1. Extend planning to anticipate climate change impacts
  2. Address collections, design, maintenance, interpretation, programming & training in proactive adaptation plan

Introduction (Baseline)

No matter which vulnerabilities you chose to tackle while working on Climate Risk Management and Adaptation for your garden, the process will be a group effort. Many stakeholders that make up your garden community will engage early and be represented throughout the process. There is no one right way to get to a plan of action for your garden, but the right first step will involve identifying the people who should be invited into the process.

To develop the broad support necessary to implement a resilience-building project, successful projects recruit stakeholders with diverse perspectives early in their process, and actively engage them throughout the process. When initiating a project, leaders focus first on stakeholders' common values and shared understandings, and build on those to set new goals. Experience shows that community-based projects have an increased chance of success when all stakeholders feel that they can contribute to the solution and benefit from the results.     -US Climate Resilience Toolkit

For this (all) attribute your team(s) will

  • Investigate and Establish a baseline
  • Identify key people and resources
  • Assemble a group of stakeholders who will carry out this project (Some of these stakeholders should continue work on this project through an evaluation and dissemination (education) phase)
  • Develop and Implement a Plan
  • Evaluate/Revise
  • Report

Step 1: Identify Stakeholders





Who has been involved with organizational strategic planning and has an interest in risk management and adaptation?



Who is in a high level financial decision making role?



Who has scientific expertise that could benefit a vulnerability assessment?



Who would help decide an annual work plan or regularly coordinates across departments?



Who would absolutely need to have buy-in for implementing adaptation actions?



Who has potential as champions for resilience action or has social capital/influence no matter where they are on the organizational chart?



Do you have a diversity of perspectives, including tolerance or change? It is important to represent those who are less change tolerant of change as well as those who are eager to take action steps.



Step 2: Assemble and Meet


Send invitations and assemble a face-to face meeting, be prepared to share estimates of the time commitments stakeholders should expect to give to this project and at which benchmarks they may choose to step away from the project or continue on.

Tip: First Stakeholder Meeting



The goals and expectations for this working group/team will be punctuated by tangible benchmarks such as:

·         To share organizational goals and identify those that are susceptible to climate change

·         To establish context for assessing vulnerabilities

·         To brainstorm about how climate stressors will interact with your goals


Once the risks are identified, begin topic specific research and data collection.


Step 3: Research and Collect Data


Which of the following are being observed now in your garden?


Warmer summers


Warmer winters


Increasing drought


Increasing storminess (intensifying precipitation in any form)


Sea level rise


Pest and disease pressures


Invasive plants


Broaden the conversation to include specific types of events that might close businesses, disrupt communications, or cause water, energy, or transportation infrastructure to fail or would threaten precious garden assets (living and nonliving).



Identify the strategic plan, master plan, or mission related directives that your garden is using to reach your collective organizational goals. It is very important to keep these goals at the forefront of this process.


Create a list of all the risks that are related to each of your organization’s goals.


Now it is time to make connections between your garden’s stated goals and the most important or immediate problems you predict that you are likely to face. These results will guide your next step to collect critical data to guide your action.

An impact that is identified without reference to a goal is just a detail. There is no context to say it is good or bad or that something should be done about it or not. Context comes from people or organizations. They can say that an impact will help, hurt or have no effect on what they are trying to do. Being Prepared for Climate Change, A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plan, EPA


Divide up assignments among the team.


Set deadlines for collecting data and keep them.


Select topics below or add your own, ONLY for data collection that can will illuminate both a potential problem and a related garden goal


Work across departments when necessary in order to create a complete picture of existing assets


Click to highlight the following areas you intend to investigate. When the research/data collection is complete, check them off.

Categories: People- Infrastructure- Plants




What plans are currently in place for protecting and moving staff and visitors in an extreme weather or other emergency?


How have these plans been disseminated and are they regularly reviewed? Case Study: South Carolina


In what ways has planning for emergencies considered climate modeling and regional predictions such as increased flooding or specific severe weather threats?


How has the financial impact of necessary personnel and training been considered as part of the emergency planning?


How has the community beyond the garden gates been considered with hazard planning?


Is there a role the garden would play in an extreme weather event or afterwards?


What financial planning has been done to account for this?




What are the best designed infrastructural assets at your garden that facing new hazards or extreme conditions will stand the test of time?


What are the least well designed infrastructural assets at your garden that facing new hazards or extreme conditions would face potential compromise?


How have plans for new garden and landscape design involved long term climate prediction models and planning? Has financial planning included ecological site considerations?


How have plans for new building and structure design involved long term climate prediction models (civil engineering and architectural) planning? Has financial planning included ecological site considerations?






In making long term plant collections decisions how is the garden considering or trialing eco-adaptive species?


How are staff tracking where regional breeding for adaptability is being done?


How does current forest/tree management include selective planting and removal to increase adaptive capacity?


How are climate models being utilized to determine the risk of disease or pest infestations?


What types of insurance coverage does the garden currently hold to address plant collections?


What are the limitations?


Is there potential for reassessment with changing risk?


How are the impacts of habitat loss on protective ecosystem services being planned for in garden managed natural areas?


How are the impacts of habitat loss/protective ecosystem services being considered in programming that engages the neighborhood/city/region?

Completion of Data Collection

Tell the Association that you have completed the Data Collection/Research Phase (CHECK)


Now you have everything you need to begin a plan of action! The results of your internal/organizational research should be presented and those who have labored to collect data should be celebrated!

Stakeholder check in: The next phase of Action Planning will require an understanding of/ ability to analyze the collected assets and strong financial oversight to weigh choices. Find out what current team members are ready to keep going and who else may need to come in.

Step 4: Action plan


With ground rules in place, brainstorm, research, invent, and innovate to come up with a comprehensive list of options that could reduce vulnerability or increase resilience to your climate issue. Recognize that many ideas will require multiple steps and that you can’t do everything at once. Try to come up with options that will enable you to take one step at a time, moving forward with an iterative approach to reduce risk. In addition to your own ideas, consider what others have done when they faced the same climate problem. It may take several months to gather broad community input so you have a good list of options.


Mitigate: Take action to lower the consequence or likelihood of the risk (or both).
Address the risk, or lead the effort to address the risk.


Transfer Another party has responsibility for mitigating the risk.
Allow or ask others to take the lead; assist as you can. Buying an insurance policy is an example of transferring risk by having another party reduce the consequences if the risk occurs


Accept: Run the risk. Accept that the consequences may occur.
Business as usual in spite of the risk. Monitor, and reassess options in the future.


Avoid: Take organizational or administrative action so that you will not be exposed to the risk.
Stop putting resources toward the goal that would be affected. Or delete/revise your goal and thus be out of the risk altogether.


Come up with a consistent method for comparing options

To select the best option for your situation, make a fair comparison of the costs and benefits (financial and otherwise) of each potential solution. Prioritize based on the magnitude of risk to things you value most, and the probability that they will be impacted. To quantify this, you may want to develop a list of criteria you want the project to meet and assign a weighting factor to indicate each criterion’s relative importance, and use this list to evaluate each option.

Deciding what’s most important can be a difficult task. The community must weigh the trade-offs of uncertainty and differing levels of tolerance for risk. This step often requires very open discussions: emphasizing the group’s common goals can facilitate progress. Strive to reach group consensus on a consistent method to evaluate your options.








Examine solutions and select the best one

Evaluate each of your options from Step 3. Be sure to include the option of taking no action at all; this will help you decide if the potential benefits of taking action minus the costs to implement it would be greater than or equal to the outcome of inaction. Based on your evaluation, tentatively identify a preferred solution.

A good way to assess if you’re headed in the right direction at this point is to review your previous decisions. Check your ideas against reality by asking the following questions:

·         What is the climate-related problem or opportunity you are confronting?

·         What are you trying to achieve by taking your preferred action?

·         How will your actions enhance resilience?

·         Are the positive benefits of taking action equal to or greater than the costs?

·         If you still have a single preferred solution, engage the full range of your project’s stakeholders to build consensus and commitment for planning the project and taking action.


Consider a phased approach:

Think about the possibilities for implementing your preferred option in distinct phases. This approach lets you learn lessons during initial phases that may save time, money, or resources in later phases. Gathering feedback after each phase and incorporating it into your evolving plan may also help you improve efficiency or effectiveness. Additionally, a phased approach allows flexibility in case priorities change over time.

Similarly, you might consider running a small “pilot” program before you attempt a larger implementation. Working through your process with a small group of members of your target audience can inform you of issues you may encounter at a larger scale.


To develop your project plan, spend time building and exploring a shared vision of the future in which you implement the project and live with its outcomes. Ask hard questions and work together to come up with realistic answers. Who will do the necessary work? Will the solution really deliver the benefits you desire through the range of conditions you’re likely to experience? Spending time and mental energy to make each step of the project as real as possible in the planning phase can pay large dividends in the implementation phase.

Capture the sequence of milestones necessary to complete your project, and then assign roles, responsibilities, and sufficient resources (time, money, expertise, etc.) to complete them. Ensure that those who have responsibility also have the authority to make and implement decisions. Decide what measures will serve as evidence of your success (or lack thereof) and include time to gather feedback and make necessary course corrections in your plan. Consider the plan from multiple perspectives, and make contingency plans for junctures in the process that may require them.



Criteria to assess actions

• Feasibility and effectiveness.

• Cost and cost-effectiveness.

• Ancillary costs and benefits.

• Equity and fairness.

• Robustness.


Risk reduction potential: You already considered the risk reduction potential of

actions in Step 8a by affirming that you expect each

adaptation action (by itself or by a combination of actions)

to move a risk at least one box on your consequence/

probability matrix. Do you still believe that?



Feasibility and effectiveness

 Is the action a proven strategy? Are there other places that have successfully implemented this action?


Do you have enough time to implement it to prevent risks from occurring?


Is it politically feasible?


Do you have, or can you get, authority or permission to implement it?


Is it something your community/stakeholders would accept?


Cost and cost-effectiveness: Is it affordable? Which category does the cost of the adaptation action fit?


Analyze past climate events that led to disaster: working backwards from a negative impact, at what points in the process could an intervention have improved the outcome?


Hazard Mitigation planning

Step 5. Monitoring success


Measure the effectiveness of each step. Actively seek input and feedback to check if the actions you take are yielding the benefits you envisioned. Pay attention to factors beyond your control, such as an economic downturn that could impact your outcomes. Measure the effectiveness of each step and make any adjustments necessary before moving to the next phase.


Iterate: If your actions aren’t producing the desired outcome, consider modifying your approach or making course corrections to your plan. As necessary, revisit your deliberations in each of the four previous steps. With hindsight, you may be able to spot an oversight or miscalculation. If so, review your options, re-evaluate your risks and costs, and then decide whether additional and/or new actions are needed. Continue to iterate as needed until you produce the desired outcome.


Climate change: New climate change science will likely emerge after you have completed your

adaptation plan. Information about magnitude of projected changes and new knowledge about

expected impacts will continue to be improved. Incorporate new information (e.g., science, data) as it becomes available so that your plan stays current and effectively addresses your risks. The U.S. National Climate Assessment is updated from time to time: updated releases of the assessment might be an opportune time to revisit the assumptions you made about stressors and risks.


Risks: Your risks will likely evolve over time as well, especially as climate changes accumulate or interact. What

used to be a moderate risk could become a more severe risk over time, one you feel needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Your own mitigating actions hopefully change how you would assess a risk, too. Update your plan to reflect changes and continue through the subsequent steps to revise your action plan.

Action plan: Your action plan is meant to be a living document. You should update it often, especially if

anything changes regarding your context, if new climate change science emerges, if new risks are identified, or if current risks become a more imminent danger than when you first addressed them. It is also useful to review the action plan to ensure that actions being implemented are having the intended effect (and not having unintended negative effects). If you find your identified actions are not the best way to address a particular risk, then cycle back through the action planning process for that risk.

Step 6: Design Methods to Communicate and Educate


Communications: Results of monitoring and review

should be recorded and reported internally and externally

as appropriate. Keep stakeholders, partners and funders

informed about your progress and any changes to your plans. Your completed action

plan should also be used to communicate to others what your organization is doing to address your climate change risks.


Community Engagement though-

In garden programming both educating and empowering the public for their own wellbeing and increasing awareness of plant vulnerabilities