Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH)

Created: 12/14/2015 - Updated: 2/27/2020


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

Contact Person: Robin Weber
Phone: 401-683-7369


The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of 27 areas representing different biogeographic regions of the United States that are protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education and coastal stewardship. Established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, the reserve system is a partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the coastal states. NOAA provides funding, national guidance and technical assistance.