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Georgetown Climate Adaptation Project

From NECAP to GCAP: Transferring Climate Adaptation Knowledge and Tools from New England to Georgetown, South Carolina

Georgetown County, South Carolina has experienced threats to life, ecosystems, infrastructure, housing, schools, and businesses due to a thousand-year rainfall event, Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Florence, and repeated flooding episodes. Like many small counties in the United States, Georgetown County is challenged by financial limitations and burgeoning infrastructure needs, creating a difficult decision-making environment for considering climate adaptation and mitigation planning.

This NOAA Science Transfer grant project transferred a novel approach to climate adaptation planning, which was first conducted in New England from 2013 to 2014. Role-play case studies were developed using local climate information and sociopolitical context to engage local citizens and community leaders in exploring climate change impacts, decision-making processes, and possible solutions. The goal of the simulations is collective community learning and engagement with the potential for policy and planning recommendations to emerge.  

Click here for project fact sheet

Why Run These Workshops?

Workshop participants come away with a greater understanding of the trade-offs that must be considered when making public policy or allocating public resources to address impacts. They gain perspective on the impacts of climate change on their own, local community. They debate the merits of possible solutions from someone else's shoes. This method often allows for more creativity, empathy, and openness.

The simulation includes stakeholder dynamics that are common throughout the southeast coast. Community members assume a stakeholder identity (mayor, small business owner, county official, etc.) and work together to prioritize management options. Participants have to balance competing needs for economic development, land preservation, addressing inequities, and other issues that reflect the trade-offs in real life cities and towns. They are provided with scientific climate projections to consider in decision making. Simulation facilitators should run a rigorous debrief to help participants translate what they learned in the simulation to their own civic lives and communities.

For instructions on how to facilitate a Role Play Simulation on Community Planning for Climate Adaptation, please see the following resources: 

Project Results

The Georgetown Climate Adaptation Project (GCAP) engaged over 200 people in Georgetown County in role play simulation consensus building workshops. Participants in community workshops were from a wide range of backgrounds and affiliations. Pre- and post-workshop surveys were used to assess knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding climate impacts and adaptation planning. Debrief discussions captured the experiences and reactions of participants. Community workshop participants also practiced utilizing downscaled climate projection data in decision making and expressed support for incorporating climate projections in real-life future planning by local government.  This project models an effective approach to stakeholder engagement and built capacity for consensus-based planning. These results provide insight into the diversity and range of experiences and values within a community that should be considered in management and planning decisions.

For a summary briefing of project results results, please see the following document: Click here   

For any questions, please contact Maeve Snyder at 843-904-9034 or msnyder@baruch.sc.edu