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The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region

Created: 11/21/2012 - Updated: 8/16/2019

Abstract

The field of climate change adaptation is in a period of critical transition. The general concepts of adaptation have been well developed over the past decade. Now, practitioners must move from generalities to concrete actions, including implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts and a review of the prevalent work occurring on climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region, especially focusing on activities in the natural and built environments as they relate to freshwater resources (and in some cases, at the freshwater/terrestrial interface). This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and, where possible, assess adaptation activities in the Great Lakes region.

First, we provide a summary of climate change impacts and secondary effects on freshwater environments and resources in the Great Lakes region, specifically focusing on changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation patterns, lake levels, and water chemistry. We then provide summaries of and trends in commonly used adaptation approaches and examples from our survey and other resources. We separate these examples into four broad categories – Capacity Building, Policy, Natural Resource Management and Conservation, and Infrastructure, Planning, and Development.

The report concludes with a discussion of the challenges to and opportunities for climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region. The majority of adaptation efforts in the Great Lakes region thus far has been focused on capacity building, including improving understanding and awareness, acquiring or developing resources, and developing collaborative partnerships. Important next steps for advancing climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes region are to increase knowledge sharing between practitioners, to encourage more planning and integration across political and sectoral boundaries, to implement actions, and to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of these activities.

Published On

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Keywords

Scale: 
Community / Local
National / Federal
Regional / Subnational
State / Provincial
Tribal / First Nation
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Biodiversity
Culture / communities
Diseases or parasites
Economics
Erosion
Fishery harvest
Flooding
Flow patterns
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Lake level
Oxygen concentrations (hypoxia)
Phenological shifts
Precipitation
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Range shifts
Species of concern
Storms or extreme weather events
Tourism
Water quality
Water supply
Water temperature
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Capacity Building
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Governance and Policy
Climate Type: 
Temperate

Related Resources

Preparing for Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region

Photo attributed to Bobak Ha'Eri. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Summary: 

In June 2008, Michigan Sea Grant hosted forty representatives from Great Lakes foundations, non-governmental organizations, agencies, and universities at a one-day symposium entitled “Preparing for Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region.” Collaborators included the Mott Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Kresge Foundation, the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, and the University of Michigan.

Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Wildlife
Summary: 

The National Park Service (NPS), along with the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), are undertaking a cooperative study to track a small number of moose in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota using global positioning system (GPS) collars.

Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Land Use Planning
Summary: 

The National Park Service (NPS) manages about 7,500 miles of shoreline in its various units throughout the United States. Since 2001, the NPS Geologic Resources Division has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct sea level rise and lake level change hazard assessments for 23 coastal NPS sites.

Developing a National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy for the United States

Photo attributed to Richard Bartz. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Aquaculture
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Fisheries
Policy
Research
Wildlife
Summary: 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and state and tribal wildlife agencies, created a National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy to coordinate climate change responses in both the public and private sector.

Creating a National Adaptation Strategy for the United States: The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force

Photo attributed to Kmccoy. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Agriculture
Aquaculture
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Energy
Fisheries
Forestry
Land Use Planning
Policy
Public Health
Research
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Wildlife
Summary: 

In October 2010, the U.S. Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force released a series of recommendations to President Obama on how federal agencies could coordinate and collaborate on a national adaptation strategy. The Task Force released two progress reports in 2010 and 2011, and plans to continue to support implementation of the recommendations.

Sector Addressed: 
Aquaculture
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Development (socioeconomic)
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Fisheries
Land Use Planning
Policy
Public Health
Research
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Wildlife

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