disabilities, people who are chronically ill, the elderly, environmental justice populations or people living in an area prone to impacts such as flooding.
- Economic Topics in the RAINE database which address the financial aspects of a community's climate change adaptation or resilience practices; cost/benefit analysis, economic resilience, and ecosystem services.