Regional Climate Change

Program Goal

The Alliance’s Climate Program goals consider both climate action planning and climate adaptation. We work to engage with and support efforts to adopt and implement exemplary sustainable city and regional plans across the Sierra, and our team aims to provide technical assistance and resources to partners working on initiatives that align with our mission. Promoting sustainability plans that include climate adaptation principles and meet or exceed the most aggressive statewide and national greenhouse gas emission reduction legislation is a necessary component in helping to protect and restore Sierra waters, lands, wildlife, and communities.

The Alliance’s Background in Climate Work

The Sierra Nevada Alliance has a long history of supporting sustainable planning. Since 1998 Alliance staff have actively partnered with member groups and allies to develop and implement local and regional resources plans. These plans, in compliance with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets from SB 375, serve as models for a resilient and thriving Sierra region to successfully face unique economic, environmental, and societal challenges, including climate change. Most recently, the Alliance has helped to facilitate 100% Renewable Energy Resolutions in South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Nevada City. By passing these resolutions, communities have committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and renewable energy by 2050. In addition to helping to facilitate these resolutions, the Alliance coordinated the 2017 and 2018 Climate March in South Lake Tahoe to promote climate change awareness in the community and inspire local environmental action. Regionally, the Alliance is a leadership member serving with Sierra Business Council’s Sierra CAMP (Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership) program to promote and synchronize regional climate initiatives among different environmental organizations and agencies. The Alliance is excited to continue its involvement in smart land use and climate planning, community development, and regional sustainability efforts. Due to the current lack of federal environmental leadership, the Alliance believes that ramping up local and regional efforts to build more resilient communities that reflect concern for and value of the natural environment is more important than ever.

 

Our Current Climate Work

In 2018, the Alliance has begun to expand the focus of technical assistance to communities who passed 100% resolutions in 2017. In order to help achieve the 100% Renewable Energy Resolutions in South Lake Tahoe and Truckee–initiatives the Alliance helped to facilitate–it became apparent that immediate capacity building actions were needed. The Alliance has hired two new staff through Local Government Commission’s CivicSpark AmeriCorps program, which seeks to help build capacity for local governments and nonprofits as well as build community and climate resilience. Climate Fellows Meredith Anderson and Sam Ruderman have joined the Sierra Nevada Alliance team, and their work is focused in three areas: greenhouse gas inventorying and forecasting for the City of South Lake Tahoe; developing and implementing specific guidelines for Sustainability Actions for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency; and working regionally to collaborate on and promote climate actions and initiatives throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin. The hope is that their efforts will serve as a template for other communities across the Sierra.

 

Our Vision for the Future

Looking toward the future, the Alliance hopes to build staff capacity to advocate for more 100% renewable resolutions in communities throughout the Sierra, such as Mammoth Lakes, Carson Valley, and Reno. Doing so will help to achieve our goal of reducing greenhouse emissions, a vital component in protecting the region and crucial to building resilience in our communities. The processes for getting these resolutions passed successfully will act as templates that can be used to duplicate results in future 100% renewable efforts. In addition to pursuing more local resolutions for renewable energy, the Alliance is seeking funding to assist with forest health projects on the landscape level. This will reduce overall atmospheric greenhouse gas inputs, provide opportunities for a growing biomass industry, and encourage economic development throughout the region.

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2012-2013 Member Group Directory(Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
Updated in September of 2012 for the Alliance’s Annual Conference, this is a directory of Alliance Member Groups on conservation issues in the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada Alliance prepared this directory to assist Sierra conservation organizations, agencies, interested public and the media with locating and contacting conservation organizations in the region. It should also be used as an informational resource for those interested in learning more about the kind of conservation work being undertaken throughout the Sierra Nevada.

2012-2013 Sustainability Inventory (Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
The Sustainability inventory is a directory of non-profit organizations that are working on sustainability issues within the Sierra Nevada. We hope this inventory will be utilized as a tool to showcase a wide range of sustainability efforts categorized by issues such as local food, smart growth, transportation, etc. to assist individuals, organizations, local agencies and governmental organization in locating and collaborating on sustainable community initiatives within their area.2013-2014

 

Sierra Sustainability and Conservation Group Directory (Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
Updated in August of 2011 for the Alliance’s Annual Conference, this is a directory of organizations that work on conservation issues in the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada Alliance prepared this directory to assist Sierra conservation organizations, agencies, interested public and the media with locating and contacting conservation organizations in the region. It should also be used as an informational resource for those interested in learning more about the kind of conservation work being undertaken throughout the Sierra Nevada.

 

Case Study: Transition Towns(Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
In its first-ever case study publication, the Sierra Nevada Alliance highlights Nevada City, California and North Hampton, Massachusetts in their quests to create sustainable communities. Read on to learn about North Hampton’s development of a Sustainability Plan that ultimately led to increased pedestrian trails, green building codes, and enhanced community dialogue. The case study also highlights Nevada City’s community-wide effort to divest from fossil fuels. The case study features the city’s creation of a sustainability hub made successful through grassroots efforts and inspired volunteers.

 

Sierra Friendly Landscaping Cookbook(Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
This Sierra Friendly Landscaping Cookbook is a resource designed to help organizations, agencies or local governments start and coordinate Sierra Friendly Landscaping Programs. This “Cookbook” outlines steps and “ingredients” for designing a Sierra Friendly Landscaping outreach program. This reference includes the necessary resources to launch and implement a program, from tactics for inspiring homeowners to sign up and participate, to providing valuable resources to homeowners enabling them to implement Sierra Friendly Landscaping. Programs can offer free site evaluations, site plans, incentives and assistance in implementing landscapes that are Sierra Friendly.

 

3rd edition Sierra Climate Change Toolkit 2011 (Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
The Sierra Climate Change Toolkit, 3rd Edition is the newest publication from the Sierra Nevada Alliance. This one-of-a-kind resource is designed specifically for Sierra resource managers, local governments, planners, non-profits, activists, and concerned citizens looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change in order to save money, enhance local economies, and protect our unique rural communities. As the only Sierra-specific climate change resource, the cutting-edge Sierra Climate Change Toolkit, 3rd Edition is a comprehensive starting point for those interested in addressing climate change in Sierra watersheds and communities. It is greatly expanded from previous editions, with more detail, new resources, and an expanded focus on both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change within existing planning processes throughout the Sierra. The Toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including: the science of climate change and impacts at the global, national, state, and regional levels; the national, state, and regional context in which climate change emission reduction and adaptation efforts are occurring; frameworks, specific strategies, and case studies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change impacts through existing planning processes in the Sierra; tools to help communicate climate change and build support for local action; additional resources to help specific planning processes or projects address climate change.

 

Planning for Water-Wise Development in the Sierra. A Water and Land Use Policy Guide(Adobe Acrobat PDF Format)
Poorly planned development has become a chief threat to the region’s waters. But what is good growth, from a watershed perspective? This guide provides local conservation groups, local government and the public useful information about the connection between development and water – water quality, water supplies and the health of the Sierra’s watersheds.

 

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Resources
1) Summary of the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project Report, University of California, Davis, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources, 1996, p.15. 2) US Census Report 2010, US Census Bureau, 2010, http://2010.census.gov/2010census/
3) Planning for the Future: Sierra Land Use Index, Sierra Nevada Alliance, 2005, p. ii.
4) Planning for the Future: Sierra Land Use Index, Sierra Nevada Alliance, 2005, p. 5.
5) Fire and Resource Assessment, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2010, p. 89.
6) Fire and Resource Assessment, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2010, Chapter 3, p.12.
7) Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2009, available from: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/usimpacts/pdfs/climate-impacts-report.pdf

8) A Brief History of Great Basin Pikas, Donald Grayson, Journal of Biogeography, 2005,vol. 32,p. 12: 2103-2111.
9) Measured Black Carbon Deposition on the Sierra Nevada Snow Pack and Implication for Snow Pack Retreat, O.Hadley et al., Atmos. Chem. Phys., 2010, vol. 10:7505-7513, available from: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.org/10/7505/2010/acp-10-7505-2010.pdf