The State of Marine and Coastal Adaptation in North America: A Synthesis of Emerging Ideas

Posted on: 1/14/2011 - Updated on: 11/15/2021

Posted by

Rachel Gregg



Climate change is now widely acknowledged as a global problem that threatens the success of marine and coastal conservation, management, and policy. Mitigation and adaptation are the two approaches commonly used to address actual and projected climate change impacts. Mitigation applies to efforts to decrease the rate and extent of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the enhancement of carbon uptake and storage; adaptation deals with minimizing the negative effects or exploiting potential opportunities of climate change. Because the benefits of mitigation are not immediate and because we are already committed to a certain amount of climate change, adaptation has been increasingly viewed as an essential component of an effective climate change response strategy. The field of adaptation is developing rapidly but in an ad hoc fashion, and organizations and governments are often challenged to make sense of the dispersed information that is available.

The intent of this report is to provide a brief overview of key climate change impacts on the natural and built environments in marine and coastal North America and a review of adaptation options available to and in use by marine and coastal managers. This report presents the results of EcoAdapt’s efforts to survey, inventory, and assess adaptation projects from different regions, jurisdictions, and scales throughout North America’s marine and coastal environments.

In October 2021, EcoAdapt released a report that updates the 150+ projects included in The State of Marine and Coastal Adaptation in North America: A Synthesis of Emerging Ideas. This new report, The State of Climate Adaptation in the Marine and Coastal United States, Territories, and Commonwealths, highlights lessons learned from coastal and marine adaptation projects and common themes that have emerged since 2011.


Gregg, R. M., Hansen, L. J., Feifel, K. M., Hitt, J. L., Kershner, J. M., Score, A., & Hoffman, J. R. (2011). The State of Marine and Coastal Adaptation in North America: A Synthesis of Emerging Ideas. EcoAdapt, Bainbridge Island, WA.

Affiliated Organizations

EcoAdapt is at the center of climate change adaptation innovation. We provide support, training, and assistance to make conservation and management less vulnerable and more Climate Savvy. Over the past 200 years, great strides have been made in the world of conservation and now all of that is at risk because of climate change. EcoAdapt is working to ensure the success of these past efforts by delivering a framework for climate adaptation.


Document Type
Sociopolitical Setting
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy

Related Resources

Adaptation Phase
Sharing Lessons
Sector Addressed
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Culture / Communities
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Land Use Planning
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Read more