North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP)

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Posted on: 7/18/2022 - Updated on: 11/08/2023

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The North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) is a Forest Service – National Park Service collaboration on climate change adaptation. NCAP addresses adaptation at a large scale – the region that includes Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, North Cascades National Park Complex, and Mount Rainier National Park – a land area of 6 million acres. NCAP is the third Forest Service – National Park Service partnership on climate change adaptation in the country. Two previous case studies – Olympic NF/Olympic NP (Washington) and Inyo NF/Devils Postpile NM (California) – serve as successful examples of the benefits of this type of cross-boundary partnership. NCAP takes on the challenge of applying this approach to a larger landscape that is more geographically, ecologically, and institutionally complex than its predecessors. NCAP is also a science-management partnership. The USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station is leading the effort and the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington serves as the primary climate science provider for the project.

NCAP has four primary objectives:

  1. Synthesize published information and data on climate change science to develop an educational program for resource managers and stakeholders.
  2. Assess the vulnerability of natural and cultural resources (e.g. water, vegetation, wildlife, fisheries, recreation, roads, high-elevation ecosystems) to a warmer climate.
  3. Develop science-based adaptation strategies and tactics that will increase ecosystem resilience to climate change while maintaining other management objectives.
  4. Ensure that science-based adaptation options are effectively incorporated into relevant planning documents.

NCAP objectives will be accomplished with workshops, a review of scientific literature, and by working closely with resource experts from the parks, forests, and partner agencies. The final product will be a series of reports by resource sector that will cover climate change projections, resource vulnerabilities, management context and objectives of the agencies, and adaptation strategies with examples of tactics. The resource sectors covered by NCAP will include hydrology, roads and human access, fisheries, wildlife, and vegetation and ecological disturbances.

NCAP is currently working on vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning for the North Cascadia region. These objectives will be completed with paired two-day workshops by resource sector. Unlike the climate change education workshops, these workshops will bring together managers from all four of the Parks and Forests in the partnership. The first day will cover a review of the relevant climate change and impacts science and a discussion of management goals and objectives. This will be followed by a working session during which Park and Forest resource specialists will collaborate with scientists and resource experts from partner agencies to identify key vulnerabilities. The second day will cover an overview of adaptation strategies and the management and planning context on the Parks and Forests, including any barriers to adaptation planning. This will be followed by a working session to develop adaptation options. The results of these workshops will be compiled into a series of reports by resource sector.

Affiliated Organizations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the purpose of the Forest Service—"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to safeguard these nearly 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But our work doesn’t stop there.


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