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USACE 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Plan Released

Published Oct. 31, 2014
2014 USACE Climate Change Adaptation Plan Cover

2014 USACE Climate Change Adaptation Plan Cover

View of progress on USACE initial vulnerability assessment projects with respect to sea level change as of June 16, 2014.

View of progress on USACE initial vulnerability assessment projects with respect to sea level change as of June 16, 2014.

Location map for the responses to climate change adaptation pilot studies.

Location map for the responses to climate change adaptation pilot studies.

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has released the June 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Plan, prepared in conjunction with the 2014 USACE Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan. The Adaptation Plan, prepared at the direction of the USACE Committee on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (CCPR), describes USACE vision, goals and strategic approaches; progress on priority areas; and how USACE plans, integrates, and evaluates measures to adapt to climate change and increase preparedness and resilience.

The 2014 plan describes activities under way to evaluate the most significant climate change related risks to, and vulnerabilities in, agency operations and mission in both the short and long term, and outlines actions that USACE is taking to manage these risks and vulnerabilities.  It provides new information stemming from two significant Administration actions:  The release of the President's Climate Action Plan in June 2013 and Executive Order 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, in November 2013. 

USACE is mainstreaming climate preparedness and resilience through four strategies:  

  • Putting a focus on priority areas;
  • Engaging in external collaboration;
  • Improving our understanding of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities; and,
  • Developing new policy and guidance to support adaptation implementation based on the best available and actionable science.

USACE will continue implementing our plan to improve climate preparedness and resilience and reduce vulnerabilities through adaptation to climate change. USACE vulnerability assessments support the identification and assessment of climate change related impacts on, and risks to, our ability to accomplish our missions, operations and programs. We will continue to expand incorporation of climate uncertainty considerations into planning, design, construction, operation and management of new and modified infrastructure and our military support missions. We expect our identified priority areas to evolve as we gain understanding and experience adapting to climate change, complete early elements, and confront new challenges.

The plan supports the USACE Climate Preparedness and Resilience Policy Statement. Earlier this year The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), signed the statement, which reaffirms and supersedes the June 3, 2011 Climate Change Adaptation Policy Statement. The updated Policy Statement addresses the new requirements of Executive Order 13653. It  continues to stress the integration of climate change preparedness and resilience planning and actions when undertaking long-term planning, setting priorities and making decisions affecting USACE resources, programs, policies and operations. The policy notes that USACE understands and is acting to integrate climate adaptation (managing the unavoidable impacts) with mitigation (avoiding the unmanageable impacts) to avoid situations where near-term mitigation measures might be implemented that would be overcome by longer-term climate impacts requiring adaptation, or where a short-term mitigation action would preclude a longer-term adaptation action.

In mainstreaming adaptation, USACE’s goal is to develop practical, nationally consistent, and cost effective adaptation measures, both structural and nonstructural, to reduce vulnerabilities and enhance the resilience of our water resources infrastructure impacted by climate change and other global changes. “Adaptation is not optional,” said James Dalton, Chair of the USACE Climate Change Adaptation Steering Committee.

USACE sustainability performance is evaluated against Executive Order (EO) 13514 (Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance), EO 13423 (Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management), the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005, the 10 USACE Sustainability Plan goals, and other relevant executive and congressional directives.

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