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.

Western Regional Action Plan

The Western Regional Action Plan outlines present and prioritizes future efforts to increase the production, delivery, and use of the climate-related information needed to help fulfill NOAA Fisheries’ mission and implement the NOAA Fisheries’ Climate Science Strategy (NCSS) in the CCLME over the next three to five years.

Identifying potential marine climate change refugia: A case study in Canada’s Pacific marine ecosystems

The effects of climate change on marine ecosystems are accelerating. Identifying and protecting areas of the ocean where conditions are most stable may provide another tool for adaptation to climate change. To date, research on potential marine climate refugia has focused on tropical systems, particularly coral reefs. We examined a northeast Pacific temperate region – Canada’s Pacific – toidentify areas where physical conditions are stable or changing slowly. We analyzed the rate and consistency of change for climatic variables where recent historical data were available for the whole region, which included sea surface temperature, sea surface height, and chlorophyll a. We found that some regions have been relatively stable with respect to these variables. In discussions with experts in the oceanography of this region, we identified general characteristics that may limit exposure to climate change. We used climate models for sea surface temperature and sea surface height to assess projected future changes. Climate projections indicate that large or moderate changes will occur throughout virtually the entire area and that small changes will occur in only limited portions of the coast. Combining past and future areas of stability in all three examined variables to identify potential climate refugia indicates that only 0.27% of the study region may be insulated from current and projected future change. A greater proportion of the study region (11%) was stable in two of the three variables. Some of these areas overlap with oceanographic features that are thought to limit climate change exposure. This approach allowed for an assessment of potential climate refugia that could also have applications in other regions and systems, but revealed that there are unlikely to be many areas unaffected by climate change.

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


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

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. 

Position Title: 
Environmental Stewardship & Volunteer Manager

Maryland Coastal Resiliency Assessment


Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave
21401 Annapolis , MD
United States
38° 58' 59.178" N, 76° 30' 18.8424" W
Maryland US

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recognizes that the presence of natural features such as marshes and coastal forests can reduce the impact of inundation and erosion on the state’s coastal communities. These habitats dampen waves, stabilize sediment, and absorb water, thereby providing residents with more time to select and implement other adaptation strategies. To better understand the resiliency benefits of existing natural features, the Department partnered with The Nature Conservancy to conduct a Coastal Resiliency Assessment.

Maryland Coastal Resiliency Assessment

With its extensive shoreline, Maryland’s coasts experience flooding and erosion, caused by tides and storms and exacerbated by sea level rise. Natural habitats, such as marshes and coastal forests, can reduce the impacts of these hazards through the processes of wave attenuation, increased infiltration and sediment stabilization. While the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) utilizes various tools to target restoration and protection of habitats based on ecological, water quality and other criteria, these tools do not evaluate the risk-reduction benefits of natural features such as forests, marshes, dunes, oyster reefs, and underwater grasses. To support the DNR in their efforts to incorporate risk-reduction benefits into decisionmaking, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) partnered with the Chesapeake and Coastal Services (CCS) to conduct a Statewide Coastal Resiliency Assessment.

In order to spatially assess where natural habitats have the greatest potential to reduce risk for people, it is important to address three questions: where are the hazards, where are the people, and where are the habitats? The project team used spatially explicit computer modeling informed by scientific literature and local expert opinion to answer these questions and identify where natural habitats provide the greatest potential risk reduction for Maryland’s coastal communities. The products of the Assessment include calculation of a Shoreline Hazard Index, which estimates the relative exposure to coastal hazards for the entire Maryland shoreline; delineation of Coastal Community Flood Risk Areas; selection of Priority Shoreline Areas for conservation and/or restoration; and the calculation of a Marsh Protection Potential Index. Habitats play a large potential role in risk reduction for MD coastal residents. The results of this Assessment provide tools to target coastal adaptation efforts so that protecting or restoring natural habitats also provides the greatest risk reduction benefit to coastal residential communities



United States
41° 34' 48.342" N, 71° 28' 38.7444" W
Rhode Island US
Tool Overview: 

STORMTOOLS shows coastal inundation projections from storm surge inundation and sea level rise. STORMTOOLS is a method to map storm inundation, with and without sea level rise, for varying return period storms that covers all of Rhode Island’s coastal waters.

Climate Change and Resilience within Remediation: Environmental Agencies’ Perspectives


Please join us for the second in a webinar series co-hosted by EcoAdapt and the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) examining climate change and resilience within remediation of contaminated lands. This webinar will feature highlights of the programs being implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State Of Massachusetts. We will also discuss progress in SURF’s 2016 research initiative on this timely topic.


Carlos Pachon, USEPA

Carlos is an Environmental Protection Specialist, based at the USEPA headquarters in Washington, DC. He leads a cross-agency effort to advance the USEPA’s "Principles for Green Remediation" and climate change adaptation practices in cleanup programs. To this end, Carlos is privileged to collaborate with the 10 USEPA regions and work with all of the people implementing cleanups in Superfund and other programs. Carlos has been with the USEPA for 18 years and holds a B.S. in Watershed Sciences, a M.S. in Environmental Management, and a MBA.


Anne Dailey, USEPA

Anne Dailey is a Senior Environmental Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation. Among other duties, Anne co-led development of EPA’s recently issued series of Superfund climate change adaptation technical fact sheets. In addition to climate change adaptation, Anne also works on groundwater issues and is the Superfund Completions Coordinator and Superfund Tribal Coordinator. Prior to joining EPA Headquarters four years ago, Anne worked for more than 20 years in EPA Region 10 (Seattle) in both the Superfund and Water programs. Anne has a Bachelor of Science in Geology and a Master’s of Science in Oceanography from the University of Washington.


Thomas M. Potter, Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection

With over twenty-four years of experience in the field of waste site cleanup, Thomas currently serves as the Statewide Clean Energy Development Coordinator for the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Thomas previously served on the MassDEP’s Commissioner’s Office Environmental Innovations Team to help expand energy-environmental coordination across MassDEP programs and regions. Thomas also served for ten years as the Statewide Audit Coordinator for MassDEP’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup Audit Program. Prior to joining the MassDEP, Thomas worked throughout New England as an environmental consultant, concentrating primarily on sites regulated under the Massachusetts waste site cleanup program. Mr. Potter has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.


Barbara Maco, Vice President, Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) US Board of Trustees

Barbara supports private and public sector clients with projects focused on sustainable remediation, redevelopment, and renewable energy generation on impaired lands. At the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, she served as a Senior Remedial Project Manager and Greener Cleanup Coordinator, and facilitated the first EPA Memorandums of Understanding with a military service. Her projects have included international and U.S. federal and state Superfund sites, brownfields, and military munitions response sites. Barbara served on the scientific committees for both the Third and Fourth International Sustainable Remediation Forums. Barbara holds a BA in Ecological Systems and a Masters in Business Administration in Sustainable Management. Barbara co-leads SURFs technical initiative researching Climate Change and Resilience within Sustainable Remediation.

Climate-Smart Adaptation for the North-central California Coast and Ocean


Greater Farallones NMS
991 Marine Drive The Presidio
94129 San Francisco , CA
United States
37° 48' 19.5624" N, 122° 28' 1.3296" W
California US

The North-central California coast and ocean is a globally significant and extraordinarily productive marine and coastal ecosystem that boasts an array of local, state and federal protected areas and other managed lands. Despite this richness and attention to conservation, this region is still vulnerable to the effects of climate change.