Consulting & Engineering: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience


CH2M for completing research on future rainfall intensity in the UK and the implications for sewer and stormwater system design. With damaging floods wreaking havoc in late 2015, UK media quoted climate scientists saying that December's high temperatures and precipitation levels fell outside the range of natural variability and are partly due to climate change.

According to CH2M's client, UK Water Industry Research, the report has produced estimates of rainfall intensity change using a combination of climate analogue data and a high-resolution (1.5 km) climate model developed by the UK Met Office. "The resultant rainfall intensity change estimates are, in general, higher than existing UK guidance suggests. Sewer flooding frequency and volume, and frequency of pollution events are also investigated for five locations; indicating that these are also likely to increase in the future."

According to CH2M, the project provided fresh insight into how urban drainage systems should be adapted to accommodate climate change with combinations of increased capacity and the use of stormwater green infrastructure to reduce demand and manage flow pathways on the surface.

An employee-controlled professional engineering services firm, CH2M (formerly CH2M Hill) produced $3.95 billion in revenues during the first three quarters of 2015.

Dewberry for providing decision support on climate stressors to infrastructure and assets for federal, state, local and private clients in 2015. Building on its history in hazard risk management and engineering, Dewberry has taken on some of the largest and most critical sea level rise (SLR) projects, providing analysis and guidance for FEMA, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), EPA and Transportation Research Board (TRB), as well as vulnerable state and local governments such as New York, Florida and the City of Virginia Beach.

In 2015, Dewberry delivered SLR floodplain mapping for lower New York State to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and was awarded follow-on work to support development of an internet viewer. Dewberry also received new awards from NYSERDA for a community coastal erosion study and a collaborative effort with the New York State Department of Transportation to research bridge and culvert vulnerability.

Dewberry was awarded a contract by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to lead a pilot program for sea level rise vulnerability assessments and adaptation pilot studies. And in May 2015, it was named by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as one of the key consultants on the Rebuild by Design Hudson River Project.

At the federal level, Dewberry's summary report for climate change risk assessment and adaptation guidance for airports was published by TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program. Also in 2015, Dewberry completed a climate change analysis for the National Flood Insurance Program's Environmental Impact Study, undertook a vulnerability analysis for EPA's Oceans and Coastal Protection Division, and reviewed USACE tools for detecting non-stationarity at river gage stations across the country.

Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., Dewberry has approximately 2,000 employees and generated $380 million in revenue in 2014.

Hazen and Sawyer for its leadership role in evaluating climate change assessment and adaptation planning for water and wastewater utilities. In 2013, the firm partnered with CH2M on the post-Sandy NYC Wastewater Resiliency Plan, and more recently it has performed studies on water and climate change for the American Water Works Association, Water Research Foundation, Water Environment Research Foundation, Water Services Association of Australia and other industry groups.

The firm has special expertise in evaluating how climate change will affect water quality and water demand. On the water quality side, Hazen and Sawyer executives published papers and spoke at industry conferences in 2015 about how climate change can increase risks of disinfection by-products and harmful algal blooms. Individual water utility clients appreciate the firm's work in modeling demand changes over time, factoring climate change, population growth and other factors into the models that utilities use for their long term asset and resource planning.

A water-focused engineering and technical services firm, Hazen and Sawyer had 2014 revenues at $165 million.

Kleinfelder for its resiliency work with local governments and infrastructure managers, primarily on the East Coast. Kleinfelder's large clients include Massport, operator of airports and ports in Massachusetts, and Washington D.C.'s Department of Energy and Environment, but the firm has also worked for many smaller communities.

For Massport, Kleinfelder performed a Disaster and Infrastructure Resiliency Planning study commissioned after Irene, Sandy and other storms flooded terminals, caused other damage and "demonstrated the link between climate hazards and the resiliency of the built environment," according to MassPort. Drafted in 2014, the DIRP was updated in 2015 to include the best available coastal flood risk modeling data. Kleinfelder also helped MassPort in 2015 to develop flood response plans for Logan International Airport and guided its evaluation of more than 20 flood protection products before eventually selecting AquaFence, which received a $1 million order (see Aquafence profile in CCBJ's Q4 2015 issue).

In June 2015, Kleinfelder's first report on Climate Projections and Scenario Development for Washington, D.C. was published (collaborators include Perkins + Will, Atmos Research and Consulting and the universities of New Hampshire and Massachusetts at Boston). Kleinfelder has also helped towns and cities in Massachusetts with climate risk assessment and adaptation planning, often performing pro bono work to help potential clients obtain funding for studies from the state's Coastal Zone Management program.

A design firm with complimentary engineering and environmental capabilities, Kleinfelder has close to 2,000 employees in the United States, Canada and Australia and 2014 revenues of $380 million.

Moffatt & Nichol for integrating sea level rise and other climate change impacts into the design and engineering of some of the United States' most vulnerable communities and facilities. Some of the firm's recent projects include the Shoreline Protection Feasibility Project for San Francisco International Airport (performed with another engineering firm, AGS), a shoreline protection system for the 400-acre Treasure Island Development Project in San Francisco Bay and protection measures for Santa Barbara's iconic Cabrillo Pavillion.

In August 2015, the firm and partners West 8 and Louisiana State University Coastal Sustainability Studio won a design competition run by EDF to develop a 100-year framework to sustain the Lower Mississippi River Delta. The Giving Delta framework was built on principles including "empower[ing] the River to nourish the human, economic, and ecological systems that depend on the River as a shared resource" and "build[ing] and sustain[ing] wetlands to mitigate the effects of climate change and subsidence and to slow the inevitable marine transgression of the Delta." A global infrastructure advisor specializing in coastal projects and freight, Moffatt & Nichol employs more than 600 staff and had $134 million in 2014 revenue.