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. 

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 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.

Rapid Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for the National Marine Sanctuary and Territory of American Samoa

This report summarizes the results of a rapid vulnerability assessment (July 2016) and adaptation strategy planning (September 2016) workshops for 10 focal resources in the Territory and National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa by engaging with stakeholders, including village leaders, community members, resource managers, local government representatives, and business owners that rely on the resources with the goal of increasing climate resilience in the region. 

A Three-Step Decision Support Framework for Climate Adaptation: Selecting Climate-Informed Conservation Goals and Strategies for Native Salmonids in the Northern U.S. Rockies

The impact of climate change on cold-water ecosystems—and the cold-adapted native salmonids present in these systems—is the subject of a substantial body of research.. Recently, scientists have developed a number of datasets and analyses that provide insight into projections of climate change e ects on native salmonid populations in the northern U.S. Rockies region. Alongside this research, a number of management options for helping native salmonids respond to the e ects of climate change—also known as ‘climate adaptation’ strategies and actions—have been identi ed by scientists and managers in the region. These analyses and climate adaptation options o er valuable information to managers charged with making di cult decisions about where and how to best conserve and restore the region’s native salmonids given the challenges posed by shifting climatic conditions. Yet managers in the region continue to identify challenges in applying available information on climate change impacts, particularly in determining forward-looking conservation goals and selecting appropriate actions from the long menu of available climate adaptation options.

 

To augment this research and compilation of climate-informed management options, we have developed a decision support framework aimed at helping managers think critically about how to apply climate information to their management decisions. Speci cally, our framework is meant to help managers:

1) articulate an appropriate conservation goal for cold-adapted native salmonid populations taking into account the impacts of climate change on habitat suitability, threats from non-native sh, and connectivity;

2) consider the climate adaptation strategies that might best support that goal; and

3) identify actions that are available to implement the chosen strategies.

Given the complexity and uncertainty of conserving cold-adapted species in an era of rapid climate change and the limited resources available for conservation, choices about where to invest conservation dollars require defensible and transparent decision making. The three-step decision framework we provide here is meant to be a starting point to help managers document how they have incorporated information on climate change into their management decisions and prioritization of limited resources. The process used to develop the framework for native salmonids can be used to tailor decision support for additional conservation targets of interest. Ultimately, managers can integrate this climate change thinking into existing conservation strategies and management plans, alongside the myriad other regulatory, social, economic and locally-driven factors and mandates that in uence management decisions.

Saint Paul’s Gravel Bed Nursery Project: Maximizing the Benefits of Urban Trees

Location

St. Paul , MN
United States
44° 57' 13.3308" N, 93° 5' 23.8488" W
Minnesota US
Summary: 

Mississippi Park Connection and the National Park Service is coordinating volunteers to work on a gravel bed tree nursery project at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus. The gravel bed nursery will feature trees that are adapted to climate change conditions, such as Kentucky coffeetree, and will eventually be planted in Saint Paul along the Mississippi River. Volunteers from the Minnesota GreenCorps program, the 2017 National Adaptation Forum, and the general public will perform the work. 

Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies

Innovative and unique solutions are being devised throughout the national park system to adapt to climate change in coastal parks. The 24 case studies in this document describe efforts at national park units in a variety of settings to prepare for and respond to climate change impacts that can take the form of either an event or a trend. Examples of these impacts include increased storminess, sea level rise, shoreline erosion, melting sea ice and permafrost, ocean acidification, warming temperatures, groundwater inundation, precipitation, and drought. The adaptation efforts described here include historic structure preservation, archeological surveys, baseline data collection and documentation, habitat restoration, engineering solutions, redesign and relocation of infrastructure, and development of broad management plans that consider climate change. Each case study also includes a point of contact for park managers to request additional information and insight.

These case studies initially were developed by park managers as part of a NPS-led coastal adaptation to climate change training hosted by Western Carolina University in May 2012. The case studies format follows the format created for EcoAdapt’s Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) database that identified a list of adaptation strategies. All case studies were updated and modified in September 2013 and March 2015 in response to a growing number of requests from coastal parks and other coastal management agencies looking for examples of climate change adaptation strategies for natural and cultural resources and assets along their ocean, lacustrine, and riverine coasts. 

Reducing Vulnerability of Coastal Visitor Facilities, Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Location

99 Marconi Site Road
02667 Wellfleet , MA
United States
41° 54' 20.142" N, 69° 58' 43.1904" W
Massachusetts US
Author Name(s): 
Mark Borrelli
Summary: 

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, needs to replace visitor facilities along a popular beach vulnerable to coastal erosion and storm impacts. Redesigning this area required collaboration with visitors, town representatives, coastal engineers, and scientists to incorporate visitor use and needs with the realities of coastal change. 

Restoring the Jamaica Bay Wetlands, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York

Location

07732 Highlands , NJ
United States
40° 24' 13.392" N, 73° 59' 29.4972" W
New Jersey US
Author Name(s): 
Patricia Rafferty, Amanda Babson
Summary: 

Gateway National Recreation Area partnered with other state and federal agencies to restore wetlands in Jamaica Bay, a eutrophic urban estuary, through sediment addition and plantings. While the project was not driven by climate change concerns, addressing marsh elevation loss is consistent with methods to address sea level rise.

Performance of Natural Infrastructure and Nature-based Measures as Coastal Risk Reduction Features

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) aims to improve the ability of coastal communities to reduce risks from sea level rise and coastal storms through the use of natural infrastructure and nature-based measures.

Recognizing that better quantification of the storm risk reduction benefits of these approaches is necessary to help decision-makers choose among alternatives to protect their communities, as well as help to develop new market-based or private sector funding options for natural infrastructure and nature-based measures, this paper presents a review of the state of knowledge on the performance of these approaches, compiled from existing literature and participant input obtained during an EDF-convened expert workshop in May 2015.

This EDF report represents the review of the state of knowledge on the performance of natural and nature-based infrastructure as compiled from existing literature and participant input obtained during an expert workshop. Table 1 provides an accessible summary of the most current state of understanding of the risk reduction performance of natural infrastructure. It is important to note that, while absent from the Table 1, non-structural approaches, such as zoning, building codes and evacuation planning, play critical roles in increasing coastal resilience. Sutton-Grier et al. (2015) highlight the strength and weaknesses of the coastal protection benefits provided by traditional built infrastructure, natural ecosystems, and combinations of built and natural infrastructure solutions. Improved resiliency to coastal storms requires careful consideration of this full suite of tools.