The State of Marine and Coastal Adaptation in North America: A Synthesis of Emerging Ideas

Abstract

Climate change is now widely acknowledged as a global problem that threatens the success of marine and coastal conservation, management, and policy. Mitigation and adaptation are the two approaches commonly used to address actual and projected climate change impacts. Mitigation applies to efforts to decrease the rate and extent of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the enhancement of carbon uptake and storage; adaptation deals with minimizing the negative effects or exploiting potential opportunities of climate change. Because the benefits of mitigation are not immediate and because we are already committed to a certain amount of climate change, adaptation has been increasingly viewed as an essential component of an effective climate change response strategy. The field of adaptation is developing rapidly but in an ad hoc fashion, and organizations and governments are often challenged to make sense of the dispersed information that is available.

The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts on the natural and built environments in marine and coastal North America and a review of adaptation options available to and in use by marine and coastal managers. This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and assess adaptation projects from different regions, jurisdictions, and scales throughout North America’s marine and coastal environments.

Published On

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Keywords

Scale: 
Multilateral / Transboundary
Sector Addressed: 
Aquaculture
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Fisheries
Land Use Planning
Policy
Public Health
Research
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Wildlife
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
Ocean acidification
Oxygen concentrations (hypoxia)
Permafrost
Phenological shifts
Precipitation
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Range shifts
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Snowpack
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Tourism
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate climate-smart guidelines into restoration
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Incorporate climate change into harvest/take policies
Incorporate climate change into critical habitat rules / species recovery plans
Incorporate climate change into threatened / endangered species designations
Incorporate climate change into environmental impact statement (EIS) requirements
Enhance migration corridors and other connectivity measures
Create new refugia / Increase size and amount of protected areas
Design protected areas or lands to allow inland, altitudinal, or latitudinal movement
Reduce local climate or related change
Reduce non-climate stressors
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Create new institutions
Increase organizational capacity
Coordinate planning and management
Invest in / Enhance emergency services planning and training
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Initiate targeted research program
Provide new job training for people whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies
Conduct scenario planning exercise
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Create/enhance resources and tools
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Stormwater systems: retrofitting and improvements
Sewage systems: retrofitting and improvements
Transportation: retrofitting and improvements
Water supply: retrofitting and improvements
Buildings: retrofitting and improvements
Managed retreat of built infrastructure, relocation of people/communities
Make infrastructure resistant or resilient to climate change
Community Planning (developing climate-smart communities)
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Develop disaster preparedness plans and policies
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Develop / implement adaptive management strategies
Maintain adequate financial resources for adaptation
Climate Type: 
Temperate
Subtropical
Polar
Subpolar
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Urban
Rural
Suburban