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District of Columbia Launches Climate Ready DC Plan, Announces Projects to Reduce Flood Risks

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New plan identifies actions the District will take to prepare for climate change

(WASHINGTON, DC) Tuesday, November 15, 2016—This morning, City Administrator Rashad Young, Deputy Mayor Courtney Snowden, and Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) Director Tommy Wells launched Climate Ready DC, the District’s new plan to adapt to a changing climate that could result in more dangerous heatwaves, severe storms, and flooding. 

The event took place at Washington Parks & People’s Riverside Healthy Living Center, alongside Marvin Gaye Park. The Center is located along the Watts Branch tributary of the Anacostia River, an area identified by Climate Ready DC as vulnerable to increased flooding due to climate change.

“As City Administrator, it is my responsibility to ensure the District continues to operate and thrive in the face of an array of natural threats, many of which are increasing due to climate change,” said City Administrator Rashad Young. “Without action, climate change threatens to disrupt our power grid, harm our economy, and cost lives. Climate Ready DC is our action plan to ensure the continued resilience and vitality of the District in light of these threats.”

The District partnered with climate science and technical experts to assess the risks climate change poses to the District’s infrastructure, public facilities, and people. Climate Ready DC identifies 77 actions the District can take to reduce these risks.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in severe weather events including record-breaking heat waves, rising tides along our rivers, and the destructive 2012 derecho,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “The good news is we are well on our way to building a climate ready city through ongoing efforts to expand our tree canopy, manage stormwater, and advance green buildings and infrastructure.”

Climate change will have the greatest impact on our most economically and physically vulnerable residents. That is why Climate Ready DC includes strategies that will help build preparedness and strengthen communities while ensuring that our investments in climate resilience create economic opportunities for District residents,” said Courtney Snowden, DC’s Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity.

The District was also joined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (USACE) to announce two new projects that will help reduce the risks of flooding. The first is a mapping tool, developed by USACE, the National Weather Service, the U.S. Geological Survey; it will allow government leaders, emergency managers, and the public to view potential flood impacts during high-water events along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers.

The second project is an interagency initiative to build climate resilience throughout Watts Branch communities. DOEE and USACE will work together to assess existing and future flood risks, and to identify individual and watershed-wide strategies and neighborhood climate-resilience policies that will reduce flood risks along Watts Branch.

"Addressing climate change is critical to the important work we do through water resources projects to help protect properties and save lives," said Michael Schuster, Chief of the Planning and Environmental Services Branch of USACE, Baltimore District.

"High-risk flood zone areas like those within Watts Branch will likely expand even further considering the effects of climate change. Flooding can have devastating impacts, especially when a vulnerable population is at risk, including the loss of jobs and displaced residents. We are fortunate to be able to leverage resources and expertise from several different agencies to be able to arm Watts Branch communities with information and strategies to help them reduce the increasing flood risks they face."

“We are excited to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance the goals of Climate Ready DC,” said Director Wells. “Taken together, these two projects will increase our understanding of potential flood risks and identify the best strategies to build resilience in flood-prone communities.”

The full Climate Ready DC plan and supporting technical analyses are available at

CONTACT: Julia Robey Christian, PIO, (202) 741-0842 desk, (202) 450-7878 cell, [email protected]