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Hawai’i County and State Planners Exchange Knowledge for Adaptation and Managed Retreat


On January 11th, thirty long-range planners and sustainability officers from the four counties of the State of Hawaiʻi met in Honolulu for a Climate Adaptation Planning and Implementation Peer Exchange. The County of Kauaʻi and Pacific RISA, a NOAA CAP team, co-hosted the exchange as part of Hawaiʻi Climate Week. Participants of the January 11 exchange dug into complex issues of adaptation and managed retreat, each sharing successes and challenges from their experience with implementation. They also provided status updates on development of climate adaptation plans and updates to county General Plans that lay the foundation for accelerated implementation.

The half-day meeting culminated a series of exchanges between Kauaʻi long-range planners and their peers across the nation working on climate adaptation. Previous exchanges included focused meetings with planners and sustainability professionals from the City and County of Honolulu, City of Boston, and global peers progressing managed retreat. Recently, Kauaʻi passed legislation and became one of the first counties in the nation to protect new buildings from both passive flooding and annual high-wave run up from future sea level rise, drawing on knowledge gathered during the peer-to-peer exchange between Kauaʻi and the City of Boston led by Pacific RISA in December 2021.

While the exchange was a start, those gathered recognized that further collaboration is needed, particularly across departments and silos within the counties. Capacity constraints that counties currently face regarding technical expertise, staffing, and finance are major barriers identified to swifter and more efficient climate adaptation. Participants looked to the Pacific RISA team and other partners to help to close this gap, better understand entry points for climate information at different planning cycles, and facilitate further knowledge exchange.

For more information, contact Victoria Keener.

Image credits: Krista Jaspers, Pacific RISA


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