What We Can Do About It- Adaptation Strategies

Adaptation Strategies are generally grouped as Protection, Accommodation, and Retreat. Within these categories, Sierra Club national policy favors nature-based climate adaptation and carbon drawdown strategies, as opposed to use of dams, levees, reservoirs, and other structural approaches.

The following definitions are taken from the California Coastal Commission's Adaptation for Sea Level Rise document(https://www.coastal.ca.gov/climate/slr/vulnerability-adaptation/adaptation/)


Protection strategies employ some sort of engineered structure or other measure to defend development (or other resources) in its current location without changes to the development itself. Protection strategies can be further divided into “hard” and “soft” defensive measures or armoring. Although the Coastal Act provides for potential protection strategies for “existing development” in certain situations, it also directs that environmental impacts shall be avoided or mitigated and that new development shall be sited and designed to not require future protection that may alter a natural shoreline


Accommodation strategies refer to those strategies that employ methods that modify existing developments or design new developments to decrease hazard risks. Examples of accommodation strategies at the individual project scale include retrofits such as elevating structures, using materials meant to increase the strength of development, or building structures that can easily be relocated when they become threatened. On a community-scale, examples of some accommodation strategies include any of the land use designations, zoning ordinances, or other measures that require the above types of actions.


Retreat strategies are those strategies that relocate or remove existing development out of hazard areas and limit the construction of new development in vulnerable areas. These strategies include land use designations and zoning ordinances that encourage building in less hazardous areas or gradually removing and relocating existing development.