National Adaptation Forum Webinar Series: Climate Adaptation Evaluation and Monitoring

This quarterly National Adaptation Forum Webinar focused on climate adaptation evaluation and monitoring examples in the field. EcoAdapt's Adaptation Ladder of Engagement helps you assess your "State of Adaptation" to determine what you could be doing improve your efforts to address climate change. One of the critical steps in the ladder is evaluation. Practitioners in the field are looking at ways to integrate monitoring and evaluation into their work to determine what is working and what is not working. Our panelists Rachel Gregg (Lead Scientist, EcoAdapt), Anne Carlson (Climate Associate, The Wilderness Society), and Mallory Morgan (Climate Fellow, San Diego Foundation) talked about examples of climate adaptation evaluation and monitoring efforts in the field. View the recording here

This is the eighth installment of the National Adaptation Forum Webinar Series and was sponsored by EcoAdapt and hosted by CAKE. For other NAF webinar recordings, visit

Climate Change Preparedness Plan for the North Olympic Peninsula

It is increasingly apparent that the global climate is rapidly changing and that these changes will affect the people, ecosystems, economy, and culture of the North Olympic Peninsula. The most noticeable impacts will likely include:

  • A diminishing snowpack lowering the region’s summer river flow and extending the summer drought season;
  • Shifts in the timing and type of precipitation, creating rain on snow events and unseasonably high stream flows that scour river bottoms and flood low-land areas;
  • Ongoing sea level rise driving coastal flooding, saltwater inundation, and enhanced shoreline erosion;
  • Extended warm temperatures which result in increased river water temperatures, enhanced wildfire risk, decreased soil moisture, and stressed forests through disease and insect outbreaks; and
  • Increasingly corrosive ocean waters (i.e. ocean acidification) from the ongoing absorption of human emissions of CO2.

These changes will affect the natural resources and livelihoods of the people of the North Olympic Peninsula, as well as the entire regional economy.

Climate change exerts its influence on human lives both directly (from extreme weather events) and indirectly (through ecosystem shifts and associated impacts to the natural and built environment). This Plan utilizes a regional planning perspective to understand and prepare for Climate Change’s impact to Ecosystems, Water Supplies, and Critical Infrastructure on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Identifying Resilient Terrestrial Landscapes in the Pacific Northwest

This report represents the culmination of a project completed in two phases funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The first phase focused on adapting a process developed by The Nature Conservancy in the Northeastern US to identify and map sites most resilient to climate change (Anderson et al. 2012) to the landscapes and environments of the Pacific Northwest. The 67 million hectare project area included all of the Columbia Plateau, East Cascades/Modoc Plateau, and Middle Rockies/Blue Mountains ecoregions as well as the US portion of the Canadian Rockies (see map 4.1). The second phase expanded our geography to include the ecoregions west of the Cascade crest. This 25 million hectare area includes all of the West Cascades, Klamath Mountains, California North Coast and Sierra Nevada ecoregions and the US portions of the Willamette Valley/Puget Trough, Pacific Northwest Coast, and North Cascades ecoregions.

The goal of this project was to identify areas in the Northwest that collectively and individually best sustain native biodiversity, even as the changing climate alters current distribution patterns, in order to guide future conservation investment (TNC 2011, 2013). We refer to these areas as resilient sites. Herein we use the term resilience (modified from Gunderson 2000) to refer to the capacity of a landscape or ecoregion to maintain biological diversity and ecological function despite climatic change. 

Integrating Climate Change into Northeast and Midwest State Wildlife Action Plans

The Department of Interior Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) conducts research that responds to the regional natural resource management community’s needs to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change. The NE CSC is supported by a consortium of partners that includes the University of Massachusetts Amherst, College of Menominee Nation, Columbia University, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri Columbia, and University of Wisconsin. The NE CSC also engages and collaborates with a diversity of other federal, state, academic, tribal, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to conduct collaborative, stakeholder-driven, and climate-focused work.

The State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) are revised every 10 years; states are currently working towards a target deadline of October 2015. SWAP coordinators have been challenged to incorporate climate change impacts and species responses into their current revisions. This synthesis is intended to inform the science going into Northeast and Midwest SWAPs across the 22 NE CSC states ranging from Maine to Virginia, and Minnesota and Missouri in the eastern United States. It is anticipated that this synthesis will help guide SWAP authors in writing specific sections, help revise and finalize existing sections, or be incorporated as an appendix or addendum.

The purpose of this NE CSC-led cooperative report is to provide a synthesis of what is known and what is uncertain about climate change and its impacts across the NE CSC region, with a particular focus on the responses and vulnerabilities of Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN) and the habitats they depend on. Another goal is to describe a range of climate change adaptation approaches, processes, tools, and potential partnerships that are available to State natural resource managers across the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States. Through illustrative case studies submitted by the NE CSC and partners, we demonstrate climate change adaptation efforts being explored and implemented across local and large-landscape scales.

This document is divided into four sections and addresses the following climate and management relevant questions:

  1. Climate Change in the Northeast and Midwest United States: How is the climate changing and projected to change across the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States?
  2. Northeast and Midwest regional species and habitats at greatest risk and most vulnerable to climate impacts: What are the relative vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife species and their habitats to climate change in the Northeast and Midwest?
  3. Biological responses to climate impacts with a focus on Northeast and Midwest Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN): How are threatened fish and wildlife likely to respond or adapt to climate change in the Northeast and Midwest?
  4. Scale-appropriate adaptation strategies and actions in the Northeast and Midwest United States: What approaches, strategies, and actions could be taken to sustain fish, wildlife and their habitats in the short and long term across the Northeast and Midwest?

The outline and content for this document were developed with input from State Coordinators, members of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, DOI Northeast Climate Science Center affiliated researchers, and other partners including the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and The Nature Conservancy. Terwilliger Consulting, Inc., was especially instrumental in helping connect and coordinate the authors of this report with State representatives through conference calls and email surveys to develop the most needed and effective information for current SWAP revisions.

On a final note, the SWAPs are living documents that can be added to and evolve on timescales beyond the 10-year revision cycle. The development of this report was timed such that SWAP coordinators and writers would have sufficient time to implement this input before their October 2015 deadline. However, this document is also meant to serve as a starting point for coordinated and collaborative climate science and adaptation across the region; the NE CSC 5 endeavors to continue to provide actionable science during the coming years in collaboration with its diverse federal, state, NGO, and academic partners. 

The Climate Gap: Inequalities in How Climate Change Hurts Americans & How to Close the Gap

By now, virtually all Americans concur that climate change is real, and could pose devastating consequences for our nation and our children. Equally real is the “Climate Gap” – the sometimes hidden and often-unequal impact climate change will have on people of color and the poor in the United States.

This report helps to document the Climate Gap, connecting the dots between research on heat waves, air quality, and other challenges associated with climate change. But we do more than point out an urgent problem; we also explore how we might best combine efforts to both solve climate change and close the Climate Gap — including an appendix focused on California’s global warming policy and a special accompanying analysis of the federal-level American Clean Energy Security Act.

Great Plains Regional Technical Input Report

This report assesses how the Great Plains social-ecological system has been shaped by changing climate conditions and how future projections of climate change will result in a need for further adaptation and preparedness. This effort is part of the 2014 United States Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment as required by the United States Congress.

The Great Plains region plays a very important role in providing food and energy to the economy of the United States from the great corn and wheat fields and rangelands in the agricultural sector, the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota, the abundant coal and coal bed methane in the Wyoming and Montana Powder River Basin, bioenergy and wind farms in Texas in the energy sector. This makes the economy and livelihoods in the region extremely sensitive to climate, which means big implications of climate change impacts on the Great Plains region as well as mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gases critically important for the entire country. The region is also the home to 65 registered Native American tribes who stand to be vulnerable to climate change while also potentially contributing to innovation in sustainable practices and an alternative energy future. This all makes the Great Plains a complex and interesting place to look at the impacts of climate variability and change.

The Great Plains region is characterized by both high spatial and high temporal climate variability, however, throughout the region climate change is already happening in the Great Plains with an overall warming trend over the last 20 years both annually and in the summer. Climate change is being experienced in a variety of ways such as increased night-time temperature, increased intensity of extreme precipitation events, extended growing season, extended severe droughts, and elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Climate change is projected to continue into the future with more extreme heat events, droughts, and floods. Expected impacts include decreased water availability and increased competition for uses, changed water quality, expansion of weeds, pests, and diseases, changes to plant-animal communities and species composition, altered fire and storm patterns, and tree mortality, among others. Combined with changes in land use and land management, socio-economic and demographic changes, and uncertainty of our energy future, climate change will have substantial impacts on the ability to sustain natural resources, livelihoods, and well being in the Great Plains.

Over the last decade the region has seen significant extremes in climate and weather events from flooding in the Missouri River Basin, to exceptional drought in the Southern Plains, to fires and tornadoes resulting in billions of dollars in economic damage, morbidity, and mortality. Some of this unusual weather is the result of normal climate variability, but many climate experts understand these extremes as indicators of emerging climate changes, if not already a signal that we are seeing effects of a warming planet. 

Restoring Tidal Flow and Enhancing Shoreline Resilience in the Nisqually River Delta


United States
47° 5' 0.6252" N, 122° 42' 35.0352" W

The Nisqually Delta Restoration Project is the largest tidal marsh restoration effort in the Pacific Northwest. Over four miles of dikes were removed in 2009 to return tidal flow to roughly 762 acres in the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State to enhance wildlife habitat and the buffering capacity of marshes to sea level rise and increased flooding. Along with other local restoration efforts, 22 miles of the historic delta system have been restored, increasing salt marsh habitat in southern Puget Sound by over 50 percent.

Citizen’s Guide: Adapting to Climate Change on the Oregon Coast

This Citizen’s Guide is intended to serve as an introduction to the vast amount of information available on topics related to climate change effects on the Oregon coast, as well as a sourcebook for citizens interested in helping their communities to begin the long process of adapting to these effects. In publishing the Guide, the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition anticipates that most readers will access and read it online with Internet access or in an electronic format, such as a PDF, which will enable easy access to additional information.

The Guide has two parts:

  • Part One, A Primer, presents an overview of the topics pertaining to adapting to climate change on the Oregon coast. The Primer contains numerous embedded hyperlinks to enable readers to click directly to external websites or online PDF documents for additional information.
  • Part Two, Scientific and Policy Considerations, is a set of papers written by Oregon experts in science, law, and policy. These papers, commissioned by Oregon Shores for this project in 2012, also contain references to further information.

Climate Compatible Development in the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ – Lessons from Rwanda

This working paper is a product of a study in 2013-14 on “Lesson Learning from National Climate Compatible Development Planning.” The governments of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mozambique participated in the study, which aimed to capture and share institutional memory and experiences related to climate compatible development, and reflect on recommendations to support future decisions. The study was funded by CDKN and facilitated by the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University of Wolverhampton.

Rwanda’s national learning study involved a literature review and semi-structured interview and questionnaire process with more than 30 stakeholders. A stakeholder workshop was held in Kigali, Rwanda, in February 2014 to validate the key lessons and results. Discussions explored key drivers, challenges, opportunities and lessons that could be shared within Rwanda and with other interested countries. The working paper highlights some of the conclusions on how  governance, institutional arrangements, laws and policies, planning, financing and knowledge sharing can all support more climate-compatible development.

Supporting Ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contributions: Lessons Learned from Developing Countries

CDKN has been working with a range of expert organisations to provide technical assistance to nine developing countries as they prepare their INDCs for submission to the UNFCCC by October 2015. This Working Paper summarises some of the key learning points that have emerged from this diverse experience. This Working Paper should be seen as a companion volume to CDKN’s ‘Guide to INDCs’ (2015), which provides a practical example of how an INDC could be structured and potential key elements and content. Each section cross-references the relevant text from the Lima Call to Climate Action and other relevant guidance, suggests data sources and provides illustrative examples of the type of content and narrative that Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States might include. 

Developing countries are placing a high priority on preparing their INDCs. INDCs present a real opportunity for developing countries to showcase the practical steps they have taken in recent years to mainstream climate change into their development strategies.

The authors conducted a series of interviews with people preparing INDCs in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Pakistan, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Uganda. This Working Paper sets out the five principal conclusions that emerge from these interviews:

  1. Consider INDCs as statements of political ambition, both domestically and internationally.
  2. Have a clear vision for the structure and content from the outset.
  3. Build on existing policies, with targeted use of new analysis to fill knowledge gaps.
  4. Build broad-based support across economic sectors through innovative approaches to consultation.
  5. Make plans for effective implementation now, and consider how international support, finance and other mechanisms may adjust ambitions after 2015.