Climate Change Adaptation - Rhode Island

State Seal of Rhode Island

        Threat from Sea Level Rise     Threat to Water Supply and Quality     Threat from Intensified Weather Events     Threat to Natural Habitat and Wildlife    
        Action: Adaptation Planning                      

Climate Change History

On July 25th, 2002 the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Stakeholder Process released its final version of the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Action Plan.  The Center for Climate Strategies assisted Rhode Island in the development of this plan. As the name of the plan suggests, this plan focuses on mitigation (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) rather than adaptation (preparing the state for the impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable.  Rhode Island is also a participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“Reggie”), a carbon permit auction program.

Current & Future Action

In 2010, the Rhode Island General Assembly approved the Rhode Island Climate Risk Reduction Act.  The bill acknowledges that climate change impacts have already begun to affect Rhode Island and establishes the Rhode Island Climate Change Commission.  The Commission is tasked with studying the impacts underway and developing adaptation strategies.  The Department of Environmental Management is developing a freshwater wetland monitoring program which will make use of the Rapid Assessment Method (RAM) to gauge freshwater wetland condition on a rotating basis.  This will include development of wetland reference condition based on the RAM and identification of sites for potential long-term monitoring.

Pilot Programs/Current Studies

The state does not, as yet, have any specific pilots or case studies dealing with wetlands and climate change.

For More Information

The 2010 Climate Risk Reduction Act full-text is available from:

Information about the long-term monitoring program is available from:

For more information contact Russ Chateauneuf, Chief of the Groundwater & Wetlands Protection division of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.  (401)222-4700x7700 or .