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Zoe Siegel

Strengthen Climate Resiliency in Hercules

Given the COVID-19 crisis and climate crisis, it is more important now than ever before to make sure our communities are resilient to disasters and can rebound quickly. 

The City of Hercules in Contra Costa County has drafted its first Local Hazard Mitigation Plan along with an update to the Safety Element of the General Plan. This is a great step in the right direction and we applaud Hercules for their leadership! However, the Hazard Mitigation and safety elements do not adequately address sea level rise mitigation or issues related to environmental justice. 

We need to strengthen community and natural environment resiliency through climate adaptation and emergency planning efforts to ensure accountability to the goals and priorities laid out in the Safety Element and other Elements of the General Plan.

The City of Hercules should take bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, and transition to a carbon-free economy. Climate adaptation in the Safety Element should focus on vulnerability reduction by implementing exposure-reduction policies, improving monitoring and enforcement, encouraging neighborhood-scale capacity-building efforts, and engaging communities in planning. 

Here’s what we’re advocating for Hercules to include:

  • It is mentioned as a possibility in the Draft Safety Element, that the City of Hercules should commit to creating a Climate Action Plan and add climate impacts and risk to the City Strategic Plan. It is important to name and address climate action explicitly and incorporate climate goals and strategies within the Safety Element.
  • Plan for more equitable outcomes for residents, prioritizing the needs of disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities. 
  • Strengthen community and natural environment resiliency through climate adaptation and emergency planning efforts.
  • Utilize green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) as a climate adaptation and mitigation strategy that minimizes flood risk, reduces polluted urban runoff, enables groundwater recharge, alleviates urban heat island effect, and encourages active transportation.

For questions about this plan or our work in Contra Costa County, please reach out to Zoe Siegel today.

Photo: Markus Spiske via Unsplash

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