Graham Sustainability Institute

Carrying Out Climate Scenario Planning for the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

February 2016

Communities in the Kenai Peninsula are already coping with a variety of impacts related to a warming climate, including reductions in wetland areas, glacial ice coverage, and freshwater availability, and increases in temperatures, ocean acidification, and harmful algal blooms. Efforts to document these recent changes will be leveraged to create tangible recommendations and a long-term local strategy for adaptation to rapid climate change. Barriers hindering effective climate change planning on the peninsula include the uncertainty of future trajectories, a need for a synthesis of regional data, and limited capacity for interagency collaboration. This project aims to address these needs and help coastal communities on the Kenai Peninsula plan for a changing climate.

Drawing upon experience using scenario planning to help local communities prepare for climate change in the Tijuana River Valley (Southern California), the project team will use the best available science to facilitate local dialogue addressing how climate change may impact the Kenai Peninsula. The project will engage regional leaders and community stakeholders to collaboratively develop plausible future planning scenarios based on a wide range of possible environmental responses to a changing climate. Ultimately this process and the resulting scenarios will help to inform area resource managers and land use planners as they lay the groundwork for future research, regulation, and development. Additionally, the project will document the process and lessons learned to further demonstrate the applicability of scenario planning across geographically distinct communities.