The State of Climate Adaptation in U.S. Marine Fisheries Management

This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey adaptation action in marine fisheries management by examining the major climate impacts on marine and coastal fisheries in the United States, assessing related challenges to fisheries management, and presenting examples of actions taken to decrease vulnerability and/or increase resilience. First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on fisheries, focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, storms, ocean circulation, sea level rise, and water chemistry. We then examine non-climatic factors that affect fisheries management, such as overfishing, bycatch, pollution, habitat degradation and modification, invasive and non-native species, and conflicting uses of marine and coastal ecosystems. Next, we examine how the aforementioned issues combine to influence abundance and productivity, distribution and recruitment, and essential fish habitat. Then we present the results of a survey sent to federal, tribal, state, and other practitioners to identify challenges, needs, and opportunities for climate-informed fisheries management and conservation. Summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources are presented in four broad categories (Gregg et al. 2011; Gregg et al. 2012):

  1. Capacity Building: Strategies include conducting research and assessments, investing in training and outreach efforts, developing new tools and resources, and monitoring climate change impacts and adaptation effectiveness.
  2. Policy: Strategies include developing adaptation plans, creating new or enhancing existing policies, and developing adaptive management strategies.
  3. Natural Resource Management and Conservation: Strategies include incorporating climate change into restoration efforts, enhancing connectivity, reducing local change, and reducing non-climate stressors that may exacerbate the effects of climate change.
  4. Infrastructure, Planning, and Development: Strategies include protecting critical coastal infrastructure used by the fishing industry, and creating or modifying coastal development measures (e.g., removing shoreline hardening, encouraging low-impact development) to increase habitat resilience.

The majority of adaptation efforts in fisheries management to date have been focused on capacity building, including conducting research and assessments, creating resources and tools, and monitoring how climatic changes are affecting species, habitats, and fishing communities. Finally, we discuss several more options to advance adaptation in the fisheries sector that are either not yet represented or are only partially addressed by the examples from our survey. 

Fish, Fisheries, and Water Resources: Adapting to Ontario’s Changing Climate

Location

United States
48° 54' 11.6856" N, 84° 48' 52.0308" W
US
Summary: 

This integrated research project, which ran from 2007-2008, was initiated to better understand the implications of projected climate change impacts and adaptation responses on southern Ontario’s fish, fisheries, and water resources. Climate change will have predominantly negative effects on species and habitats, and resulting economic effects are expected to be devastating to the region. In addition, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns will require alterations to water resources planning and management.

Climate Ready Communities

Tool Overview: 

Over the past 10 years of helping communities understand and adapt to changing climate conditions, the Geos Institute has developed a proven planning framework known as Whole Community Resilience - a cross-sector, multi-stakeholder approach that is adaptive over time and creates multiple benefits across the community. The framework aims to not only develop a plan, but also to strengthen local adaptive capacity, which ensures that communities have the skills necessary to update their climate resilience plans over time.

Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate

Along nearly 13,000 miles of coastline of the contiguous United States, hundreds of thousands of buildings lie in the path of rising seas: schools, hospitals, churches, factories, homes, and businesses. As sea levels rise, persistent high-tide flooding of homes, yards, roads, and business districts will begin to render properties effectively unlivable, and neighborhoods—even whole communities— nancially unattractive and potentially unviable.

Yet property values in most coastal real estate markets do not currently reflect this risk. And most homeowners, communities, and investors are not aware of the nancial losses they may soon face.

This analysis estimates the number of homes and commercial properties throughout the coastal United States that will be put at risk from chronic, disruptive flooding—defined as flooding that occurs 26 times per year or more (Dahl et al. 2017; Spanger-Siegfried et al. 2017)—in the coming decades.

 

Climate-Resilient Water Management: An Operational Framework from South Asia

The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has been actively working in five South Asian countries to help governments plan for, and manage, the impacts of climate change in the water sector. ACT has championed a Climate-Resilient Water Management (CRWM) approach as a way of increasing the resilience of water systems on which billions of people rely.

This learning paper outlines the core elements of the CRWM framework and provides examples from ACT’s work employing the framework across the region. The methodology has been deployed in South Asia, but will be of relevance to practitioners and policy makers working in water resource management around the world.

 

This framework is informed by these activities and within this water management interventions are sorted into three categories: 

  1.  Water resource management (including assessment, supply augmentation and demand management); 

  1.  Management of extreme events (floods and droughts); and, 

  1.  Creating an enabling environment for CRWM (including mainstreaming climate impacts in sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, among other governance instruments). 

A 60-second audio abstract can be accessed here.

Key Contacts 

 

Available Science Assessment Process (ASAP): Sea Level Rise in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California

The goal of the Available Science Assessment Process (ASAP) is to synthesize and evaluate the body of scientific knowledge on specific, on-the-ground climate adaptation actions to determine the conditions, timeframes, and geographic areas where particular actions may be most effective for resource managers. This project identified sea level rise-related adaptation actions applied by resource managers, and evaluated the science behind those actions that may inform - if not improve - coastal planning and management in the Northwest.

Climate Change Adaptation Governance in British Columbia: Workshop Proceedings

On March 6th, 2018, ACT, SFU and Western University co-hosted a workshop in Vancouver on the topic of climate change adaptation and governance in Canada, with a specific focus on issues relating to the British Columbia (BC) context. Attendees included participants from government, academia, private sector, and non-governmental organizations. Particular attention was given to province-wide strategies for adaptation, risk reduction, and the intersection between them. This workshop was part of a series of events being carried out in tandem with research at Western University.1 This report summarizes the discussion with participants on adaptation framed as a set of actions and governance strategies. 

Climate change adaptation is the process of preparing for actual or projected changes in climate averages and extremes. It relies on interpretations and values pertaining to key questions regarding ways hazards and vulnerability are determined; the nature of acceptable interventions; and the determinants of success. As a result, adaptation is both complex and political in nature. The process of identifying the most effective roles for various actors and the best policy instruments to use to reach certain goals is not only value-laden, but complex and uncertain.

In an attempt to untangle this many-faceted issue within the provincial context, participants were asked to consider the following questions:

  1. Based on your experience and professional insight, what are the necessary components for effective climate change adaptation governance in Canada?

  2. Based on existing successes, what roles and mechanisms are required for effective and collaborative adaptation?

  3. What are the barriers to effective adaptation governance, and what are some potential strategies for overcoming them? 

 

Multisolving at the Intersection of Health and Climate: Lessons from Success Stories

With a multisolving approach to addressing health and climate challenges, people are designing the communities that they want to live in while at the same time preventing and preparing for climate change. For many of the projects, the system-wide benefits exceeded the costs. And the projects tended to create benefits, from more children walking to school, to a better patient experience, to increased opportunities for recreation, that were appreciated in the organizations and communities where the projects happened.

The study identified the following success factors that were common themes across the case studies:

  • Leadership shown by individual or organizational champions of projects
  • Cyclical learning and growth in partnerships over time
  • Strong engagement and communication with partners, collaborators, and the communities being served by the project
  • Measuring and communicating the multiple benefits of the project
  • Including a strong financial plan or a low-cost project design
  • Anticipating and confronting resistance to change

Planning for an Equitable Los Angeles: A Guide to Shaping LA’s New Community Plans

This guide is a resource for community-based organizations (CBOs) and city residents to advance equitable development through active engagement in the City of Los Angeles community plan update process.

  • Part I Provides an overview of the community plan update process and offers key considerations for effective community engagement.
  • Part II Provides a toolkit of planning and policy tools to advance equitable development outcomes within these new community plans. These tools are organized according to five broad principles of equitable development.

This guide is non-exhaustive, and meant to spur thoughtful dialogue among engaged residents and organizations. Ultimately, it is the leadership and experiential knowledge of affected low-income communities that will drive an equitable community plan campaign. Specific strategies will be responsive to the unique circumstances and dynamics of each community plan area. This guide is intended to support that effort.