Coastal Issues | Climate Change | Adaptation Planning Guide

Adapting to Climate Change: A Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers

Great Lakes Supplement Now Available:  A companion to the planning guide, the supplement provides more specificity on climate trends and potential climate change impacts in the Great Lakes region and includes examples of adaptation actions already being taken at the regional, state, and local level. The supplement was developed with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management has developed “Adapting to Climate Change: A Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers” to help U.S. state and territorial (states) coastal managers develop and implement adaptation plans to reduce the risks associated with climate change impacts affecting their coasts. The guide was written in response to a request from state coastal managers for guidance from NOAA on adaptation planning in the coastal zone and is intended as an aid, not as a prescriptive directive, and a state may choose to use individual steps or chapters or the entire guide, depending on where they are in their planning process.

An adaptation plan identifies and assesses the impacts that are likely to affect the planning area, develops goals and actions to best minimize these impacts, and establishes a process to implement those actions. While an adaptation plan for the coast or the entire state may stand alone, planning to adapt to climate change should be incorporated into all statewide planning efforts. However states choose to move forward, the ultimate goal is coastal states and communities that are organized to take action, have the tools to take action, and are taking action to plan for and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Adapting to Climate Change: A Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers (full document) (138 pp.)

Front Matter includes the cover, foreword, and table of contents. (5 pp.)

Chapter One Introduction introduces the guide, its purpose, intended audience, methodology, and structure. (4 pp.)

Chapter Two Climate Change and the Coast provides a brief and general overview of the value of our coasts and how they may be affected by climate change to establish the importance of adaptation planning. (11 pp.)

Chapter Three Planning Process describes the steps to be taken in creating a plan and bringing it to life. (10 pp.)

Chapter Four Vulnerability Assessment explains the elements involved in a vulnerability assessment for the purposes of guiding adaptation efforts. (19 pp.)

Chapter Five Adaptation Strategy discusses how to establish goals and identify actions that may be able reduce the negative impacts associated with climate change and introduces a framework to help users choose and prioritize actions that will aid them in achieving their goals. (57 pp.)

Chapter Six Plan Implementation and Maintenance suggests ways to implement a plan, track, evaluate, and communicate its progress, and update it to reflect completed actions, changing circumstances, and new science, data, tools, and techniques. (5 pp.)

Appendix A Potential Federal Funding Sources provides information about some of the existing programs, which may not target climate change specifically, that may provide funding for climate change adaptation planning or project implementation. (7 pp.)

Appendix B Federal Laws and Executive Orders lists some of the federal laws and executive orders that support climate change adaptation. (5 pp.)

Appendix C Regional Climate Summaries provides brief summaries of how climate change may affect the different regions of the United States. (5 pp.)

Bibliography and Photo Credits (9 pp.)

Key Resources compiles the Key Resources noted at the end of each chapter.

Steps for Adaptation Planning lists the steps described in the guide.

Additional resources can be found on the NOAA Coastal Services Center's Coastal Climate Adaptation Website and also on NOAA's Climate Portal.

For more information about this guide, contact Josh Lott.