Watsonville 2030 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.

  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.

Community Engagement
To shape the kind of Watsonville we want to build in the future, it is critical to hear from our community. By better understanding how each sector of the community is being affected, we can better plan and prepare to address these issues. Our hope is to develop climate solutions that address environmental justice and inequalities. 
A community advisory committee has been formed with members of the community who do not traditionally participate in local decision-making processes and are most impacted by climate change. Members of this committee will advise the City on ways to get more community members, especially from those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, to vote on the actions Watsonville should take for the next 10 years. The Committee meeting  will also give feedback on the draft of the second survey to better engage Watsonville residents with the survey.  

Additionally, a Stakeholder group has been formed with over 30 stakeholders representing City departments, local non-profit groups, community health organizations, and local advocacy groups. They will provide feedback on the climate action strategies and supplemental adaptation assessments. Stakeholders will also help identify opportunities for regional collaboration and partnerships to implement the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

Community Input

The outreach process consists of two community surveys (digital and physical). The first climate survey was open for a month July to August, and it was to inform residents of the Climate Action planning process and to get a sense of our communities’ concerns in regards to climate change. Please click here to view the first climate survey results. 

The second follow-up survey was open from early November to late December 2020. The purpose of the second survey was to get community input on their level of support for some of the specific proposed climate strategies. The survey gave our residents an opportunity to prioritize the actions they want the City to take and help identify what opportunities for funding City staff need to apply to implement the selected strategies.
Please click here to view the second climate survey results.

Watsonville Climate Action & Adaptation Plan

Council Presentation and Community Meeting
City staff presented the Climate Action & Adaptation Plan update to the City on Council on October 13, 2020. To view the PowerPoint, please click here. The City will host a community meeting in late May or June 2021 to review the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan Draft. We look forward to your participation! More information will be shared closer to the date.

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 emissions 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.