Nevada County Climate Action Adaptation Plan and Community Coalition Building

Host: County of Nevada
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g., sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation
Skills Needed: Project Management, Research, Community Outreach, Stakeholder Engagement,

Remote or On-Site Placement


Service Needs & Plans

In 2023, the Nevada County Board of Supervisor adopted Climate Resilience as a strategic objective, to “Safeguard Nevada County’s economic durability, environmental integrity and public health and safety by preparing for, adapting to, and mitigating changing climate conditions in a way that reflects our rural quality of life.”

In 2023, the County began working to coordinate and convene internal and external partners, researching models and best practices, launching five initiatives with the goal of laying the foundation for development of a climate action and adaption plan. The board renewed the objective in 2024, adding two additional initiatives focused on public health and energy efficiency. In its first year of endeavors, the County was able to successfully obtain the necessary funding for the development of a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, to develop a Western County Climate Collaborative of community and jurisdictional parents. This project is being managed by multi-disciplinary staff led by the offices of the County Executive Office and Board of Supervisors, along with support from senior executives from the Nevada County Community Development Agency, (Planning Deportment, Public Works, Transit, Economic Development, Environmental Health, Solid Waste and Recreation), Information and General Services Agency (Office of Emergency Services, Facilities, and Broadband Workgroup), and Health and Human Services Agency (Public Health and Social Services).

As an objective for a mid-sized rural county government, there is not currently adequate resources for a a dedicated full-time staff focused on climate resilience, and we are looking for a dynamic, dedicated CivicSpark fellow to enhance capacity. Primary focus areas for this fellow will be to support development of the County’s first ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, support establishment of a Western County Climate Collaborative, and to provide internal administrative support and coordination for the County’s 7 climate initiatives.

Nevada County faces extreme environmental challenges, including severe weather, devastating storms and wildfires, and extreme heat. These extreme weather events threaten community health, safety, and economy, and disproportionately impact our most vulnerable populations, including seniors, people living with disabilities, and low-income residents in our rural county. and economic impacts. Our planning will include focus on these vulnerable populations, and emphasize tribal engagement. Through the adaptation strategies identified we can mitigate this risk and provide immediate benefit, like managing health forests to help protect us from wildfire and providing economic opportunities.

Project Description

Overarching goals of the project are to further the seven initiatives identified in the Board’s Climate Resilience objective, listed below. These are encompassed in the key outcomes which are to launch Nevada County’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and establish the Western County Climate Collaborative.

1) Support Climate Action Adaptation Plan Development – The Climate Action Adaptation Plan will lay the foundation for the County’s goals and strategies to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by updating a GHG inventory, policy goals necessary to reduce emissions, and creating a framework for general plan elements as required by State Law, align with regular updates of safety elements, and define implementation strategies.

2) Plan and implement strategies to protect and harden critical infrastructure to reduce climate risk and/or creating new green infrastructure to mitigate risk – engaging with local government officials, partners and community groups to identify and further strategies, waste reduction, supporting countywide ZEV planning and infrastructure. The development of the western county climate collaborative is critical to establishing long-term partnerships and engaging diverse stakeholders, including disadvantaged communities and California Native Tribes as well as existing recreation, public safety, and environmental organizations, public partners, and the community at large. This will include working closely with the county’s regional climate and economic development partners to conduct initial outreach, conduct outreach and implement ongoing community engagement activities for the western county Climate collaborative.

3) The CivicSpark Fellow will work with a variety of regional partners including the Climate Transformation Alliance, the Energy Action Plan working groups; coordinate Nevada County’s Third Annual Sustainability Summit; and support working group meetings, coordination of outreach events, educational activities and trainings, progress tracking, and other capacity-building activities with community partners, special districts, and other jurisdictions.

4) Further strategies to enhance carbon storage an sequestration, including promoting sustainable recreation aligned with Nevada County’s Recreation and Resilience Master Plan; Exploring strategies to support local farmers and ranchers and promote local food production and beneficial cropland management including supporting efforts in coordination with the Nevada Regional Conservation District.

5) Promote Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Storage Capacities – Identify opportunities for both County-owned buildings and properties as well as opportunities for private owners throughout the County through the Nevada County Energy Action Plan Workgroup.

6) Public Health Education – Provide administrative support to County Public Health to develop and implement a public health campaign.

7) Provide research and input regarding funding and advocacy opportunities to secure resources for Nevada County.

Our fellow will be a central role in this project, supported by senior staff from the County Executive Office, Clerk of the Board Office, and Community Development Agency. The fellow will support all seven goals, with primary focus on development of Community Action and Adaptation plan and establishment of a climate collaborative. As we have funding and policy direction in place, this fellow will be well-poised to have a major impact in this beautiful Sierra Nevada community, as they will have the opportunity to further these key initiatives that will have lasting impact in the community. They will also provide administrative support coordinating monthly objective meetings, furthering current initiatives including community education and engagement, with a keynote event of the 4th Annual Sustainability Summit in September 2025.

Specific outcomes will be the development of a Nevada County Climate Action Adaptation Plan (CAAP) and the successful establishment of the climate collaborative. We anticipate the CAAP to be adopted plan by the Board of Supervisors. Interim outputs will include quarterly reports on progress of all initiatives, meeting collateral, education and awareness communications, and public presentations.

Desired Skills

The Fellow should have a good grasp on technical skills for writing, conducting complex research and ability to communicate clearly. The fellow should have some basic knowledge on climate resilience and key concepts.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

Nevada County’s workplace culture supports a lifestyle that is based on a passion for the environment, recreation, and the close-knit small-town communities that characterize the region. Nevada County is an organization that welcomes diversity in all respects and fosters and encourages inclusion and belonging among staff as well as the larger county community. Nevada County will commit resources to build capacity and actively engage staff in creating a work culture that values and seeks diversity within its workforce (including, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training and staff development, and retention). Nevada County will also value and where possible, actively support employee led projects that work towards inclusion and belonging. Nevada County fosters a fast-paced, open environment where staff are encouraged to take initiative, work across programs, and support each other’s projects.

Part of Nevada County’s work involves relationship building with community stakeholders, such as stakeholder meetings and coordination, presentations and educational activities, and development of informational content to support its departmental programs. Nevada County’s supervising staff are approachable and professional development-oriented and are available to help project staff with training and career goals.

Community Highlights

Nevada County is renowned as an outdoor destination, and attracts mountain bikers, hikers, and lovers of winter sports to its rivers, lakes, all-inclusive trails, and epic Sierra Nevada terrain. And, along with adventure, the comforts of good food, drink, shopping, street festivals, arts, music, and entertainment are found in the delightful historic foothill and mountain towns of Grass Valley, Nevada City, and Truckee.

Nevada County is characterized by four seasons and can experience 100-degree (+) beach-worthy weather in the summer, crisp and colorful autumn tree foliage, and 30-50 degree, rainy/snowy days in the winter. Living in this highly variable environment requires a willingness to live with and manage the elements – i.e., lots of sunscreen and a warm winter jacket.

Nevada County captivates a diverse market of residents and tourists who seek to live or play in this charming and vibrant community. Abundant cultural and geographical advantages make Nevada County a year-round mecca for visual and performance arts, outdoor recreation, and many well- attended festivals. Residents enjoy small town living, greeting each other on the street and doing business with a smile and a handshake. Nevada County is located approximately only one hour from the State Capitol and two-and half hours from San Francisco Bay Area.

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