Watsonville 2030 Climate Action & Adaptation Plan

Watsonville Climate Action & Adaptation Plan
The City of Watsonville is embarking on an important effort for climate action, adaptation, and restoration over the next decade. The City created a Climate Action Plan (PDF) in 2015 and is now updating and expanding the plan to reduce Watsonville’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, combat the impacts of climate change, and explore realistic options for restoring and repairing its natural environment. The 2030 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) will chart a clear path to address the risks and challenges Watsonville could face, such as sea-level rise, increased temperatures, heavier and more intense storms, air pollution, increased health problems and increased strain on an already impacted water supply.

The State of California supports local action on climate change by providing guidance for local jurisdictions to develop climate action plans or plans to reduce GHG emissions for projects. The State also requires climate change adaptation strategies to protect communities and critical infrastructure from climate impacts.

To comply with existing legislation, the CAAP will have three focus areas: Climate Action, Climate Adaptation, and Repair and Restoration.

Tree Planting

Solar Panels

Bike Lane

  1. The Climate Action component will be based on the City’s 2017 GHG inventory compiled by the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG). The outcome of this analysis will be a set of emission reduction targets for meeting the City’s stated GHG reduction goals. Mitigation actions will be characterized by their potential to reduce GHG emission, implementation timeframe, cost, community support, and ability to provide additional community benefits. Example mitigation strategies include the installation of EV charging stations, promoting active transportation, and energy efficiency improvements.
  2. The Climate Adaptation component will be based on the City’s recent 2020 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (natural disaster preparedness). It will also consider additional risks, including agricultural impacts, grid reliability, and potential influxes of short-term or long-term climate migrants. Potential adaptation strategies will categorize  by their risk-reduction potential (effectiveness), implementation timeframe, cost, community support, and ability to provide additional community benefits. Some example adaptation strategies include installing emergency generators, designating community cooling centers, developing distributed energy systems, and increasing tree canopy and green infrastructure.
  3. The Repair and Restoration component will include specific solutions and methods of sequestering carbon and undoing the damage caused by climate change that are viable and applicable to our community. The results and actions from this initiative will be integrated into the CAAP as a 2021 plan update to the initial draft.

CAAP Community Survey

Throughout the development of the CAAP, the City would like to get feedback from many residents representing diverse perspectives. Hearing about residents’ concerns related to climate change will help identify the ways in which Watsonville will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the community from the impacts of climate change. Residents can help set priorities, select strategies, and voice their concerns.
The planning process will consist of two online community surveys, this first one will be open from July 15th to August 15th, 2020. The second survey will be open from mid-October to mid-November, in which we will need community input to prioritize specific climate action and adaptation strategies that residents want the City to take.

Climate Action Plan Progress Report 2015-2018 

The City’s first Climate Action Plan was adopted by Council in 2015 and since then, many accomplishments have been made in transportation, energy, water conservation, wastewater, solid waste, and green building. 
One of the most significant reductions in our GHG emission was due to Watsonville’s participation in the Monterey Bay Community Power project, which has been providing the community with 100% carbon-free and renewable energy since 2018. Other improvements include converting traffic signals and street lights to energy-saving LED’s; adding green bike lanes and trails; and installing solar panels on city facilities.  The full progress report is available below and it showcases how Watsonville accomplished a 21.7% GHG reduction.  This progress was made possible thanks to everyone’s actions and sustained commitment to keep us moving towards a more “climate-friendly” Watsonville.