Background on CRAVe and Its Development
Vulnerability assessments (VAs) can provide insights on resources that are most likely to be affected by climate change and why those resources are most vulnerable. Consequently, they are an important tool for informing climate change adaptation planning. Although there are a large number of vulnerability studies that are currently being conducted, there is no available method to identify VAs conducted in specific regions or on specific resources. Thus, it is highly likely that new assessments are being launched without knowledge of relevant ongoing or completed assessments. It is also likely that the data and knowledge gathered by completed assessments are not being used by managers outside the entity conducting the assessment. Addressing this lack of coordination is necessary for reducing costs and increasing the value of existing assessment investments.
Who Built CRAVe?
CRAVe was initiated by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) as part of the work of the Interagency Land Management Adaptation Group (ILMAG); member agencies from the USGCRP Adaptation Science Work Group, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and several NGO’s have also contributed. Logos on the CRAVe landing page indicate most-active partners.
A steering group was convened in 2013 to develop plans for a searchable, public registry on climate change VAs. The goal was to make information about ongoing and completed VAs more readily accessible and available, so that resources devoted to such assessments can be most efficiently used. The registry includes VA descriptions of project undertaken by federal and non-federal partners. Partnering Federal agencies have agreed to collect these data and keep them current for approximately five years as an initial term for the project.
CRAVe is jointly managed by USGS/NCCWSC and EcoAdapt. USGS hosts a federal site, and its content is provided via web services and is integrated into the EcoAdapt Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE; http://www.cakex.org/). Plans call for the registry to be linked to or be otherwise integrated into the Climate Resilinece Toolkit (https://toolkit.climate.gov/) and the Global Change Information System (GCIS, https://data.globalchange.gov/).
Users of the Registry enter information on a suite of basic information about a vulnerability assessment, including project location and scale, assessment target or endpoint, contact information, managing agency and partner agencies, vulnerability assessment components (exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity), type of climate, sea-level, or hydrological change projections (hazards), methods for determining impact of hazards, and the purpose of the VA. Users of the registry may also upload abstracts that may provide additional details on their projects, and links to websites and other documents. The assessments housed in the Registry include studies pertaining to species and ecosystems, built environments and infrastructure, cultural resources, and socioeconomic systems. Users can access the Registry to conduct searches across all vulnerability assessments to find necessary information for decision making.
About Vulnerability Assessments
Although there are different definitions of vulnerability assessment, we adopted the definition provided by IPCC (2007) that pertains to climate change and suggests an understanding of vulnerability of a particular target, asset, or resource can be can be achieved through the assessment of exposure (magnitude and rate of climate change a resource is likely to experience), sensitivity (characteristics of a particular resource that mediate tolerance to climate change), and adaptive capacity (the inherent ability of the resource to moderate the impacts of climate change; IPCC 2007). This is also the most commonly used definition by the natural resources community (e.g., Glick et al. 2011). However, we recognize that there are other frameworks that may be used by different agencies and organizations for understanding climate change impacts. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) often focuses on risk assessment, which is defined as the chance or potential of harmful effects occurring as a result of climate change (or other stressor). Risk, however, is closely related to vulnerability in that resources possessing vulnerabilities have increased potential for harm from a threat, such as climate change. Consequently, risk assessments are relevant and are welcomed entries in CRAVe, but some of the language used in the tool may be more specific to the vulnerability assessment framework we have adopted.
Glick, P., B. A. Stein, and N. A. Edelson, editors. 2011. Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007. Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, and C. E. Hanson (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
The Paperwork Reduction Act and CRAVe
WHY: The Paperwork Reduction Act requires Federal agencies to obtain clearance before requesting information from the public. Despite the voluntary nature of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe), because CRAVe will collect information from non-Federal parties, such clearance was required and has been obtained. The formal required notice follows:
WHAT: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501), please note the following. This information collection is authorized by Organic Act, 43 U.S.C. 31 et seq., 1879 and Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. Your response is voluntary. We estimate that it will take approximately one hour to register and per new respondent. An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget control number. OMB has reviewed and approved this information collection and assigned OMB Control Number 1028-0108. You may submit comments on any aspect of this information collection, including the accuracy of the estimated burden hours and suggestions to reduce this burden. Send your comments to: Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 807, Reston, VA 20192. OMB Control #: 1028-0108. Expiration Date: 09/30/2017.