Incorporate Climate Change into Local Plans and Regulations

bridge over water

Community boards and committees can review municipal regulations, plans, and other documents to identify opportunities to incorporate climate impacts and adaptation actions.

Here are a few examples:

  • Master plan - Many NH communities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their master plans - as a separate chapter and/or as a component of other sections, such as the natural resources chapter. This helps lay a foundation for addressing climate change through regulations and other actions.
  • Hazard mitigation plan - Include information about climate change impacts throughout your community's hazard mitigation plan, or as a separate chapter.
  • Climate adaptation plan - Developing a climate adaptation plan is valuable for identifying the key impacts of climate change on your community and recommend a suite of actions to address these impacts.
  • Natural resource inventory - Identify the impacts of climate change on your community's natural resources, as well as areas that provide important resilience-related benefits (e.g., flood storage, salt marsh migration, drinking water resources, habitat connectivity). Recommend actions that will protect and enhance these resources in your community.
  • Land conservation plan - Incorporate climate-related criteria into your conservation priorities (e.g., lands that provide flood storage, enable salt marsh migration, provide habitat connectivity for wildlife, etc.).
  • Open space, forest, and farmland management and stewardship plans - Include adaptive management strategies into land management and restoration plans in order to respond to changing conditions over time.
  • Capital improvement plan - Identify opportunities to integrate climate adaptation into capital improvements. For example, ensure that any culvert replacement projects are planned with future precipitation increases in mind.

Additional actions to consider

  • Promote municipal regulations that reduce vulnerability and protect ecosystems (e.g., cluster development, wetland/riparian buffers, coastal flood hazard overlay district, elevation of new structures in the floodplain).
  • Consider implementing transfer of development rights and other incentives to acquire or conserve property in high-risk or repetitive loss areas.
  • Explore options to minimize shoreline hardening and promote natural shorelines.
  • Develop water-efficient landscaping regulations that restrict water uses during droughts.