Resilience Assessment of Coral Reefs: Rapid Assessment Protocol for Coral Reefs, Focusing on Coral Bleaching and Thermal Stress

The primary focus of this assessment protocol is on the effect of climate change on thermal stress on corals, for which the strong drivers are added into the general model. Many other processes may affect this model and can be incorporated as needed for a particular instance, the resilience framework providing a context to help identify the strong drivers that maintain reef health and minimize vulnerability.

Part I: Existing Conditions Report of the District’s Watershed Management Plan

This document represents the most current information available to the District about the natural and historic conditions of watershed property in the context of the San Lorenzo River watershed.

Part I: Existing Conditions Report will serve as a reference to aid the District in refining its watershed management goals and updating its watershed planning policies and practices. It will also serve as a baseline for tracking the success of approved policies and future projects.

Navigating the Waters of Change: Strengthening the Capacity of NWT Communities to Respond to the Impacts of Climate Change on Municipal Water and Wastewater Systems

The Western Canadian Arctic has experienced some of the most rapid and intense climate changes on Earth, with global climate models predicting that average surface temperatures may increase by 4-7°C by the 2080s. Global Climate Models project a 15-30% increase in precipitation in the Western Arctic by the 2080s; however, projected precipitation changes are quite variable across regions. Changes in precipitation and temperature, and their impacts on ecosystem processes, will affect many facets of life in the NWT, including how communities manage water and wastewater.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a preliminary assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on water and wastewater systems in the NWT, and recommend actions to increase the capacity of communities to respond and adapt to changes. Information in this paper was collected through interviews with individuals working in water and wastewater management in the NWT, and through review of scientific studies on this subject. 

Jemez Mountains Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Process, Outcomes and Next Steps

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) convened a two-day workshop on climate change adaptation in the Jemez Mountains on April 21-22, 2009 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. More than 50 representatives of state and federal agencies, tribal governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated.

The Jemez Mountains Climate Change Adaptation Workshop was the first in a series of four to be organized by the Southwest Climate Change Initiative (SWCCI), a project of TNC and collaborators from the Wildlife Conservation Society, USDA Forest Service, University of Arizona and University of Washington. The goal of the SWCCI is to provide information and tools for climate change adaptation planning and implementation to conservation practitioners in the Four Corners states: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The workshop goal was to help resource managers develop strategies for helping species and ecosystems adapt to climate change, and to enhance cross-boundary collaboration using new tools and the best available climate change science. The objectives of the workshop were:

  1. Provide background information on climate change and its effects in the one million-acre Jemez Mountains landscape;
  2. Assess the effects of climate change on key species, ecosystems and ecological processes;
  3. Using a new adaptation planning framework, identify management actions to reduce climate change impacts;
  4. Identify opportunities for learning, collaboration and application of the adaptation planning process for natural resource management in the Jemez Mountains.

Over the course of two days, managers, scientists and conservation practitioners worked together to identify adaptation strategies under two climate change scenarios – one moderate, and one more extreme.

Following the workshop, representatives of the Santa Fe National Forest, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Pueblo, NM Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute and TNC resolved to work together to develop an ecological restoration strategy for a 210,000-acre mixed-ownership landscape in the southwestern Jemez Mountains.

Finally, the work of the Southwest Climate Change Initiative continues. In December 2009, a second climate change adaptation workshop was held for Colorado’s Gunnison Basin (see http://www.nmconservation.org/projects/new_mexico_climate_change for products) , and a third is scheduled for April 2010 for the forests of northern Arizona. A fourth workshop will be held in Utah in mid-2010.

Preparing for Coastal Change: A Guide for Local Government in New Zealand

Much of New Zealand’s urban development and infrastructure is located in coastal areas, some of which are vulnerable to coastal hazards such as coastal erosion and inundation. In recent years, coastal development and associated infrastructure have intensified, and property values have increased. As development increases, the potential impacts and consequences of coastal hazards also increase. Managing this growing risk now presents a significant challenge for planning authorities in New Zealand.

Preparing for coastal change provides information to help local government and others across New Zealand strengthen the integration of coastal hazards and climate change considerations into policy, planning, asset management and decision-making.

Climate change effects are gradual, but have implications for many land-use planning decisions. They have long-term implications because of the long lifetime of structures (eg, buildings, roads, network utilities, residential developments). Considering climate change is not only a requirement of the Resource Management Act 1991, it is also wise and good business practice.

The guide comprises three parts:

Part One – The changing climate:

• discusses how climate change affects sea level

• provides guidance on planning for future sea-level rise in New Zealand

• explains the impacts of climate change on other physical drivers that influence coastal hazards such as high tides, storms, storm surge and storm tides, wave climate and sediment supply to the coast.

Part Two – Implications for New Zealand’s coastal margins:

• outlines some implications of climate change for the risk of coastal inundation and coastal erosion

• recommends how to assess these effects

•outlines the implications for salinization of surface freshwaters and groundwater covers, coastal defences and inundation by tsunami

Part Three – Responding to climate change:

• covers the legislative context

• suggests mechanisms for managing, avoiding and reducing coastal hazard risks

• deals with managing residual risk and monitoring change

• discusses some challenges in reducing coastal hazard risk 

Combating Climate Change: The German Adaptation Strategy

The climate is changing worldwide – and so are our living conditions. If we do not succeed in slowing the pace of global climate change, experts expect far-reaching consequences for the environment, society and the economy. That is why Germany, together with the member states of the European Union (EU), is seeking to contain the rise in mean global temperature. Experts consider that two degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperature levels is an acceptable maximum for keeping the consequences manageable. If this is to be achieved, climaterelevant emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced worldwide, by the industrialised countries in particular.

But climate change has already started. Even if we succeed in meeting the two-degree target, many things will no longer be the same as before. Ecological, social and economic consequences are already making themselves felt in many regions, and they will probably increase in the years ahead.

To minimise the adverse effects, we first need to step up climate protection. Secondly, we need to take precautions in the form of adaptation: the adverse effects of foreseeable changes on society and nature should be kept to a minimum. It is therefore important to reduce their vulnerability (see Glossary - Vulnerability) and help them adapt flexibly to the new situation. Also, we must not fail to take advantage of the opportunities that climate change opens up for certain areas. For example, new openings could emerge in the fields of tourism, agriculture and environmental technology. Taking appropriate and timely action, e.g. through far-sighted planning and construction, not only prevents avoidable damage. It also saves future generations from having to make even greater efforts to achieve the same results.

In view of all this, one thing is clear: adaptation measures are no substitute for climate protection. If temperatures in the global greenhouse increase, the cost of adaptation measures will also increase. Conversely, it is also true that keeping down the amount of harmful greenhouse gases that escape into the atmosphere helps to keep down the cost of adaptation. To this extent there is an inextricable connection between climate protection and adaptation: they are two sides of the same coin, and form the two pillars on which Germany’s climate policy is built.

Whereas climate protection involves quantifiable targets – namely the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced – the target of adaptation measures is less easy to express in concrete terms: the important consideration here is to reduce the vulnerability of natural, social and economic systems. It also seeks to improve their capacity to adapt to new situations.

These are complex demands, in which not only a large number of actors and decision-making levels have a role to play. There are also interactions between different sectors such as agriculture and water management, which means that benefits for one area may give rise to undesirable side-effects elsewhere. As a result, it is not only necessary to identify the interactions, but also to weigh up any advantages and disadvantages that arise.

This will frequently lead to a need to rewrite the original plan. For this reason it is essential that all concerned are aware of what the others are doing and what goals they are pursuing. only then is it possible to identify and resolve conflicts. particularly because the problem is so complex, it is absolutely essential to take a structured approach and ensure transparency.

Comprehensive Plan for Coastal Restoration in Terrebonne Parish

The Parish recognizes the need to shift the dominant restoration philosophy in the region from a defensive strategy to an offensive strategy. Continuing to wall off vast expanses of coastal wetlands in hope that it will preserve them indefinitely is no longer an option. Simply writing off aggressive action to restore ecosystem structures and functions at a scale commensurate with their ongoing loss as “too expensive” is no longer acceptable. Rather, the Parish must seek to optimize the influence of all available freshwater resources (riverine, drainage outfalls, and sanitary systems), rebuild critical landscape features which help to maintain an estuarine gradient (without isolating wetlands from sediment sources and important fishery species), and lay the ground work for restoration activities beyond the scale at which they are currently practiced. This Comprehensive Plan for Coastal Restoration in Terrebonne Parish (CPCR) is a vital first step in a long process to realize the conceptual vision articulated in the State’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. It will enable the Parish to take an increased leadership role in planning and decision making for activities affecting the Parish.

Climate Change Adaptation Across the Landscape: A Survey of Federal and State Agencies, Conservation Organizations and Academic Institutions in the United States

Climate change is proceeding at a rate at which there will be unavoidable impacts to natural systems and fish and wildlife habitat. Even with the most rigorous emissions reductions the must be a plan for climate adaptation measures to help natural systems persist in the face of changing climate conditions. Such climate change adaptation is a new challenge for natural resource managers who are grappling with what it will entail in the context of conservation.

To develop a clear definition and statement of need for adaptation, the authors conducted 68 interviews of federal and state agency staff, non-governmental organization conservationists, and academic scientists who are thinking about or working on climate change adaptation. They asked these experts to define climate change adaptation, to discuss ongoing adaptation planning efforts, to provide us with examples of adaptation techniques and practices, and to list costs associated with these techniques. They also asked participants to discuss the challenges to planning for and implementing adaptation, the metrics associated with adaptation project monitoring, partnership opportunities, and communication strategies.

Many participants are involved in adaptation planning, revision of existing conservation and management plans and reprioritization of conservation and restoration efforts based on climate change. Few examples of specific adaptation techniques or strategies, costs associated with strategies or metrics to measure the effect of techniques are available at this time. Participants identified several barriers to planning for and implementing adaptation strategies: a lack of resources and funding, the need for place-based adaptation strategies and available case studies to guide planning efforts, and further development of adaptation tools, models and guidance.

Despite these challenges, the survey responses suggest that progress is being made to plan and implement adaptation strategies, develop tools and models for adaptation planning, and to help build capacity in state and federal agencies that do not currently have the resources to take on the challenge alone. In particular, promising partnerships are developing within and among the federal and state agencies, conservation organizations and the academic sector. However, without increased funding to support adaptation efforts these partnerships will not be enough to prevent natural system collapse and biodiversity loss. The survey participants made it clear that the agencies responsible for managing the lands and waters of the United States and the agencies, organizations and institutions that support their work are in desperate need of new funding to fully understand, plan for, and address the challenges ahead.

Managing an Uncertain Future

Climate change is already affecting California’s water resources. Bold steps must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, even if emissions ended today, the accumulation of existing greenhouse gases will continue to impact climate for years to come. Warmer temperatures, altered patterns of precipitation and runoff, and rising sea levels are increasingly compromising the ability to effectively manage water supplies, floods and other natural resources. Adapting California’s water management systems in response to climate change presents one of the most significant challenges of this century.

2012 National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change

EPA's National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change sets out long-term goals and specific actions that are EPA's contributions to national efforts to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of a changing climate on water resources. The 2012 Strategy is organized around five long-term programmatic vision areas: protecting water infrastructure; coastal and ocean waters; watersheds; and, water quality. The EPA National Water Program looks forward to working with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as other partners to implement actions that address climate change challenges in these areas.