Building Resilience: A Climate Adaptation Plan

Study Overview 

In 2015, the Model Forest Policy Program (MFPP), the Cumberland River Compact (CRC), and the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization came together to create a climate adaptation plan for Davidson, Wilson, Williamson, Sumner, Rutherford, Robertson, and Maury Counties in Middle Tennessee. Development of the plan came about because all parties recognized the critical need for local community and regional resilience against the impacts of climate change by protecting forest and water resources. This climate adaptation plan for the Nashville Area MPO region presents the results of a regional team effort, deep and broad information gathering, critical analysis and thoughtful planning. The Nashville Area MPO took a local leadership role to engage with the Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies program (CSU) and lead the region toward climate resilience with an adaptation plan that addresses the local climate risks and fits local conditions and culture. This achievement was made possible by the guidance and coaching of the CSU program created by the MFPP in partnership with the CRC. The goal of CSU is to empower rural and urban underserved communities to become leaders in climate resilience using a cost effective distance-learning program. The result of this collaborative effort is a powerful climate adaptation plan that the region can support and implement in coming years. The outcome will be a region that can better withstand impacts of climate upon their natural resources, economy, and social structure in the decades to come. The prior efforts of the NashvilleNext planning process and the 2010 Sumner County Climate Adaptation Plan were critical precursors to this document.

Major Findings

The region is already experiencing impacts from climate change. Extreme weather events, increasing temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and rapid growth and development pose threats to the ecosystems, infrastructure, and people of the region and require collaborative action at all levels (government, nonprofit, business, and citizen) to respond adequately. These changes will impact the region’s access to clean drinking water, clean air, fertile soil, outdoor recreation, economic opportunity, and can pose serious public health risks. These changes have a disproportionate impact on the communities and people in the region that are most vulnerable because of their socioeconomic status, health, age, or preexisting conditions.


Through collaborative partnerships, people, government, business, organizations, and the natural and built environment can become resilient to the climate and non-climate stressors facing Middle Tennessee. The region will support livable, prosperous, sustainable, and diverse communities when leaders and citizens across all sectors and jurisdictions prioritize and sustain collaborative action for climate resilience. 

As part of the development of this plan, four goals were identified to achieve climate resilience in the region:

- Goal 1: The region implements preemptive adaptation measures and responses to extreme weather events that are planned, coordinated, and timely.
- Goal 2: The leaders and residents of the region value and protect water resources and prioritize improved water quality and conservation for the benefit of human and natural systems.
- Goal 3: The region’s growth and development promotes equitable prosperity and is sustainable for people and natural resources.
- Goal 4: The region’s leaders and organizations work collaboratively and effectively in all
resilience actions.





  • Building Resilience: A Climate Adaptation Plan

Completion Date

  • 2016


  • Cumberland River Compact
    Model Forest Policy Program
    Climate Solutions University

Study Partners

  • Nashville Area MPO
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