Integrating Climate Into Hazard Mitigation Planning

Climate change is increasing the occurrence and intensity of natural disasters.  Local communities need to plan for how they will adapt to increased wildfires, floods, drought, storm intensity, sea level rise, and more.

One of the most effective methods to reduce climate hazards is to integrate climate risks/solutions into a community’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP).  Hazard Mitigation Plans need to include future climate data and hydrologic projections.

Up until now, most HMPs have been based on historic data. There are often critical gaps in information on projected changes in temperature and precipitation, and secondary impacts such as heat waves, intense rainfall events, increased floods, drought, degraded water quality and more.

Also, in our review of existing HMPs, there’s often a lack of addressing the upstream causes of these hazards. For instance, forest fires upstream frequently contribute to downstream flooding.

How We Help

Our Climate Solutions University programs use land-based climate solutions for the protection of natural resources to reduce hazards. Our team can help your Hazard Mitigation Plan ensure the resilience of natural systems.  The result is improved land use, protection of forested watersheds, drinking water and other natural resources. These nature-based strategies are often the most cost-effective to ensure clean water supplies, manage floods and droughts while also conserving sensitive biodiversity.

Model Forest Policy Program offers the following programs to help your community integrate climate change into Hazard Mitigation Plans:

  1. Climate Solutions University Plan Development Program – This one-year virtual planning curriculum weaves hazard mitigation into a local climate adaptation planning process.
  2. Integration of Climate and Hazard Mitigation Plans – This four-part webinar short course provides a roadmap on how to integrate climate strategies into a community update for its HMP. Learn more here.
  3. Technical Assistance & Consultation Services – A variety of customized support services are offered to facilitate risk assessment, localized adaptation strategies, and drafting hazard mitigation plan updates. Each Hazard Mitigation Plan is unique to that community. We help you identify specific research and consultation elements as needed during the process. The list below outlines the services we provide to support technical analysis, communications, and community engagement:


  • HMP Review and Gap Analysis: We will review your current Hazard Mitigation Plan and draft a gap analysis for climate change risks and solutions.
  • Needs Assessment & Work Plan: Our team will work with you to conduct a needs assessment to guide the update of your HMP, and outline a work plan schedule of steps to complete the integration of climate impacts into the hazard mitigation plan.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Our team can assist with developing a monitoring and evaluation plan tailored to your community and informed by model programs from around the country.
  • Policy Analysis: Our policy analyst will research, identify, analyze, and summarize key planning and policy documents, critical land ownership patterns, and decision making procedures that are critical to the HMP update process. Research into model policy language will be offered as specific needs are identified, including policies for land use, flood and fire mitigation, public health risks, and more.
  • Economic Analysis & Ecosystem Services Valuation: Our economist can conduct a regional economic analysis including valuation of regional and local ecosystem services, estimates of climate impact costs, and projections of savings from climate resilience strategies.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Our facilitators and educators will help you identify key stakeholders and decision makers and provide targeted outreach and engagement that ensures their input into the HMP update process.
  • Identification & Development of Surveys & Other Tools: Our team can assist with the identification of available assessment resources, development of local surveys and other community engagement tools and processes.
  • Communications Plan and Products: We can help you develop a communication plan and related outreach products.
  • Tailored Education for Public Outreach: Our team can help develop educational programs to broaden public engagement.

Do you want to work with us to include climate in your Hazard Mitigation Plan? Contact Recruitment Coordinator Josh Dye at 612-481-8059 or

Success Stories!

Two recent examples of how we helped integrate climate change into local HMPs: Fayetteville, North Carolina and the Native Village of Golovin, Alaska.

Fayetteville, NC

In North Carolina, the Sustainable Sandhills nonprofit organization led MFPP’s 2015 Climate Solutions University planning process with the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County. The resulting Cumberland County Climate Resiliency Plan specifically addressed the likelihood of increased precipitation, flooding, and damage to drinking water systems. In 2016, they used that information to update the Cumberland Hoke Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Soon after, on October 8, 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused widespread Cape Fear River flooding in Cumberland County, adding emphasis to the importance of climate adaptation work of Sustainable Sandhills.

Native Village of Golovin, Alaska

In Alaska, the Norton Bay Intertribal Watershed Council led MFPP’s 2011 Climate Solutions University planning process for several villages in Norton Bay, AK. In 2016, our team assisted the Native Village of Golovin to use the plan to update their HMP. The updated HMP incorporates the climate effects of loss of sea ice, winter storms and coastal erosion, flooding, and melting permafrost with impacts to infrastructure and reduced access to subsistence resources. The updated HMP has been approved by the City of Golovin and is currently pending FEMA approval.