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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program

Created: 3/29/2010 - Updated: 7/10/2019

Photo attributed to Walter Siegmund. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Summary

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program works to build capacity in different National Estuary Programs to prepare for and adapt to climate change. Twelve National Estuary Programs received grants and/or technical assistance in 2008 and 2009. The Climate Ready Estuaries Program also created the Coastal Toolkit to provide resources to program managers and other stakeholders in U.S. estuaries.

Background

The Climate Ready Estuaries Program (CRE) was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2008. CRE provides technical assistance and funding to National Estuary Programs (NEPs) throughout the United States. In addition to direct support, the CRE website also provides resources for managers and other stakeholders, including information on climate change impacts, access to tools and resources, and information to help managers develop adaptation plans, including the Coastal Toolkit. The Toolkit provides links to reports, tools, websites, and other resources on six topics: Adaptation Planning, Coastal Vulnerability and Adaptation Tools, Communications and Outreach Materials, Monitoring Climate Change in Coastal Areas, Smart Growth in the Context of Climate Change, and Sustainable Financing Options.

Implementation

The CRE Program provides support through grants and technical assistance. Grants are used to provide financial and resource assistance to NEPs, either for new start-up projects or for ones building upon pre-existing work. Technical assistance occurs in the form of tailored support provided by EPA staff and contractors; examples of this kind of support includes climate change vulnerability assessments, habitat modeling, monitoring plan development, and stakeholder engagement and communication. Twelve NEPs received grants or technical assistance in 2008 and 2009. Since the CRE Program was created, the following have received assistance:

  1. Albemarle-Pamlico NEP (North Carolina)
  2. Barnegat Bay NEP (New Jersey)
  3. Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (Maine)
  4. Charlotte Harbor NEP (Florida)
  5. Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (Texas)
  6. Indian River Lagoon NEP (Florida)
  7. Long Island Sound Study (Connecticut, New York)
  8. Massachusetts Bays Program (Massachusetts)
  9. Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey)
  10. Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (New Hampshire)
  11. San Francisco Estuary Project (California)
  12. Tampa Bay Estuary Program (Florida)

Outcomes and Conclusions

The CRE Program has funded projects to conduct vulnerability assessments (e.g., Barnegat Bay, Casco Bay), develop and implement adaptation plans (e.g., Indian River Lagoon, San Francisco), and increase education and awareness of the public and other stakeholders (e.g., Albemarle-Pamlico, Charlotte Harbor). CRE will continue to solicit and grant funding and technical support to other NEPs.

Status

Information gathered from interviews and online resources. Last updated on 3/29/10.

Citation

Gregg, R. M. (2010). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Ready Estuaries Program [Case study on a project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/us-environmental-protection-agency’s... (Last updated March 2010)

Project Contacts

The Environmental Protection Agency has ten Regional offices, each of which is responsible for the execution of the Agency's programs within several states and territories.

Keywords

Scale of Project: 
National / Federal
Sector Addressed: 
Aquaculture
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Fisheries
Transportation / Infrastructure
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Biodiversity
Culture / communities
Economics
Erosion
Fishery harvest
Flooding
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Phenological shifts
Range shifts
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Climate Type: 
Temperate
Subtropical
Timeframe: 
Ongoing
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Incorporate climate change into critical habitat rules / species recovery plans
Enhance migration corridors and other connectivity measures
Design protected areas or lands to allow inland, altitudinal, or latitudinal movement
Capacity Building
Design or reform institutions
Increase organizational capacity
Coordinate planning and management
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Conduct scenario planning exercise
Monitor climate change impacts and adaptation efficacy
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Infrastructure retrofitting and improvements
Stormwater systems: retrofitting and improvements
Create or modify shoreline management measures
Develop disaster preparedness plans and policies
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Maintain adequate financial resources for adaptation
Taxonomic Focus: 
Mammals
Birds
Reptiles
Amphibians
Corals
Plants
Fishes
Other Invertebrates
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Urban
Rural
Suburban
Effort Stage: 
In progress

Related Resources

Incorporating Climate Change into the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

Photo attributed to Dirk Ingo Franke. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Fisheries
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Summary: 

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP) as one of eight projects to support as part of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program, whose goal is to build local adaptive capacity to climate change.

Barnegat Bay Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Development

Photo attributed to Famartin. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Aquaculture
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Fisheries
Forestry
Tourism / Recreation
Summary: 

With a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program, the Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program (BBNEP) is continuing its adaptation planning efforts.

Incorporating Climate Change Impacts into Activities in Charlotte Harbor, Florida

Photo attributed to Rogue Black / E L Weems. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Summary: 

The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) conducted a regionwide vulnerability assessment and developed an adaptation plan for the City of Punta Gorda, Florida over a two year period, and is now working to develop a set of climate change indicators and a monitoring plan.

Massachusetts Bays Project

Photo attributed to John Phelan. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Fisheries
Summary: 

The Massachusetts Bays Project (MBP) was one of six pilot projects to receive a technical assistance award in 2008 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program.

Oyster River Watershed Culvert Study

Photo attributed to AcrossTheAtlantic. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Transportation / Infrastructure
Summary: 

As a pilot project of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program, this study addresses climate adaptation on a watershed scale and provides a methodology for other coastal watersheds seeking to incorporate future climate conditions in planning and development.

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program's Climate Ready Estuaries Project

This image has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Summary: 

Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP) was one of six pilot programs to receive a technical assistance award in 2008 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program.

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Long Island Sound via Sentinel Monitoring

Photo attributed to Joe Mabel. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Agriculture
Conservation / Restoration
Transportation / Infrastructure
Summary: 

The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) received a technical assistance award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program to create a bi-state sentinel monitoring strategy with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Identifying Opportunities for Climate Adaptation in the Delaware Estuary

This photo has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Transportation / Infrastructure
Summary: 

The Delaware Estuary has a nearly continuous fringe of diverse types of tidal marshes, which serve as critical habitat for fish and wildlife and provide important services for residents in the surrounding area. Much of this habitat is presently stressed by human alterations and activities and climate change impacts appear to be exacerbating these issues.

Coastal Adaptation Plan for the Town of Groton, Connecticut

Photo attributed to Victor-ny. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Policy
Summary: 

The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) received a Partner Start-up Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program to develop an adaptation plan for the Town of Groton, Connecticut.

Creating a Gulf Coast Community Handbook for Restoration and Adaptation

Photo attributed to Sellerlink. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Development (socioeconomic)
Fisheries
Tourism / Recreation
Summary: 

Through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) and Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) are working together to create a handbook to identify strategies that incorporate resilience to climate change as a component of habitat restoration and protection.

Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Transportation / Infrastructure
Summary: 

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) are assessing the vulnerabilities of local salt marsh ecosystems to climate change. Using conceptual models, the project leads are identifying the links between climate drivers, stressors, and ecosystem processes with the goal of developing an adaptation plan.

Indian River Lagoon and City of Satellite Beach, Florida Adaptation Project

Photo attributed to formulaone. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Transportation / Infrastructure
Summary: 

The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRLNEP) received financial and technical assistance in 2009 through the EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries Program. IRLNEP is working with the City of Satellite Beach, Florida, to incorporate sea level rise projections and policies into the city's Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.