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. 

Cost-Efficient Climate Change Adaptation in the North Atlantic

This report summarizes the work of two NOAA-funded graduate fellows research on community-level coastal flood management and climate change adaptation best practices throughout the North Atlantic region (Virginia to Maine). Guided by a steering committee composed of government and academic personnel involved with climate adaptation throughout the North Atlantic, the fellows visited coastal communities to collect information on low-cost climate change and related coastal hazard management best practices. The purpose of the work was to identify and collate cost-effective adaptation projects implemented at the municipal level, to provide NOAA with best practice information to assist with ongoing adaptation outreach.

Climate change adaptation guidelines for arid zone aquatic ecosystems and freshwater biodiversity

National climate change adaptation guidelines for arid zone aquatic ecosystems and freshwater biodiversity are proposed which emphasize the protection of habitats and processes that support the persistence of freshwater biota under a changing climate. These guidelines are intended to provide guidance for policy development, planning and on-ground actions. The major goal of these guidelines is to reduce the risk of the loss of aquatic habitats, deteriorating water quality and the extinction of aquatic and water-dependent species. A portfolio of adaptation approaches to maintaining aquatic habitats, the water resources that support them, and the species that depend upon them, is proposed within a framework of strategic adaptive management. This approach best addresses the uncertainty that exists as to how climatic changes will play out across the arid zone with respect to water availability and ecological processes. Recommended climate adaptation actions include: implementing a national mapping program that identifies the major types of arid zone aquatic ecosystems and the surface water and groundwater resources that sustain them; recognizing the importance of evolutionary refugia and ecological refuges as priority sites for arid zone climate adaptation planning and policy; protecting a dynamic (spatial and temporal) mosaic of perennial, temporary and ephemeral waterbodies to provide the range of conditions needed support aquatic and water-dependent species with varying life history traits and dispersal abilities; maintaining the integrity of the dry sediments of temporary and ephemeral waters to ensure the persistence of viable seed and egg banks; recognizing the importance of key hydrological and ecological processes, particularly connectivity and dispersal; undertaking vulnerability assessments that determine the climate sensitivity and likely persistence of key habitats; reducing the existing stressors on aquatic ecosystems and aquatic biota; identifying new and novel waterbodies created by arid zone industries (e.g. mining, pastoralism) that could provide valuable offsets for aquatic systems lost through climatic drying; implementing climate adaptation actions within a strategic adaptive management framework accompanied by a dedicated program for indigenous and local community engagement and education.

Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis

The goal of the Hawaiian Islands Climate Synthesis Project was to develop comprehensive, science-based syntheses of current and projected future climate change impacts on, and adaptation options for, terrestrial and freshwater resources within the main Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis presents the results of the major project components - climate impacts assessment, vulnerability assessment, and adaptation planning - and provides an inter-island analysis of the findings. More detailed information is available in the individual vulnerability assessment syntheses and adaptation summaries, and should be referred to for decision support, which can be found at http://bit.ly/HawaiiClimate.

The Monaco Ocean Acidification Plan

This Action Plan was developed by the Ocean Acidification international Reference User Group (OAiRUG), with representatives from both the scientific and research users communities. The Plan aims to share progress and set priorities for developments in science and policy to keep pace with impacts we are starting to see in ecosystems and economic sectors most vulnerable to ocean acidification. This plan is as much for governments, policy advisers and decision makers, as it is for new stakeholders and the existing ocean acidification experts who form the current ‘ocean acidi cation community’. Whilst this plan is not comprehensive, it highlights major achievements and is intended to take stock of scientific and political activities, whilst also fostering a broader debate on priorities for action in the coming decade. 

Climatic Variability and Water Supply Planning in Tampa Bay

Location

United States
27° 51' 44.5464" N, 82° 28' 27.714" W
US
Organization: 
Summary: 

Tampa Bay Water is a drinking water utility servicing over two million residents in Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, New Port Richey, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. The utility is working to assess how climate change will affect local hydrology and water supply, provide forecasting tools to inform decision making, and diversify water supply sources in the region.

The Lower Piru Rangelands Project: A Southern California Climate Change Adaptation Case Study

Location

Lower Piru Rangelands CA
United States
34° 34' 50.6748" N, 119° 43' 18.048" W
California US
Organization: 
Summary: 

Climate change may affect the ability to achieve on-the-ground project goals and objectives. The following case study demonstrates how climate change vulnerability and adaptation information can be integrated into existing and future regional grazing management projects to increase overall project resilience.

Monitoring Climate Effects in Temperate Marine Ecosystems

This report has been prepared by EcoAdapt for the MPA Monitoring Enterprise. The MPA Monitoring Enterprise, a program of the California Ocean Science Trust, is tasked with developing and implementing monitoring of California’s emerging statewide MPA network. While climate change is not explicitly incorporated into the goals and objectives of California’s MPAs, future evaluations of MPA performance will occur in the context of a changing climate and associated changing oceanographic environment. Moreover, MPA monitoring in California provides a framework that can be applied to inform the climate change management dialogue. A statewide network of MPAs, in which other anthropogenic stressors are reduced, provides a large-scale, natural laboratory to understand how climate changes manifest in ocean ecosystems. Thus, this presents a timely opportunity to develop and recommend an approach to most efficiently and effectively augment MPA monitoring to provide additional information. This information should aid in the interpretation of MPA monitoring results but also can be designed to inform the management dialogue around potential climate change effects on marine ecosystems and adaptation or mitigation measures.

The Monitoring Enterprise engaged EcoAdapt to develop and recommend an approach to supplement MPA monitoring with climate change monitoring that can track climate change effects 

 

San Diego River Coastal Sage Scrub Restoration Project: A Southern California Climate Change Adaptation Case Study

Location

San Diego River CA
United States
32° 46' 12.9432" N, 117° 9' 11.61" W
California US
Organization: 
Summary: 

Climate change may affect the ability to achieve on-the-ground project goals and objectives. The following case study demonstrates how climate change vulnerability and adaptation information can be integrated into existing and future habitat restoration projects to increase overall project resilience.

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Resources of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

This report summarizes the results of a two-day adaptation planning workshop for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their forest plan revision process. The workshop focused on identifying adaptation options for eight key resource areas, including forested vegetation, non-forested vegetation, wildlife, hydrology, fisheries, recreation, cultural/heritage values, and ecosystem services. The report includes a general overview of the workshop methodology and provides a suite of possible adaptation strategies and actions for each key resource area. Adaptation actions were linked with the climate-related vulnerabilities they help to ameliorate as well as the direct/indirect effects they may have on other resource areas.