Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH)

Posted on: 12/14/2015 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

Posted by

Robin Weber


The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH) is a decision support tool for land managers, decision-makers, and researchers that integrates local data and knowledge and current research with local/regional climate change predictions to provide an assessment of potential habitat vulnerabilities. Through a facilitated and inclusive process, it guides the evaluation of how changes in CO2, precipitation, air and water temperature, sea level change, and storm frequency and severity will directly affect a habitat and also interact with non-climate stressors of invasive/nuisance species, nutrients, sedimentation, erosion, and environmental contaminants. Using this spreadsheet-based tool and guidance document, the direct sensitivity of a given habitat to climate change, the current condition of the habitat, and natural and anthropogenic conditions that affect adaptive capacity can be used to calculate a numerical vulnerability score. This score can then be used to rank the relative vulnerability of assessed habitats within a defined area.


  • Evaluates the degree to which a given habitat may be vulnerable to current and future climate stressors superimposed on existing non-climate stressors.
  • Calculates numerical vulnerability scores for each habitat or parcel that can be used to examine relative vulnerability across different habitats in a local area or across a single habitat type in a local/regional setting.
  • Provides the opportunity to consider adaptive capacity options to reduce habitat vulnerability.


Land managers, decision-makers, and researchers who are tasked with developing conservation, management, and restoration plans and policies for coastal habitats.

Guidance document


Robin Weber
Robin Weber

Managing Organizations

The National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative supports science for estuarine and coastal decision-makers. Managed by the University of Michigan Water Center, through a cooperative agreement with NOAA, the Science Collaborative coordinates regular funding opportunities and supports user-driven collaborative research, assessment, and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by the reserves.