National Adaptation Forum Webinar Series: A Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool

Carol Berthal, Sara Hutto, Lucie Robidoux
Posted on: 12/14/2017 - Updated on: 6/16/2023

Posted by

Lauren Lynch



NOTE: This content will be removed from CAKE by the end of 2023. Please visit the past virtual events on the National Adaptation Forum website.

Hear from the creators and early users of the new Commission for Environmental Cooperation North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool. This tool designed in a collaborative process that included EcoAdapt, the Commission on Environmental Cooperation and west coast of North America marine protected area managers and scientists. The tool was designed to help marine protected area managers evaluate the implications of climate change for the habitats of their sites. The tool, available in English and Spanish, has three parts (a user guide, a set of blank worksheets, and a booklet containing sample completed worksheets), which used together allow marine protected area managers conduct a rapid vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy development process.

Webinar participants will hear:

  • Why the tool was created
  • An overview of the tool (how it works, what it looks like, where to find it)
  • The experience of using the tool
  • Additional Application of the tool 


Carol Bernthal, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Carol Bernthal is Superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, one of 14 national marine sanctuaries managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her responsibilities at the Sanctuary include all aspects of management of the sanctuary, policy development, and interaction with the Olympic Coast Sanctuary Advisory Council and Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council. She also served as the Acting West Coast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, overseeing management of and coordination among the five national marine sanctuaries on the west coast, which together protect 12, 682 square miles of coastal waters from Washington State to southern California. Carol's past work and educational experience combines natural resource management and environmental policy, with a special emphasis on working with tribal governments. Carol graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 with an undergraduate degree in Biological Aspects of Conservation and a minor in Environmental Science. She has worked for a variety of county, federal, and state agencies in subjects as diverse as growth management, forestland conservation, watershed restoration and protection, fisheries, and plant ecology. Prior to working for NOAA, Carol served as the Senior Habitat Biologist and Habitat Program Manager for the Point No Point Treaty Council, a consortium of four Native American Tribes on the Olympic Peninsula.

Lara J. Hansen, EcoAdapt

Lara thinks climate change is everybody's problem and she wishes someone would bother to do something about it. Her desire for action led her to co-create EcoAdapt with a team of similarly inclined folks in 2008. She is co-author and editor of one of the earliest texts on the issue of natural system adaptation to climate change, Buying Time: A User's Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems, as well as co-author of one of the newest books on adaptation, Climate Savvy: Adapting Conservation and Resource Management to a Changing World. The team that created these books created an engaged stakeholder process (first known as Climate Camp; now known as Awareness to Action Workshops) to help resource managers create adaptation strategies applicable to their work.

Sara Hutto, Greater Farallones Association

Sara Hutto is the Ocean Climate Program Coordinator at Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, where she leads sanctuary efforts to develop adaptive management strategies to reduce vulnerability to climate change for the species, habitats and ecosystem services that the sanctuary protects. Sara has traveled across the country to conduct climate vulnerability trainings and workshops for 7 other National Marine Sanctuary sites, has presented her work at the White House, and has worked internationally with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to develop vulnerability assessment tools for coastal and marine resource managers. She received her masters degree from Moss Landing Marine Labs and is a phycologist by training (even one of her kids has an alga for a middle name).

Eric Mielbrecht, EcoAdapt

Eric Mielbrecht, Directing Scientist and Director of Operations, is an EcoAdapt co-founder and specializes in assessing anthropogenic stresses and the risks they pose in natural and built environments. He is particularly interested in bridging gaps between research, decision-making processes and action – all with strong stakeholder involvement. Eric now also wears the operations director hat at EcoAdapt and helps with ‘the work that needs to get done to get the work done.’ However, he is occasionally let out of the office and plays a key role in climate change vulnerability assessment processes, stakeholder workshop facilitation, and doing other helpful things. Recent endeavors include the Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Focal Resources of the Sierra Nevada and the 2015 National Adaptation Forum. Eric is also a founding Board member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals and participates in the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge subcommittee.

Lucie Robidoux, Commission for Environmental Cooperation

Lucie Robidoux is the Head of the Ecosystems Unit at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), an international organization created by Canada, Mexico and the United States to support cooperation on North American environmental issues of continental concern. In this capacity, Lucie manages trilateral projects focused on ecosystems, migratory species and community engagement, including projects on assessing the vulnerability of marine protected areas and strengthening their adaptive capacity. Lucie has worked for regional, national and international organizations involved in research, capacity building and policy implementation, where she has focused on bringing multiple stakeholders together to develop and implement environmental initiatives. She holds a B.SC. in Biology, M.SC. in Environmental Science and M.A. in International Affairs.


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