Climate Resilience

Resilience can be defined as "the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience." (Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities)

A primary resiliency resources is the Colorado Resiliency Office’s (CRO) who's goal is to support a long-term adaptable and vibrant future for all Coloradans by building stronger, safer, and more resilient systems in the face of natural disasters and other shocks and stressors.

In 2019, City of Durango staff worked with the Colorado Resiliency Office to develop a municipal Resilience Framework (PDF).

A 2018 community workshop supported by the National League of Cities Leadership in Community Resilience Program focused on the headline impacts for our region:

  • Warming Temperatures
  • Drought and Wildfire
  • Extreme Weather Events
Resilience Framework cover page

WarmingDrought & WildfireExtreme EventsE


(past 50 yrs)


  • 2F warming in Colorado over the past century.
  • Daily low temperatures rising more than daily high temperatures.
  • Peak yearly snowpack has shifted 20 days earlier.
  • Tree density at tree line has increased and trees growing at higher elevations.

Drought and Wildfire

  • Mostly below average precipitation and snowpack since 2000.
  • Area burned 1984-2014 twice what it would have been without climate change.

Extreme Weather Events

  • Increase in extreme events frequency and cost across the US.



  • All models predict warming.
  • 2.5 - 6.5F increase by 2050.
  • Summer temperatures warming slightly more than winter temperatures.
  • More frequent and extreme heat events.

Drought and Wildfire

  • Uncertain total annual precipitation.
  • Increasing share of annual precipitation falling as rain, reduced snowpack.
  • Earlier peak snowmelt and run-off by 1-3 weeks by mid-century.
  • Reduced summer soil moisture and available water supply due to increased evapo-transpiration.

Extreme Weather Events

  • Increase in intense precipitation events, especially during late summer and early fall.
Observed and projected impacts from: U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment (Nov, 2018), U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit Climate Explorer, Colorado Resiliency Framework (2015), Mountain Studies Institute San Juan Climate Initiative.