CAP/RISA Expansion Activities

To achieve broader impact, the CAP/RISA program aims to obtain robust nationwide coverage, enhance collaboration and networking to bring CAP/RISA impact to scale, and build the capacity of the next generation of researchers and professionals able to tackle the climate challenge. CAP/RISA has recently undertaken activities to expand the program’s reach and impact to new target communities and in new geographies where demand for these services have been identified. Examples of the ways in which the CAP/RISA program has contributed to this expansion are listed below.

Current CAP/RISA Teams

New CAP/RISA Team (2022-2026)

CAP/RISA recently launched a new team (2022-2026) in the U.S. Caribbean (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands). Regional teams focus on multiple climate and society issues and develop a set of interconnected projects that build the capacity of regional partners to act on those issues.

    Project Title: Caribbean Climate Adaptation Network (CCAN): Building equitable adaptive capacities of the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

    CCAN will use a human-centered design to create a knowledge-action network designed to help build adaptive capacities for future climate extremes and plan responses to cascading climate hazards and governance crises. The team will work to increase the capacity in Minority Serving Institutions in both PR and USVI and with project partners to support and sustain education, research, and professional development.

    Lead Primary Investigator(s): Pablo Méndez-Lázaro, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and the USDA Forest Service

Renewed investment for CAP/RISA teams in 2 continuing regions with increased focus on frontline communities (2022-2026).

Regional teams focus on multiple climate and society issues and develop a set of interconnected projects that build the capacity of regional partners to act on those issues. Regions of investment include:

    Project Title: The California Nevada Adaptation Program (CNAP): Building Capacity for Near- and Long-Term Resiliency in California and Nevada

    The team will emphasize and support frontline communities that have been and are impacted by social and environmental inequities. Research projects that work with community partners to leverage local knowledge to promote equitable adaptation approaches will focus on 1) extreme heat impacts on urban unhoused populations, (2) changing hydroclimate and water use policy in southern California, (3) integrated scientific approaches to address uncertainty in coastal planning in Southern California, (4) public health impacts in Northern California from wildfire smoke and heat on under-resourced households, (5) the mental health challenges of climate change professionals, and (6) supporting climate assessment activities in both states through research and data customization.

    Lead Principal Investigator(s): Tamara Wall, Desert Research Institute

    Project Title: Cultivating Equitable Responses to Increased Aridity in the US Southwest: The Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS)

    CLIMAS will implement a program-wide strategy for structured engagement to identify new partners, specific climate-equity issues, and refined research questions. Their integrated research projects will focus on climate adaptation issues pressing the region: water availability, increasing aridity, and extreme heat events. With human health becoming a key component of climate research, each project will be viewed through a health lens and how it might further support their projects.

    Lead Principal Investigator(s): Daniel Ferguson, University of Arizona

Renewed CAP/RISA Team Investments (2021-2025)

Nine CAP/RISA teams received renewed investments to continue work in these regions. These awards included an increased focus on frontline communities. The nine teams are found below:

Collaborative planning activities (2021-2023)

Collaborative planning activities consist of short-term projects that will build key relationships across jurisdictional and institutional networks to help lay the groundwork for potential investment in the following regions:

Southeast (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi)

  • Project Title: Capturing Local Knowledge in the Southeastern United States This project aims to gain a more localized view of climate impacts on a community-level. Three climate vulnerability assessments and engagement workshops in three communities of rural Florida, Alabama, and Georgia will be organized to connect with local organizations and give residents the opportunity to tell their own stories. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Joe Garcia, Urban Climate Nexus, Alexander Easdale, Southeast Climate & Energy Network
  • Project Title: The Heat + Affordable Housing Network: Exploring Landscapes of Thermal Inequity in the Southeastern U.S. This project will develop a “Heat + Affordable Housing Network” (H+AHN) for southeastern states to examine the impacts of rising temperatures on affordable housing communities. The project will identify strategies for resilient affordable housing through equitable land use, zone, and building communities that flourish in a changing climate. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Andrea Galinski, University of Florida
  • Project Title: A Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Climate Alliance to Promote Health Equity and Build Resilience in the Southeast United States and Caribbean Regions The JEDI Climate Alliance will bring together diverse partners to provide a better understanding of racial, socioeconomic, and structural disparities that could be linked to health outcomes of climate change. The Alliance will also work to develop a shared framework to promote health, equity, and estimate resource needs. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Mona Behl, Georgia Sea Grant & The University of Georgia

U.S. Caribbean (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)

  • Project Title: A Resilience Learning Agenda for Community-Based Organizations at the Intersection of Climate Hazards, Energy, Security, and Public Health in the U.S. Caribbean This project will use local experts, stakeholders in public health, energy, and climate hazards to identify extreme events and their knowledge gaps to strengthen networks and develop opportunities for future research. The team will convene community-based organizations (CBO) and their leaders to bring together organizations that are working island-wide on climate hazards to identify research gaps and opportunities. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Zack Guido, University of Arizona

Appalachia (Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee)

  • Project Title: Building Resilience to Climate Change Driven Extreme Weather Events in Appalachia Two projects will work to strengthen regional partnerships, initiate a collaborative network of Central Appalachian health departments, and identify exemplary communities with a basis for leading existing resilience efforts. Project 1, Community Connections Through a Health Department Collaborative, will partner with local health departments to reach underrepresented populations needs relating to water, wastewater, flooding, heat, housing, and health. Project 2, Learning from Exemplar Communities, will elevate success to stories to initiate further conversations and progress. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Natalie Kruse Daniels, Ohio University, Dr. Leigh-Anne Krometis, University of Virginia, Dr. Emily Garner, West Virginia University

Upper Northeast (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York)

  • Project Title: A Northeast Safe and Thriving for All (NEST) This project will review climate adaptation research, policy, plans, and projects in the Northeast for the central concerns of equity and justice under climate migration. Subregional networks will be brought together to reflect on race, class, and other identities that shape reactions to climate adaptation; how governance deficits impede planning and implementation and how they can be addressed; and which entities should be centered in a regional adaptation network that takes in-migration seriously. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Linda Shi, Cornell University
  • Project Title: Collaborating Towards Increased Climate Resilience and Adaptation for Mobile Home Park Communities in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont This project will build relationships with key stakeholders and frontline communities to explore the climate-related vulnerabilities of mobile home parks. Commonalities across each state and an action roadmap will be discussed to determine future work. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Sean Birkel, Cooperative Extension & Climate Change Institute and the University of Maine

Climate adaptation specialists (2021-2023)

Two full-time 2yr positions have been hired in collaboration with local partners in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Each position is embedded within local host organizations, connected to the RISA network, and will help translate and integrate territorial science into local planning, recovery, and resilience building efforts being led by territorial decision making agencies. These positions will help inform federal financing (through FEMA, HUD CDBG and others) provided to the territories post-disasters, to consider projected climate risks and adaptation goals in the implementation of recovery and rebuilding efforts currently planned or underway.

Climate Adaptation Specialists:

  1. Joe Dwyer, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Division
  2. Wanda Crespo-Acevedo, USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry (USDA-IITF) Caribbean Climate Hub, and the Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System (CARICOOS)

Cross-regional projects (2020-2022)

The following projects aim to advance CAP/RISA network collaboration on 1) flood risk management in small-medium sized communities and/or; 2) building capacity for local/state hazard mitigation planning.

  • Project Title: Connecting Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation Planning in Climate Discourse-Sensitive Regions: A Cross-RISA Collaborative Project This collaboration transfers a tested tool across RISA regions to build on each team’s research contributing to climate-informed hazard planning. SCIPP and WWA expanded the Simple Planning tool to Utah to provide climate information as well as foster new relationships with Utah hazard planners. SCIPP developed a Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) for Pawnee County, Oklahoma and gained insight to the challenges rural communities face when completing the HMP. CAP/RISA Team(s):
    Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP)
    Western Water Assessment (WWA)
  • Project Title: Supporting Flood Planning in the Great Lakes and Intermountain West regions in the Context of Climate Change Impact, Future Growth, and Migration GLISA and WWA are developing a usable spatially-explicit model of urban development in the context of flood patterns and existing socio-political variables for small mid-sized cities across their regions. The tool uses information for changing demographics, patterns of socio-economic growth, and flood risk to better help decision makers make informed decisions and consider the trade-offs of these topics in urban planning. CAP/RISA Teams:
    Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA)
    Water Assessment (WWA)
  • Project Title: Co-Development of a Nationally Relevant Hazard Mitigation Planning Portal and Visualization Tool: A Partnership with MARISA, CISA, GLISA, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) MARISA, CISA, GLISA, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) created the Climate and Hazard Mitigation Planning (CHaMP) tool in response FEMA required mitigation plans across the U.S. that lack climate-informed hazard planning. The tool provides data visualizations of community and region specific historical and projected data of climate-related metrics and impacts. CAP/RISA Teams:
    Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA),
    Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA)
    Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA)
  • Project Title: Hazard Assessment and Resilience Building around Flood Risks in Small-Medium Sized Communities This project compared data and approaches to flood risk in the urban northeast and Pacific Island communities. A precipitation time series will be developed for Camden, NJ that will be compared to different methods then be shared with modelers in both localities. Models will also be used for decision making analysis to provide best methods for flood-risk to small and medium communities. CAP/RISA Teams:
    Consortium on Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast
    Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA)
    Pacific RISA
  • Project Title: RISA/Headwaters Economics Working Group: Fiscal Policy for Advancing Climate Adaptation The working group identified research opportunities and solutions needed to stabilize local revenue and direct climate resilience resources to underserved communities. The fiscal policy for climate adaptations include funding preventative measures, planning for unexpected changes in revenue, and addressing equity among people and places exposed to climate change. Understanding these revenue streams and risks associated with policy change is essential to develop a sustainable community climate adaptation plan. CAP/RISA Teams:
    CAP/RISA Network Members

Business disruption and resilience projects (2020-2022)

This body of work sought to build new knowledge of how small and medium businesses are impacted by and recover from complex disasters, which include COVID-19 and extreme climate and weather events.

  • Pilot Projects
    1. Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA), Charleston SC
    2. Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP), Port Arthur, TX

  • Joint Postdoctoral Fellow
    Fellow hosted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) supporting a national level, longitudinal survey “Complex Event Resilience of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Natural Disaster Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • Four Team Projects
    1. Project Title: Organizational Resilience to Compound Events: Identifying Key Capabilities for Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery under Wildfire and COVID-19 This project focuses on small and medium businesses in California and Nevada that have faced challenges with unprecedented wildfires and COVID-19. The research team worked to identify key resilience capabilities that have allowed businesses to recover, use organizational resilience theory based on their recovery, and disseminate the information to the community for other businesses to build on this framework. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Kristin VanderMolen, Desert Research Institute
    2. Project Title: Building Resilience in Southern Arizona’s Local Food System (CLIMAS) This project documented the impacts of COVID-19 in the local food system in Pima County, Arizona where long-standing issues such as food insecurity and food policy are present. The team identified existing strengths in the local food system and will work to develop a coordinated strategic plan for building local food system resilience and equity in the southern Arizona region. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Gigi Owen, Arizona Institutes for Resilience
    3. Project Title: Promoting Small Business Resilience in Coastal Communities in the New York- New Jersey Metropolitan Region (CCRUN) The CCRUN team evaluated how complex events impact small and medium businesses and opportunities to advance resilience in two coastal communities within the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan area. The range of climate hazards and COVID-19 overlap in the region, so the study examined how business resilience varies between different policy and regulatory environments through local food businesses. Data collected will be shared with business owners and local decision makers to inform resilience-building opportunities. Lead Principal Investigator(s): William Solecki, City University of New York Hunter College
    4. Project Title: Understanding Repeat Disruption to Small, Minority-Owned, and Rural Businesses with Applications to Economic Diversification and Organizational Resilience in the Gulf Coast (SCIPP) This study continues research on complex events such as hurricanes and their impact on organizations across different ownership characteristics and geographical contexts. Outreach materials will be delivered for best practices for small business and nonprofits to develop recovery and continuity plans. Lead Principal Investigator(s): Maria Watson, Texas A&M University

Extending CAP/RISA expertise & tools into the Southeast region (2020)

These projects involve CAP/RISA teams using established methodologies for their regions to expand into the Southeast where similar demand had been identified.

    Project Title: Promoting Effective Local Coastal Resilience Programs in South Florida

    This project brings collaborators from CCRUN and the Florida International Sea Level Solutions Center together to work towards understanding the overall effectiveness of coastal resilience efforts in South Florida and why some efforts are more successful than others. Knowledge gaps will be identified and site-specific capacity to coastal resilience efforts will be added.

    Lead Principal Investigator(s): William Solecki, City University of New York Hunter College

    Project Title: Expanding Research and Engagement on Hazardous Extremes and Risk Assessments (HERA) Tool with Health Care Coalitions in the Southeast

    Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA) developed HERA as an interactive geospatial tool designed to assist local and regional decision makers to assess and plan for meteorological and climatological hazards in their area. In 2022, the tool was expanded to all southeastern states (NC, SC, AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, TN, VA).

    Lead Principal Investigator(s): Ferdouz V. Cochran, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Contact

Dr. Chelsea Combest-Friedman
Social Scientist, Program Director (Acting)
P: (301) 734-1240
email

Caitlin Simpson
Program Manager
P: (301) 734-1251
email

Dr. Ariela Zycherman
Social Scientist, Program Manager
P: (301) 734-1244
email

Sean Bath
Physical Scientist, Program Manager
P: (301) 734-1294
email

Genie Bey*
Program Specialist (UCAR)
P: (435) 610-0161
email

Jessica Garrison*
Program Specialist (UCAR)
P: (270) 308-5843
email

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.