Our world is in peril. Global warming, climate change, and alterations to land, water and air all threaten human and environmental welfare. The problems are urgent and solutions are needed now. At the Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI), over 50 researchers have come together from almost every discipline to find these solutions. We work hand-in-hand with partners to do research that matters to society, answering the most critical environmental questions of our time:

We call it “Science Serving Society”

Still Creek, Metro Vancouver: Low Carbon Resilience and Transboundary Ecosystem Management


Still Creek Vancouver/Burnaby , BC
49° 14' 55.7124" N, 122° 58' 49.836" W
British Columbia CA

This year-long research project from ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) at Simon Fraser University’s Pacific Water Research Centre focused on the Still Creek watershed, which is shared between the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby. One of only two daylit creeks (i.e. creeks free of culverts and paved channels) remaining in Vancouver, Still Creek underwent significant environmental degradation as a result of urbanization.

Maine Flood Resilience Checklist


United States
37° 5' 24.864" N, 95° 42' 46.4076" W
Maine US
Tool Overview: 

The Maine Flood Resilience Checklist is a simple and practical self-assessment tool designed to assist communities evaluate how well prepared they are for existing and future flood hazards. It provides an integrated framework for examining local flood risk, assessing vulnerability of the natural, built, and social environments, and identifying specific opportunities to enhance your community’s flood resilience.

Climate Change and Our Natural Resources: A Report from the Treaty Tribes in Western Washington

Our ancestral territories stretch from the Cascade Mountains westward to the Pacific Ocean. They encompass diverse subregions with distinct ecosystems that face both shared and unique challenges in the face of climate change. A wide variety of plants and animals have sustained our communities for thousands of years, providing food, fuel, shelter, medicines, and materials for commerce. Our natural resources form the foundation for our spiritual life, sacred ceremonies, and community cohesion.

In the last 150 years our homelands and waters have profoundly changed. Salmon and steelhead runs that are central to our culture and economy are at a fraction of their historical populations. Many lowland old-growth forests have been logged. In some parts of the region, natural shorelines have been replaced by concrete and hundreds of acres of shell sh beds are too polluted for harvest. These changes have contributed to declines in natural resources important to our communities.

Today climate change is affecting our environment and the natural resources we depend upon in countless ways. This report focuses on climate impacts to the ecosystems that play central roles in our cultures, health, identity, and lifeways. It also introduces a selection of potential responses and adaptation strategies.

Evaluating a decision analytic approach to climate change adaptation of cultural resources along the Atlantic Coast of the United States​

Climate change poses some of the most significant risks for the preservation of coastal cultural resources or cultural heritage. As a result, more research is needed to facilitate the design and implementation of feasible and transparent adaptation strategies for cultural resources under changing climate conditions. In this paper, we begin to explore the challenges and opportunities that face cultural resource managers as they begin to grapple with climate change adaptation planning in dynamic coastal environments. Specifically, we provide an overview of a value-focused, decision-analytic approach that was applied in a pilot test of climate adaptation planning for buildings within designated historic districts on the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina. We provide descriptions of the challenges that are uniquely facing cultural resource managers and initial evidence of the utility of this type of approach for informing judgments by presenting pre- and post-workshop survey data. Although additional research is critical to offer planning and policy guidance, we found that structured deliberations about cultural resource adaptation planning not only influenced participants’ opinions but also provided a necessary space to better understand the complexities of climate and budget uncertainties. Our evaluation is a first step at documenting the difficult and value-laden decisions that must be addressed by cultural resource managers as fiscal constraints and impending climate impacts threaten the traditional approach of preservation in perpetuity.



The Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET-International) collaborates with local partners to build resilience and catalyze adaptation to social and environmental change. We particularly focus on strategies that address the fundamental challenges change poses for marginalized populations and those who lack the resources to adapt. Our work brings together theoretical and scientific insights with social engagement, local knowledge, and shared learning to identify practical strategies at the local level and to foster the growth of applied knowledge.

Mapping Coastal Risks and Social Vulnerability: Current Tools and Legal Risks

Extreme weather events and nuisance ooding are increasing, with communities already experiencing impacts. Both the identi cation of local hazards and the assessment of local vulnerabilities can protect people, their property, and their livelihoods.

The goal of this project, along with the accompanying paper Mapping Coastal Risks and Social Vulnerability: Principles and Considerations, is to provide an overview for local governments of the social vulnerability data sets that are currently available, how social vulnerability is currently being used and could be used, and what legal risks might be associated with utilizing it. A typical factor used to determine social vulnerability is race or ethnicity. e use of race speci cally raises legal concerns, primarily based on the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. In this paper, we discuss the equal protection analysis framework and the potential legal challenges associated with using race as a factor in in making decisions based on maps or other decision-support tools that include social vulnerability criteria.

Community Based Public-Private Partnerships (CBP3s) and Alternative Market-Based Tools for Integrated Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Public Private Partnerships (P3s) have the potential to help many communities optimize their limited resources through agreements with private parties to help build and maintain their public infrastructure. P3s have successfully designed, built, and maintained many types of public infrastructure, such as roads, and drinking water/wastewater utilities across the U.S. Until recently, there have been no P3s specifically developed for stormwater management or Clean Water Act requirements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 Water Protection Division (WPD) has been researching, benchmarking, and evaluating P3s for their potential adaptation and use in the Chesapeake Bay region. On December 6, 2012, the EPA Region 3 WPD hosted a P3 Experts Roundtable in Philadelphia, PA (U.S. EPA, 2013a). The goal of the P3 Roundtable was to provide a forum for a targeted group of private sector representatives to discuss in detail the feasibility, practicality, and benefits of using P3s to assist jurisdictions in the finance, design, construction, and O&M of an urban stormwater retrofit program. The results of this Roundtable are the foundation and approach for applying a stormwater P3 model across the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

This guide will provide communities with an opportunity to review the capacity and potential to develop a P3 program to help “close the gap” between current resources and the funding that will be required to meet stormwater regulatory commitments and community stormwater management needs. In addition, this guide and the tools presented are a continuing effort, commitment, and partnership between EPA Region 3 and communities in the Chesapeake Bay region. We believe it will help to raise the bar and further advance the restoration goals and objectives for the Chesapeake Bay.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a stakeholder-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water. Headquartered in Chicago, the Alliance serves as a North American advocate for water efficient products and programs, and provides information and assistance on water conservation efforts. A diverse Board of Directors governs the organization and has adopted a set of guiding principles and strategic plan.

NRCS works with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners across the country to help them boost agricultural productivity and protect our natural resources through conservation.The conservation practices NRCS promotes are helping producers prepare for what’s ahead. From systems that help improve the health of the soil and water to restoring wetlands and wildlife populations, we’re helping to ensure the health of our natural resources and the long-term sustainability of American agriculture.