The State of Climate Adaptation in U.S. Marine Fisheries Management

This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey adaptation action in marine fisheries management by examining the major climate impacts on marine and coastal fisheries in the United States, assessing related challenges to fisheries management, and presenting examples of actions taken to decrease vulnerability and/or increase resilience. First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on fisheries, focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, storms, ocean circulation, sea level rise, and water chemistry. We then examine non-climatic factors that affect fisheries management, such as overfishing, bycatch, pollution, habitat degradation and modification, invasive and non-native species, and conflicting uses of marine and coastal ecosystems. Next, we examine how the aforementioned issues combine to influence abundance and productivity, distribution and recruitment, and essential fish habitat. Then we present the results of a survey sent to federal, tribal, state, and other practitioners to identify challenges, needs, and opportunities for climate-informed fisheries management and conservation. Summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources are presented in four broad categories (Gregg et al. 2011; Gregg et al. 2012):

  1. Capacity Building: Strategies include conducting research and assessments, investing in training and outreach efforts, developing new tools and resources, and monitoring climate change impacts and adaptation effectiveness.
  2. Policy: Strategies include developing adaptation plans, creating new or enhancing existing policies, and developing adaptive management strategies.
  3. Natural Resource Management and Conservation: Strategies include incorporating climate change into restoration efforts, enhancing connectivity, reducing local change, and reducing non-climate stressors that may exacerbate the effects of climate change.
  4. Infrastructure, Planning, and Development: Strategies include protecting critical coastal infrastructure used by the fishing industry, and creating or modifying coastal development measures (e.g., removing shoreline hardening, encouraging low-impact development) to increase habitat resilience.

The majority of adaptation efforts in fisheries management to date have been focused on capacity building, including conducting research and assessments, creating resources and tools, and monitoring how climatic changes are affecting species, habitats, and fishing communities. Finally, we discuss several more options to advance adaptation in the fisheries sector that are either not yet represented or are only partially addressed by the examples from our survey. 

Lagged social-ecological responses to climate and range shifts in fisheries

While previous research has documented marine fish and invertebrates shifting poleward in response to warming climates, less is known about the response of fisheries to these changes. By examining fisheries in the northeastern United States over the last four decades of warming temperatures, we show that northward shifts in species distributions were matched by corresponding northward shifts in fisheries. The proportion of warm-water species caught in most states also increased through time. Most importantly, however, fisheries shifted only 10–30 % as much as their target species, and evidence suggested that economic and regulatory constraints played important roles in creating these lags. These lags may lead to overfishing and population declines if not accounted for in fisheries management and climate adaptation. In coupled natural-human systems such as fisheries, human actions play important roles in determining the sustainability of the system and, therefore, future conservation and climate mitigation planning will need to consider not only biophysical changes, but also human responses to these changes and the feedbacks that these responses have on ecosystems.

Fish, Fisheries, and Water Resources: Adapting to Ontario’s Changing Climate

Location

United States
48° 54' 11.6856" N, 84° 48' 52.0308" W
US
Summary: 

This integrated research project, which ran from 2007-2008, was initiated to better understand the implications of projected climate change impacts and adaptation responses on southern Ontario’s fish, fisheries, and water resources. Climate change will have predominantly negative effects on species and habitats, and resulting economic effects are expected to be devastating to the region. In addition, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns will require alterations to water resources planning and management.

Multisolving at the Intersection of Health and Climate: Lessons from Success Stories

With a multisolving approach to addressing health and climate challenges, people are designing the communities that they want to live in while at the same time preventing and preparing for climate change. For many of the projects, the system-wide benefits exceeded the costs. And the projects tended to create benefits, from more children walking to school, to a better patient experience, to increased opportunities for recreation, that were appreciated in the organizations and communities where the projects happened.

The study identified the following success factors that were common themes across the case studies:

  • Leadership shown by individual or organizational champions of projects
  • Cyclical learning and growth in partnerships over time
  • Strong engagement and communication with partners, collaborators, and the communities being served by the project
  • Measuring and communicating the multiple benefits of the project
  • Including a strong financial plan or a low-cost project design
  • Anticipating and confronting resistance to change

Planning for an Equitable Los Angeles: A Guide to Shaping LA’s New Community Plans

This guide is a resource for community-based organizations (CBOs) and city residents to advance equitable development through active engagement in the City of Los Angeles community plan update process.

  • Part I Provides an overview of the community plan update process and offers key considerations for effective community engagement.
  • Part II Provides a toolkit of planning and policy tools to advance equitable development outcomes within these new community plans. These tools are organized according to five broad principles of equitable development.

This guide is non-exhaustive, and meant to spur thoughtful dialogue among engaged residents and organizations. Ultimately, it is the leadership and experiential knowledge of affected low-income communities that will drive an equitable community plan campaign. Specific strategies will be responsive to the unique circumstances and dynamics of each community plan area. This guide is intended to support that effort.

Building Resilience Through Family Planning and Adaptation Finance

A growing evidence base links women’s met needs for family planning with reduced human vulnerability to climate change and enhanced resilience in the face of climate change impacts. Yet to date, population and family planning have been largely left out of adaptation proposals and projects. This report highlights a number of multilateral funds that provide climate finance and identifies challenges and opportunities for the FP/RH community in justifying their proposed development interventions as adaptation interventions.

Climate Change and Public Health Preparation Plan | Multnomah County

Climate change has serious and far-reaching health implications for present and future generations. A team of international scientists recently described these challenges in The Lancet as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” (Lancet 2009).

Even if there is local and global action to immediately reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we will likely feel the impacts from the current build up of emissions in the atmosphere for decades. These impacts, such as hotter summers and wetter, warmer winters for the Pacific Northwest, will likely affect our health, especially those most vulnerable. Communities must, therefore, begin to plan and prepare for the likely impacts that will be experienced because of the emissions already present in the atmosphere.

The Multnomah County/City of Portland Climate Action Plan identified “Climate Change Preparation” as one of its eight key action areas with the objective to “adapt successfully to a changing climate”. Adaptation means “to adjust to a new situation or environment” such as an increase in consecutive days over 95 degrees. This public health plan is a part of broader ongoing efforts by the City of Portland and Multnomah County to make our infrastructure, our natural environment, and our society more resilient to climate change. This plan communicates why we as a community, as policymakers and as public health professionals should care about climate change; what the local impacts may be; which populations and areas may be impacted; why equity and justice are key parts of this work; and what we can do to further prevent health issues and disparities.

Climate Change & Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region - Story After the Storm - Hilarie Sorensen

The Story After the Storm series examines the aftermath of Duluth's 2012 flood. The increased frequency of extreme weather, not only in Duluth but across the U.S., has given urgency to understanding community resiliency and regional climate change. The series is part of The Science Institute for Educators, sponsored by the Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program, Minnesota Sea Grant, and The Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. It is funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjuction with Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program.

Climate and Health Adaptation Plan | Crook County Health Department

The Crook County Health Department Climate and Health Action Plan was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative which was assigned to assist 16 states and 2 cities develop ways to anticipate health effects by applying climate science, predicting health impacts, and preparing flexible programs. The grant was administered by the Oregon Health Authority and the project ran from August 2011 through August 2013.

This grant opportunity was meant to enhance the ability of public health to engage in this important work. The Crook County Climate Health Action Plan developed by Public Health will:

  • Develop strategies for public health staff to be a source of leadership, expertise, and guidance concerning sustainable development in Crook County;
  • Raise awareness in Crook County as to the important responsibilities of, and actions regarding sustainable development and climate change; and
  • Help shape local policy promoting sustainable development, with strategies to mitigate climate change for Crook County.

Can Payments for Ecosystem Services Contribute to Adaptation to Climate Change? Insights from a Watershed in Kenya

Climate change presents new challenges for the management of social-ecological systems and the ecosystem services they provide. Although the instrument of payments for ecosystem services (PES) has emerged as a promising tool to safeguard or enhance the provision of ecosystem services (ES), little attention has been paid to the potential role of PES in climate change adaptation. As an external stressor climate change has an impact on the social-ecological system in which PES takes place, including the various actors taking part in the PES scheme. Following a short description of the conceptual link between PES and adaptation to climate change, we provide practical insights into the relationship between PES and adaptation to climate change by presenting results from a case study of a rural watershed in Kenya. Drawing upon the results of a participatory vulnerability assessment among potential ecosystem service providers in Sasumua watershed north of Nairobi, we show that PES can play a role in enhancing adaptation to climate change by influencing certain elements of adaptive capacity and incentivizing adaptation measures. In addition, trade-offs and synergies between proposed measures under PES and adaptation to climate change are identified. Results show that although it may not be possible to establish PES schemes based on water utilities as the sole source of financing, embedding PES in a wider adaptation framework creates an opportunity for the development of watershed PES schemes in Africa and ensures their sustainability. We conclude that there is a need to embed PES in a wider institutional framework and that extra financial resources are needed to foster greater integration between PES and adaptation to climate change. This can be achieved through scaling up PES by bringing in other buyers and additional ecosystem services. PES can achieve important coadaptation benefits, but for more effective adaptation outcomes it needs to be combined with vulnerability assessments and climate scenarios to ensure that these are realized and potential trade-offs between PES measures and adaptation measures minimized.