Current issues facing cities participating in the Western Adaptation Alliance:

Extreme Heat
Building Resilience in the context of drought, wildfires, wind, extreme precipitation events, and heat.
Building Resilience in the context of drought, wildfires, wind, extreme precipitation events, and heat.


Western Adaptation Alliance Webinar. The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project

This presentation features the story of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project – a partnership effort between the State of Arizona, the City of Flagstaff and the Coconino National Forest to help reduce the risk of devastating wildfire and post-fire flooding in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary watersheds



Western Adaptation Alliance Webinar: Metro Denver’s Urban Tree Canopy and Heat Island Assessment

This presentation features a study of the urban tree canopy in the Denver metro region and how it is being used to advance urban heat island mitigation. Denver staff will share their community’s approach to this work, sharing what tools are available to cities interested in engaging on this issue. 



The Colorado River Basin Study – Considering Scenarios for Managing Western Water Supply & Demand in an Uncertain Future

WAA member communities and interested colleagues were invited to view a presentation on the Colorado River Basin Study ( and participate in a facilitated conversation on implications these findings present for water resource management in Western cities. Participants learned about the scenario planning approach used in the study, considered options and strategies the study explored to help resolve water supply and demand imbalances, and offered input to the Bureau of Reclamation. 

PLEASE NOTE: The first several minutes of this webinar recording contains some audio distortion. To skip forward to Carly’s full presentation, please advance the video to minute 8:11.


2017 ASU Summary PowerPoint on the Issues of Urban Heat Island
As Phoenix and the region consider actions to mitigate the effects of extreme heat and urban heat island, Arizona State University (ASU) created the attached PowerPoint to highlight the conclusions from a synthesis of recent research.
ASU and Urban Heat Island.pptx
Microsoft Power Point presentation [14.7 MB]
2016 Annual Meeting After Action & Crystal Ball Reports
The Peer Exchange brought Western Adaptation Alliance (WAA) members together to learn from recent initiatives taken by individual cities to develop sustainable leaders within City staff as well as to learn about a tool that was recently created through an innovation grant to document how significant climate events have been increasing in both frequency and intensity in the WAA region. Through the course of the gathering, attendees took home actionable items that are detailed in this report.
WAA Peer Exchange After Action Report an[...]
Microsoft Word document [3.2 MB]
Regional Governance for Climate Action 2016
Over the past decade, several urban regions in the United States have started forging connections between governments, businesses, nonprofits, citizen groups, and other actors. The Institute for Sustainable Communities has been supporting these kinds of regional efforts, including direct support to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. In 2014, they launched the Resilient Regions Initiative (RRI) by convening 12 pioneering regional climate adaptation collaboratives at their Think Resiliently, Act Regionally Sustainable Communities Leadership Academy workshop in Alexandria, Virginia.
As part of the RRI, ISC is producing a guidance series to help practitioners through the practical considerations of building regional climate resilience.
Adobe Acrobat document [10.1 MB]
Promising Practices in Adaptive Urban Water Management
This Resource Guide was produced for the Western Adaptation Alliance at their second Regional Climate Leadership Academy in Phoenix. June 2013, focused on adaptive urban water management for the western city. The Guide showcases a host of case studies and snapshots that cover promising practices in adaptive urban water management in the US and in the Front Range, Intermountain and Desert Southwest regions.
WAA 2.0 RG WEB.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [3.0 MB]
Boulder County's 2012 Climate Change Preparedness Plan
Over the last few years, officials from the Boulder County and the City of Boulder, Colorado have faced growing concerns around mitigating against and preparing for expected climate impacts. These include prolonged dry spells, early snowmelt, and higher temperatures. In 2011, these local governments partnered to commission a vulnerability analysis and related recommendations from locally-based Stratus Consulting.
Adobe Acrobat document [99.6 KB]
Flagstaff's City Wide Resiliency Study
The city of Flagstaff is in the final process of completing a comprehensive Resiliency Study–concluding more than a year of work –that will help them prioritize their municipal service delivery investments and climate adaptation and resiliency efforts into the future. A diverse city team conducted a thorough analysis and developed key recommendations for the city's emergency services, energy systems, forest health, public health, stormwater, transportation, and water systems that were identified to be vulnerable and at risk from climate variability.
Adobe Acrobat document [199.6 KB]

Story Maps

In support of the Western Adaptation Alliance (WAA) mission statement these story map seek to inform the adaptation strategies of memeber Cities and act as a communication tool for spreading extreme weather adaptation awareness throughout the Southwest by exploring the history of extreme weather adaptation in the Cities. The maps encompass drought, fire, flood, heat, and wind events and the preparedness strategies utilized to meet these challenges. 


PRESENTATION: Best Practices for Extreme Weather Adaptation, Western Adaptation Alliance: A Story Map

An ESRI story map detailing best pracitices for extreme weather adaptation throughout the Western Adaptation Alliance. In an effort to share knowledge, member cities reviewed this presentation at the 2016 annual WAA meeting in Las Vegas. By learning from one another in the area of climate adaptation, WAA members are increasing the resilliance of their own Cities as exemplified in this story map. 

PRESENTATION: Water Efficiency and the Triple Bottom Line - 2013
An overview of some of the water conservation tracking tools available from the Alliance for Water Efficiency and a review of innovative state water conservation policies and other resources available from the Alliance.
BILL Christiansen.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [2.1 MB]
PRESENTATION: SLC Climate Preparedness Updates
Presented at the 2016 WAA Annual Conference by Tyler Poulson, Sustainability Program Manager for Salt Lake City
WAA - SLC Climate Preparedness Updates -[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [3.4 MB]
PRESENTATION: Boulder--An Innovative Grassroots Program for Reducing Wildfire Risk and Building Community Resilience
This webinar is the 6th in a series of peer-exchange workshops for communities in the Western Adaptation Alliance. The presentation focuses on the community-driven "Saws & Slaws" Program in the mountains of Boulder County – a partnership between grassroots community leaders and public officials to build community capacity for wildfire mitigation and management through education and outreach activities.

The video recording of this webinar is available at
Webinar Western Adaptation Alliance 12.9[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [23.4 MB]
PRESENTATION: How to Assess Climate Risks and Vulnerability in Local Government
Climate Leadership Academy – March 2012
Adobe Acrobat document [535.9 KB]
PRESENTATION: Denver Water's Approach to Climate Adaptation and Planning
Presented by Laurna Kaatz, Climate Scientist, Denver Water at the Regional Climate Leadership Academy for the Western Adaptation Alliance.
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
PRESENTATION: Successes in Climate Adaptation
Presented by Ronald Brunner, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder at the Regional Climate Leadership Academy for the Western Adaptation Alliance.
Adobe Acrobat document [510.6 KB]
PRESENTATION: Forest Fire Protection in Ruidoso, New Mexico
Presented by Ronald Brunner, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder at the Regional Climate Leadership Academy for the Western Adaptation Alliance.
Adobe Acrobat document [464.6 KB]
PRESENTATION: Assessing Climate Risk and Vulnerabilities for the City of Flagstaff
Presented by Stephanie Smith, Sustainability Specialist, City of Flagstaff at the Regional Climate Leadership Academy for the Western Adaptation Alliance.
Adobe Acrobat document [535.9 KB]

Case Studies

CASE STUDY: Climate Adaptation & Resilience: Front Range, Intermountain & Desert Southwest Region 2012
A synthesis of the best available information available about how experts and practitioners in the Front Range, Intermountain and Desert Southwest are working to meet the challenges of climate change impacts. This Guide is intended to help practitioners in cities and metropolitan areas in the west resolve local issues by showcasing promising practices in climate adaptation and resilience, and by providing efficient access to some of the very best information and resources available. Produced with support from the Kresge Foundation
Adobe Acrobat document [3.7 MB]
CASE STUDY: The Colorado Climate Preparedness Project 2012
At the request of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, the Western Water Assessment initiated the Colorado Climate Preparedness Project designed to assess the State of Colorado's climate - related vulnerabilities for five key sectors: water; wildlife, ecosystems, and forests; electricity; agriculture; and outdoor recreation. The primary purpose of the project "is to assist Colorado in continuing to prepare itself for climate variability and change by providing a catalog of climate vulnerabilities and current activities, including personnel, products, and projects from Colorado and other appropriate entities."
Adobe Acrobat document [253.7 KB]
CASE STUDY: Mitigating Fire Hazards at the Wildland–Urban Interface
The Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico has developed a forest health and fire management plan to manage its extensive wildland-urban interface. This community based, multi–stakeholder process has evolved since the mid–90s, and has been recognized with both Firewise Communities USA and National US Forest Service Rural Communities Assistance Spirit awards in 2003 .
Adobe Acrobat document [194.1 KB]
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