Rapid Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for the National Marine Sanctuary and Territory of American Samoa

This report summarizes the results of a rapid vulnerability assessment (July 2016) and adaptation strategy planning (September 2016) workshops for 10 focal resources in the Territory and National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa by engaging with stakeholders, including village leaders, community members, resource managers, local government representatives, and business owners that rely on the resources with the goal of increasing climate resilience in the region. 

Climate Adaptation and Action Plan for the Norton Bay Watershed, Alaska

The changing weather patterns in Alaska are, already, having substantial impacts on Native Alaskan village communities. Increased stream temperatures combined with other climate change related impacts of high river flows, altered ice flows and stream bank erosion, all combine with mining and related development in the Norton Bay Watershed (Watershed) to directly threaten the fishery and wildlife habitat upon which the Native Villages in the area (Villages) depend for their subsistence fishing and hunting. In addition, reduced water flows in the Watershed caused by water diversions from mining and other development activity are exacerbated by the effects of climate change. This can increase water temperatures and impair fish and wildlife habitat.

The Norton Bay Intertribal Watershed Council has developed this adaptation plan as the first step in the long range goal of addressing the many serious consequences of climate change and other non-climate stressors to the landscape and waters of the Norton Bay Watershed. Through a year- long assessment and planning process, the Council has documented the current and future risks, identified potential opportunities to adapt to climate impacts, and put forth here a plan that outlines specific goals, objectives, and action steps necessary to begin to address these urgent needs for the benefit of the four native villages living in Norton Bay and the surrounding ecosystems on which they depend. In addition, this plan can serve as a model for similar adaptation efforts needed across the Alaskan landscape.

Shaktoolik, Alaska: Climate Change Adaptation for an At-Risk Community

This community-driven project builds on efforts by Shaktoolik and other at-risk, mainly Alaska Native villages on the Bering Sea coast to adapt to potentially devastating effects of climate change. It involved a multi-party approach to assist the community of Shaktoolik to make a decision whether to relocate or stay at the current location. The result is a well-defined process that may be replicated by other at-risk communities in the region. A final report documents lessons learned, adaptation methods for Shaktoolik, potential funding sources, and a step-by-step action plan to implement the community's decision.

Community Observations on Climate Change Nushagak River Trip Report, September 22-25, 2014

This trip report documents climate change impacts as described by the community members and considers the effects as interpreted through the lens of public health.

In September 2014 the Bristol Bay Native Association, responding to local concerns about climate change impacts, organized an assessment of villages of the Nushagak River, including Koliganek, New Stuyahok and Ekwok. Previous community assessments in the Bristol Bay region were performed in Pilot Point, Levelock and Nondalton and this was an opportunity to investigate a new area and hear the observations and concerns of residents.

The assessment team was lead by Sue Flensburg of the Bristol Bay Native Association and included Gabe Dunham from Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and Mike Brubaker from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Center for Climate and Health. The assessments occurred from September 22nd to 25th, 2014. Each assessment included a community tour, public meetings, training, and installation of time lapse cameras for environmental monitoring. Video footage was taken of impact areas along the Nushagak River.

Swinomish Climate Change Initiative: Impact Assessment Technical Report

In recognition of a growing body of scientific evidence, and in response to certain specific local events, the Swinomish Indian Senate issued a proclamation in 2007 directing action to study the possible effects of climate change on the Swinomish Indian Reservation community, lands, and resources and determine appropriate responses.1 Following this proclamation, the Tribe initiated a two-year project in late 2008 to assess how climate change may affect the Swinomish Indian Reservation and to develop strategies to address potential impacts.

The outcome of this project is the production of three key reports: this Impact Assessment Technical Report, a preliminary Adaptation Strategy Report, and a Community Action Plan with recommendations for future adaptation options and strategies. This technical report comprises the first milestone of the project. It represents the work of a multidisciplinary team led by staff of the Swinomish Office of Planning & Community Development, in partnership with the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group (CIG), and with further scientific assistance from Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC). The report describes the scientific data and potential climate change scenarios, assesses possible local impacts, and identifies specific areas of potential risk and vulnerability to climate change effects.

Climate Change in Kiana, Alaska Strategies for Community Health

Rural Arctic communities are vulnerable to climate change and residents seek adaptive strategies that will protect health and health infrastructure. In the Inupiat community of Kiana, climate change is impacting the weather, land, river, wildlife, plants, and the lives of the people who live there. Identi ed health concerns include food insecurity, damage to water and sanitation infrastructure, and increased risk of injury related to unpredictable weather conditions.

This report documents climate change impacts as described by the local people and interpreted through the lens of public health. It is the fourth report in a series describing climate change in Northwestern Alaska. The rst two reports focused on the coastal whaling communities of Point Hope and Kivalina. This is the second report to look at an upriver community; the rst was Noatak located on the Noatak River, and now Kiana located on the Kobuk River. These reports were prepared by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Center for Climate and Health in partnership with the Maniilaq Association, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Kiana Tribal Council and the City of Kiana. Funding was provided by the United States Indian Health Service and Environmental Protection Agency.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes - Climate Change Strategic Plan

This Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Climate Change Strategic Plan represents an early step towards addressing the impacts of climate change on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. This initiative’s purpose is to improve the Tribal community and Natural Resources resiliency by effectively informing climate change impact planning decisions made by the Tribes. It is designed to initiate collectively beneficial climate change impact mitigation and adaptation solutions.

This plan represents an early step in the Tribes’ effort to mitigate the effects of climate change on the Flathead Reservation. It is designed to serve as the foundation for developing effective strategies to protect and preserve the local environment. Results from this planning should be incorporated into guiding documents, such as the Comprehensive Resource Management Plan and the Forestry Management Plan. This strategic plan should be regularly revisited and modified as priorities and needs of the Tribes change and new information regarding the climate science and impacts becomes available. As implementation plans are developed, effective monitoring and evaluation policies and procedures should be established. These measures should determine if the Tribes’ actions are meeting the Tribes’ preparedness goals.

Climate Change in Atqasuk, Alaska: Strategies for Community Health

Understanding local impact of climate change is important for assessing negative and positive effects, and developing appropriate adaptation strategies. In Atqasuk, residents report changes to the weather, seasons, landscape, plants, wildlife and infrastructure, with important implications for public health. Atqasuk is a river community, vulnerable to thawing of permafrost and erosion on the river bank and in tundra lakes. The community is also impacted by weather and vegetation on the land and concerned about how climate change will affect wild food resources. Many of the reported changes are unprecedented and residents are challenged to develop knowledge that will allow them to continue to sustain traditional practices. Climate change in Atqasuk raises new concerns about food and water security, safety and mental health related to the stress of adapting to a new climate and changing environment.

Climate Change in in the Bering Strait Region

The Bering Strait region has long been characterized by permafrost and ice, an environment that was mostly cold and frozen. Human habitation in the region dates back some 10,000 years from the time of Beringia. While the ice ages covered most of North America with glaciers, Beringia was a vast grassland; a temperate refuge in an otherwise frozen north.

As the climate slowly warmed and glaciers retreated, the Bering Land Bridge provided a pathway for plants, wildlife and people to pass from Asia into North America. The people who reside in the Bering Strait today have lived in this region for at least 4,000 years. They include Inupiaq, Arctic coastal people who reside on the Seward Peninsula, King Island and the Diomede Islands. There are also Central Yup’ik living mostly south of Unalakleet, and Siberian Yupik on St. Lawrence Island.

Another great climate event is underway causing relocation of people and migration of new plants and animals to Alaska. The environment is rapidly changing and global warming brings impacts to all forms of life. This report is about the effects of a changing climate on the human environment and changes to communities and peoples’ lives.

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.