The study posed several challenges as research was being conducted, which required flexibility and adjustments for the team along the away. The approach to climate projects was evolving as the project was being delivered.
Originally, the client was mainly interested in the technical aspects of the assessment and the data it would produce. But as wildfires and state climate policies drew additional attention to climate adaptation, those officials became more interested in developing a report that was accessible to government officials as well as the public.
That shift led to a change in course to create not only the technical deliverables needed to chart the direction, but also to create summary reports that are highly visual and easier to understand.
“This was a huge change in the original scope of work for the project and required additional staff, time and budget,” Flood said. “To develop these summary reports, we had to coordinate very closely with district staff and their many stakeholders.”
There was also a high level of interest in the study expressed by environmental agencies, many of which provided comments on the assessment, with particular interest in decision-making strategies, requesting collaboration with Caltrans on adaptation actions.
“The process is very technical and new, so we worked closely with the Caltrans districts and their stakeholders to walk everyone through the process to the point that they were comfortable with it,” Ragsdale said.
She described the summary reports as “innovative”, unlike anything she has seen before. Patrick Kresl of WSP’s project visualization team, was critical in developing the summary report format and graphics which have been well received by the client.
“They’re engaging, contain tons of good information, and they tell a compelling story for each Caltrans district,” Ragsdale said. “It was a lot of hard work putting them together, but I’m happy with how they turned out.”