The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region

Created: 11/21/2012 - Updated: 2/19/2018

Abstract

The field of climate change adaptation is in a period of critical transition. The general concepts of adaptation have been well developed over the past decade. Now, practitioners must move from generalities to concrete actions, including implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts and a review of the prevalent work occurring on climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region, especially focusing on activities in the natural and built environments as they relate to freshwater resources (and in some cases, at the freshwater/terrestrial interface). This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and, where possible, assess adaptation activities in the Great Lakes region.

First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on freshwater environments and resources in the Great Lakes region, specifically focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, lake levels, and water chemistry. We then provide summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources. We separate these examples into four broad categories – Capacity Building, Policy, Natural Resource Management and Conservation, and Infrastructure, Planning, and Development.

The report concludes with a discussion of the challenges to and opportunities for climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region. The majority of adaptation efforts in the Great Lakes region thus far has been focused on capacity building, including improving understanding and awareness, acquiring or developing resources, and developing collaborative partnerships. Important next steps for advancing climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region are to increase knowledge sharing between practitioners, to encourage more planning and integration across political and sectoral boundaries, to implement actions, and to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of these activities.

Published On

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Keywords

Scale: 
Community / Local
National / Federal
Regional / Subnational
State / Provincial
Tribal / First Nation
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Biodiversity
Culture / communities
Diseases or parasites
Economics
Erosion
Fishery harvest
Flooding
Flow patterns
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Lake level
Oxygen concentrations (hypoxia)
Phenological shifts
Precipitation
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Range shifts
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Tourism
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Capacity Building
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Governance and Policy
Climate Type: 
Temperate