Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgment (Results for the Massachusetts Bays Program)By:
The Massachusetts Bays Program (MBP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collaborated on an ecological vulnerability assessment, using a novel methodology based on expert judgment, to inform adaptation planning under EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program. An expert elicitation-type exercise was created to systematically elicit judgments from experts in a workshop setting regarding climate change effects on two key ecosystem processes within salt marsh systems: sediment retention and community interactions. Specific workshop objectives were to assess (1) the relative influences of physical and ecological variables that regulate each process, (2) their relative sensitivities under current and future climate change scenarios, (3) the degree of confidence about these relationships, and (4) implications for management. For each process, an influence diagram was developed identifying key process variables and their interrelationships (influences). Using a coding scheme, each expert characterized the type and degree of each influence to indicate its nature and sensitivity under current and future climate change scenarios. The experts also discussed the relative impact of certain influences on the endpoints. This report demonstrates how particular pathways in such diagrams can be linked to management options and examined in the context of planning documents to identify opportunities for ‘mainstreaming’ adaptation into strategic planning. pathways can be identified and linked to management options for adaptation to climate change. Adaptation refers to the ways in which management actions can be modified to reduce the negative impacts of climate change. The results of this study are designed to support MBP’s adaptation planning efforts as well as those of other estuary managers.
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Recommended Document Citation
U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). (2012) Vulnerability assessments in support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A novel approach using expert judgment, Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays Program. Washington, DC: National Center for Environmental Assessment. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/virtual-library/vulnerability-assessments-support-c...