The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region

The field of climate change adaptation is in a period of critical transition. The general concepts of adaptation have been well developed over the past decade. Now, practitioners must move from generalities to concrete actions, including implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts and a review of the prevalent work occurring on climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region, especially focusing on activities in the natural and built environments as they relate to freshwater resources (and in some cases, at the freshwater/terrestrial interface). This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and, where possible, assess adaptation activities in the Great Lakes region.

First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on freshwater environments and resources in the Great Lakes region, specifically focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, lake levels, and water chemistry. We then provide summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources. We separate these examples into four broad categories – Capacity Building, Policy, Natural Resource Management and Conservation, and Infrastructure, Planning, and Development.

The report concludes with a discussion of the challenges to and opportunities for climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region. The majority of adaptation efforts in the Great Lakes region thus far has been focused on capacity building, including improving understanding and awareness, acquiring or developing resources, and developing collaborative partnerships. Important next steps for advancing climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region are to increase knowledge sharing between practitioners, to encourage more planning and integration across political and sectoral boundaries, to implement actions, and to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of these activities.

Ontario Regional Adaptation Collaborative

Location

United States
46° 47' 42.1692" N, 81° 33' 45" W
US
Summary: 

The Ontario Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC) has focused its climate change adaptation efforts on three themes: extreme weather risk management, water management, and community development planning. Proposed projects will be completed by December 2012.

Position Title: 
Executive Director
Email Address: 
Position Title: 
Director

Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Fresno County, California

Location

United States
36° 44' 48.6312" N, 119° 46' 21.3132" W
US
Organization: 
Summary: 

Climate change is a global phenomenon that has the potential for severe local impacts to natural systems in Fresno County. These impacts in turn will affect agriculture, human health, infrastructure, forestry, emergency response, tourism, and many other facets of society. Climate change impacts are expected to exacerbate existing problems in Fresno County while also imposing new ones.

Position Title: 
Ph.D. Student
Email Address: 
Position Title: 
Science Coordinator

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 to:

Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation into Florida's Wildlife Planning Processes

Location

United States
28° 43' 33.312" N, 81° 25' 50.3904" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Sara O’Brien, Natalie Dubois, Judith Boshoven, Katie Theoharides, Beth Stys, Tim O’Meara
Summary: 

Defenders of Wildlife (DoW) is working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Climate Change Team and Workgroups to define a process to incorporate climate change information into agency planning and decision making. This process will be designed to help guide agency efforts to develop an integrated climate change response strategy that can fulfill the needs of the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and other agency planning efforts.