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. 

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.

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.

The Heros Journey: Climate Adaptation and Creative Non-Fiction Writing

In episode 58 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks with author and lecturer Elizabeth Rush, of Brown University. Elizabeth is the author of the upcoming book, Rising – Dispatches from the New American Shore.  Topics discussed in this episode:

  • What is ‘creative non-fiction.’
  • Elizabeth explains how humans have or don’t have the emotional resilience to respond to climate change
  • Writing “adaptation metaphors.”
  • Narrative devices like “The Hero’s Journey” to make climate change resonate.
  • The emerging role of Cli- Fi, climate science fiction.
  • And much more!

Listen here.
Now on Spotify!

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.

Climate-Informed Watershed Restoration on the Elizabeth River

Location

23704 Portsmouth , VA
United States
36° 49' 38.9136" N, 76° 18' 41.8464" W
Virginia US
Summary: 

The Elizabeth River Project is practicing climate-informed restoration of the Elizabeth River and adjacent watersheds in Virginia. By taking sea level rise into consideration in its collaboratively developed Watershed Action Plan and restoration projects, as well as engaging significant stakeholders through community outreach and education, the project is improving the environmental health of the Elizabeth River.

Identifying and Reducing Climate Risks to Water Resources in an Eastern Virginia Water Utility

Location

VA
United States
37° 5' 54.8088" N, 76° 29' 2.652" W
Virginia US
Summary: 

Newport News Waterworks is a water provider for several cities and counties in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of Eastern Virginia near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Climate change is projected to cause issues for local water supply and quality. The utility has worked on a number of impacts studies, capital improvement projects, and water conservation outreach efforts to help improve its activities in light of a changing climate.

Long-Range Water Supply Planning in the Town of Cary, North Carolina

Location

27512-8005 Cary , NC
United States
35° 45' 36" N, 78° 47' 24" W
North Carolina US
Summary: 

The Town of Cary, North Carolina, recently completed an update to its Long-Range Water Resources Plan. The plan update incorporates a probability-based look at how various factors influence water supply, such as population growth and climate variability. The plan update also identifies priority strategies and includes an implementation plan to ensure resilient and sustainable water management through 2060.

Resilient Water Supply Planning at Orange Water and Sewer Authority, North Carolina

Location

Carrboro , NC
United States
35° 54' 36.5184" N, 79° 4' 31.044" W
North Carolina US
Summary: 

The Carrboro-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina has experienced several severe droughts, is experiencing steady population and economic growth, and may also experience increased flooding and more severe droughts as a result of climate change. As a critical water, wastewater, and reclaimed water services provider for this area, Orange Water and Sewer Authority is preparing for an uncertain water supply future through a variety of methods.

Using Advocacy to Enhance Gulf Coast Resilience

Location

United States
28° 31' 42.3552" N, 89° 11' 13.2432" W
US
Summary: 

The Gulf Restoration Network is an environmental advocacy organization that seeks to unite Gulf Coast citizens to protect and restore natural resources. Through empowering local communities, taking legal action against industries that have degraded Gulf Coast and community resiliency, and monitoring government action to ensure sustainable management of contemporary natural resources, the Gulf Restoration Network is helping restore and maintain the natural systems that both define and protect Gulf Coast communities.