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Sonoma County Climate Resilience Team recognized by White House

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Sonoma County Climate Resilience Team recognized by White House

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Recognizes Sonoma County Climate Resilience Team, Launches Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness

On September 22, 2016, officials from the Sonoma County Climate Resilience Team (SCCRT), including Sonoma County Water Agency Directors Efren Carrillo and James Gore, participated in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s event to launch the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP). PREP is a public- private collaboration that combines government data and design capacity with the local expertise of private and philanthropic sectors to help communities develop data-driven planning and resilience. Sonoma County was featured at the event as a national leader in climate adaptation through the SCCRT, which assisted with the early development of the PREP beta platform. The event took place in New York City as a part of the United Nations Climate Week, which brings together global leaders from business, society and government to discuss climate change.

PREP emerged out of the White House Climate Data Initiative to identify priority-information needs, reduce barriers to data access and usability, and develop an open-source platform to enable sharing and learning. The SCCRT was selected to help develop the PREP beta platform, which draws from an expanding pool of climate resilience data and planning tools that have been created for Sonoma County to date.

Sonoma County Water Agency Chairman Efren Carrillo stated, “The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness has helped our community work together and integrate climate risk data into one central online platform that is available to our whole community. Before PREP, this data had no single home; instead it was fragmented amongst our government agencies and community organizations. Our urban planners, farmers and community now have the ability to plan for the future with this critical PREP climate resiliency platform.”

The SCCRT is a Sonoma County public-private coalition that includes the Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority, Pepperwood Foundation, Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, United States Geological Survey and Earth Knowledge.  The Sonoma County PREP beta platform is an internet tool for Sonoma County communities to better understand climate risk.   The dashboard integrates locally-specific climate data and case studies.  For example, the SCCRT dashboard presents compelling graphics and context for data showing that climate change will bring increasing temperatures, extreme rainfall events and more frequent droughts with bigger floods.

Sonoma County Water Agency Director James Gore said, “Working together with our community, the Sonoma County Climate Resilience Team has harnessed the data revolution to improve climate risk efforts and provide a state-of-the-art online product that will change how we think and plan for the future. I am excited to be a part of this growing collaborative and look forward to fostering our relationship with other regions, such as Caldas, Colombia. We can, and will learn a lot from this sister watershed thanks to PREP.” 

Also highlighted at the PREP event was the developing collaboration between the Sonoma County Water Agency and natural resource management officials from Caldas, Colombia as a part of a sister watershed program to integrate and share climate risk data and watershed best management practices. The two regions share similarities in climate risk concerns and have begun collaborating on resource best management practices, such as community engagement, water supply planning, and flood protection.

Pepperwood Foundation President Dr. Lisa Micheli stated, "Sharing the Sonoma County Resilience Dashboard via PREP at Climate Week is the culmination of nearly a decade of collaboration between Pepperwood, Sonoma County, and the USGS. The SCCRT model demonstrates how NGOs can play a critical role bridging between global and local entities to advance science-based strategies targeting the climate adaptation challenges facing our communities."

Caitlin Cornwall, a research program manager with the Sonoma Ecology Center said, “The climate risks facing our natural resources motivated us and other local organizations to create the North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative seven years ago. The PREP platform makes those risks understandable for everyone in our community, and gives us in Sonoma County a platform to build even stronger partnerships for climate resilient neighborhoods, watersheds, and businesses.”

“We support the communities of Sonoma County in responding to climate change by connecting city planners and engineers to the data products featured in the PREP partnership. The partnership further empowers local government staff to address climate change locally, in projects and plans, and continue to deliver on their missions to promote a healthy and safe community,” says Lauren Casey, Director of Climate Programs at The Regional Climate Protection Authority. “Most people know impacts are already happening. These tools are necessary to decide what to do.”

Lorraine Flint, hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey said, “Our large datasets describing hydrologic response to changes in climate have been successful in the Sonoma County region because of our Federal/local partnerships. These partnerships have helped to translate scientific data for decision-makers and the PREP platform will further the endeavor to get science and data to those seeking to increase resiliency to a changing climate.”

PREP collaborating partners currently include World Resources Institute, US Department of the Interior, NASA, NOAA, US Global Change Research Program, CARTO, Descartes Labs, Earth Knowledge, Earth Science Information Partners, Esri, Future Earth, Group on Earth Observations, Forum One, Google Cloud Platform, Google Earth Engine, Microsoft, and Vizzuality. Government partners provide global climate data and modeling, private partners provide data, technology, and engineering support, and civil society helps engage different data providers and users to understand needs.

To learn more about the SCCRT and view the PREP beta platform (www.prepdata.org), visit www.climateresilienceteam.org .

What is Climate resilience?

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