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. 

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.

 

Monitoring & evaluation in climate change adaptation projects: Highlights for conservation practitioners

Monitoring on-the-ground implementation projects in the face of climate change shares much in common with monitoring and evaluation best practices that have been advocated for in conservation in recent years. However, climate change presents some additional challenges that warrant consideration. Here we provide a brief summary of current thinking on the monitoring and evaluation of climate adaptation projects, and point readers towards additional resources.

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.

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Resources of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

This report summarizes the results of a two-day adaptation planning workshop for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their forest plan revision process. The workshop focused on identifying adaptation options for eight key resource areas, including forested vegetation, non-forested vegetation, wildlife, hydrology, fisheries, recreation, cultural/heritage values, and ecosystem services. The report includes a general overview of the workshop methodology and provides a suite of possible adaptation strategies and actions for each key resource area. Adaptation actions were linked with the climate-related vulnerabilities they help to ameliorate as well as the direct/indirect effects they may have on other resource areas.

Incorporating Sea Level Change Scenarios at the Local Level

Just as ooding threats need to be factored into coastal community planning initiatives, so too should sea level change. Unfortunately, the “one size ts all” approach does not work.

The level of uncertainty represented in sea level projections is one challenge. Furthermore, universal projections can’t be uniformly applied to all communities because of the many local variables. These variables include subsidence or uplift, and changes in estuarine and shelf hydrodynamics, regional oceanographic circulation patterns, and river ows. Local calculations are needed.

Then add in the local response, where many variables come into play as well. Even if two communities have similar projection numbers, their responses are likely to be widely di erent because of the external factors speci c to their locations that must be considered, such as anticipated local risk, community will, and the type of planning process in which the numbers will be used.

Incorporating sea level change into planning processes involves more than selecting a number. That is why this document advocates the scenario approach.

Using the information provided here, communities can develop a process that incorporates a range of possibilities and factors. With this information various scenarios can be developed, both in terms of projections and responses, to meet the speci c circumstances of a community. Moreover, working through the scenario development process provides the data and information that o cials will need to make communities readily adaptable to changing circumstances. 

 

Climate Resilience Toolkit

Tool Overview: 

Meet the Challenges of a Changing Climate -  Find information and tools to help you understand and address your climate risks.

CASE STUDIES

Explore case studies to see how people are building resilience for their businesses and in their communities. Click dots on the map below to preview case studies, or browse all case studies by clicking the button below the map.

PREPdata

Tool Overview: 

The Partnership

The PREP Partnership brings together stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including government agencies, leading technology companies and networks of climate preparedness practitioners. The Partnership supports the adaptation planning community by:

Time of Emergence

Location

United States
46° 14' 8.106" N, 121° 0' 38.6856" W
US
Tool Overview: 

This tool aims to support climate change risk assessment and decision-making by providing quick and readily accessible information about when and where climate change could matter across the Pacific Northwest. This is a new approach to delivery of climate change information that focuses on identifying the time when climate change causes local conditions to deviate significantly from the past, which we call the Time of Emergence of climate change.

North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool

The North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool was created to help marine protected area managers evaluate the implications of climate change for the habitats of their sites. This tool has three parts (a user guide, a set of blank worksheets, and a booklet containing sample completed worksheets) that are available as downloadable PDFs. The blank worksheets are in a dynamic PDF format so that users can easily fill, save and share their completed worksheets. The User Guide and sample worksheets provide the narrative explanation of how to use the tool, while the blank worksheets are the hands-on component. Together, they comprise a tool that can help marine protected area managers conduct a rapid vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development process.