The Chico Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work and coordination between the City’s CivicSpark Fellow Molly Marcussen, the Sustainability Task Force, County and City staff, and students from Chico State’s GEOG 506 class.
State law (AB 379) requires local governments to address climate adaptation and resiliency in their General Plans and other planning documents. The first step in meeting this requirement is to conduct a Vulnerability Assessment to identify the risks that climate change poses to a local jurisdiction.
Adaptation planning is increasingly relevant given recent experiences with extremely hot summers, last month’s fire in Upper Bidwell Park, ongoing poor air quality, and the devastating fires that struck Santa Rosa, Redding, and other unsuspecting communities.
The Vulnerability Assessment provides both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how climate change may impact populations, structures, and function in the City of Chico through 2100. Using a modelling tool developed by the State (see Cal-Adapt.org), the assessment documents anticipated impacts of climate change specific to Chico, including increased frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat days and heat waves/events; increased flooding; increased wildfire; and, loss of snowpack and decreased water supplies. Over the long term, these changes create the potential for a wide variety of secondary consequences, including human health and safety risks, economic disruptions, shifts in ecosystem function and habitat qualities, and difficulties with the provision of public services.
The findings of the Vulnerability Assessment will be used to develop strategies to address the threats, which will be included in Chico’s long-range planning documents.