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-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 

 

Policy Options for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

A new federal infrastructure package presents a critical opportunity to strengthen America’s infrastructure against the growing risks posed by extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. Enhancing the climate resilience of the nation’s infrastructure can substantially reduce future losses, benefiting public health, safety, quality of life, and prosperity. This policy brief outlines the benefits of climate-resilient infrastructure and criteria that should inform infrastructure planning and investment to enhance climate resilience. It identifies the types of infrastructure projects that can promote resilience while simultaneously achieving other climate and energy goals and recommends changes to existing federal policies and programs to ensure ongoing improvement to the climate resilience of America’s infrastructure.

Climate Change & Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region - Story After the Storm - Hilarie Sorensen

The Story After the Storm series examines the aftermath of Duluth's 2012 flood. The increased frequency of extreme weather, not only in Duluth but across the U.S., has given urgency to understanding community resiliency and regional climate change. The series is part of The Science Institute for Educators, sponsored by the Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program, Minnesota Sea Grant, and The Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. It is funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjuction with Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program.

Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis

The goal of the Hawaiian Islands Climate Synthesis Project was to develop comprehensive, science-based syntheses of current and projected future climate change impacts on, and adaptation options for, terrestrial and freshwater resources within the main Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis presents the results of the major project components - climate impacts assessment, vulnerability assessment, and adaptation planning - and provides an inter-island analysis of the findings. More detailed information is available in the individual vulnerability assessment syntheses and adaptation summaries, and should be referred to for decision support, which can be found at http://bit.ly/HawaiiClimate.

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lake Borgne Surge Barrier: Resilient Storm Surge Protection for New Orleans

Location

1489 Intracoastal Dr
70129 New Orleans , LA
United States
30° 1' 4.5516" N, 89° 54' 12.6396" W
Louisiana US
Organization: 
Summary: 

The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, the largest civil engineering project in the history of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was designed to reduce storm surge and flood risk for New Orleans after devastating flooding during Hurricane Katrina. The 26-foot-high, 10,000-foot-long storm surge barrier minimizes 100-year flood risk, and features three navigational gates that can be raised in anticipation of storm surge.

Enhancing Flood Resilience with the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan

Location

New Orleans , LA
United States
29° 57' 55.4436" N, 90° 5' 8.9916" W
Louisiana US
Summary: 

The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan is a 50-year plan that proposes to use water system upgrades and urban design projects to reduce flood risk and improve stormwater, surface water, and groundwater management in New Orleans, Louisiana. By creating an integrated living water system, the plan will enhance the quality of life for New Orleans residents, help create viable wildlife habitat, and enhance the resilience of the city in the face of climate change. The plan was developed by a diverse project team, and incorporates ideas from Dutch frameworks for water management.

Implementing green infrastructure to enhance stormwater management in Louisville, Kentucky

Location

Louisville , KY
United States
38° 15' 9.594" N, 85° 45' 30.4416" W
Kentucky US
Summary: 

In response to combined sewer overflows, stormwater quality issues, and regional flooding in Louisville, Kentucky, the Louisville and Jefferson County Municipal Sewer District (MSD) has implemented a variety of green infrastructure projects to help capture and infiltrate stormwater. Projects include 19 green infrastructure demonstration projects, two combined sewer overflow drainage area projects, and a green infrastructure financial incentives program.

Planning for Change in Chatham County, Georgia

Location

GA
United States
32° 5' 24.0684" N, 81° 6' 11.2824" W
Georgia US
Summary: 

Chatham County is vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, and erosion. Increasing the ability of the county to adequately prepare for and recover from the impacts of climate change are important goals of the Chatham County – Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission. These goals have expanded into ensuring that all areas of the county are preparing for climate change, including public works, fire departments, hospitals, board of educators, and county engineers.