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Blaine County Climate Resilience Strategies

The Challenge

Warm Springs Consulting was hired by Blaine County, alongside the Sun Valley Institute (SVI), to support current efforts to build lasting prosperity and quality of life in the Wood River Valley. The community faces many risks from a rapidly changing world. Blaine County believes that global environmental changes present some of the largest threats and opportunities, including potential population increase and economic challenges related to drought, flooding, fires and irregular snowpack. To better serve Blaine County constituents, the County is hosting a series of workshops to understand how through innovation and preparation, we can collaborate to hedge against the risks posed and seize opportunities to increase community resilience.

The Solution

WSC proposed a five step process to work towards increased community resilience.

  1. Research and Secure Funding

  2. Conduct Interviews and Distribute Information

  3. Initial Scenario Planning Workshop

  4. Resilience Solutions Workshop

  5. Work Group Community Engagement on Solutions

WSC interviewed over 30 Blaine County constituents with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and priorities. These individuals shared perspectives on the valley’s risks and opportunities, through the lens of a changing climate. During the interview process, we heard common themes for how the community can:

  • Collaborate and hedge against current and future risks

  • Seize opportunities to increase community resilience and lasting quality of life

On December 3rd Blaine County hosted the first Blaine County Scenario Planning Workshop. 71 participants created solutions addressing the risks facing the county. Participant groups arrived at several different opportunity areas and solutions.

The second Blaine County Resilience Workshop took place on March 11th. Groups built out the solutions identified at our first workshop that were been prioritized through a survey of community members. The purpose of the workshop was to refine and build implementable solutions. Our goals were to develop clear implementation plans together, including who will carry projects forward, where resources will come from. and how to create the momentum and responsibility to take advantage of our assets, address important gaps. and build a more resilient, prosperous Blaine County.

Using both scenario planning and the Community Solutions Canvas (adapted from the Business Model Canvas), the community arrived at eight solutions that the community is starting to implement to both mitigate and provide greater resilience to climate change.