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National Climate Adaptation Strategy for Fish, Wildlife and Plants


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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), State, and tribal partners, are proud to present the final National Fish, Wildlife, and …

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), State, and tribal partners, are proud to present the final National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.

The Climate Adaptation Strategy provides a roadmap of key steps needed over the next five years to reduce the current and expected impacts of climate change on our natural resources. The strategy is the product of extensive national dialogue that spanned nearly two years and was shaped by comments from more than 55,000 Americans.

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  • 1. National Fish, Wildlife and Plants about this report acknowledgementClimate Adaptation Strategy This report was produced by an inter- This Strategy was produced by anCopyright © 2012 governmental working group of federal, state, intergovernmental working group of federal, and tribal agency representatives at the state and tribal agency professionals whoseRecommended citation request of the U.S. Government. Therefore, expertise, knowledge and dedication brought the report is in the public domain. Some the report to completion (see Appendix E). TheNational Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate materials used in the report are copyrighted Strategy would not have been possible withoutAdaptation Partnership. and permission was granted to the U.S. the research, monitoring and assessment2012. Government for their publication in this activities of the nation’s scientific community report. For subsequent uses that include on natural resource conservation in a changingNational Fish, Wildlife and Plants such copyrighted materials, permission climate. The Strategy also benefited greatlyClimate Adaptation Strategy. for reproduction must be sought from the from input from a variety of non-governmentalAssociation of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, copyright holder. In all cases, credit must be organizations and the public.Council on Environmental Quality, Great Lakes given for copyrighted materials.Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration, For more information, contact :and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mark ShafferWashington, DC. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 703-358-2603Cover credits: Children in woods, Steve Roger GriffisHillebrand. Horse-eye jacks, National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmosphericand Atmospheric Administration. Painted Hills, AdministrationJane Pellicciotto. Pelican, George Andrejko/ roger.b.griffis@noaa.govArizona Game and Fish Department. 301-427-8134Design and layout: Jane Pellicciotto/ ARPITA CHOUDHURYAllegro Design Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies achoudhury@fishwildlife.orgThis publication is printed on FSC-certified 202-624-5853paper in the United States. DISCLAIMERISBN: 978-1-938956-00-3 This Strategy is not a final agency action subject to judicial review, nor is it considered aDOI: 10.3996/082012-FWSReport-1 rule. Nothing in this report is meant to affect the substantive or legal rights of third parties or bind government agencies.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.comPhoto creditscover: Children in woods, Steve Hillebrand.Horse-eye jacks, National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration. Painted Hills, Jane Pellicciotto.Pelican, George Andrejko/Arizona Game andFish Department
  • 2. National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy authors National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Partnership
  • 3. Inside The purpose of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy is to inspire noaa and enable natural resource administrators, CH.2 Impacts of 19 elected officials, and other decision makers Climate Change & Ocean Acidification to take action to adapt to a changing climate. 2.1 GHG-induced Changes 19 Adaptation actions are vital to sustaining the to the Climate and Ocean 2.2 Existing Stressors on Fish, 21 nation’s ecosystems and natural resources —   Wildlife, and Plants as well as the human uses and values that 2.3 Climate Change Impacts 25 on Fish, Wildlife, and Plants the natural world provides. 2.3.1 Forest Ecosystems 31 2.3.2 Shrubland Ecosystems 33 2.3.3 Grassland Ecosystems 33 2.3.4 Desert Ecosystems 34 Paul Sundberg 2.3.5 Arctic Tundra Ecosystems 36gary wise 2.3.6 Inland Water Ecosystems 39 Preface 1 CH.1 About the 7 2.3.7 Coastal Ecosystems 42 Strategy 2.3.8 Marine Ecosystems 47 1.1 A Broad National Effort 7 2.4 Impacts on Ecosystem 51 1.2 Origins and Development 8 Services 1.3 The Case for Action 9gary wise 1.3.1 The Climate is Changing 9 Executive Summary 2 1.3.2 Impacts to Fish, Wildlife, and Plants 11 1.3.3 Ecosystem Services 12 1.3.4 Adaptation to Climate Change 14 1.4 Purpose, Vision, and 17 Guiding Principles 1.5 Risk and Uncertainty 18 ii | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 4. USFWS/Joshua Winchellusfws CH.3 Climate 53 CH.4 Opportunities 79 Resources 93 Adaptation Goals, for Multiple Sectors Literature Cited 93 Strategies & Actions 4.1 Agriculture 81 Appendix A: 103 GOAL 1: Conserve habitat to support 55 4.2 Energy 83 Supporting Materials healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions Ecosystem-Specific Background Papers 103 4.3 Housing and Urbanization 84 in a changing climate. Related Resources, Reports, and 103 4.4 Transportation and 86 Materials GOAL 2: Manage species and habitats 60 Infrastructure to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable cultural, subsistence, Appendix B: Glossary 105 4.5 Water Resources 86 recreational, and commercial use in Appendix C: Acronyms 108 a changing climate. GOAL 3: Enhance capacity for effective 63 Appendix D: Scientific Names 109 management in a changing climate. Appendix E: Team Members 110 GOAL 4: Support adaptive 67 management in a changing climate usfws through integrated observation and monitoring and use of decision support tools. CH.5 Integration & 88 GOAL 5: Increase knowledge and 71 Implementation information on impacts and responses of fish, wildlife, and plants to a changing 5.1 Strategy Integration 88 climate. 5.2 Strategy Implementation 90 GOAL 6: Increase awareness and 74 motivate action to safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants in a changing climate. GOAL 7: Reduce non-climate stressors 76 night sky : Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to help fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate. Inside the Strategy | iii
  • 5. Preface Our climate is changing, and these changes are already impacting the nation’s valuable natural resources and the people, communities, and economies that depend on them.6 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 6. These impacts are expected to increase with continued changes in the planet’s climate system, putting many of the nation’s valuable natural resources at risk. Action is needed now to reduce these impacts (including reducing the drivers of climate change) and help sustain the natural resources and ser vices the nation depends on. T he observed changes in climate have been attributed to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other that can be taken, or at least initiated, over the next five to ten years in the context of the changes to our climate that Because the development of this adapta- tion Strategy will only be worthwhile if it leads to meaningful action, it is directly greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmo- are already occurring, and those that are aimed at several key groups: natural sphere, which have set in motion a series projected by the end of the century. It is resource management agency leaders and of changes in the planet’s climate system. designed to be a key part of the nation’s staff (federal, state, and tribal); elected Far greater changes are inevitable not larger response to a changing climate, officials in both executive and legisla- only because emissions will continue, but and to guide responsible actions by tive government branches (federal, state, also because CO2 stays in the atmosphere natural resource managers, conservation local, and tribal); leaders in industries for a long time. Even if further GHG partners, and other decision makers at that depend on and can impact natural emissions were halted today, alterations all levels. The Strategy was produced by resources, such as agriculture, forestry, already underway in the Earth’s climate federal, state, and tribal representatives and recreation; and private landowners, will last for hundreds or thousands of and has been coordinated with a variety whose role is crucial because they own years. If GHG emissions continue, as is of other climate change adaptation efforts more than 70 percent of the land in the currently more likely, the planet’s average at national, state, and tribal levels. United States. temperature is projected to rise by 2.0 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of The overarching goal of the The Strategy should also be useful for the century, with accompanying major decision makers in sectors that affect Strategy is a simple one: changes in extreme weather events, natural resources (such as agriculture, to inspire, enable, and increase energy, urban development, transporta- variable and/or inconsistent weather patterns, sea level rise, and changing meaningful action that helps tion, and water resource management), ocean conditions including increased safeguard the nation’s natural for conservation partners, for educators, acidification. resources in a changing climate. and for the interested public, whose input and decisions will have major impacts on Safeguarding our valuable living The overarching goal of the Strategy safeguarding the nation’s living resources resources in a changing climate for is a simple one: to inspire, enable, and in the face of climate change. The Strategy current and future generations is a increase meaningful action that helps also should be useful to those in other serious and urgent problem. Addressing safeguard the nation’s natural resources countries dealing with these same issues the problem requires action now to in a changing climate. Admittedly, the and those dealing with the international understand current impacts, assess future task ahead is a daunting one, especially if dimensions of climate adaptation. risks, and prepare for and adapt to a the world fails to make serious efforts to changing climate. This National Fish, reduce emissions of GHGs. But we can Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation make a difference. To do that, we must Strategy (hereafter Strategy) is a call to begin now to prepare for a future unlike action–a framework for effective steps the recent past.U SFW S Preface | 1
  • 7. gary wise Executive Summary Fish, wildlife, and plants provide jobs, food, clean water, storm protection, health benefits and many other important ecosystem ser vices that support people, communities and economies across the nation ever y day. The obser ved changes in the climate are already impacting these valuable resources and systems. These impacts are expected to increase with “...develop a national, continued changes in the planet’s climate system. government-wide strategy to Action is needed now to help safeguard these natural address climate impacts on fish, wildlife, plants, and associated resources and the communities and economies that ecological processes.” depend on them. —Department of the Interior, Environment, M and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 easurements unequivocally show on natural environments and the vital that average surface air tempera- services they provide. tures in the United States have risen two degrees Fahrenheit (°F) over the last Faced with a future climate that will 50 years. The science strongly supports be unlike that of the recent past, the the finding that the underlying cause nation has the opportunity to act now of these changes is the accumulation of to reduce the impacts of climate change heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) and on its valuable natural resources and other greenhouse gases (GHG) in the resource-dependent communities and atmosphere. If GHG emissions continue businesses. Preparing for and addressing unabated, the planet’s average tempera- these changes in the near term can help ture is projected to rise by an additional increase the efficiency and effectiveness 2.0 to 11.5 °F by the end of the century, of actions to reduce negative impacts with accompanying increases in extreme and take advantage of potential benefits weather events, variable and/or incon- from a changing climate (climate adap- sistent weather patterns, sea levels and tation). In 2009, Congress recognized other factors with significant impacts the need for a national government- 2 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 8. wide climate adaptation strategy for fish, and other decision makers to take efforts internationally to build resil-wildlife, plants, and ecosystems, asking effective steps towards climate change ience and adaptation for species thatthe Council on Environmental Quality adaptation over the next five to ten years. migrate and depend on areas beyond(CEQ) and the U.S. Department of the Federal, state, and tribal governments U.S. borders. Finally, given the size andInterior (DOI) to develop such a strategy. and conservation partners are encour- urgency of the challenge, we must beginCEQ and DOI responded by assembling aged to read the Strategy in its entirety acting unprecedented partnership of federal, to identify intersections between thestate, and tribal fish and wildlife conser- document and their mission areas andvation agencies to draft the document. activities.More than 90 diverse technical, scientific, Climate Changeand management experts from across the The Strategy is guided by nine principles. Impacts on Naturalcountry participated in drafting the These principles include collaboratingtechnical content of the document. across all levels of government, working Systems with non-government entities such asThe result is The National Fish, Wildlifeand Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy private landowners and other sectors like agriculture and energy, and engaging the T he Strategy details the current and expected future impacts of climate change on the eight major ecosystem(hereafter Strategy). The Strategy is the public. It is also important to use the best types in the United States (Chapter 2).first joint effort of three levels of govern- available science—and to identify where For example, warmer temperaturesment (federal, state, and tribal) that have science and management capabilities and changing precipitation patterns areprimary authority and responsibility for must be improved or enhanced. When expected to cause more fires and morethe living resources of the United States adaptation steps are taken, it is crucial pest outbreaks, such as the mountainto identify what must be done to help to carefully monitor actual outcomes in pine beetle epidemic in western forests,these resources become more resilient, order to adjust future actions to make while some types of forests will displaceadapt to, and survive a warming climate. them more effective, an iterative process what is now tundra. Grasslands andIt is designed to inspire and enable called adaptive management. We must shrublands are likely to be invaded bynatural resource managers, legislators, also link efforts within the U.S. with non-native species and suffer wetland losses from drier conditions, which would decrease nesting habitat for water-Global Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Global annual fowl. Deserts are expected to get hotter 400 average and drier, accelerating existing declines58.5°F temperature from in species like the Saguaro cactus. 380 1901–2000, indicating a clear long-term Climate change is expected to be C O 2 CO N CE NT RAT I ON ( P P M ) 36058.0°F global warming especially dramatic in the Arctic. trend. Orange Temperature increases in northern 340 bars indicate Alaska would change tussock tundra temperatures into shrublands, leading to increased fire57.5°F 320 above and blue risk. In addition, the thawing of frozen bars indicate temperatures organic material in soils would release 300 below the average. huge amounts of GHGs, contributing to57.0°F The black line climate change. In coastal and marine 280 shows atmospheric areas, the loss of sea ice and changing carbon dioxide ocean conditions are threatening key56.5°F 260 (CO2) concentration 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 in parts per species such as walrus, ice seals and polar million (ppm). bears as well as the lifestyles and subsis-sour ce: us gcrp 2 0 0 9 . Gl obal Cl i m at e Ch a n g e I m pa c t s i n t h e U n i t e d S tat e s . tence economics of indigenous peoples. Executive Summar y | 3
  • 9. Executive SummaryRivers, streams, and lakes face higher areas (including refugia and corridorstemperatures that harm coldwater Climate Change of habitat that allow species to migrate),species like salmon and trout, while sea and areas where habitat restoration canlevel rise threatens coastal marshes and Adaptation Strategies promote resiliency and adaptation ofbeaches, which are crucial habitats for and Actions species and ecosystem functions.many species, such as the diamondbackterrapin and the piping plover. T he Strategy describes steps that can be taken to address these impacts and help conserve ecosystems and make them In addition to traditional habitat restora- tion and protection efforts, this StrategySince water can absorb CO2 from the air, envisions innovative opportunities for more resilient (Chapter 3). Proposedthe rising levels of the gas in the atmo- creating additional habitat. For example, strategies and actions along with check-sphere and accompanying absorption the U.S. Department of Agriculture lists to monitor progress are organizedinto the oceans have caused ocean waters (USDA) works with farmers and ranchers under seven major goals in the Strategy:to become 30 percent more acidic since to cost-share conservation practices that1750. Acidification is already affecting 1 | Conserve and connect habitat benefit at-risk, threatened, or endan-the reproduction of organisms such as gered species, such as the lesser prairieoysters. As the pH of seawater continues 2 | Manage species and habitats chicken. These efforts may be useful into drop, major impacts on aquatic ecosys- responding to climate change as well as 3 | Enhance management capacitytems and species are expected. other existing conservation challenges. 4 | Support adaptive management Similarly, adjusting rice farming practices in Louisiana could provide valuable new 5 | Increase knowledge and information resources for a variety of waterfowl and 6 | Increase awareness and motivate shorebirds whose habitat is now disap- action pearing because of wetland loss and sea level rise. 7 | Reduce non-climate stressors It is also possible to use applied manage- Many proposed actions describe types of ment to make habitats and species conservation activities that management more resistant to climate change so agencies have traditionally undertaken they continue to provide sustainable but that will continue to be useful in a cultural, subsistence, recreational, and period of climate change. Other actions commercial uses. For example, managing are designed specifically to respond to stream corridors to preserve functional the new challenges posed by climate processes and reconnect channels with U SFWS/ Jo el Garl ich- Mi lle r change. well-vegetated floodplains may help to ensure a steady supply of ground- An extremely important approach for water recharge that maintains coldwater helping fish, wildlife, and plants adapt species even when air temperatures rise. to climate change is conserving enough Loss of arctic ice means loss of valuable Floodplains serve as vital hydrologic suitable habitat to sustain diverse and habitat for many marine species. capacitors, and may become even more healthy populations. Many wildlife important in many parts of the country refuges and habitats could lose some of as more precipitation falls as rain instead their original values, as the plants and of snow. Protecting and restoring stream animals they safeguard are forced to habitats to maintain more narrow and move into more hospitable climes. As a deep stream beds and riparian shade result, there is an urgent need to identify cover can also help keep water tempera- the best candidates for new conservation tures cool in a warming climate.4 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 10. Climate change adaptation requires Reducing existing stressors on of ecosystem services provided by well-new ways of assessing information, new fish, wildlife, and plants may functioning ecosystems also are tools and professional skills, For example, there may be fewer salmon be one of the most effective,increased collaboration across jurisdic- for commercial and recreational harvest, and doable, ways to increase as well as for traditional ceremonial andtions, and review of laws, regulations,and policies to ensure effectiveness resilience to climate change. cultural practices of indigenous a changing world. Climate changeimpacts are occurring at scales much It will frequently be difficult to predict Adaptation efforts will be most successfullarger than the operational scope of indi- how individual species and ecosystems if they have broad support and if keyvidual organizations and agencies, and will react to climate change. Adaptation groups are motivated to take actionsuccessful adaptation demands strong in the face of uncertain impacts requires themselves. Efforts to increase aware-collaboration among all jurisdictions. coordinated observation and monitoring, ness and motivate action should beLandscape Conservation Cooperatives information management and decision targeted toward elected officials, public(LCCs), migratory bird and other Joint support systems, and a commitment and private decision makers, groups thatVentures (JVs), National Fish Habitat to adaptive management approaches. are interested in learning more aboutPartnerships (NFHPs), and other existing Coordinated information management climate change, private landowners, andand emerging partnerships are useful systems, such as the National Ecological natural resource user groups. Engagingvehicles to promote diverse collabo- Observatory Network and the Integrated these stakeholders early and repeatedly toration across larger scales. Because of Ocean Observing System, that link and increase awareness of climate change, tothe dependence of Native Americans, make available the data developed by develop integrated adaptation responses,Alaska Natives and other groups on their separate agencies or groups have a crit- and to motivate their participation is keynatural resources for their economic ical role to play in increasing access to to making this Strategy work.and cultural identity, climate change and use of this information by resourceis a threat not only to those natural managers, planners, and decision makers. Reducing existing stressors on fish, wild-resources, but also to the traditions, the Vulnerability assessments are key steps life, and plants may be one of the mostculture, and ultimately, the very health of to help managers develop and prioritize effective, and doable, ways to increasethe communities themselves. Indigenous adaptation efforts and inform manage- resilience to climate change. Manycommunities possess traditional ecolog- ment approaches. existing non-climate stressors may beical knowledge (TEK) and relationships exacerbated by climate change. In partic-with particular resources and homeland Additional research and modeling efforts ular, avoiding, reducing and addressingareas, accumulated through thousands are needed to increase knowledge about the ongoing habitat degradation (e.g.,of years of history and tradition, which the specific impacts of climate change pollution, loss of open space) associ-make them highly sensitive to, and on fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats and ated with human development is criticalaware of, environmental change. Alaska their adaptive capacity to respond. The and requires collaboration with land-useprovides an excellent example of not use of models has already produced valu- planners and private land owners. Takingonly how TEK can be successfully inte- able information for planning for climate steps to reduce stressors not related tograted into management activities, but change impacts, and more refined climate, such as fighting invasive speciesalso how this knowledge can be collected, models at temporal and spatial scales like water hyacinth, can help naturalused, and protected in a respectful and appropriate to adaptation are required. systems cope with the additional pres-culturally-sensitive manner, benefitting Methods to objectively quantify the value sures imposed by a changing climate.both indigenous and non-indigenouscommunities. Executive Summar y | 5
  • 11. Executive Summary of adaptation and conservation efforts Integration and and programs (Chapter 5) at local, state, regional and national levels. Examples Implementation include the U.S. Global Change Research T he Strategy emphasizes that actions to help fish, wildlife, plants, and natural systems adapt to climate change can Program (USGCRP), which produces the National Climate Assessment (NCA) every four years; the Interagency Climate be coordinated with measures taken in Change Adaptation Task Force (ICCATF) other sectors, such as agriculture, energy, that provides a venue to communicate water, and transportation, to increase and help coordinate U.S. federal agency the benefits for all sectors (Chapter 4). adaptation efforts; State Wildlife Action One example of an action that benefits Plans; EPA regional initiatives such as multiple sectors and ecosystems is better the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; management of stormwater runoff, and the work of the LCCs. Implementing which not only reduces risks of flooding the Strategy will require coordination in cities, but also reduces the threat that and collaboration among these and toxic algal blooms will affect aquatic many other entities. The Strategy calls ecosystems. for creation of a coordination body to oversee its implementation and engage The Strategy is designed to build upon with conservation partners. and complement the growing number The Strategy is a call to action. We can take effective action to reduce risks and increase resiliency of valuable natural resources. Unless the nation begins a serious effort to undertake this task now, we risk losing priceless living systems — and the benefits and services they provide — as the climate changes.usfws 6 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 12. Paul Sundberg CH.1 About the Strategy The purpose of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy (hereafter Strategy) is to inspire and enable natural resource administrators, elected officials, and other decision makers to take action to help the nation’s valuable natural resources and people that depend on them adapt to a changing climate. The Strategy identifies major The Strategy focuses on preparing for goals and outlines strategies 1.1 A Broad National and reducing the most serious impacts of climate change and related non-climate and actions needed to attain Effort stressors on fish, wildlife, and plants. It those goals. A daptation actions are vital to sustaining the nation’s ecosystems and natural resources—as well as the places priority on addressing impacts for which there is enough information to recommend sensible actions that can human uses and values that the natural be taken or initiated over the next five world provides. The Strategy explains the to ten years in the context of climate challenge ahead and offers a guide for change projections through the end of actions that can be taken now, in spite the century. Further, it identifies key of remaining uncertainties over how knowledge, technology, information, climate change will impact living and governance gaps that hamper resources. It further provides guidance effective action. While the Strategy on longer-term actions most likely to is focused on adaptation rather than promote natural resource adaptation to mitigation (or reduction) of GHGs, it climate change. Because climate adapta- includes approaches that may also have tion cuts across many boundaries, the mitigation benefits. Strategy also describes mechanisms to increase collaboration among all levels of The Strategy is not a detailed assessment government, conservation organizations, of climate science or a comprehensive and private landowners. report of the impacts of climate change on individual species or ecosystems; an abundant and growing literature on those About the Strategy | 7
  • 13. About the Strategytopics already exists (IPCC AR4 2007, In order for the Strategy to be effec- adaptation of ecosystems and resourcesUSGCRP 2009, Parmesan 2006). It is tively implemented, progress should be (CCSP 2008c). In addition, a coalitionnot a detailed operational plan, nor does periodically evaluated and the Strategy of hunting and fishing organizationsit prescribe specific actions to be taken reassessed and updated through the published reports in 2008 and 2009 onby specific agencies or organizations, same sort of collaborative process as was the current and future impacts of climateor specific management actions employed in the production of this first change on fish and wildlife and calledfor individual species. Rather, this is effort. The Strategy calls for formation of for increased action to help sustain thesea broad national adaptation strategy: a coordinating body with representation resources in a changing climate (Wildlifeit identifies major goals and outlines from federal, state, and tribal govern- Management Institute 2008, 2009).strategies and actions needed to attain ments meet semi-annually to promotethose goals. It describes the “why, what, and evaluate implementation and to Congress asked CEQ and DOI to developand when” of what the nation must do to report progress annually. a national strategy to “…assist fish,assist our living resources to cope with wildlife, plants, and related ecologicalclimate change. The “who, where, and processes in becoming more resilient,how” of these strategies and actions must adapting to, and surviving the impactsbe decided through the many existing 1.2 Origin and of climate change” as part of the 2010collaborative processes for management Development Appropriations Bill for the Departmentplanning, decision-making, and action. of the Interior and Related AgenciesIn addition, the development ofstrategies and actions for this document O ver the past decade, there have been an increasing number of calls by government and non-governmental (U.S. Congress 2010). Acting for DOI, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servicewas not constrained by assumptions of (FWS) and CEQ then invited thecurrent or future available resources. entities for a national effort to better National Oceanic and AtmosphericThe implementation of recommended understand, prepare for and address the Administration (NOAA) and state wild-strategies and actions, and the alloca- impacts of climate change on natural life agencies, with the New York Statetion of resources towards them, are the resources and the communities that Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marineprerogative of the Strategy audience, depend on them. These calls helped lay Resources as their lead representa-(e.g., decision makers). the foundation for development of tive, to co-lead the development of the this Strategy. Strategy. In October of 2010, the ICCATFFederal, tribal, state, and local govern- endorsed the development of the Strategyments and conservation partners have For example, in 2007, the U.S. as a key step in advancing U.S. efforts toinitiated a variety of efforts to help Government Accountability Office adapt to a changing climate.1prepare for and respond to the impacts (GAO) released a study entitled “Climateof climate change on the nation’s natural Change: Agencies Should Develop A 22-person Steering Committee wasresources and the valuable services they Guidance for Addressing the Effects formed in January 2011, and includesprovide. This Strategy is designed to build on Federal Land and Water Resources,” representatives from 15 federal agen-on and assist these efforts across multiple recommending that guidance and tools cies with management authorities forscales and organizations. These entities be developed to help federal natural fish, wildlife, plants, or habitat, as wellare encouraged to identify areas of the resource managers address and incorpo- as representatives from five state fishStrategy that bear on their missions and rate climate change into their resource and wildlife agencies and two intertribalwork collaboratively with other organi- management efforts (GAO 2007). In commissions. The Committee chargedzations to design and implement specific 2008, the USGCRP released the report a small Management Team, includingactions to reduce the impacts of climate Preliminary Review of Adaptation Optionschange on fish, wildlife, and plants. for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and 1 See “Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Resources that called for and identi- Adaptation Task Force: Recommended Actions in fied new approaches to natural resource Support of a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. < management to increase resiliency and microsites/ceq/Interagency-Climate-Change-Adaptation- Progress-Report.pdf>8 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 14. Unless the nation begins a serious effort to undertake adaptation efforts now, we risk losing priceless living systems — and the benefits and services they provide — as the climate changes.representatives of the FWS, NOAA, theAssociation of Fish and Wildlife Agencies(AFWA, representing the states), andthe Great Lakes Indian Fish and WildlifeCommission, to oversee the day-to-day development of the Strategy. TheManagement Team was asked to engagewith a diverse group of stakeholders, aswell as to coordinate and communicateacross agencies and departments.In March of 2011, the Management Teaminvited more than 90 natural resourceprofessionals (both researchers andmanagers) from federal, state, and tribal Ryan Hagarty/usfwsagencies to form eight Technical Teams,each centered around a major U.S.ecosystem type. These Teams, which wereco-chaired by federal, state, and tribalrepresentatives, worked over the nexteight months to provide technical infor- »» Extreme events like heat waves andmation on climate change impacts and 1.3 The Case for Action regional droughts have become moreto collectively develop the strategies and frequent and intense;actions for adapting to climate change.The Management Team worked to iden- 1.3.1 The Climate is Changing »» Hurricanes in the Atlantic and easterntify and distill the primary approaches Pacific have gotten stronger in the pastcommon across ecosystems into the Measurements and observations show few decades; unequivocally that the Earth’s climate isseven overarching goals, discussed in »» Sea levels have risen eight inchesdetail in Chapter 3. currently in a period of unusually rapid globally over the past century and are change. The impacts of climate change climbing along most of our nation’s are occurring across the United States. coastline; For example: »» Cold season storm tracks are shifting »» Average air temperature has increased northward; two degrees Fahrenheit (°F) and precipitation has increased approxi- »» The annual extent of Arctic sea ice is mately five percent in the United States shrinking rapidly; and in the last 50 years; »» Oceans are becoming more acidic. »» Average global ocean temperatures have increased nearly 0.4°F since 1955; All of these changes have been well documented and described in the report: »» The amount of rain falling in the Global Climate Change Impacts in the heaviest storms is up 20 percent in the United States (USGCRP 2009), the last century, causing unprecedented primary scientific reference on climate floods; change science for this document. Moreover, the changes are harbingers of far greater changes to come. About the Strategy | 9
  • 15. About the Strategy Observed Changes to Ecosystems and Species Species are shifting Different species are their geographic responding differently ranges, often moving to changes in climate, Shelley Ellis/NWF poleward or upwards leading to decou- in elevation. For pling of important instance, geese that ecological relation- formally wintered ships (Edwards and afwaThe science strongly supports the finding along the Missouri Richardson 2004).that the underlying cause of today’s River in Nebraska and South Dakota now seem For example, changes in phenology forrising temperatures, melting ice, shifting to migrate only as far south as North Dakota, Edith’s checkerspot butterfly are leading toweather, increasing ocean acidification to the dismay of waterfowl hunters (Wildlife mismatches with both caterpillar host plants Management Institute 2008). These shifts and nectar sources for adult butterflies,and other changes is the accumulation may also bring wildlife into more densely leading to population crashes in some areasof heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) (Parmesan 2006). populated human areas, creating situationsand other greenhouse gases (GHGs) of human-wildlife conflict. In addition, somein the atmosphere (IPCC AR4 2007, marine species are also shifting both locationUSGCRP 2009, NRC 2010). Because and depth (Nye et al. 2009). Habitat loss is increasing due toCO2 remains in the atmosphere for many ecological changesyears, CO2 that has already been emitted The phenology, such associated withwill continue to warm the Earth (and as spring blooming, climate change, john lyonscontribute to ocean acidification) for is changing (Post et such as sea leveldecades or centuries to come (Wigley al. 2001). This could rise, increased fire, affect whether or not pest outbreaks,2005). Meanwhile, GHG emissions bill lynch plants are success- novel weather patterns, or loss of glaciers.continue, increasing the concentra- fully pollinated (the For example, habitat for rainbow trout intions of these gases in the atmosphere. pollinators might come the southern Appalachians is being greatlyOur future climate will be unlike that of at the wrong time), or whether or not food is reduced as water temperatures risethe recent past. Traditional and proven available when needed. For example, in the (Flebbe et al. 2006).approaches for managing fish, wildlife, Rocky Mountains, the American robin (see Appendix D for a list of scientific names ofplants, ecosystems, and their human uses Declines in the species mentioned in the text) is now arrivingmay no longer be effective given the scale up to two weeks earlier than it did two decades populations ofand scope of climate-driven changes. ago. However, the date of snow melt has not species, from mollusks off the coast brome m c creary advanced, so food resources may be limited when the birds arrive (Inouye et al. 2000). of Alaska to frogs in Yellowstone, are being attributed to Since water absorbs climate change CO2, the oceans are (Maclean and Wilson 2011). becoming more acidic, affecting the reproduction The spread of of species such non-native species as oysters (Feely et as well as diseases, noaa al. 2008). The pH of pests, contaminants, seawater has decreased since 1750, and is and parasites are tim torrell projected to drop much more by the end of becoming more the century as CO2 concentrations continue common. For instance, to increase (USGCRP 2009). Although not warmer temperatures technically climate change, this additional are enabling a salmon parasite to invade impact of the accumulation of CO2 in the the Yukon River, causing economic harm to atmosphere is expected to have major impacts indigenous peoples and the fishing industry on aquatic ecosystems and species. (Kocan et al. 2004). Also, the increasing threats of wildlife diseases due to non-native species include diseases transmissible between animals and humans, which could negatively impact native species, domestic animals, and humans (Hoffmeister et al. 2010).10 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 16. Case Study Hotter summers threaten eastern brook trout Heat stress is the Chuck Krueger/Great Lakes Fishery Commission biggest threat to cold water fish species and brook trout are particularly sensitive.1.3.2 Impacts to Fish, Wildlife,and PlantsGiven the magnitude of the observedchanges in climate, it is not surprisingthat fish, wildlife, and plant resources inthe United States and around the worldare already being affected. The impactscan be seen everywhere from working The West Fork of the Kickapoo River amounts of cool groundwater sustain the in western Wisconsin is an angler’s para- stream’s baseflow in summer. This informa-landscapes like tree farms and pastures dise. Its cool, shaded waters and pools tion enables fisheries managers to focus onto wilderness areas far from human abound with native brook trout. But brook the streams and rivers that are at greaterhabitation (Parmesan 2006, Doney et trout require cold water to reproduce and risk from climate change and from changingal. 2012). Although definitively estab- survive—and water temperatures are land use that would decrease groundwaterlishing cause and effect in any specific already rising. By the end of this century, discharge rates. In some streams, thesecase can be problematic, the overall the self-sustaining population in the deteriorating conditions are unlikely to bepattern of observed changes in species’ West Fork could be gone. In fact, up to reversed.distributions and phenology (the timing 94 percent of current brook trout habitat in Wisconsin could be lost with a 5.4 °F In other streams, adaptation strategies canof life events) is consistent with biolo- increase in air temperature (Mitro et al. be implemented to reduce stream watergists’ expectations for a warming climate 2010). Although climate change has not temperatures such as planting trees and(Parmesan 2006, Doney et al. 2012). As caused the loss of any brook trout popula- other streambank vegetation for shade,the emissions of GHGs and the resulting tions to date, the warming effects on air or restoring stream channel morphologyclimate changes continue to increase in temperature is projected to significantly to reduce solar heating. For example,the next century, so too will the effects on reduce the current range of brook trout in managing stream corridors to preservespecies, ecosystems, and their functions the eastern United States. functional processes and reconnect chan- nels with well-vegetated floodplains may(USGCRP 2009). Human responses to The threat is not limited to Wisconsin or to help to ensure a steady supply of ground-the challenge of climate change will also brook trout. Climate change is viewed as water recharge that maintains coldwateraffect, perhaps substantially, the natural one of the most important stressors of species even when air temperatures Furthermore, climatic change and fish populations, and coldwater fish species Floodplains serve as vital hydrologic capaci-the human response to it are also likely to are especially susceptible to rising temper- tors, and may become even more importantexacerbate existing stressors like habitat atures. Declining populations would have in many parts of the country as moreloss and fragmentation, putting addi- serious ecological and economic conse- precipitation falls as rain instead of snow.tional pressure on our nation’s valued quences, since these fish are key sources of nutrients for many other species and Protecting and enhancing water infiltrationliving resources (USGCRP 2009). provide major fishing industries in the rates on land is another adaptation strategy Northeast, Northwest, and Alaska (Trout that can increase cooler groundwater Unlimited 2007). discharge rates during the critical summer low flow conditions. In some cases, adaptation measures may help reduce the threat. The first step is This “triage” stream assessment approach measuring stream water temperatures and is similar to how accident or battlefield flow rates to identify which trout habitats responders work, where efforts are focused are at greatest risk. Monitoring efforts on those most likely to respond to treat- have already shown that some trout ment. Thus, limited funding is directed streams are at lower risk because they toward streams that are at higher risk from have water temperatures far below lethal the effects of rising temperatures, and on limits, while other streams are not likely to streams where adaptation actions are more see increases in water temperatures even likely to have a positive impact. when air temperatures rise, since adequate Section Name | 11
  • 17. About the Strategy1.3.3 Ecosystem ServicesNatural systems are of fundamental valueand benefit to people. Natural environ-ments provide enormously valuable, butlargely unaccounted for, services that no a asupport people as well as other species(NRC 2004, NRC 2012, PCAST 2011). Natural environments provide enormouslyThe materials and processes that ecosys- The continuance or growth of these types valuable services and goods that benefittems produce that are of value to people humans and other species. of economic activities is directly relatedare known as “ecosystem services” and to the extent and health of our nation’scan be organized into four general ecosystems and the services they provide. saltwater fishing trips occurred alongcategories (Millennium Ecosystem U.S. coasts, generating $50 billion in salesAssessment 2005): Natural resources provide a wide variety impacts and supporting over 327,000»» Provisioning Services, including food, jobs (NMFS 2010). Aquatic habitat and of other types of benefits and services water, medicines, and wood. species conservation alone contributes to people and communities every day, over $3.6 billion per year to the economy many of which are not traded in markets»» Regulating Services, such as climate and are sometimes difficult to mone- regulation, flood suppression, disease/ in the U.S., and supports over 68,000 jobs (Charbonneau and Caudill 2010). tize. For example, forests help provide pest control, and water filtration. clean drinking water for many cities Americans and foreign visitors made»» Cultural Services, such as aesthetic, some 439 million visits to DOI-managed and towns. Coastal habitats such as spiritual, educational, and recreational lands in 2009. These visits (an example coral reefs, wetlands, and mangroves services. of a cultural service) supported over help protect people and communities 388,000 jobs and contributed over from storms, erosion, and flood damage»» Supporting Services, such as nutrient (DOI and DOC 2006, CCSP 2009a). cycling, soil formation, pollination, $47 billion in economic activity. For many people, quality of life depends and plant productivity. on frequent interaction with wildlife. The U.S. seafood industry— Others simply take comfort in knowingEconomic contributions of ecosystem most of which is based on wild, that the wildlife and natural places thatservices have been quantified in some free-ranging marine species— they know and love still survive, at leastareas. For example, hunting, fishing, annually supports approximately somewhere.and other wildlife-related recreationin the United States (an example of 1 million full-and part-time jobs. For many Native Americans and ruralprovisioning and cultural services) is Americans, wild species and habitats areestimated to contribute $122 billion to This economic output represents about central to their very cultural identitiesour nation’s economy annually (DOI and eight percent of the direct output of as well as their livelihoods. The animalsDOC 2006). The U.S. seafood industry— tourism-related personal consump- and plants that are culturally importantmost of which is based on wild, tion expenditures for the United States to these communities have values that arefree-ranging marine species—supported for 2009 and about 1.3 percent of the difficult to quantify and weigh in mone-approximately 1 million full-and part- direct tourism related employment (DOI tary terms; but this makes them no lesstime jobs and generated $116 billion in 2011). Every year, coastal habitats such valuable to people.sales impacts and $32 billion in income as coral reefs, wetlands, and mangrovesimpacts in 2009 (NMFS 2010). Marine help protect people, infra-structure andrecreational fishing also contributes to communities from storms, erosion, andcoastal areas as an economic engine; flood damage worth billions of dollarsin 2009, approximately 74 million (DOI and DOC 2006, CCSP 2009a).12 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 18. Over the past two decades the emerging Where an ecosystem’s services and goods »» The valuation exercise should focus onenvironmental marketplace has been can be identified and measured, it will changes in ecosystem goods or servicesdelivering evidence that at least some often be possible to assign values to them attributable to a policy action, relativeecosystem services can be partially by employing existing economic valua- to a baseline.captured in markets. The buying, selling, tion methods. However, some ecosystemand trading of ecosystem services goods and services resist valuation “Blue carbon” is aas commercial commodities is now because they are not easily quantifi- term used to describe the biological carbonroutinely occurring. Carbon credits, able or because available methods are sequestered and storedwetland credits, emission reduction not appropriate, reliable, or fully devel- by marine and coastalcredits, and species credits represent oped. Economic valuation methods can organisms, with avoluntary improvements in air and be complex and demanding, and the significant fraction beingwater quality and supply, land use and results of applying these methods may stored in sediments, coastal seagrasses,waste management, as well as biodi- be subject to judgment, uncertainty, bias, tidal marshes, andversity protection. These commodities and market imperfections. There is also mangroves.are now exchanged across a number of the risk that, where not all values can berecognized regional, national, and inter- estimated, those that can be valued leadnational platforms. Because these credits to management that harms the overallhave achieved measureable monetary system in pursuit of maximizing onlyvalue representing incremental improve- that portion of its values (e.g., replacingments in ecological health and integrity, natural wetland communities withthey shed some light on the overall value monotypic wetlands to maximize water US FW S /S tev e Hillebr andof ecosystem services. For example, the purification).total global value of tradable ecologicalassets (water, carbon, and biodiversity) However, if policymakers consider bene-exceeded $250 billion in 2011 (Carroll fits, costs, and trade-offs when makingand Jenkins 2012). policy decisions, then monetization of Some actions, like strategies that preserve the value of ecosystem services is essen- or enhance the carbon sequestrationDespite growing recognition of the tial. Failure to include some measure capacity of an ecosystem, can serveimportance of ecosystem functions and of the value of ecosystem services in to mitigate or reduce the emission ofservices, they are often taken for granted, benefit-cost calculations will implicitly GHGs while also improving the adaptiveundervalued, and overlooked in environ- and erroneously assign them a value of capacity of the ecosystem (i.e., providingmental decision-making (NRC 2012). zero. In brief: multiple ecosystem services). While theThus, choices between the conserva- »» If the benefits and costs of an adaption Strategy is not focused on mitigationtion and restoration of some ecosystems action or policy are to be evaluated, per se, it includes strategies and actionsand the continuation and expansion of the benefits and costs associated with that serve mitigation as well as adapta-human activities in others have to be changes in ecosystem services should tion goals. Unlike actions to mitigate themade in recognition of this potential for be included along with other impacts impacts of climate change (which oftenconflict and of the value of ecosystem to ensure that ecosystem effects are require coordinated actions at variousservices. In making these choices, the adequately considered in policy levels of government), adaptation deci-economic values of the ecosystem goods evaluation. sions are largely decentralized. They willand services must be known so that they »» Economic valuation of changes in be made to a large extent in well-estab-can be compared with the economic ecosystem services should be based on lished decision-making contexts such asvalues of activities that may compromise the total economic value framework, private sector decision-making or publicthem (NRC 2004, NRC 2012). which includes both use and nonuse sector planning efforts. Some adapta- values. tions will benefit the public and as such, may be provided by the local, state, tribal, About the Strategy | 13
  • 19. About the Strategyor federal government. These adaptation in response to actual or expected climatic 1.3.4 Adaptation to Climate stimuli or their effects, which moderatesdecisions can be evaluated using tradi- Change harm or exploits beneficial opportuni-tional tools such as cost-benefit analysis.In certain circumstances, ethnographic ties” (IPCC WGII 2007). Adaptation in While addressing the causes of climateresearch may prove more useful than the biological context has a somewhat change (i.e., mitigation) is absolutelycost-benefit analysis in understanding different meaning. In essence, biological necessary, mitigation will not be suffi-perceived public benefits. Private sector adaptation refers both to the process cient to prevent major impacts due todecisions are likely to be evaluated using and the products of natural selection the amount of GHGs that have alreadystandard investment appraisal tech- that change the behavior, function, or been emitted into the global atmosphere.niques, for example, calculating the net structure of an organism that makes Society’s choices of what actions to takepresent value of an adaptation investment, it better suited to its environment. The in the face of climate change can eitheranalyzing its risks and returns, or deter- factors that control the rate of biological make it harder or easier for our livingmining the return on capital invested. adaptation (e.g., population size, genetic resources to persist in spite of climate variability, mutation rate, selection change. Effective action by managers,A full accounting of ecosystem services pressure, etc.) are rarely under full communities, and the public is bothhas yet to be done for any ecosystem. control of human action. Much as people possible (see Chapter 3) and crucial.Nevertheless, as climate change influences might like, human intervention will notthe distribution, extent, and composition be able to make species adapt to climate Adaptation in the climate change contextof ecosystems, it will also affect the spec- change. But our actions can make such has been specifically defined as antrum of services and economic value adaptation more or less likely. “adjustment in natural or human systemsthose ecosystems provide. Case Study What happens to Tribal identity if birch bark vanishes? Climate change models suggest that central to some of the great legends of the by 2100, the paper birch tree may no Anishinaabe or Ojibwe peoples (also known longer be able to survive throughout its as Chippewa). range in the United States (Prasad et al. 2007). This would be not just an ecological These rich cultural and economic uses and loss, but a devastating cultural loss as well. values are at risk if the paper birch tree Some species are so fundamental to the disappears from the traditional territories charlie rasmussen cultural identity of a people through diverse of many U.S. tribes. Already, artisans in the roles in diet, materials, medicine, and/or Upper Midwest are concerned about what spiritual practices that they may be thought they believe is a diminishing supply of of as cultural keystone species (Garibaldi birch bark. and Turner 2004). The paper birch is one such example. It is an extremely durable material and is still Until adaptive management strategies are used as a canvas on which traditional stories developed and implemented, managers will Paper birch bark has been indispensable and images are etched, contributing to the have to rely on identifying suitable areas to for canoes, sacred fires, and as a substrate survival of Native culture and providing a serve as refugia where culturally significant to grow fungi for medicines. It was used source of revenue. Indeed, birch bark is crucial numbers of the species can survive. for food storage containers to retard for the economic health of skilled craftspeople spoilage, earning it the nickname of the who turn it into baskets and other items for “original Tupperware™”. sale to tourists and collectors. Paper birch is14 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 20. The science and practice of adaptation to Three general types of adaptation responses illustrate points along a continuum of possibleclimate change is an emerging discipline responses to climate change:that focuses on evaluating and under-standing the vulnerability and exposure Resistance Resilience Transformationthat natural resources face due to climate Ability of a system Ability of a system to The change in a system’schange, and then preparing people and to remain essentially recover from a disturbance, composition and/ornatural systems to cope with the impacts intact or unchanged as returning to its function in response to climate changes original state. changes in climate orof climate change through adaptive other (Glick et al. 2011a). Theability of populations, species, or systemsto adapt to a changing climate is oftenreferred to as their adaptive capacity.Because climate change is a long-termproblem, both the level and timing ofadaptation decisions is important. Bothsets of decisions—level and timing—will be made under uncertainty aboutthe precise impacts of climate change.Timing decisions should recognize thefollowing:»» Early action may be more cost effective in situations where long-lived infra- structure investments such as water and sanitation systems, bridges, and Steve Hillebrand/USFWS ports are being considered. In these cases, it is likely to be cheaper to make adjustments early, in the design phase of the project, rather than incur the cost and inconvenience of expensive retrofits. Uncertainties regarding the future of climate change are inherent and unavoidable but this»» Early adaptation actions will be justi- Application of the adaptation approaches should not stop us from taking action now. fied if they have immediate benefits, described in this Strategy must carefully for example, by mitigating the effects consider whether the desired outcome of climate variability. In addition, in any given situation should be to try adaptation actions that have ancillary to increase the resistance of a natural benefits such as measures to preserve system to climate change, to attempt and strengthen the resilience of natural to make it more resilient in the face of ecosystems might also be justified in climate change, or to assist its transfor- the short-term. mation into a new and different state—or to achieve some combination of all three outcomes (Hansen and Hoffman 2011). About the Strategy | 15
  • 21. About the Strategy Deciding what to do requires Case Study examining the institutions, Climate change on the Kenai Peninsula laws, regulations, policies, and programs that our nation has developed to maintain our valuable resources and the many benefits they provide. It requires evaluating the management techniques that the conservation profession and Richey/USFWS other sectors (such as agriculture, energy, housing and urban For a glimpse of the dramatic changes see an almost catastrophic loss of forest. development, transportation, and that a warming climate may bring to the Salmon populations—and the communities water resources) have developed entire nation, look no farther than Alaska’s that depend on salmon—are projected to over time, as well as considering seven million-acre Kenai Peninsula. Here, suffer because of higher stream tempera- warmer temperatures have increased over- tures (Mauger 2011) and increased glacial new approaches where necessary winter survival and boosted populations of sediment (Edmundson et al. 2003). Overall, spruce bark beetle, enabling the pest to 20 percent of species may vanish from the devastate four million acres of forest on the peninsula in the worst case scenario. Perhaps most of all, it requires peninsula and south-central Alaska over a communicating our shared social 15-year period (Berg et al. 2006). Is adapting to this rapidly changing climate values for wild living things and possible? Some communities are already the ecosystems in which they live. Meanwhile, the treeline has risen an taking positive steps. For instance, state unprecedented 150 feet (Dial et al. 2007); and local agencies are replanting beetle- Those social values can form the the area of wetlands has decreased by killed areas that have become grasslands basis of cooperative intervention. six to 11 percent per decade (Klein et al. with white spruce and non-native lodgepole 2005, Berg et al. 2009, Klein et al. 2011); pine to reduce fire hazards for nearby cities the Harding Icefield, the largest glacial and communities. complex in the United States, has shrunk by five percent in surface area and 60 feet The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai in height (Rice 1987, Adageirsdottir et al. Fjords National Park, Chugach National 1998); and available water has declined Forest, and the University of Alaska 55 percent (Berg et al. 2009). The fire Anchorage are developing a climate vulner- regime is also changing: late summer ability assessment in 2012 for the Kenai canopy fires in spruce are being replaced Peninsula and adjacent mainland. Plans are by spring fires in bluejoint grasslands, and underway to develop interagency strategies a 2005 wildfire in mountain hemlock was for developing retrospective and prospec- far different from any previous fire regime tive options (Magness et al. 2011) for (Morton et al. 2006). adapting to climate change effects on the Kenai Peninsula. The geographic discrete- While these changes are already sobering, ness of the peninsula, the substantial even greater changes lie ahead, according lands under federal management, and the to projections from spatial modeling. As documentation of dramatic climate change the climate continues to warm and dry, impacts combine to make Kenai an ideal the western side of the peninsula could laboratory to explore the effectiveness of various adaptation measures.16 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 22. P urpose vision1.4 Purpose, Vision, Inspire and enable natural Ecological systems willand Guiding Principles resource professionals and sustain healthy, diverse,I n 2009, the FWS launched a series of Conservation Leadership Forums tobring together leaders in the conser- other decision makers to take action to conserve the and abundant populations of fish, wildlife, and plants. nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, These systems will providevation community to discuss what aStrategy should include and how it and ecosystem functions, as valuable cultural, economic,should be developed. That effort, and well as the human uses and and environmental benefitsothers, produced a purpose, a vision, and values these natural systems in a world impacted byguiding principles for developing this provide, in a changing global climate change.first national climate change adaptation climate.strategy.guiding principles An unprecedented commitment to collaboration and communication is required among federal, Focus actions and investments state, and tribal governments to effectively respond to climate impacts. There must also be on natural resources of the United States and its Territories. active engagement with conservation organizations, industry groups, and private landowners. But also acknowledge the importance of These considerations and the following principles guided the development of the Strategy: international collaboration and information- sharing, particularly across our borders with Canada and Mexico. International Build a national framework for Adopt a landscape/seascape based cooperation is important to conservation cooperative response. approach that integrates best available of migratory resources over broad Provide a nation-wide framework for science and adaptive management. geographic ranges. collective action that promotes collab- Strategies for natural resource adaptation oration across sectors and levels of should employ: ecosystem-based manage- Identify critical scientific and government so they can effectively respond ment principles; species-habitat relationships; management needs. to climate impacts across multiple scales. ecological systems and function; strengthened These may include new research, informa- observation, monitoring, and data collection tion technology, training to expand technical Foster communication and systems; model-based projections; vulner- skills, or new policies, programs, or collaboration across government ability and risk assessment; and adaptive regulations. and non-government entities. management. Create an environment that supports the Identify opportunities to integrate development of cooperative approaches Integrate strategies for natural climate adaptation and mitigation among government and non-government resources adaptation with those of efforts. entities to adapting to climate change while other sectors. Strategies to increase natural resource respecting jurisdictional authority. Adaptation planning in sectors including resilience while reducing GHG emissions agriculture, energy, human health, and trans- may directly complement each other to Engage the public. portation may support and advance natural advance current conservation efforts, as To ensure success and gain support for resource conservation in a changing climate. well as to achieve short- and long-term adaptation strategies, a high priority must conservation goals. be placed on public outreach, education, and engagement in adaptation planning Act now. and natural resource conservation. Immediate planning and action are needed to better understand and address the impacts of climate change and to safeguard natural resources now and into the future. About the Strategy | 17
  • 23. About the Strategy What is...? monitoring of how species and natural Risk Assessment 1.5 Risk and systems are currently reacting to climate impacts and to adaptation actions will A risk assessment is the process of identifying Uncertainty also be a critical part of reducing uncer- the magnitude or consequences of an adverse event or impact occurring, as well as the Climate change presents a new chal- tainty and increasing the effectiveness probability that it will occur (Jones 2001). lenge to natural resource managers and of management responses. These tools other decision makers. The future will and approaches can all inform scenario Vulnerability Assessment be different from the recent past, so the planning, which involves anticipating Vulnerability assessments are science-based historical record cannot be the sole basis to a reasonable range of future conditions activities (research, modeling, monitoring, etc.) that identify or evaluate the degree to which guide conservation actions. More is being and planning management activities natural resources, infrastructure, or other learned every year about how the climate around a limited set of likely future values are likely to be affected by climate will change, how those changes will affect scenarios. In addition, other approaches change. species, ecosystems, and their functions aim to identify actions that are expected and services, and how future management to succeed across a range of uncertain Adaptive Management and policy choices will exacerbate or alle- future conditions such as reducing non- Adaptive management involves defining explicit viate these impacts. This uncertainty is not climate stressors or managing to preserve management goals while highlighting key uncertainties, carefully monitoring the effects a reason for inaction, but rather a reason a diversity of species and habitats. of management actions, and then adjusting for prudent action: using the best available management activities to take the information Another important component of information while striving to improve our learned into account (CCSP 2009b). managing risk and uncertainty is to understanding over time. better integrate existing scientific infor- An important approach for dealing mation into management and policy with risk and uncertainty is the iterative decisions. This requires that researchSouth Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources process of adaptive management. Adaptive results be accessible, understandable, management is a structured approach and highly relevant to decision makers. toward learning, planning, and adjust- In addition, decision support tools that ment where continual learning is built help connect the best available science into the management process so that new to day-to-day management decisions information can be incorporated into deci- should continue to be developed, used, sion-making over time without delaying and improved, and research priori- needed actions. Carefully monitoring the ties should be linked to the needs of actual outcomes of management actions managers on the ground. Deciding how best to address ecosystem allows for adjustments to future activities changes due to climate change will require a It is important to remember that natural cooperative effort by federal, state, and tribal based on the success of the initial actions. resource management has always been government agencies. A variety of tools and approaches can help faced with uncertainty about future managers deal with risk and reduce uncer- conditions and the likely impacts of tainty, thus, informing managers about a particular action. The adaptation how climate change may affect particular strategies and actions in this Strategy systems or regions. Improved climate are intended to help natural resource modeling and downscaling can help managers and other decision makers build confidence in predictions of future make proactive climate change-related climate, while climate change vulnerability decisions today, recognizing that new assessments can help to identify which information will become available over species or systems are likely to be most time that can then be factored into affected by climate changes. Well-designed future decisions. 18 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 24. CH.2 Impacts of Climate Changenoaa & Ocean Acidification The United States has already experienced major changes in climate and ocean acidification and additional changes are expected over time. This chapter discusses current and projected impacts of increasing GHGs on fish, wildlife, and plant species, and then provides more detailed information on impacts within eight major types of ecosystems in the United States: forest, shrubland, grassland, desert, Arctic tundra, inland water, coastal, and marine ecosystems. Increases in atmospheric and 2.1 GHG-induced ocean CO2 Changes to the »» The concentration of CO2 in the atmo- Climate and Ocean sphere has increased by roughly 35 percent since the start of the industrial T he magnitude and pace of climate changes will depend on the rate of GHG emissions and the resulting atmo- revolution (USGCRP 2009). »» The oceans absorb large amounts of spheric GHG levels (USGCRP 2009). CO2 from the atmosphere and as atmo- These changes are already having spheric CO2 has increased, so has the significant impacts on the nation’s concentration of CO2 in the oceans. natural resources, the valuable services Between 1751 and 1994, surface ocean they provide, and the communities and pH is estimated to have decreased economies that depend on them. These from approximately 8.25 to 8.14, impacts may be driven by a combination representing an increase of almost of GHG and climate-related factors. 30 percent in “acidity” in the world’s oceans (IPCC AR4 2007). Ocean pH is projected to drop as much as another 0.3 to 0.4 units by the end of the century (Orr et al. 2005, NRC 2010). Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 19
  • 25. Impacts»» As a result of human activities, the Changes in temperature can lead to a level of CO2 in the atmosphere has variety of ecologically important impacts, been rapidly increasing. The present affecting our nation’s fish, wildlife, and level of approximately 390 parts per plant species. For example, a recent anal- million (Tans and Keeling 2011) is ysis showed that many rivers and streams more than 30 percent above its highest in the United States have warmed by level over at least the last 800,000 years approximately .2 °F –1.4 °F per decade (USGCRP 2009). In the absence of over the past 50 to 100 years, and will strong control measures, emissions continue to warm as air temperatures projected for this century would result rise (Kaushal et al. 2010). The increasing pam morris in a CO2 concentration approximately magnitude and duration of high summer two to three times the current level water temperatures will increase thermal (USGCRP 2009). stratification in rivers, lakes, and oceans, Climate change is predicted to increase the may cause depletion of oxygen for some number and severity of storm events. periods and enhance the toxicity ofChanges in air and water contaminants, adversely impactingtemperatures spring and summer (USGCRP 2009). In coldwater fish and other species areas of high snowpack, runoff is begin-»» Average air temperatures have (Noyes et al. 2009). ning earlier in the spring, causing flows increased more than 2 °F in the United to be lower in the late summer. These States over the last 50 years (more in changes in precipitation combined with Changes in timing, form, and higher latitudes) and are projected to increased temperatures are also expected quantity of precipitation increase further (USGCRP 2009). to increase the instance and severity of »» On average, precipitation in the»» Global ocean temperatures rose 0.4 °F drought, the conditions of which can United States has increased approxi- lead to an increase in the frequency and between 1955 and 2008 (IPCC WGI mately five percent in the last 50 intensity of fires. Climate change has 2007). years, with regional trend variability already been linked to an increase in»» Arctic sea ice extent has fallen at a rate (USGCRP 2009). wildfire activity (Westerling et al. 2006, of three to four percent per decade over the last 30 years. Further sea ice »» Models suggest northern (wet) areas Littell et al. 2009). For example, during of the United States will become wetter, the extreme drought suffered by Texas loss, as well as reduced snowpack, while southern (dry) areas of the in the summer of 2011, the state experi- earlier snow melt, and widespread country will become drier enced unprecedented wildfires. thawing of permafrost, are projected (USGCRP 2009). (USGCRP 2009).»» Global sea level rose by roughly eight As mean global temperature increases, Changes in the frequency and inches over the past century, and has the capacity of the atmosphere to hold magnitude of extreme events risen twice as fast since 1993 as the water vapor increases, resulting in »» Extreme weather events such as heat rate observed over the past 100 years alterations in precipitation patterns. waves, flooding, and regional droughts (IPCC WGI 2007). Local rates of sea The combination of changes in tempera- have become more frequent and level change, however, vary across ture and precipitation impacts water intense during the past 40 to 50 years different regions of the coastal United quantity, water quality, and hydrology (USGCRP 2009). States. Changes in air and water on a variety of scales across ecosystems »» Rain falling in the heaviest downpours temperatures affect sea level through (USGCRP 2009). These changes vary has increased approximately 20 percent thermal expansion of sea water and regionally. The Northeast and Midwest in the past century (USGCRP 2009). melting of glaciers, ice caps, and ice are experiencing higher precipitation and sheets. runoff in the winter and spring, while the »» Hurricanes have increased in strength arid West is seeing less precipitation in (USGCRP 2009).20 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 26. According to the USGCRP (2009), Habitat fragmentation, loss,over the past few decades, most of the 2.2 Existing Stressors and degradationUnited States has been experiencingmore unusually hot days and nights, on Fish, Wildlife, and Habitat fragmentation, loss, and degra-fewer unusually cold days and nights, Plants dation have been pervasive problemsand fewer frost days. Droughts are also for natural systems and are expected tobecoming more severe in some regions.These types of extreme events can have F ish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystem processes are threatened by a number of existing stressors. Many of these continue. For example, grasslands, shru- blands, and forests are being convertedmajor impacts on the distribution, abun- to agricultural uses. Desert systems are stressors will be exacerbated by climatedance, and phenology of species, as well stressed by overgrazing and off-highway change, while some may reduce a species’as on ecosystem structure and function. vehicles. Tundra and marine ecosystems ability to adapt to changing conditions.Extreme storm events also may result are being affected by energy and mineral While the magnitude of climate changein intense and destructive riverine and exploration and extraction, and coastal is expected to vary regionally, the overallcoastal flooding. Over the next century, ecosystems are experiencing exten- vulnerability of some ecosystems maycurrent research suggests a decrease in sive development. Adding changes in be primarily driven by the severity ofthe total number of extratropical storm climate to habitat fragmentation will put these non-climate stressors. Resourceevents but an increase in number of species with narrow geographic ranges managers must consider climate impactsintense events (Lambert and Fyfe 2006, and specific habitat requirements at even in the context of multiple natural andBengtsson et al. 2009). greater risk than they would otherwise human-induced changes that are already be. Range reductions and population significantly affecting species, habitats, declines from synergistic impacts ofChanges in atmospheric and and ecosystem functions and services, climate and non-climate stressors may beocean circulation including habitat loss, fragmentation severe enough to threaten some species and degradation, invasive species, over-»» Warming of the atmosphere and ocean with extinction over all or significant use, pollution, and disease. Increasing change the location and intensity of portions of their ranges. our understanding of how climate winds, which affect surface ocean change combines with multiple stres- circulation (Colling 2001, Blunden et For example, the Rio Grande cutthroat sors to affect species, ecosystems, and trout, a candidate for listing under al. 2011). ecological processes in complex and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), is»» Changes in ocean circulation patterns synergistic ways is needed to help inform primarily threatened by habitat loss, frag- will change larval dispersal patterns and improve adaptation planning. After mentation, and impacts from non-native (Cowen and Sponaugle 2009) and the all, management will have to deal with fish (FWS 2008). However, the habitat geographic distributions of marine the cumulative impacts of all stressors of the Rio Grande cutthroat is likely to species (Block et al. 2011). affecting a species if conservation efforts further decrease in response to warmer are to be successful. water temperatures, while wildfire andChanges in atmospheric and ocean drought impacts are likely to increasecirculation can affect both the marine in response to climate change, furtherenvironment as well as continental exacerbating the non-climate stressorsweather. By studying ocean sediment on the species (FWS 2011).cores, scientists can learn about paleo-climatic conditions, which will provide what is...?insights about how dynamic and sensitive Non-Climate Stressorsocean circulation can be under different In the context of climate adaptation, non-climate stressors refer to those current or futureclimatic conditions. pressures impacting species and natural systems that do not stem from climate change, such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, pollution and contamination, changes in natural disturbance, disease, pathogens, and parasites, and over-exploitation. Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 21
  • 27. Impacts Case Study Harmful algal blooms Ecosystems and the biodiversity they embody constitute environmental capital on which human well-being heavily depends….It has become Warmer temperatures are increasingly clear, however, boosting the growth and that biodiversity and other expanding the range of harmful algal blooms that kill wildlife, important components of the sicken people, and result in lost environmental capital producing income from fishing and tourism. noaa these services are being In the past three decades , harmful algal other nutrients from farms and other land- degraded by human activities, blooms (HABs) have become more frequent, scapes, fueling the algae’s growth. The and that the degradation of this more intense, and more widespread in problem is only expected to get worse. By capital has already impaired freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems the end of the 21st century, HABs in Puget (Sellner et al. 2003). These blooms are Sound may begin up to two months earlier some of the associated taking a serious ecological and economic in the year and persist for one month later services, with significant adverse toll. Algal blooms may become harmful compared to today—increasing the chances in multiple ways. For example, when the that paralytic toxins will accumulate in impacts on society. algae die and sink, bacteria consume Puget Sound shellfish (Moore et al. 2011). — ­  The President’s Council of Advisors on them, using up oxygen in the deep water. In addition, the ranges of many harmful Science and Technology (PCAST) 2011. This is a problem especially during calm algal species may expand, with serious periods, when water circulation and reoxy- consequences. For example, a painful food- genation from the atmosphere are reduced. borne illness known as ciguatera, caused Increases in the nutrients that fuel these by eating fish that have dined on a toxin- blooms have resulted in an increasing producing microalga, is already becoming number of massive fish kills. Another type much more common in many tropical areas. of harmful bloom happens when the domi- Global warming will increase the range of nant species of algae such as those of the microalga—and the threat of poisoning. Cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue- green algae) produce potent nerve and It is possible, however, to successfully liver toxins that can kill fish, seabirds, sea combat some HAB problems. One key turtles, and marine mammals. These toxins strategy is reducing the flow of nutrients also sicken people and result in lost income into waterbodies. Proven steps include from fishing and tourism. The toxic HABs do adding effectively sited buffer strips beside not even provide a useful food source for streams or restoring wetlands to absorb the invertebrate grazers that are the base nutrient pollution before the nutrients can of most aquatic food webs. reach streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. For example, USDA Natural Resources The cause of the increasing number of Conservation Services’ recent focus on blooms? One of them is climate change improving soil health through the agriculture (Moore et al. 2008, Hallegraeff 2010). producers’ voluntary implementation of a Warmer temperatures are boosting the variety of Soil Health Management Systems growth of harmful algae (Paerl and Huisman will serve to optimize the reduction of 2008, Jöhnk et al. 2008). More floods sediment and nutrients to waterbodies. and other extreme precipitation events are In addition, better detection and warning increasing the runoff of phosphorus and systems can reduce the danger to people.22 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 28. Invasive speciesGlobalization and the increasing move-ment of people and goods around theworld have enabled pests, pathogens,and other species to travel quickly overlong distances and effectively occupy newareas. Historic invaders such as chestnutblight, Dutch elm disease, kudzu, andcheatgrass changed forever the char- townepost networkacter of our natural, rural, and urbanlandscapes. Climate change has alreadyenabled range expansion of some inva-sive species such as hemlock woollyadelgid and will likely create welcoming Zebra mussels are particularly invasive, These invasions of new species are also disrupting ecosystems and clogging pipesconditions for new invaders. The buffel- getting a boost from land-use changes, and waterways.grass invasion has forever changed the the alteration of nutrient cycles, andsouthwestern desert ecosystems by climate change (Vitousek et al. 1996,crowding out native plants and fueling What is...? Mooney and Hobbs 2000). Climatefrequent and devastating fires in areas change can shift the range of invasive Invasive Specieswhere fires were once rare (Betancourt species, serve as the trigger by which Invasive species are defined in Executive Orderet al. 2010). Species such as zebra and 13112 as alien species whose introduction non-native species do become inva-quagga mussels, Asian carp, and kudzu does or is likely to cause economic or sive, and introduce and spread invasivealready cause ecological and economic environmental harm or harm to human species through severe weather eventsharm, such as competition for habitat, health. These are typically non-indigenous or such as storms and floods. Species that non-native species that adversely affect thedecreases in biodiversity, and preda- have already colonized new areas in habitats and ecosystems they invade. Thesetion of native species. In Guam, the effects can be economic, environmental, and/ the United States may become morebrown tree snake (an invasive species or ecological. In addition, some native species pervasive with changing conditions.introduced from the South Pacific after can become destructive in certain ecological For example, some invasive species likeWorld War II) has caused the extirpation contexts such as with range expansions, while kudzu or cheatgrass may benefit when many non-native species do not negativelyof most of the native forest vertebrate CO2 concentrations increase or histor- affect natural systems. Today, climate changespecies, thousands of power outages, and ical fire regimes are disturbed (Dukes may be redefining traditional concepts of nativewidespread loss of domestic birds and and non-native, as species move into new and Mooney 1999). In addition, poisonpets (Fritts and Leasman-Tanner 2001, areas in response to changing conditions. ivy, another injurious species (thoughVice et al. 2005). native), may not only increase with the increase in CO2, but is also likely to increase its production of urushiol, the oil in poison ivy that causes a rash for many people (Ziska et al. 2007). Early detection and a rapid coordinated response should be employed to contain invasive species (National Invasive Species Council 2008). Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 23
  • 29. Impacts Kris Clark/Mashpee Wampanoag TribeOver-use and destructiveharvest practicesOver-use of America’s fish, wildlife,and plants has also had major impacts. Many pathogens are sensitive to changesSome species have been lost from certain in temperature, rainfall, and humidity, and mammals including sea otters (Millerareas, while others have gone completely climate change may result in increasing et al. 2010). Factors other than climateextinct. For example, overfishing of pathogen development and survival rates, change—such as changes in land use, disease transmission, and host susceptibility. vegetation, pollution, or increase in drug-commercial and recreational fish stocksin some regions has had negative impacts resistant strains—may also contribute toon fish stocks, fish assemblages, and the and toxicity can be the result of direct these range expansions. To improve ourcommunities and economies that depend increases in the toxicity of some chemi- ability to predict epidemics in wild popu-on them. Some fishing methods can cals or increased sensitivity in the target lations, it will be necessary to separatealso damage habitats important to those species. Sensitivity can be increased the independent and interactive effectsand other species, and bycatch can have due to general metabolic stress due to of multiple climate drivers on diseasesignificant impacts on non-target species environmental changes or inhibition impacts (Harvell et al. 2002). Another key(NMFS 2011). A variety of laws, regula- of physiological processes that govern concern is the entry of pathogens to fishtions and management efforts exist to detoxification. and wildlife via legal wildlife trade whichaddress these existing stressors, including is not well monitored. Smith et al. (2009)the implementation of rebuilding plans found that of the approximately 200for over-fished fish stocks (NMFS 2009a), Pathogens million individual animals imported tothe designation and protection of essen- Many pathogens of terrestrial and marine the USA every year—many for thetial fish habitats (NMFS 2009b), and taxa are sensitive to temperature, rain- exotic pet trade, less than 14 percentimplementation of bycatch reduction fall, and humidity making them sensitive are identified to the species level andprograms (NMFS 2011). to climate change. The effect of climate more than half the individuals are only change may result in increasing pathogen identified to the level of class. development and survival rates, diseasePollution transmission, and host susceptibility. SummaryClimate change can alter temperature, Although most host-parasite systems arepH, dilution rates, salinity, and other predicted to experience more frequent Resource managers have worked longenvironmental conditions that in turn or severe disease impacts under climate and hard to reduce the impact of thesemodify the availability of pollutants, the change, a subset of pathogens might existing stressors in their managementexposure and sensitivity of species to decline with warming, releasing hosts strategies. But as climate change will likelypollutants, transport patterns, and the from a source of population regulation. exacerbate these existing human-induceduptake and toxicity of pollutants (Noyes Detectable effects of climate change on pressures on natural systems, one of theet al. 2009). For example, increasingly disease include the geographic range most successful strategies for increasinghumid conditions could result in the expansion of the protistan parasite the resilience of fish, wildlife, and plantsincreased use of fungicides (increased Perkinsus marinus, which causes Dermo to a changing climate may be reducingquantity), whereas altered pH can change disease in oysters, moving up the eastern the impact of these non-climate stressorsthe availability of metals (increased seaboard as water temperatures have (see Goal 7). For instance, warmer waterbiological availability). In cases where warmed (Ford 1996, Cook et al. 1998). temperatures have already caused manyclimate change affects transport patterns Similarly, increased run-off from land has fish stocks off the northeast coast to shiftof environmental pollutants, pollutants caused the spread of Sarcocystis neurona, northward and/or to deeper depths over amay reach and accumulate in new places, a protozoan parasite in fecal waste from 40-year period (Nye et al. 2009). As popu-exposing biota to risk in different habi- the invasive Virginia opossum, resulting lations move to new locations, fishingtats. Climate change effects on uptake in an increased infection rate in marine effort adjustments may be necessary to ensure sustainable populations.24 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 30. habitat type projected to decline, and 2.3 Climate Change reliant on climate-driven environmental cues that are likely to be altered under Impacts on Fish, future climate change (Glick et al. 2011a). Wildlife and Plants For these reasons, maintaining rare or already threatened or endangered species A changing climate can affect growth will present significant challenges in a rates, alter patterns of food availability, changing climate, because many of these and shift rates and patterns of decom- species have limited dispersal abilities position and nutrient cycling. Changes and opportunities (CCSP 2008c). can be driven by one or multiple climate- related factors acting in concert or In addition, migratory species are likely synergistically and can alter the distribu- to be strongly affected by climate change, tion, abundance, phenology, physiology as animal migration is closely connected and behavior of species, and the diversity, to climatic factors, and migratory species structure, and function of ecosystems. use multiple habitats, sites, and resources One forecast that seems certain is that during their migrations. In extreme the more rapidly the climate changes, cases, species have abandoned migration the higher the probability of substantial altogether, while in other cases species disruption and unexpected events within are now migrating to new areas where natural systems (Root and Schneider Dave Menke/usfWS they were previously only occasional 1993). The possibility of major surprises vagrants (Foden et al. 2008). However, increases the need for adaptive manage- an ability to move and utilize multiple ment—where actions and approaches are habitats and resources may make someThere is high variability in the vulnerability and flexible enough to be adjusted in the face migratory species relatively less vulner-responses of organisms to climate change, of changing conditions. able. Similarly, many generalist speciesleading to winners (i.e., species positively such as white-tailed deer or feral hogs areimpacted) and losers (i.e., species negatively Species and populations likely to have likely to continue to thrive in a changingimpacted). greater sensitivities to climate change climate (Johnston and Schmitz 2003, include those with highly specialized Campbell and Long 2009). International habitat requirements, species already collaboration and action is critical toIn extreme cases, species have near temperature limits or having other increasing the resilience and adaptationabandoned migration altogether, narrow environmental tolerances, of species that cross and depend on areaswhile in other cases species are currently isolated, rare, or declining beyond U.S. borders (e.g., migratorynow migrating to new areas populations with poor dispersal abilities, birds, many marine fishes, mammals, seawhere they were previously only and groups especially sensitive to patho- turtles etc.).occasional vagrants. gens (Foden et al. 2008). Species with these traits will be even more vulner- Climate impacts will vary regionally and able if they have a small population, a by ecosystem across the United States low reproductive rate, long generation (see Figures 1 and 2). Understanding the times, low genetic diversity, or are threat- regional variation of impacts and how ened by other factors. For example, the species and ecosystems will respond is southwestern willow flycatcher may be critical to developing successful adapta- considered especially vulnerable as it is tion strategies. Examples of current and currently endangered, especially sensi- projected climate change impacts on tive to heat, primarily dependent on a ecosystems are summarized in Table 1. Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 25
  • 31. Impacts Case stud y Range shifts in a changing climateThe following sections are intendedto summarize current knowledge onimpacts of climate change on fish, wild-life, and plants within each of the majortypes of ecosystems within U.S. juris- Shelley Ellis/NWFdictions. Within each ecosystem type, anumber of individual climate factors arelisted and their direct effects on biotaare discussed. However, many of theobserved impacts are the result of climate All across the country , species are These types of range shifts are already wide-factors acting in combination, as well already on the move in response to climate spread—indeed, in one analysis up to 80as the combination of impacts across change. For example, the range of the percent of species analyzed were found tothe ecosystem. While the individual Edith’s checkerspot butterfly has shifted have moved consistent with climate changeeffects are serious in themselves, it is the northward almost 60 miles, with population predictions (Parmesan and Yohe 2003). extinctions seen along the southern rangepotential interactions of them—their (Parmesan 2006). Species such as the Range shifts are not always negative: habitatcumulative effects through ecosystem red fox are increasingly able to move into loss in one area may be offset by an increaseprocesses that will likely lead to the previously inhospitable northern regions, elsewhere such that if a species is able togreatest risk, both in potential magni- which may lead to new competition and disperse, it may face little long-term risk.tude of effects and in our uncertainty pressures on the Arctic fox (Killengreen et However, it is clear that shifting distributionsregarding the direction and magnitude of al. 2007). In Yosemite National Park, can lead to a number of new challenges forchanges. For example, in marine systems, half of 28 species of small mammals natural resource managers such as the arrivalchanges in community composition and (e.g., pinyon mouse, California vole, alpine of new pests, the disruption of ecological chipmunk, and others) monitored showed communities and interspecies relationships,food web structure resulting from the substantial (500 meters on average) and the loss of particularly valued speciesshifts in ecological niches for individual upward changes in elevation, consistent from some areas. In addition, barriers tospecies are likely to be the largest influ- with an increase in minimum temperatures movement (such as development, alteredence of climate change (Harley et al. (Moritz et al. 2008). ecosystems, or physical barriers like dams,2006). Single-factor studies will likely fences, or roads) can keep species fromunder-predict the magnitude of effects Species are shifting in marine environ- reaching newly appropriate habitat. Other(Fabry et al. 2008, Perry et al. 2010). ments as well. In the Northeast United barriers are naturally occurring, such as those States, two-thirds of 36 examined fish experienced by mountain-dwelling species that stocks shifted northward and/or to deeper are limited in up-slope migration by the moun-In addition, impacts are not confined to a depths over a 40-year time period in taintop, island species limited in migration bysingle ecosystem, nor do ecosystems have response to consistently warmer waters water depths, or aquatic and marine speciesfixed boundaries. While this Strategy (Nye et al. 2009). Similarly, in the Bering limited by land barriers. Goal 1 of the Strategydescribes climate change impacts to Sea, fish have moved northward as sea describes the importance of providing linkagesdistinct ecosystems, in actuality, vulner- ice cover is reduced (Mueter and Litzow and corridors to facilitate connectivity whileability assessments and adaptation plans 2008). In the California Current ecosystem, working to monitor and manage the movementand actions should take into account shifts in spatial distribution were more of invasive species, pests, and pathogens.the connections between ecosystems. pronounced in species that were commer- cially exploited, and these species may beFor example, the mixing zone between more vulnerable to climate variability (Hsiehthe land and sea is affected by climate et al. 2008).impacts to freshwater, coastal, andmarine ecosystems, and adaptation strat-egies will need to address these multipleecosystems.
  • 32. Figure 1: The distribution of the eight major ecosystems (forests, grasslands, shrublands, deserts, tundra, inland waters, coastal, and marine systems) described in the Strategy. Cropland (including cropland, hayland, vineyards, and orchards) and improved pasture, and developed areas are also shown. Data source: Multi-Resolution Land Characterization (MRLC) Consortium National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2006 (continental U.S, Hawaii), MRLC Consortium NLCD 2001 (Alaska), analysis by USGS EROS data center; NOAA’s Coastal Geospatial Data Project and U.S. Maritime Zones, analysis by NOAA; USGS 1;250,000 hydrologic units of the United States. Figure 2: The distribution of the eight major ecosystems (forests, grasslands, shrublands, deserts, tundra, inland waters, coastal, and marine systems) described in the Strategy for the U.S. territories in the Pacific. Cropland (including cropland, hayland, vineyards, and orchards) and improved pasture, and developed areas are also shown. See Figure 1 for data sources.Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 27
  • 33. temperature increases Increasing Levels of Greenhouse gases on U.S. Ecosystems & Species: Observed & projected ecological changes Major Changes Forests Shrublands Grasslands Deserts Tundra Inland Waters Coastal Marine Increased »»Increase in »»Increased fire »»Spread of »»Elevated »»Higher water »»Expansion of »»Increase of »»Coral mortality temperatures forest pest frequency may non-native water stress stress warm-water salt marsh/ »»Distribution U.S. average damage favor grasses plants and »»Mortality in »»Changing plant species forested shifts temperatures »»Changing fire over shrubs pests heat-sensitive communities »»Depleted O2 wetland have increased vegetation »»Spread of patterns »»Increased »»Changing fire species »»Longer growing levels disease and more than evapo- patterns »»Distribution 2 °F in the »»Longer growing »»Possible season »»Stress on invasives season transpiration/ desert coldwater shifts last 50 intensified »»Invasion by »»Altered ocean years, and »»Higher evapo- expansion new species species »»Phenology currents and water stress changes (e.g., are projected transpiration/ »»Spread of »»Increased fire »»Increased larval dispersal to increase drought stress »»Spread of non- non-native disease/ phytoplankton patterns further. Global native species species »»More freeze- parasite blooms) thaw-freeze »»New productiv- ocean tem- susceptibility »»Altered ocean ity patterns peratures rose events currents and »»More algal »»Increased 0.4 °F between »»Changes in sub- blooms larval transport 1955 and nivean temp. into/out of stratification 2008. (underneath estuaries »»Lower the snow pack) dissolved O2 Melting »»Longer frost- »»Reduced »»Reduced »»Reduced »»Thawing »»Snowpack »»Loss of anchor »»Loss of sea sea ice/ free periods snowpack snowpack snowpack permafrost/ loss changes ice and shore- ice habitats snowpack/ »»Increase in leads to hydro- leads to hydro- leads to hydro- soil the tempera- line protection and dependent snow melt: freeze/thaw logical changes logical changes logical changes »»Hydrological ture, amount, from storms/ species Arctic sea ice events can (timing and (timing and (timing and changes duration, dis- waves »»Changes in extent has lead to icing/ quantity) quantity) quantity) tribution and »»Loss of ice distribution fallen 3–4% »»Terrain timing of runoff covering of instability habitat and level of per decade winter forage »»Effects on ocean over the last »»Vegetation »»Salinity shifts »»Decreased sur- coldwater and »»Changes in 30 years, and shifts other species further loss is vival of some ocean carbon insulation- »»Longer snow- »»Loss of lake cycle predicted. In free season terrestrial habi- dependent ice cover »»Salinity shifts tats, reduced pests »»Contaminant snowpack, releases earlier snow melt, and widespread glacier melt and permafrost thawing are predicted. Rising sea »»Salt water »»Inundation of »»Inundation »»Loss of coral levels: Sea intrusion freshwater of coastal habitats level rose by »»Loss of coastal areas marshes/low »»Negative roughly 8" over habitat to »»Groundwater islands impacts on the past cen- erosion contamination »»Higher tidal/ many early life tury, and in the storm surges stages last 15 years »»Higher tidal/ has risen twice storm surges »»Geomorphology as fast as the changes rate observed »»Loss of over the past nesting habitat 100 years. »»Beach erosion Sea level will continue to rise more in the USF W S/ St e ve H i lle b r a n d future. Changes in Altered Altered Altered produc- circulation productivity and productivity, tivity, survival, patterns: distribution of survival, and/or and/or distribu- Warming of the fish and other distribution tion of fish and atmosphere species with of fish and other species and ocean changes in other estuarine (particularly can change lake circulation dependent early life his- spatial and patterns species tory stages) temporal pat- terns of water movement and stratification at a variety of28 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy scales. Uni t e d Nat i o n s Fo o d a n d A g r i c u lt u r e O r g a n i z at i o n / D a n i lo C e d r o n e
  • 34. precipitation increasesIncreasing Levels of Greenhouse gases on U.S. Ecosystems & Species: Observed & projected ecological changesMajor Changes Forests Shrublands Grasslands Deserts Tundra Inland Waters Coastal MarineChanging »»Longer fire »»Dry areas »»Invasion of non- Loss of »»More icing/ »»Changing »»Changes »»Changesprecipitation season getting drier native grasses riparian habitat rain-on-snow lake levels in salinity, in salinity,patterns Pre- »»Changes in »»Changing fire and pests and movement events affect »»Changes in nutrient, and nutrient andcipitation has fire regime regimes »»Species range corridors animal salinity, flow sediment flows sediment flowsincreased shifting movements »»Changing »»Newapproximately »»Both wetter and access and drier »»Changes in estuarine productivity5% in the last to forage conditions patterns50 years. conditions fire regime projected »»Increased fire may lead toPredictions hypoxia/anoxiasuggest histori-cally wet areas »»Newwill become productivitywetter, and patternsdry, drier.Drying condi- »»Decreased »»Loss of »»Loss of »»Increased »»Moisture »»Loss of »»Changes »»Changestions/drought forest pro- prairie pothole prairie pothole water stress stressed wetlands and in salinity, in salinity,Extreme ductivity and wetlands wetlands »»Increased vegetation intermittent nutrient and nutrient andweather increased »»Loss of »»Loss of susceptibility »»Loss of streams sediment flows sediment flowevents, such tree mortality nesting habitat nesting habitat to plant wetlands »»Lower summer »»Shifting »»Newas heat waves »»Increased fire diseases base flows freshwater productivityand regional »»Increased fire »»Invasion of non- »»Fish passage native grasses issues »»Decreased input to patternsdroughts, have estuariesbecome more »»Increased fire lake levelsfrequent andintense duringthe past 40 to50 years.More extreme »»Increased More variable Changing pest Higher losses of More »»Increased »»Higher waves »»Higher wavesrain/weather forest soil water and disease water through landslides/ flooding and storm and stormevents Rain disturbance content epidemiology run-off slumps »»Widening surges surgesfalling in the »»More young floodplains »»Loss of barrier »»Changes inheaviest forest stands islands nutrient anddownpours »»Altered habitat »»Beach erosion sediment flowshas increased »»Spread ofapproximately invasive »»New nutrient »»Impacts to20% in the species/ and sediment early lifepast century. contaminants flows stagesHurricanes »»Salinity shifts; »»Increasedhave increased physicalin strength. »»Increased disturbanceThese trends physicalare predicted disturbanceto continue. Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 29
  • 35. carbon dioxide increases Increasing Levels of Greenhouse gases on U.S. Ecosystems & Species: Observed & projected ecological changes Major Changes Forests Shrublands Grasslands Deserts Tundra Inland Waters Coastal Marine Increase in »»Increase forest »»Spread of »»Declines in »»Increased »»Increased »»Increased »»Increased »»Increased atmospheric productivity/ exotic species forage quality productivity of productivity growth of algae terrestrial, plant CO2 The growth such as from increased some plants of some plant and other emergent, productivity concentration in some areas cheatgrass C:N ratios »»Changes in species plants and of CO2 in the »»Insect pests »»Impacts on »»Insect pests communities »»Changes »»Changes in submerged atmosphere may be insect pests may be in plant species plant has increased »»Increased fire productivity affected »»Changes in affected risk community composition by roughly composition and dominance 35% since the »»Changes in species »»Changes in start of the species composition species industrial composition composition revolution. Ocean »»Declines in »»Harm to acidification shellfish and species The pH of other species (e.g., corals, seawater has »»Impacts on shellfish) decreased early life »»Impacts on significantly stages early life since 1750, stages and is projected to drop much »»Phenology more by the changes end of the »»Loss of the century as CO2 planktonic concentrations food base for continue to critical life increase. USF W S/ J i m M a r a g o s stages of com- mercial fishes*This table is intended to provide examples of howclimate change is currently affecting or is projectedto affect U.S. ecosystems and the species theysupport, including documented impacts, modeledprojections, and the best professional judgment offuture impacts from Strategy contributors. It is notintended to be comprehensive, or to provide anyranking or prioritization. Climate change impactsto ecosystems are discussed in more detail insections 2.3.1-2.3.8, and in online ecosystemspecific background papers (see Appendix A).**References: See IPCC AR4 2007, USGCRP 2009.See IPCC AR4 2007, USGCRP 2009,others in Chapter 2.30 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 36. 2.3.1 Forest EcosystemsApproximately 750 million acres of theUnited States is forest, both public andprivate (Heinz Center 2008), including jane pellicciotto Forests are at risk from multipledeciduous, evergreen, or mixed forests. interacting stressors such as bothThis includes embedded natural features warmer temperatures and pests.such as streams, wetlands, meadows, andother small openings, as well as alpinelandscapes where they occur above the What is...?treeline (see Figure 1). Changing climate Forest Carbon Sequestration to continue, the management of boreal andcan affect forest growth, mortality, other North American forests for carbon According to the U.S. Forest Service, terrestrialreproduction, and eventually, forest carbon sequestration is the process by which sequestration is an important component inproductivity and ecosystem carbon atmospheric CO2 is taken up by trees, grasses, adapting and responding to climate changestorage (McNulty and Aber 2001, Butnor and other plants through photosynthesis (Birdsey et al. 2007).et al. 2003, Thomas et al. 2004). and stored as carbon in biomass (trunks, In the continental United States, land-use branches, foliage, and roots) and soils (U.S.Atmospheric CO2 management can be utilized as a means of Forest Service 2009). Reducing CO2 emissions contributing to GHG sequestration efforts. For from deforestation and forest degradationNational and regional scale forest process example, the National Wildlife Refuge System (known internationally as REDD/REDD+) andmodels suggest that in some areas, restoring forested land cover in areas where it has conducted a number of projects restoringelevated atmospheric CO2 concentra- forested land cover in various refuges, and has been lost could play a major role in efforts there is potential for many more such projects.tions may increase forest productivity to constrain the further increase of CO2 in the In addition, no-till agriculture may reduceby five to 30 percent (Finzi et al. 2007). atmosphere. the emissions of CO2 from the breakdown ofWetter future conditions in some Although the destruction and conversion of organic matter in soils, and broader utilizationareas may also enhance the uptake of tropical rainforests accounts for the majority of of this cropping technique in the Americancarbon by ecosystems. However, other the buildup in greenhouse gasses (GHGs) from agricultural sector could make a substantialregions may experience greater than 20 global land-use changes (IPCC AR4 2007), contribution to limiting emissions of CO2 forests in North America are responsible (Paustian et al. 2000). Also, opportunities topercent reduction in productivity due to for taking 140 to 400 million tons of carbon protect U.S. tropical forests in Hawaii, Puertoincreasing temperatures and aridity. In Rico, and elsewhere as well as habitats such from the atmosphere and storing it in organicsome areas of the United States, higher material each year. Because land-use changes as coastal marshes may provide dual benefitsatmospheric CO2 may lead to greater and human population growth are expected of carbon sequestration and habitat protection.forest water-use efficiency, while in otherareas, higher evapotranspiration mayresult in decreased water flow (McNulty Temperature Increases and Water of insects as well as changes in timing of Availability development. As a result, these insectsand Aber 2001). Species in today’shighly fragmented landscape already In general, boreal type forest or taiga may interact with plant and wildlifeface unprecedented obstacles to expan- ecosystems are expected to expand species in different and sometimes prob-sion and migration (Thomas et al. 2004), northward or upward at the expense of lematic ways (Asante et al. 1991, Porterwhich may magnify the climate change Arctic and alpine tundra, and forests et al. 1991). Conversely, decreases inthreat to forests. in the northwestern and southeastern snow depth typically decrease overwinter United States might initially expand, survival of insects that live in the forest although uncertainties remain (Iverson litter and rely on insulation by snow et al. 2008). Within temperate and (Ayers and Lombardero 2000). Drier boreal forests, increases in summer conditions in the southern United States temperatures typically result in faster and elsewhere could lead to increased development and reproductive success fire severity and result in decreases in Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 31
  • 37. Impacts Case Study Bark beetle outbreaks in warmer winters in check by directly killing the insects. Cold temperatures also kept the beetle from extending its range farther north and to higher elevations (Amman 1974).ecosystem carbon stocks (Aber 2001, Warming temperatures over the last fewWesterling et al. 2006, Bond-Lamberty decades, however, has enabled more beetleset al. 2007). Similarly, prolonged drought to survive the winter and to move to higher elevations and northward to regions likemay lead to decreases in primary produc- British Columbia. They have rapidly colonizedtion and forest stand water use (Van areas that were previously climatically unsuit-Mantgem et al. 2009). Drought can also able (Carroll et al. 2003). Because these newalter decomposition rates of forest floor areas had not previously experienced beetleorganic materials, impacting fire regimes outbreaks, they contained mature standsand nutrient cycles (Hanson and Weltzin of trees, which are particularly susceptible.2000). Changes in temperature, precipita- In addition, warmer summer temperatures have sped up the life cycle of the beetle,tion, soil moisture, and relative humidity enabling it to complete more generations percan also affect the dispersal and coloni- terry tyson year (Carroll et al. 2003). All these changeszation success of other forest pathogens, have resulted in unprecedented forest death.which may impact forest ecosystem The current outbreak in British Columbia,biodiversity among other important for instance, is 10 times larger in area andindicators of forest health (Brasier 1996, From British Columbia to New severity than all previous recorded outbreaksLonsdale and Gibbs 1996, Chakraborty Mexico , forests are being devastated at (Kurz et al. 2008).1997, Houston 1998). unprecedented levels by an epidemic— caused by a tiny insect called the mountain This massive loss of trees poses major chal- pine beetle. The beetles lay their eggs lenges to forest and ecosystem managers.Disturbances and Extreme Events under the bark of trees, and in the process, But there are steps that can be taken toDisturbances such as wildfires, wind infect the trees with fungus. When the reduce the negative impacts and preventstorms, and pest outbreaks are important eggs hatch, the combination of fungal spreading. According to the U.S. Forest infection and feeding by the beetle larvae Service, the governments of British Columbiato forests. Climate change is anticipated kill the trees. and Alberta, in an attempt to avoid furtherto alter disturbance frequency, inten- eastward expansion and potential invasion ofsity, duration, and timing, and may cause Bark beetles and pine trees have co-existed the boreal jack pine forests, implemented anextreme changes in forest structure and for eons. Regular outbreaks of beetles aggressive control program to suppress beetleprocesses (Dale et al. 2000, Running causing forest death are normal, but populations east of the Rocky Mountains2008). For example, predictive models nothing like those now being seen. So through felling and burning infested trees.suggest that the seasonal fire severity why has the beetle suddenly become so Since its inception in 2004, the program has destructive? In the past, sub-zero winter managed to keep beetle populations fromrating will increase by 10 to 50 percent temperatures kept beetle populations expanding (RMRS 2009).over most of North America, which hasthe potential to overshadow the directinfluences of climate on species distri-bution and migration (Flannigan etal. 2000). Certain forest systems, such 2004). Climate-related changes in fire mercury emissions due to more frequentas ponderosa pine forests, may be less incidence may also increase associated and larger, more intense wildfires.resilient to fire disturbance because of mercury emissions from fires in borealthe laddering effect young trees, which forests, presenting a growing threat While projections of hurricane responsedeveloped during periods of infrequent to aquatic habitats and northern food to climate change are still uncertain,fire occurrence, have on increasing the chains (Turetsky et al. 2006). Friedli et models agree on a possible increase inseverity of fires (Climate Impacts Group al. (2009) suggest that a warming climate the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes in boreal regions, which contain large (USGCRP 2009). If hurricane intensity carbon and mercury pools, will increas- increase, then more forests could be set ingly contribute to local and global back to earlier successional stages in areas susceptible to hurricanes (Lugo 2000).32 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 38. warmer and drier conditions may favor forage available for grazing wildlife, as 2.3.2 Shrubland Ecosystems plants that utilize a different photosyn- well as the livestock carrying capacity thetic system (C4). on working lands. Climate changes in Shrublands of various types and sizes shrubland areas can be complex: in areas occur throughout the United States Temperature Increases where both a reduction in total annual and total approximately 480 million Since 1980, western U.S. winter tempera- rainfall and increased intensity of indi- acres (Heinz Center 2008) (see Figure tures have been consistently higher than vidual precipitation events are projected, 1). Shrublands are landscapes domi- the previous long-term averages, and wet areas are likely to become wetter nated by woody shrub species, often average winter snow packs have declined while dry areas may become drier. More mixed with grasses and forbs (non- (McCabe and Wolock 2009). Higher intense rainfall events without increased woody flowering plants). They provide temperatures associated with climate total precipitation can lead to lower habitat for numerous native plant change are likely to intensify water stress and more variable soil water content, and animal species. Sagebrush habi- through increased potential evapotrans- and reduce above-ground net primary tats alone support more than 400 plant piration (Hughes 2003). The increase in production. However, some regions, species and 250 wildlife species (Idaho temperature also further benefits invasive such as the Great Basin, are projected to National Laboratory 2011), including cheatgrass, which thrives in hot, open, become both warmer and possibly wetter 100 birds and 70 mammals (Baker et fire-prone environments and crowds out over the next few decades (Larrucea and al. 1976, McAdoo et al. 2003). Climate native shrubland species, and may alter Brussard 2008). change will increase the risk to shrubland fire regimes. These types of changes in species because many already live near community composition may impact their physiological limits for water and shrubland species like the greater sage 2.3.3 Grassland Ecosystems temperature stress. grouse (Aldridge et al. 2008). Grasslands, including agricultural and Atmospheric CO2 Water Availability grazing lands, cover about 285 million Increased CO2 can lead to changes in As a result of warmer temperatures, the acres of the United States, and occur species distribution and community onset of snow runoff in the Great Basin is mostly between the upper Midwest to composition in the shrublands. For currently 10 to 15 days earlier than it was the Rocky Mountains and from Canada example, the spread of invasive cheat- 50 years ago. This has resulted in signifi- to the central Gulf Coast (CEC 1997, grass has likely been favored by rising cant impacts on the downstream use Heinz Center 2008). Grassland vegeta- CO2 concentrations, which has been of the water (Ryan et al. 2008), though tion is very diverse, and includes many shown to benefit species, such as cheat- periods of higher than average precipi- grass species mixed with a wide variety grass, that utilize a particular type of tation have helped to offset declining of wildflowers and other forbs. Grassland photosynthesis (known as C3 photosyn- snow packs (McCabe and Wolock 2009). types include tallgrass, shortgrass, and thesis) (D’Antonio and Vitousek 1992, Changes in snow packs can reduce the mixed-grass systems. They also have Larrucea and Brussard 2008). In contrast, embedded features such as the shallow, ephemeral wetlands known as prairieben davis With the amount of winter snow potholes and playas, which are open- declining and temperatures ings in the prevailing grassland matrix rising, much of the United States’ shrublands are expected to that dot the Great Plains (see Figure 1). experience drier conditions. That Grassland function is tied directly to would increase the risk of fire temperature, precipitation and soil mois- and allow more rapid spread of ture; therefore, climate change is likely invasive species like cheatgrass, to lead to shifts in the structure, func- crowding out native sagebrush. tion, and composition of this system. Grasslands also store significant amounts of carbon, primarily in the soil (IPCC WGII 2007). | 33
  • 39. to continue to support historic levels of waterfowl and other native wetland- dependent species (Johnson et al. 2010).Chase Fountain In addition to the significant ecological consequences, this could mean fewer ducks for waterfowl hunters across the Grasslands include tallgrass prairie, cattle United States. pastures, and ephemeral prairie pothole Temperature Increases and Water wetlands that function as the primary Availability Temperature changes are also likely to breeding grounds for ducks. The warmer, drier In recent decades, average tempera- combine with other existing stressors conditions expected from climate change will tures have increased throughout the likely dry up wetlands, speed the invasion to further increase the vulnerability of northern Great Plains, with cold days grasslands to pests, invasive species, of non-native grasses and pests, bring more fires, and reduce the quality of forage for occurring less often and hot days more and loss of native species. For example, livestock and wildlife. often (DeGaetano and Allen 2002). populations of some non-native pests Precipitation has increased overall better adapted to a warmer climate are (Lettenmaier et al. 2008). Future changes projected to increase, while native insects Atmospheric CO2 projected for the Great Plains include may be able to reproduce more quickly Increased CO2 levels may affect the increasing average annual temperatures (Dukes and Mooney 1999). grassland system in multiple ways. For from approximately 1.5 to 6 ºF by mid- example, forage quality may decline due century to 2.5 to 13 ºF by the end of the to increases in the carbon to nitrogen century. More frequent extreme events 2.3.4 Desert Ecosystems ratios of plant material, resulting in lower such as heat waves, droughts, and heavy rains; and wetter conditions north of Deserts are characterized by temperate crude protein content (Milchunas et al. the Texas Panhandle are also projected climates having low annual rainfall, 2005). In addition, plants that utilize (USGCRP 2009). However, the projected high evaporation, and large seasonal C3-type photosynthesis (e.g., cheatgrass) increases in precipitation are unlikely to and diurnal temperature contrasts. stand to benefit from increased atmo- be sufficient to offset overall decreases in The hot desert systems of the United spheric CO2 (D’Antonio and Vitousek soil moisture and water availability due to States include the Mohave, Sonoran, 1992, Larrucea and Brussard 2008), while increased temperature and water utiliza- and Chihuahuan Deserts (note that the C4 species are more efficient at using tion by plants as well as aquifer depletion so-called “cold deserts” including much water under hot, dry conditions and may (USGCRP 2009). of the Great Basin, are covered in this respond favorably to increased water Strategy under Shrublands, see Figure stress and lower soil moisture condi- Climate change is expected to stress the 1). This definition includes embedded tions. One CO2 enrichment experiment sensitive prairie pothole habitat with features such as “sky islands,” wetlands, on shortgrass prairie showed a 20-fold increasing temperatures and changing and mosaics of grasses and shrubs. increase in cover of a C3 shrub over C4 rainfall patterns, which will alter rates Desert systems harbor a high propor- grass cover (Morgan et al. 2007), while of evaporation, recharge, and runoff in tion of endemic plants, reptiles, and fish other reports show an advantage for these pond systems (Matthews 2008). (Marshall et al. 2000). Desert ecosys- C4 over C3 grasses in a CO2-enriched, Recent modeling projects that the prairie tems are particularly susceptible to warmer environment (Morgan et al. pothole region of the Great Plains will climate change and climate variability 2011). The future distribution of these become a much less resilient ecosystem, because slight changes in temperature, species will no doubt be influenced by with western areas (mostly in Canada) precipitation regimes, or the frequency the interaction of CO2, available mois- likely becoming drier and eastern areas and magnitude of extreme events can ture, and temperature, which may (mostly in the United States) having substantially alter the distribution and produce grassland communities with fewer functional wetlands. These changes composition of natural communities and altered species compositions. are likely to reduce nesting habitat and services that arid lands provide (Archer limit this “duck factory” system’s ability and Predick 2008, Barrows et al. 2010). 34 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 40. Temperature Increases (Archer and Predict 2008). Declining abundance of this charismatic speciesLike most of the rest of the United rainfall may eliminate wetlands, espe- will likely decline as well. Similarly,States, the arid West and Southwest have cially in marginally wet habitats such as the abundance and range of nonna-been warming over the last century. vernal pools and in near-deserts. Varied tive grasses will most likely increase inClimate models project that these areas rainfall and higher temperatures will future climates, including the spread ofwill continue to warm a further 3.6 to also likely exacerbate existing stressors cheatgrass and buffelgrass (Enquist and9.0 °F by 2040 to 2069 in the summer coming from recreation, residential, and Gori 2008). These and other non-nativemonths (AZ CCAG 2006), while parts commercial development and improper species have significantly altered fireof southern Utah and Arizona have livestock grazing (Marshall et al. 2000). regimes, increasing the frequency, inten-already seen greater than average sity, and extent of fires in the American Although precipitation-fed systems are Southwest (D’Antonio and Vitousekincreases in temperature (e.g., 3 to most at risk, groundwater-fed systems in 1992, Brooks and Pyke 2002, Heinz5 °F; USGCRP 2009). Most models which aquifer recharge is largely driven Center 2008).project drying, increased aridity, and by snowmelt may also be heavily affectedcontinued warming in the deserts, as (Burkett and Kusler 2000, Winter 2000).well as increased severity and duration Reductions in water levels and increasesof droughts (USGCRP 2009). Higher in water temperatures will poten-temperatures and decreased soil mois- tially lead to reduced water quality andture will likely reduce the stability of decreased dissolved oxygen concentra-soil aggregates, making the surface tions (Poff et al. 2002). Decreased watermore erodible (Archer and Predick availability and expanded development2008). Other trends include widespread will also impact desert riverine andwarming in winter and spring, decreased riparian ecosystem function and disruptfrequency of freezing temperatures, a movement corridors through the desert,longer freeze-free season, and increased which provide important habitat for aridminimum winter temperatures (Weiss land vertebrates and migratory birdsand Overpeck 2005). (Archer and Predick 2008).Water Availability chase fountainThe southwest has experienced the Many desert plants and animals alreadysmallest increase in precipitation in the live near their physiological limitslast 100 years of any region in the coter- for water and temperature stress. Forminous United States (CCSP 2008c). example, diurnal reptiles may be partic- Temperatures in the arid West and SouthwestPrecipitation is projected to increase ularly sensitive due to their sedentary have already climbed more than the U.S.slightly in the eastern Chihuahuan behavior and occurrence in very hot average, and climate models project this trend to continue. Many cacti and otherDesert but decrease westward through and dry areas (Barrows 2011). When plant and animal species are already livingthe Sonoran and Mojave Deserts (Archer compounded by persistent drought, near their physiological limits for water andand Predick 2008). Overall water inputs climate change creates conditions that temperature stress; many may not surviveare expected to decline due to the favor drought-tolerant species, leading the coming changes in climate.combined effects of reduced total precipi- to new species compositions of naturaltation, elevated water stress in plants at communities (CCSP 2009b). Forhigher temperatures, and greater run-off example, Saguaro density and growthlosses associated with increased frequen- has declined with drought and reducedcies of high intensity convectional storms perennial shrub cover, and the range and Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 35
  • 41. Impacts Disturbances and Extreme Events An increased frequency of extreme Case study weather events such as heat waves, Cactus vulnerability droughts, and floods is projected (Archer and Predick 2008, IPCC 2011). For example, climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of storm events in the Sonoran Desert (Davey et al. 2007). This will result in longer dry periods interrupted by high-intensity rainstorms, and has the paradoxical effect of increasing both droughts and floods. Erosive water forces will increase during high-intensity runoff events, and wind erosion will increase during intervening dry periods (Archer and Predick 2008).jane pellicciotto 2.3.5 Arctic Tundra Ecosystems Arctic tundra is the ecological zone of the polar regions of the Earth, occurring Cacti may be an iconic symbol of the arid Vulnerability Indices for over a hundred mainly north of the Arctic Circle and American desert, but this symbol faces an cactus species found in the Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts. This north of the boreal forest zone. Alpine increasingly uncertain future. Adapted to hot, dry environments such as those found in the process includes assessing a species’ tundra is the ecological zone occurring southwestern deserts of the United States, exposure and sensitivity to climate above treeline even in the non-polar most cacti species have very specific habitat change through several factors, which are regions of the Earth (see Case Study on requirements that also make them highly combined into a categorical vulnerability Alpine Tundra). This section focuses on vulnerable to climate change and susceptible score. For example, in the Chihuahuan the much more extensive Arctic tundra. to small changes in their environment. Another Desert, most cactus species assessed Arctic tundra is characterized by an key vulnerability is potential disruption of were either moderately (43 percent), highly absence of trees, and occurs where tree associated species interactions under climate (21 percent) or extremely (four percent) change. For example, many cacti depend vulnerable to climate change (Hernández et growth is limited by low temperatures on other species for pollination, to provide al. 2010). and short growing seasons. In the United habitat, or to protect them from herbivores. States, Arctic tundra ecosystems repre- Changes in climate may result in mismatches These types of vulnerability indices highlight sent 135 million acres on the North Slope in time or space between the cacti and other the need for continued research on how and west coast of Alaska (Gallant et al. species upon which they depend. climate change is likely to impact particular 1995, Heinz Center 2008) (see Figure species and can help to establish priori- 1). In most areas, soils are underlain by While helping these species adapt will be ties for adaptation activities. They are also permanently frozen ground, known as challenging, the first key management step tools to better inform management plans is figuring out which species are the most and conservation activities. In addition, permafrost, with a shallow thawed layer vulnerable and which might be able to survive vulnerability assessments may also help of soil that supports plant growth in the or even thrive in a climate-changed world. us identify those instances when viable summer. Alaska’s tundra contains one of One such assessment is already underway. adaptation measures simply may not be the largest blocks of sedge wetlands in the NatureServe is seeking to develop Climate available. circumpolar Arctic (one quarter of global distribution) and provides breeding 36 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 42. grounds for millions of birds (more than freeze-thaw-freeze events are another Analysis of satellite images has shown100 species). Climate-driven changes in by-product of warming winter temper- an increase in greenness in arctic Alaskathe tundra ecosystem are already being atures in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. over the last three decades indicatingobserved, and include early onset and Historically, fires have been common in increased plant cover (Hinzman et al.increased length of growing season, northwestern Alaska short shrub tundra 2005). Other studies have documentedmelting of ground ice and frozen soils, and rare in northern Alaska tussock recent advancement of trees and tallincreased encroachment of shrubs into tundra, but a change to tall shrub tundra shrubs onto tundra, which is expectedtundra, and rapid erosion of shorelines will likely result in an increase in fire to continue (Lloyd et al. 2003, Tape etin coastal areas (Hinzman et al. 2005, frequency in both systems (Higuera et al. al. 2006). Similarly, Arctic specialistRichter-Menge and Overland 2010). 2008, 2011). A positive feedback rela- animals may face increased competition tionship can result, as soils tend toward as less cold-tolerant species expand theirAtmospheric CO2 warmer and drier conditions after fire, ranges northward (Martin et al. 2009).Fire is predicted to increase in the Arctic promoting shrub growth and a more fire- For example, the arctic fox may suffer iftundra if the climate continues to warm prone landscape (Racine et al. 2004). competitors such as red foxes continue to(Krawchuck et al. 2009). This has the increase in abundance.potential to release carbon that has takendecades to store, in a matter of hours,increasing the amount of CO2 in theatmosphere (Hansen and Hoffman 2011,Mack et al. 2011). Melting permafrostand increased biological activity, coupledwith saturated soil conditions will,and are, liberating increased amountsof carbon dioxide as well as methaneand nitrous oxide to the atmosphere(O’Connor et al. 2010). In addition, thethawing of frozen organic material storedin tundra soils will release huge amountsof GHGs such as CO2 and methane intothe atmosphere, contributing to climatechange (Schaefer et al. 2011) and exacer- Steve Chase/usfwsbating climate change in a way that noneof the global climate change models havetaken into account.Temperature Increases The most dramatic climate change in theClimate is changing worldwide, but United States is occurring in Alaska. Already,the Arctic has already warmed at a rate permafrost is thawing, fires are increasing,almost twice the global average (ACIA and shrubs and trees are replacing sedge2004). Spring snow melt has been occur- wetlands and grasses.ring earlier as temperatures increase,leading to an earlier “green-up” of plants.A longer snow-free season also leads tolocal landscape warming that contrib-utes to further climate change (Hinzmanet al. 2005). Increased frequency of Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 37
  • 43. Case Study Cimate change in alpine tundra systems The American pika, which lives in high elevation areas, is an example of a species very vulnerable to climate change. This small rabbit-like creature has a warm fur coat and high body temperature to survive Water Availability winters without hibernating, and dies if While precipitation is generally expected its internal temperature increases even a to increase in the future, models project few degrees. It is estimated that local pika a generally drier summer environment extinctions in the Great Basin have been due to higher air temperatures, increased five times as high in the last ten years as they were in the previous century, and the evaporation, and increased water use by low-elevation boundary for this species is plants (SNAP 2008). Changes in overall moving upslope by almost 150 meters per water balance strongly affect this habitat, decade (Beever et al. 2011). where water remains frozen most of the year. Fish will be affected by higher Temperatures in the alpine areas of the water temperatures and by the changes Lynette Schimming western United States have risen faster in precipitation, soil moisture, soil and in the past quarter century than tempera- water chemistry, and drainage related to tures in the lowlands (Diaz and Eischeid 2007). With warming temperatures, many permafrost degradation (Martin et al. plant and animal species have migrated 2009). Similarly, changes in water flow, Species adapted to life in the alpine uphill and northward (Parmesan and Yohe water chemistry, turbidity, and tempera- zone are often highly specialized for 2003, Moritz et al. 2009). This presents ture could cause physiological stress to survival in cold temperatures, desiccating a vivid image of plant and wildlife species species that cannot adapt to the new winds, and sparse soil and vegetation. In migrating uphill until they reach the last conditions. Some Arctic fish species addition, alpine species are often endemic, summits and literally, run out of room. Even migrate between marine and freshwa- restricted to only one area, because they if their habitats do not disappear entirely, have been isolated for thousands of years their species ranges will become smaller, ters, while others remain in freshwater on “sky islands,” high peaks surrounded by because mountain peaks are smaller throughout their life history, and involve warmer lowlands. than mountain bases. Smaller ranges will movements from limited overwintering decrease species’ genetic diversity and habitat to spawning and feeding habitat. In alpine systems, snow is of partic- increase the risk of extinction. These fish species will suffer if climate- ular importance as it influences plant driven stream changes prevent fish phenology, growth, and species compo- The Köppen climate classification system passage (Martin et al. 2009). sition. With warmer temperatures, more maps climatic regions of the world, precipitation falls as rain rather than snow defining the alpine tundra climate by using Thawing Permafrost and the timing of snowmelt advances the widely accepted critical threshold earlier in the spring. While warming temper- of an average temperature below 50 °F Increasing seasonal melting of ground atures allow for a longer growing season, during the warmest month of the year. ice and frozen soils (permafrost) is earlier green-up and loss of winter frost Diaz and Eischeid (2007) found that the already measurably altering habitats hardiness expose plants to more killing amount of area in the western conti- and water distribution on the landscape, frosts in the spring. If the insulating blanket nental United States with an alpine tundra allowing new hydrologic patterns to of snow is thinner and lasts less time, then climate decreased by 73 percent during form (Jorgenson et al. 2006). Because of there is less protection for alpine plants the previous two decades. This indi- warming in western Alaska, permafrost and animals in the winter and soil tempera- cates that almost three quarters of the has become absent or thin and discon- tures will be lower (Wipf et al. 2009). alpine tundra is out of equilibrium with the Species will have different responses to current climate, meaning it is a stressed tinuous, and more changes are expected climate warming, but research suggests ecosystem and little of it is likely to persist such as lake drying (Yoshikawa and that greater temperatures and advanced in its present form into the future. Hinzman 2003). Large mammals such snowmelt could harm alpine systems and as caribou and muskoxen suffer when the species that depend on them. access to forage is hampered by deep snow pack or a hard snow crust, caused by winter thaw-freeze-thaw or rain- on-snow events which are expected to increase in a warmer climate (Martin38 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 44. Increasing global air temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are raising water temperatures and changing stream flows, affecting such ecosystem processes as productivity and decomposition and disrupting food web al. 2009). Changes in the quantity and Sea Level Rise 2.3.6 Inland Water Ecosystemsquality of forage may also have profound Particularly in western Alaska, largeeffects on mammal populations, while areas of low-lying coastal plain bird Inland waters range from ephemeralwildlife pests and diseases are projected habitat are predicted to disappear within pools and intermittent streams to largeto increase their northern range limits this century, due to sea level rise and regional and national features such as the(Martin et al. 2009). Warmer summers, storm surges. This degradation may Great Lakes, Mississippi River, Ogallalaa longer open water season, and delayed only be partially offset by increased aquifer, and Everglades. Inland watersfreeze-up would likely improve reproduc- sedimentation rates and tectonic rebound are non-tidal (starting at the head oftive success for some bird species, though in some areas. tide) and include natural features suchwarmer summers could also cause drying as wetlands, rivers, and lakes, as wellof the wetland habitats and aquatic food Additionally, the vast shallow wetlands as artificial and human-altered water-sources that many birds rely upon. While of coastal plain tundra are sensitive to bodies such as ponds, reservoirs, canals,birds time their breeding primarily to the changes that could lead to drying. and ditches (Cole 1994, see Figure 1).solar calendar, increasing water tempera- Any intrusion of saline water into These waters and associated riparianture may cause aquatic insects to hatch formerly fresh systems results in rapid areas provide habitats to support a broadearlier, resulting in a mismatch in timing. and dramatic change in vegetation range of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife (Martin et al. 2009). and vegetation, and provide ecolog-Loss of permafrost and/or erosion may Sea Ice Change ical connectivity. Increasing global airalso affect the mobilization of pollut- temperatures and changing precipitationants from historical waste disposal sites, Summer sea ice has receded dramati- patterns are raising water temperaturessewage lagoons, former military sites, cally near northern and western Alaska and changing stream flows, affecting suchmine tailings storage areas, and oil storage in recent decades. The lack of near-shore ecosystem processes as productivitypits (Macdonald et al. 2003). Peatlands ice in summer has made the shore- and decomposition and disrupting foodthroughout the arctic and subarctic have line more vulnerable to storm-induced web relationships.accumulated carbon and trace elements erosion, reducing the value of these areassuch as mercury for thousands of years as wildlife habitat (Hinzman et al. 2005). Temperature Increases(Rydberg et al. 2010). Increased perma- In some areas, erosion rates have doubled A recent analysis showed that manyfrost melt and erosive processes may since the middle of the last century rivers and streams in the United Statesenhance transport of mercury to Arctic (Mars and Houseknecht 2007). have warmed by approximately .2 °F–lakes and coastal zones (Macdonald et Decreasing sea ice is causing more polar 1.4 °F per decade over the past 50 to 100al. 2003). Thawing of permafrost and bears to den and forage on land rather years, and will continue to warm as airthe subsequent export of carbon and than on the sea ice. As a result, they can temperatures rise (Kaushal et al. 2010).mercury to freshwater systems has been experience negative encounters with Water temperature affects the physiology,documented in Sweden and is thought to grizzly bears and humans. behavior, distribution, and survival ofpresent a growing threat throughout the freshwater organisms, and even slightcircumpolar region (Rydberg et al. 2010). changes can have an impact (Elliott 1994). Water temperature increases will allow the geographic area suitable for warm-water aquatic species to expand (Eaton et al. 1995, Eaton and Sheller 1996, Pilgrim et al. 1998, Poff et al. 2002, Rieman et al. 2007, Rahel and Olden 2008, Williams et al. 2009). The number of streams with temperatures suitable for warm-water fish and other fresh- water organisms is projected to increase Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 39
  • 45. U S F W S /Matt P o o l e and pollution levels. In contrast, higher Many of the nation’s lakes, rivers, and Water Availability flows and frequent storms can create streams are expected to warm, and lake Precipitation changes in the United wider floodplains, alter habitat, increase levels are expected to change. Coldwater fish like trout and salmon will be adversely States are projected to vary regionally. connectivity, displace riparian and affected, while warmer water species will Higher precipitation and runoff in the bottom-dwelling species, or further expand their range. winter and spring are expected in the distribute invasive species (Le Quesne et Northeast and Midwest, and decreasing al. 2010). Changing flood and freshwaterby 31 percent across the United States precipitation and runoff are expected runoff patterns can impact critical life(Mohseni et al. 2003). This would likely in the arid West in spring and summer events such as the spawning and migra-mean a concomitant decline of coldwater (USGCRP 2009). In areas of high snow- tion of salmon. Increased evaporationfisheries habitat. pack, runoff is beginning earlier in the of seasonal wetlands and intermittent spring and stream flows are lower in the streams can also destabilize permanentThese temperature increases will harm late summer. This affects flow-depen- waterbodies and cause a loss of habitat orsome inland water species. For example, dent species and estuarine systems and a shift in species composition (Le Quesneone long-term study showed that a 1.2 °F reduces habitat area and connectivity et al. 2010).increase in stream temperature caused while increasing water temperaturecoho salmon fry to emerge from thegravel six weeks earlier and move to theocean two weeks earlier. This causes Case stud ylower survival rates due to a mismatchin timing with peak prey abundance in Water losses under climate changethe ocean (Holtby et al. 1990). Higher Between 2000 and 2010 , the worst Similar challenges must be faced around thetemperatures and more severe droughts drought ever recorded since Euro-American nation. Long-term records at Anvil Lake, aalso dry up streambeds and wetlands, settlement hit the Colorado River Basin. groundwater-fed lake in northern Wisconsin,harming species such as waterfowl Water levels in Lake Mead dropped to highlight the importance of water levels to fish,(Johnson et al. 2005). Temperature record lows. The drought not only threat- wildlife, and plant species. Over centuries,increases could lead to changes in preda- ened the supply of water to cities like Las the lake’s water level has risen and fallen. Vegas, it also harmed the ecosystems However, Anvil Lake’s water level becametion. For instance, it is projected that and riparian areas that support countless progressively lower during each succeeding drythere would be a four to six percent fish, plants, and animals and endangered period, especially during the most recent dryincrease in per capita consumption species, like the humpback chub and the period (WICCI 2011). In the future, any waterof salmonids by smallmouth bass and southwestern willow flycatcher. loss through evapotranspiration associatedwalleye for every 1.8 °F increase of with warmer temperatures would be expectedannual river temperatures near the Climate models project that the decade- to exacerbate any drought effect in similarBonneville Dam on the Columbia River long drought that gripped the region may aquatic systems.(Rahel and Olden 2008). Warming become the normal climate instead of the rare exception, perhaps as soon as the These examples hold an important lesson fortemperatures also increase the suscep- end of the 21st century (Barnett and Pierce adaptation strategies. To help plants, wildlife,tibility of organisms to disease, and 2009, Rajagopalan et al. 2009). The threat and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate,may allow diseases to spread for longer is being taken seriously by the Bureau of it is not enough to focus just on the naturalperiods and reproduce more quickly. For Reclamation, which has developed a plan world. Ensuring that ecosystems have enoughexample, low flows and warmer waters that brings all stakeholders together in an water in regions expected to experience morecontributed to a massive fish kill from attempt to balance human needs for water droughts will require working with farmers,a parasite infestation among spawning while providing sufficient flows and habitat municipalities, energy industries, amongChinook salmon in the Klamath River in for sustainable fish, wildlife, and plant others, to reduce the overall demand for this populations. increasingly scarce resource.September 2002 (CADFG 2008).40 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 46. In addition to their hydrologic impor-tance, climate-related melting of glacierscan release stored persistent organicpollutants (e.g., pesticides and industrialchemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs)) that were deposited during theperiod of heavy use in the mid-twentiethcentury (Blais et al. 2001, Bogdal et al.2009, Schmid et al. 2011) into freshwatersystems, with subsequent uptake bybiota (Bettinetti et al. 2008, Bizzottoet al. 2009).Lake Stratification Gerald BarnhartIce cover on freshwater systems issensitive to climate changes (Magnuson2002). Higher air and water temperaturesshorten lake ice cover seasons, increase Climate change impacts such as warmingevapotranspiration and thermal stratifi- Lake Level Change water, decreased flows, and depleted oxygencation, and increase winter productivity Great Lakes water levels are expected levels are predicted to stress fish populationsof lake systems. In shallow lakes these to decrease significantly due to climate- and impact recreational fishing.changes will increase winter oxygen driven changes in precipitation andlevels and favor predator fish such as evapotranspiration (USGCRP 2009,northern pike over a diverse community Angel and Kunkel 2010). Lower water Disturbance and Extreme Eventsof fish species adapted to depleted levels will lead to desiccation of coastal As the climate warms, altered precipi-oxygen levels (WICCI 2011). In contrast, habitats that do not (or cannot) migrate tation patterns may manifest as heavydeeper, less productive lakes in the with retreating shoreline, likely stressing storms that punctuate extended periodsnorthern United States could face fish species that rely on wetlands as of hot, dry weather, yielding floods.lower oxygen levels in bottom waters nursery habitat. Shorebirds may also Heavy storms will also cause increasedduring the summer as prolonged warm experience a loss of nesting habitat run-off with associated erosion, sedimen-weather lengthens thermal stratifica- as beaches may become overrun by tation, and pollution. Increased tidal andtion periods, isolating bottom waters opportunistic invasive species such storm surges will also affect freshwaterfrom oxygen exchange. Depleted oxygen as Phragmites. At the same time, new ecosystems, especially with increases inthroughout the entire zone of bottom wetlands may be formed as a result of hurricane and typhoon intensities (IPCCwaters would harm coldwater fish such as accretion in other areas. A decrease in WGII 2007). Tidal and storm surgeslake trout and cisco. the extent and duration of lake ice will can cause oxygen depletion, changes in also affect lake species and habitats. For salinity, mud suffocation, and turbulence example, lake ice enhances the over- (Tabb and Jones 1962). winter survival of fish eggs and protects shoreline habitat from erosion during winter storms (ASCE 1999). Longer periods without lake ice cause greater evaporation and can increase lake-effect snows if air temperature is favorable for snow (Lofgren et al. 2002). Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 41
  • 47. Impacts What is...? In estuarine environments, increased 2.3.7 Coastal Ecosystems water temperature will affect water Sea Level Rise column stratification and eutrophication; As water warms, it expands, and the ocean The Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic, Gulf of and could cause range shifts. Extreme surface rises. Sea level rise is highly variable Mexico, and Great Lakes coastal systems, changes may also stress organisms to regionally and local sea level rise is affected for the purposes of the Strategy, extend by multiple factors, including local geography the point of mortality. In addition, seaward to mean lower-low water and and geology, such as rising or sinking land. warmer temperatures will exacerbate include all lands that drain directly into Additional sea level rise is caused by the low summer oxygen levels (such as melting of inland glaciers and continental an estuary, ocean (including the entirety those in mid-Atlantic estuaries and ice sheets, including those in Greenland of off-shore islands), or Great Lake the Gulf of Mexico) due to increased and Antarctica, with recent studies placing (see Figure 1). They include the waters oxygen demand and decreased oxygen the lower end of the range of sea level rise and sub-tidal zones of estuaries, semi- closer to 23 inches by the end of the century solubility (Najjar et al. 2000). Similarly, enclosed bays, and lagoons, as well as (Rahmstorf 2010). increasing temperature can increase emergent and wooded wetlands, open exposure to metals by increasing water and aquatic beds, and unconsoli- respiration rates of many ectotherms dated and rocky shorelines. Given that such as fish (Ficke et al. 2007). coastal ecosystems inherently exist at an ecological interface, these areas also may encompass portions of other ecosystems In Alaska, rapid warming has described in the Strategy. In addition led to severe shoreline erosion to increases in air and water tempera- due to longer seasons without ture, coastal ecosystems will experience ice cover. These and other climate impacts that include: sea and lake changes have made the coast level changes; increases in storm surge; far more vulnerable to wind alterations in precipitation patterns and subsequent delivery of freshwater, nutri- and wave damage. ents, pathogens, and sediment; changes in intensity of coastal storms; changes in For high islands, such as those in Hawaii, water chemistry; and changes in sea ice. warmer temperatures will increase stress on forest species, including birds, plants, Temperature Increases and insects, which need cool, moistnoaa Average global land and sea surface conditions to survive. In Alaska, rapid Coastal ecosystems are expected to temperatures are continually increasing warming has led to severe shoreline experience climate impacts including sea and with 2010 being the hottest on record erosion due to longer seasons without ice lake level changes, increased storm surges, and changes in precipitation patterns and (Bluden et al. 2011). Nearshore water cover as well as to land subsidence due to subsequent delivery of freshwater, nutrients, temperatures are similarly increasing. permafrost melt and sea level rise. These and sediment. These changes could bring Temperature changes affect coastal changes have made the coast far more about the loss of the barrier islands, coral species phenology, including key events vulnerable to wind and wave damage reefs, and coastal wetlands that help protect such as the spring phytoplankton bloom, (Larsen and Goldsmith 2007). The communities and industries from storms. plant germination and turtle nesting, impacts of warmer temperatures on the and may also cause species range shifts Alaskan coast also are felt by the indig- (Harley et al. 2006, Hoegh-Guldburg and enous people who live there and depend Bruno 2010). While coastal salt marshes on the natural resources of the coastal and forested wetlands could experience ecosystem. increased growth due to warmer temper- atures, they could also cause expansion of invasive species and disease pathogens. 42 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 48. Changes in Sea Ice Reduced sea ice and increasing tempera- tures have led to breeding phenologyAs a result of warming temperatures, shifts in kittiwakes over a 32-year periodArctic sea ice has been decreasing in (Byrd et al. 2008). Changing ice condi-extent throughout the second half of the tions are threatening lifestyles and20th century and the early 21st century subsistence economics of indigenous(Maslanik et al. 2007, Nghiem et al. 2007, peoples as well, such as by making trips The increasingly long swim from sea ice toComiso and Nishio 2008, Alekseev et to hunting grounds longer and more shore poses risks for walruses, especiallyal. 2009, AMSA 2009). The summer of to females and young who face further hazardous (Forbes et al. 2011). For2007 saw a record low, with 2011 sea ice hardships onshore where they compete for example, residents of Alaska Nativeextent being second lowest compared food and can be trampled by larger males. communities rely on sea ice to easewith 2007 (Perovich 2011). Warming their travel to the hunting grounds forwater temperatures and loss of sea ice are whales, ice seals, walrus and polar bears. events ranging from spring tides tofundamentally changing the behavior, Krupnik et al. (2010) identify numerous tropical or extratropical storms, and willcondition, survival, and interactions of effects of climate change that challenge cause inland penetration of storm surgeArctic marine mammals (Kovacs et al. and threaten local adaptive strategies, into areas not accustomed to inunda-2010, Wassmann et al. 2011). including times and modes of travel for tion. These areas will likely experienceAs sea ice thins and retreats farther hunting, fishing and foraging. flooding more often. Increased coastalnorth, walrus, which rely on sea ice to flooding and inundation may result in Reduced sea ice is also likely to increase release of contaminants from coastalrest on between foraging bouts, and polar marine shipping and transport in the soils, sediments, and infrastructurebears, which need sea ice to hunt seals, Arctic, enhance access to rich resource and increased exposure of fish, wildlife,will either be displaced from essential reserves including oil, gas, coal, and and plants to these pollutants. Whilefeeding areas or forced to expend addi- various minerals, and alter fishing sea level changes have occurred repeat-tional energy swimming to land-based patterns (ACIA 2005, AMSA 2009). edly in the geologic past, changes ofhaul-outs (Callaway et al. 1999, Stirling Potential natural resource issues related similar magnitude have not occurredet al. 1999, Laidre et al. 2008, Stirling to these activities may include changes since construction of modern humanand Parkinson 2009). Climate-related in noise and disturbance, ship strikes of infrastructure along coastal areas, andchanges in timing of sea ice breakup have large marine mammals, marine debris the accelerated pace of sea level rise inbeen linked to polar bear dietary changes incidence, pollution incidents, and/or the 20th and 21st centuries raises ques-in western Hudson Bay, Canada, with introduction of invasive species tions about how coastal ecosystems willan inferred increase in consumption of (AMSA 2009). respond (USGCRP 2009).open water (harp and harbor) seals rela-tive to ice-associated seals (particularly Sea Level Rise and Coastal Inundation To preserve the current acreage of tidalbearded seals). Dietary changes were in Sea level rise is a key driver of coastal wetlands, either wetlands need to keepturn related to an increase in contami- geomorphologic change. The imme- pace with sea level rise or migrate inlandnants such as PCBs, but a decrease in diate effects of sea level rise are the to adjacent lands that are undevel-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, which submergence and increased inundation oped. The success of wetland migrationis commonly known as DDT (McKinney of coastal land and increased salinity in depends on the availability and slope ofet al. 2009). estuaries and coastal rivers. Additional an upland corridor, the pace of the sea physical effects include increased erosion, level rise, erosion rates, and the poten-In the Chukchi Sea, the loss of summer changes in geomorphology, and salt- tial for wetland accretion (CCSP 2009a).sea ice has reduced haul-out habitat for water intrusion in groundwater and Other important factors that affectwalrus, resulting in tens of thousands of into tidal freshwater marsh systems. Sea wetland response to sea level rise arewalrus hauling out on land for the first level rise also will exacerbate floodingtime on record (Moore and Gill 2011). Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 43
  • 49. Impactssalinity, sediment dynamics, nutrientinput, and the habitats and speciespresent. In populated coastal areas, Case Studywetland migration is often constrained Atlantic coast piping plover habitat conservationby land development and shoreline stabi-lization measures. These conditions canresult in the crowding of foraging andbank-nesting birds and the loss of crucialcoastal habitat for certain species suchas the diamondback terrapin, whichrequires both marsh and beach habi-tats (Shellenbarger Jones et al. 2009).Marsh islands are already being lost inthe Mid-Atlantic due to sea level-relatedflooding and erosion, which threatensisland nesting bird species (ShellenbargerJones et al. 2009). In addition, the degra-dation and loss of tidal marshes affect usfwsestuarine habitat, production of commer-cially important fish and shellfish species, Decisions regarding coastal manage- particularly well-suited to understandingand flood attenuation, key ecosystem ment, such as stabilization, retreat, and and responding to climate change becauseservices for coastal communities. beach nourishment will strongly influence future conditions, including results of the effects of sea level rise on the Atlantic habitat management experiments, are Seawalls protect areas of human habitation Coast piping plover, a threatened beach- uncertain. Empirical data will be used from the action of storm surges and sea nesting bird protected under the ESA. to update and improve model forecasts. level rise. But they also inhibit animal Piping plovers breed from Maine to North Model predictions will be used to develop movement and the exchange of sediment Carolina, and favor wide, gently sloping sea level rise-related piping plover habitat between land and sea. Current seawalls ocean beaches with blowouts, washovers, conservation recommendations that can may be unable to cope with the projected ephemeral pools, and sparse vegetation. be implemented by land managers and increases in water levels. inform regulatory authorities. Case studies Federal and state agencies, nongovern- incorporating explicit measures to preserve mental organizations, and academic resilience of piping plover habitat to sea institutions are collaborating to couple a level rise into management plans for model of piping plover habitat evolution specific locations will demonstrate potential with a model of piping plover nest density applications. Collaborators anticipate that and distribution. The habitat evolution model results may be readily translated to model relates changes in physical habitat, inform habitat management for other sensi- such as topography, shoreline position, tive beach-strand species, such as least and vegetation, to changes in sea level terns, American oystercatchers, Wilson’s and storminess (Gutierrez et al. 2011). A plovers, and seabeach amaranth (a feder- Bayesian approach is being used and is ally threatened plant species). fl ickr/co nespi de r44 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 50. Case Study Coastal habitat conservation on agricultural landsSea level rise may also result in the inlandmovement of seawater, shifting the tidalinfluence zone of streams and riversupstream and permanently inundatingdownstream riparian/coastal portionswith brackish water (Riggs and Ames Conservation easements meet the needs2003). In the United States, these impacts Keith Weller/usda of interested owners of working farms,are already apparent in freshwater ranches, timberlands, sporting properties and recreational lands, who wish toswamps along the Louisiana and Florida protect valuable natural resources whilecoasts (IPCC 1997, Bowman et al. 2010, retaining ownership of the property.Migeot and Imbert 2011). In Florida,mangroves have advanced 0.93 milesinland over the last 50 years (Rivera- Enhanced management of agricultural accommodate targeted waterbirds such as wetlands along our coasts represents an fall-migrating shorebirds, and wintering andMonroy et al. 2011), and another 10 to important opportunity to accommodate spring-migrating waterfowl. These programs50 percent of the freshwater sawgrass waterbirds displaced by wetland loss from work with landowners to ensure critical wild-prairie will be transformed to salt marsh sea-level rise. life habitat on private lands is not lost whenor mangroves by 2100 (Kimball 2007). species need it most.Salinity increases in formerly fresh or For example, the wet coastal prairie alongbrackish surface waters and saltwater the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana is Another approach is to proactively protect landintrusion of shallow coastal groundwater extremely important for wetland wild- that lies next to important coastal wetlands. life, as are farmland such as rice fields In Pacific Northwest estuaries, for instance,aquifers will also result from sea level rise which also provide wet, early succes- Ducks Unlimited is leading an effort to protect(USGS 2010). This may threaten systems sional habitat. But rising sea levels are farmland adjacent to tidal wetlands to allow forsuch as tidal freshwater forested wetlands expected to inundate many of these lands. future marsh migration inland by purchasingthat support a variety of wildlife species Conservation programs authorized under easements (e.g., development rights) from aand critical drinking water sources, espe- the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act willing farmer. This may ensure that vital marshcially in island ecosystems (Huppert et al. of 2008 (known to many as the Farm Bill) habitat still exists if sea levels rise enough2009). Sea level rise also threatens small such as the Wildlife Habitat Incentives to submerge the existing coastal wetlands.and low-lying islands with erosion or Program (WHIP), the Environmental Restoring wetlands on lands like farmlands Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and that have not been filled and developed withinundation (Baker et al. 2006, Church et the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) are buildings and hard infrastructure is a costal. 2006, USGCRP 2009), many of which able to compensate landowners willing to effective and feasible adaptation high concentrations of rare, amend tillage and flooding practices tothreatened, and endemic species (Bakeret al. 2006). As noted in the previoussection (Inland Water Ecosystems) GreatLakes levels are expected to decrease, while changes in peak flow timing could flow, turbidity, and eutrophication couldhaving different shoreline and habitat affect phenology and migration cues. also impact submerged aquatic vegeta-effects from ocean coasts that will Changes in the timing and amount tion due to reduced light penetrationexperience rising water levels. of freshwater, nutrient, and sediment (Najjar et al. 2000), as well as organisms delivery will also impact estuarine that rely on this habitat for food andWater Availability productivity. For example, changes in shelter. These impacts of precipitationChanges in precipitation will primarily flow regimes may affect the abundance changes in estuaries will likely be exac-impact coastal systems through changes and distribution of suspension feeders, erbated by non-climate stressors such asin quantity, timing, intensity, and quality such as mussels, clams, and oysters, freshwater demand and extraction, eutro-of freshwater flow into estuarine systems. which could in turn alter food web phication, and hypoxia.The quantity of freshwater will affect dynamics as well as water clarity (Wildishsalinity gradients and nutrient inputs, and Kristmanson 1997). Increases in Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 45
  • 51. ImpactsDisturbances and Extreme Events Elevated CO2 and Ocean Acidification dissolved in lower pH environmentsIncreased storm wind strength due to While not a climate change impact per (USGCRP 2009). Elevated CO2 concen-elevated sea surface temperatures could se, ocean acidification is associated with trations are also expected to increaselead to increases in wave height and increasing atmospheric CO2 and will photosynthesis and productivity forstorm surge (Scavia et al. 2002) and cause changes to many key biological many plants, such as mangroves andwould be magnified by a higher sea level. processes in coastal and marine systems. emergent and submerged vegetation.The primary impacts associated with For example, increased acidity in estu- These increased growth rates may bemore intense storm systems include aries will affect shellfish species that reduced in areas that experience addi-increased flooding and erosion. More use carbonate minerals to build their tional stress due to coastal pollution,intense storms, coupled with common shells, as these minerals are more readily which can also exacerbate the effects ofmanmade ecosystem alterations such ocean acidification (Adam 2009).as shoreline stabilization measures thatimpede or eliminate long-shore transport case stud ycould lead certain barrier islands (andtheir habitats) to fragment and disap- Coastal carbon sequestrationpear instead of migrating and rebuilding. “Blue carbon” is a term used toImpacts to coastal and estuarine beaches describe the biological carbon seques-would affect biota such as: microscopic tered and stored by marine and coastalinvertebrates that are critical to the organisms with a significant fraction beingfood web; horseshoe crabs that rely on stored in coastal sediments by coastalbeaches for egg deposition; and migra- seagrasses, tidal marshes, and mangroves.tory shorebirds that feed on the eggs, These coastal habitats can sequester and store carbon at high rates equivalentsuch as the red knot (Shellenbarger or higher than those of tropical forestsJones et al. 2009). Shifts in the seasonal jane pellicciotto (Hopkinson et al. 2012).distribution of major storm events couldalso affect plants, wildlife, and fish. For When degraded or disturbed, theseexample, an increase in the number or systems release carbon dioxide (CO2)intensity of storms during the spring and into the atmosphere or ocean. Currently, the past 150 years (Crooks et al. 2009,early summer could substantially affect carbon-rich coastal ecosystems are being Deverel and Leighton 2010, Hatala et al.breeding success of coastal birds such degraded and destroyed at a global average 2012). of 2 percent annually, resulting in signifi-as the piping plover. More infrequent cant emissions of CO2 and the loss ofbut intense precipitation events can also carbon sequestration services, which Similar emissions are likely occurring fromlead to scouring of sediment and vegeta- contribute to climate change. Mangrove other converted wetlands along the Easttion during peak flows, redistribution of and Gulf Coasts of the United States. areas alone lost 20 percent of global Conservation and improved managementsediment, resuspension of contaminated cover between 1980 and 2005 (Giri 2011, of these systems brings climate changesediments, as well as increased pollut- Spalding et al. 2010). Carbon continues mitigation benefits in addition to increasingants from events such as combined sewer to be lost from the most organic soils in their resiliency and significant adaptation coastal areas. For instance, analysis ofoverflows. value to coastal species and communities the agricultural soils of Sacramento’s San (Crooks et al. 2011, McLeod et al. 2011). Joaquin Delta, a diked and drained former Developing a better understanding of blue tidal wetland, documents emissions of carbon science and ecosystem manage- CO2 at rates of 5 to 7.5 million tons of CO2 ment issues has implication for future each year, or 1 percent of California’s total climate adaptation strategies as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, an coastal habitat conservation. inch of organic soil evaporates from these drained wetlands, leading to releases of approximately 1 billion tons of CO2 over46 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 52. 2.3.8 Marine EcosystemsFor the purposes of the Strategy, marineecosystems extend from shore to 200 USFWS/Jim Maragosmiles seaward or the nearest interna-tional boundary (see Figure 1). The areaseaward of 3 miles, generally referredto as the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ), is the largest EEZ in the world Increased ocean temperatures are alreadyspanning 3.4 million square nautical Temperature Increases impacting marine ecosystems throughmiles of ocean, an area 1.7 times the Between 1955 and 2008, it is estimated changes in physical conditions, primary productivity, and species area of the continental United that 84 percent of the heat gained byStates. The pelagic (open water) and the planet has been stored in the world’sbenthic (bottom) habitats support species oceans, resulting in a global oceanranging from microscopic planktonic temperatures rise of 0.4 °F, with much Between 1955 and 2008, it isorganisms that comprise the base of greater changes observed in some loca- estimated that 84 percent ofthe marine food web through kelp and tions such as the Atlantic basin (Levitus the heat gained by the planetseagrass beds to a wide range of inverte- et al. 2009, IPCC WGI 2007). Thebrates and vertebrates. The two primary has been stored in the world’s physical consequences of such warmingconsequences of increased atmospheric oceans. include sea level rise, increased stratifi-CO2 in marine ecosystems are increasing cation of the water column, decreasedocean temperatures and ocean acidity oxygen levels and changes in ocean estuaries and other near-shore habitats as(Doney et al. 2012). Increasing tempera- circulation. Warming sea temperatures nursery areas (Hare and Able 2007). Fortures produce a variety of changes in also boost the energy available to initiate example, increasing winter temperaturesmarine ecosystems including rising and intensify hurricanes and typhoons, along coastal areas could increase thesea level, increasing ocean stratifica- and storm intensity is expected to juvenile survivorship of these estuarinetion, decreased oxygen availability, increase as sea surface temperatures rise dependent species resulting in northwardextent of sea ice, and altered patterns (IPCC WGI 2007). shifts in their distribution. Some warmerof ocean circulation, storms, precipita- water marine fishes, such as the Atlantiction, and freshwater input (Doney et al. Increasing ocean temperatures and the croaker have already shifted their distri-2012). These and other changes in ocean other associated changes in ocean butions poleward with warming oceanphysical and chemical conditions impact conditions have a variety of impacts temperatures, and may also increase inocean species (e.g., primary produc- on fish, wildlife, and plants at multiple growth and abundance in a changingtion, phenology, species distribution, levels. These impacts range from changes climate (Nye et al. 2009, Hare et al. 2010).species interactions, community compo- in metabolic rates and energy budgetssition) which in turn can impact human of individuals to changes in ecolog-communities and economies that depend ical processes such as productivity,on marine ecosystems for jobs, food, and species interactions, and even toxicityother services. of compounds found in marine systems (Schiedek et al. 2007, Doney et al. 2012). Increasing air temperatures can also affect the growth and survivorship of early life history stages of some marine species whose larvae or juveniles use Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 47
  • 53. Case StudyShifting spatial distributions of U.S. fish stocks 1968 –1972 1998 –2002 As discussed previously, species can respond to temperature changes by migrating poleward or toward deeper depths, reducing their climate niche within their existing range, evolving, or going extinct (Mueter and Litzow 2008, Cheung et al. 2009, Nye et al. 2009, Legend (kg/tow) Overholtz et al. 2011). These individual 0 0–2 2.01–4 4.01–6 6.01–8 8.01–10 10.01–12 12.01–14 >14 responses lead to new combinations of species that will interact in unpredictable Red hake distributions in the Gulf of Maine have been moving northward. As shown above, the ways. Between 2000 and 2100, warming highest biomass of these fish (shown in red) were located significantly further north in 1998– in the North Pacific is projected to result 2002 than they were from 1968–1972. Historically there were high densities of this species in in a 30 percent increase in the area of waters off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island, but now there are fewer fish in these areas. Source: Nye et al. 2009 the subtropical biome, while areas of the equatorial upwelling and temperate biomes will decrease by 28 percent andThe United States is fortunate to have mortality in recent warm years and are now 34 percent, respectively (Polovina et al.programs in most regions that have been found only at deeper depths (Weinbergmonitoring the distribution and abundance of 2005). Similarly, in the Bering Sea, fish 2011).commercial and recreational fish stocks (fish have moved northward as sea ice cover Changes in Sea Iceand macroinvertebrate species), protected is reduced and the amount of cold waterspecies (e.g., marine mammals, sea turtles) from melting sea ice is reduced (Mueter Sea ice plays an important role inand oceanic conditions (e.g., Integrated Ocean and Litzow 2008). In both cases, fishers reducing the ocean-atmosphereObservation System) consistently on an annual have to travel further and set their nets to exchanges of heat, moisture, andor interannual basis for some time. This deeper depths, increasing the costs associ- other gases, with implications for theinformation is not only essential for manage- ated with fishing. In both ecosystems, fish global climate. These complex interac-ment of these valuable resources—it has stocks are shifting closer to the borders of tions and feedback systems cause thealso been critical to detecting shifts in spatial neighboring Canada and Russia, requiringdistribution of U.S. fish stocks and other coordinated monitoring and assessment Arctic Ocean to be extremely sensitivespecies with changes in ocean conditions over of key stocks. In the California Current to warming, with consequent changestime. Several studies using these data have ecosystem, shifts in spatial distribution in atmospheric circulation, vegeta-found large distributional shifts in marine fish were more pronounced in species that tion, and the carbon cycle, with impactsin the California Current Ecosystem (Hsieh were commercially exploited, and these both within and beyond the Arctic. Theet al. 2008), Bering Sea (Mueter and Litzow species may be more vulnerable to climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate2008), and the Northeast United States variability (Hsieh et al. 2008). Change (IPCC) (2007) projections(Nye et al. 2009). Combined, these studies stress the impor- suggest that the Arctic may be virtu-In the Northeast, two-thirds of 36 examined tance of tracking the impacts of climate ally ice-free in the summer by the latefish stocks shifted northward and/or to deeper change on marine species and incorpo- 21st century. However, the previousdepths over a 40-year time period in response rating that information into management projections are from coupled air-sea-iceto consistently warm waters (Nye et al. 2009). plans and actions to prevent over-use, climate models that tend to overestimateThe figure below shows the past and present enhance recovery, and promote resilience ice thickness, and hence some expertsspatial distribution of a commercially impor- of marine species and the communities predict an ice-free Arctic in summertant fish species, red hake, as an example of and economies that depend on them in a could occur as early as 2030 (Stroeve etshifts that have been observed in this area. changing climate.Surf clams in this area also suffered higher al. 2008). Melting of sea ice and seabed48 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 54. Case Study Ocean acidification and West Coast oyster productionpermafrost is also a consequence ofatmospheric and ocean warming, andwill produce associated physical, chem-ical, and biological changes, includingincreased stratification in the watercolumn. Variation in the spatial extent ofsea ice and timing of the spring retreathas strong effects on the productivity ofthe Bering Sea ecosystem. For example,the timing of the spring phytoplanktonbloom is directly tied to the location ofthe sea ice edge over the Bering Sea shelf(Stabeno et al. 2001).Changes in Circulation Patterns noaaOngoing warming of the atmosphereand the ocean could cause major changesfor key water masses and the processes In 2007 and 2008 , two of the three major water that is churned up during upwelling isthey control. A change in the inten- West Coast oyster hatcheries discovered especially harmful to the oyster larvae.sity and location of winds, such as the that their Pacific oyster larvae were dying.Westerlies moving northward in the It did not happen all the time, so The hatcheries figured out ways around the researchers set out to understand why. problem. One of them measured concentra-Atlantic, will change surface ocean circu- Was something wrong in the water pumped tions of dissolved CO2 in the seawater andlation. Currents such as the thermohaline from the sea into the hatcheries? By pumped in water only when it was above acirculation, which is driven by tempera- testing the water, researchers discovered pH level of 7.75 (typically late in the day afterture and salinity gradients, can also be a telltale pattern. The larvae died only plankton had lowered water CO2 levels throughsignificantly affected by the warming when upwelling off the coast brought deep, photosynthesis). The other hatchery movedclimate. For instance, the circulation of cold water to the surface—and into the its intake from deep to shallow water.deep ocean currents in the Atlantic and hatcheries (Feely et al. 2008). This coldPacific Oceans could slow. These large water was low in calcium carbonate, the But these steps do not solve the larger, basic material in oyster shells. Without far more significant problem—the increasingscale changes in circulation could have enough dissolved calcium carbonate acidification of the oceans. Over the last sixlocalized impacts such as increased ocean (in a form known as aragonite), the oyster years, the difficulties faced by the hatcheriesstratification and alterations to upwelling larvae struggled to survive. in rearing Pacific oyster larvae have been paral-and coastal productivity, which in turn leled by poor supplies of naturally producedwill change the availability of essential The finding pointed to the ultimate seed oysters in Willapa Bay, Washington—thenutrients and oxygen to marine organ- culprit—the same rising CO2 levels in the most important oyster-producing bay on theisms throughout the water column. In atmosphere that cause climate change. West Coast. Acidification is already having a When CO2 concentrations increase in the serious effect on the West Coast’s $80 millionaddition, changes in ocean circulation air, the ocean absorbs more CO2. That per year oyster industry, which employs thou-patterns will change larval dispersal increases the acidity of the water. Higher sands of people in economically depressedpatterns (Cowen and Sponaugle 2009) acidity (lower pH), in turn, means that coastal communities (PCSGA 2010). If theand the geographic distributions of the water cannot hold as much dissolved acidification of the oceans is the cause,marine species (Block et al. 2011). calcium carbonate. Compounding the then the problem will just get worse. Not just issue is the fact that cold water, like that oysters will be at risk, but also the basic food found on the bottom of the ocean, cannot webs in the oceans because so many species dissolve as much calcium carbonate as use calcium carbonate to build shells and warmer water can. Thus, the acidic cold skeletons. Impacts of Climate Change & Ocean Acidification | 49
  • 55. Impacts Case Study Rising ocean temperatures and coral reef bleaching Rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification are threatening the whole coral reef ecosystem.Elevated CO2 Levels and OceanAcidificationIncreased ocean acidification associ-ated with increasing atmospheric CO2concentrations will directly and indi-rectly impact physiological and biological Dav id Bu r d ic k , C o u r tes y o f NOAAprocesses of a wide variety of marineorganisms such as growth, develop-ment, and reproduction (Le Quesneand Pinnegar 2011). Ocean acidificationdecreases the concentration of dissolvedcarbonate that is available for uptakeby calcifying organisms. A more acidic Coral reefs are one of the most Bleaching isn’t the only threat to coral. Rapidenvironment can reduce the calcifica- productive ecosystems on Earth. At the increases in the atmospheric CO2 concentra- heart of the coral reef’s success is a tion, and thus, ocean acidification, may be thetion rate of many shell-forming marine symbiotic relationship between coral and final insult to these ecosystems. The absorp-organisms including oysters, clams, sea microscopic algae within the living coral. tion of atmospheric CO2 by the world’s oceansurchins, shallow water corals, deep sea The coral provides the nutrients that the contributes to chemical reactions which ulti-corals, and calcareous plankton. Even algae need to capture carbon dioxide mately reduce the amount of carbonate makingthe most optimistic predictions of future (CO2) through photosynthesis. The algae, it unavailable to coral to build their skeletonsatmospheric CO2 concentrations (such in turn, provide coral with the carbon they (Hoegh-Guldberg et al. 2007). Water qualityas stabilization at 450 parts per million) need to build their skeletons—and thus, improvements, particularly controlling nutrientcould cause coral reefs to no longer be the reef itself. inputs, can bolster reef resilience to bleaching (Wooldridge and Done 2009) and implementa-sustainable (Hoegh-Guldberg et al. 2007, When sea temperature rises just a degree tion of existing laws may help mitigate oceanVeron et al. 2009), bivalve reefs to slow or or more and stays that way for extended acidification effects on nearshore habitatseven stop developing, and large areas of periods, the relationship between coral and (Kelly et al. 2011).polar waters to become corrosive to shells algae begins to breakdown. The coral expelof some key marine species. their algae, a process called bleaching There are a variety of efforts underway to try (since without the colorful algae the coral to protect coral reefs by making them moreThere also are expected to be major is bone white). Over the past 20 years, resilient to climate change (Marshall andeffects on phytoplankton and periods of increased sea temperatures and Schuttenberg 2006). The Nature Conservancy coral bleaching events are becoming more has started a Reef Resilience program,zooplankton that form the base of frequent and widespread (Marshall and working in the Florida Keys in partnership withthe marine food chain. On the organ- Schuttenberg 2006). Usually, healthy reefs the State of Florida, the National Oceanic andismal level, a moderate increase in CO2 are able to recover from bleaching events. Atmospheric Administration, and Australia’sfacilitates photosynthetic carbon fixa- However, the severity of these events is Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,tion of some phytoplankton groups. It increasing as are other human-caused to understand the non-climate factors thatalso enhances the release of dissolved threats to coral reefs (e.g., over-fishing, adversely affect coral reefs such as damagecarbohydrates, most notably during pollution, and sedimentation). In 2005, up from charter and private vessels and improperthe decline of nutrient-limited phyto- to 90 percent of shallow-water corals in the erosion control. The hope is that by reducing British Virgin Islands bleached in response these non-climate stressors, the coral will beplankton blooms. On the ecosystem level, to increased water temperatures (Wilkinson better able to resist being bleached when seathese responses influence phytoplankton and Souter 2008). Frequent bleaching has temperatures increase. A related approach,species composition and succession, profound effects on corals and can ulti- being studied by scientists at the University offavoring algal species which predomi- mately lead to mortality. Miami, Australia Institute of Marine Science,nantly rely on CO2 utilization (Riebesell and elsewhere, is actively inoculating corals2004). These effects will then have with algal symbionts that are resistant tocascading impacts on productivity and higher water temperatures.diversity throughout the ocean food web.50 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 56. The products and services that natural The products and services 2.4 Impacts on resources provide support millions of that natural resources provide jobs and billions of dollars in economic Ecosystem Services activity (DOI and DOC 2006, NMFS support millions of jobs and 2010, DOI 2011). As a result, the billions of dollars in economic As noted in Section 1.3.3, species and activity. impacts from climate change on species ecosystems provide a wide range of and ecosystems are expected to have important products and services to the significant implications for America’s Agriculture is a fundamental compo- nation, including jobs, food, clean water, communities and economies. In some nent within the grassland system matrix, protection from storms, recreation, and cases, the implications could be positive and is also sensitive to climate changes. cultural heritage. These natural resources and in other cases negative. The timing The same stressors that affect grasslands and ecological systems are a significant of any of these changes is uncertain. affect agriculture, and can decrease crop source of economic activity and wealth. For example, changes in distribu- yields (Ziska and George 2004). Research Climate change is likely to affect the tion, productivity, and health of forests suggests that crop plant responses to spectrum of ecosystems services. In some from increased drought, fires or other increasing CO2 are varied, and it is there- cases or for some periods, these changes climate-related factors (e.g., spread of fore difficult to determine overall direct may be positive as with expanded pests or invasive species) will have direct impacts of CO2 (Taub 2010). However, growing zones for some agricultural consequences for both global carbon there are numerous climate change crops in the northern latitudes, or with sequestration and the forest products impacts on temperature extremes and the expansion of warm-water fisheries. industry, as well as fire risk and sedi- precipitation patterns that will likely have On balance, however, the scientific mentation of water sources, and will also a substantial impact on vegetation and community has warned that an increase influence other uses of forested ecosys- crop production. in global average temperature above tems such as recreation and non-timber 4 0F risks dangerous interference with products. Changes in productivity of Mapped boundaries of plant hardiness the climate system and many adverse ocean ecosystems could have major zones will change, and the list of agri- impacts on natural systems and the impacts on fish stocks, fisheries and the cultural and horticultural crops suited wealth they generate (IPCC AR4 2007). communities and economies that depend to particular areas will also change. Recall that the current range of estimates on them world-wide. The benefits from increased CO2 and a for global average temperature increase longer growing season may not be suffi- by 2100 is 2.0 to 11.5 0F (USGCRP 2009). cient to offset losses from decreasing soil moisture and water availability due tojane pellicciotto Any benefits to agriculture from rising temperatures and aquifer deple- increased CO2 and a longer growing tion. Decreasing agricultural yields per season may not be sufficient to offset acre could also increase pressure for the losses from decreasing soil moisture conversion of more acres of native grass- and water availability due to rising lands to agriculture (USGCRP 2009). The temperatures and aquifer depletion. decrease in agricultural soil moisture and water availability due to rising tempera- tures and aquifer depletion makes soil conservation vital. Climate change may cause reduction in precipitation and, in turn, induce soil moisture limitations in pasturelands (CCSP 2008d). | 51
  • 57. Case Study A species that may thrive in a changing climate temperature and a constant fishing pres-Virginia Marine Resources Commission sure or catch level by anglers. Spawning occurs in the coastal waters during the late summer, fall, and winter. Between 30-60 days after spawning, larvae enter the estuaries of the Mid-Atlantic region to undertake the costly task of updating overwinter and grow to juveniles. Juvenile infrastructure to effectively harvest the survival during the winter is determined by changing mixture of fish stocks. Fishery water temperature with cold water adversely agencies will also have to update regu- affecting recruitment to the fishery. latory measures to conform to these Using sea surface temperature forecasts new stock boundaries. Ocean acidifica- from an ensemble of global climate models, tion could have significant impacts on researchers have projected increased aquaculture industries and fisheries by One species which may benefit from recruitment of juveniles in estuaries leading affecting growth and survival of shellfish marine climate change and a conservative to more adult fish (Hare et al. 2010). and many other species. Melting sea ice management regime is the Atlantic croaker, If fishing pressure remains relatively is also changing transportation routes, which inhabits the coastal Atlantic of the low, the croaker fishery is expected to oil and gas exploration and extraction, United States and supports a commercial shift northward 60-250 miles as sea fishing, and tourism in the Arctic, which and recreational fishery worth approximately surface temperatures increase and new in turn could impact the fish, wild- $9 million per year. Annual fish surveys along estaurine habitat becomes available. The life, and plants in this region through the East Coast have recorded croaker popula- study also suggests that under some future a variety of mechanisms, including tions expanding northward since 1975. Recent climate conditions, croaker populations research suggests that its range expansion is could grow to levels sufficient to support increased noise associated with increases due to a combination of increasing sea surface increased fisheries. in shipping (AMSA 2009). The effects that climate change will have Some benefits provided by well-func- for fish and shellfish (e.g., commercially on marine aquaculture are not fully tioning inland water and coastal important species like blue crab), serve understood, but it is likely that there will ecosystems will also change or be lost as nesting habitat for birds, and provide be both positive and negative effects. due to climate change impacts, especially invertebrate food for shorebirds. At least For example, warmer temperatures may when compounded with other stressors 50 percent of commercially-valuable increase growth of some species, but such as land-use change and popula- fish and shellfish depend upon estuaries decrease that of others, emphasizing the tion growth. For example, there may and nearshore coastal waters in at least need for vulnerability assessments and be fewer salmon for commercial and one life history stage (Lellis-Dibble et al. adaptation planning that can reduce recreational harvest, as well as for tradi- 2008); others reported estuarine depen- negative impacts and promote positive tional ceremonial and cultural practices dency for approximately 85 percent of effects where possible (De Silva and Soto of indigenous peoples. Coastal marshes commercially-valuable fish and shellfish 2009). Climate change will directly affect and mangroves provide clean water, (NRC 1997). aquaculture’s choice of species, loca- groundwater recharge, and act as natural tion, technology, and production costs buffers against storms, absorbing flood- In marine systems, large scale changes (Hall et al. 2011). Direct impacts may waters and providing erosion control to biogeochemical processes, ocean include rising ocean levels, more frequent with vegetation that stabilizes shore- currents, and the increased acidifica- extreme weather events, changes in rain lines and absorbs wave energy. If those tion of ocean waters are expected to have patterns, and distribution of diseases and habitats are degraded and/or destroyed, profound impacts on marine ecosystems parasites. The more subtle effects are even then adjacent inland communities including coral reef communities and harder to gauge; for example, the effects will have less protection from sea level their associated fisheries and tourism that climate change may have on ocean rise, and may experience more direct industries (Hoegh-Guldberg et al. 2007, currents, inshore salinities, and water storm energy and flooding (NC NERR Doney et al. 2012). Shifts of fish stocks mixing patterns; which may in turn affect 2007). Tidal marshes and associated to higher latitudes and deeper depths aquatic productivity, fishmeal supply and submerged aquatic plant beds are impor- may force fishers to travel farther and global trade, or the incidence of harmful tant spawning, nursery, and shelter areas spend more time in search of fish, or to algal blooms (FAO 2010). 52 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 58. CH.3 Climate Adaptation Goals,usfws Strategies & Actions seven goals to help fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems cope with the impacts of climate change were developed collectively by diverse teams of federal, state, and tribal technical and management experts, based on existing research and understanding regarding the needs of fish, wildlife, and plants in the face of climate change. The goals represent tools within tribal governments to ensure activities the conservation toolbox. 3.1 How It Works do not inadvertently lead to a dimin- ishment of natural resources located on It is important to emphasize that all seven Indian lands, or treaty-protected natural Their strategies and actions of these goals describe types of conserva- resources, or in a diminishment of tribal should be taken or initiated over tion activities that management agencies access to those resources. And the resil- the next five to ten years. have traditionally undertaken, some for ience and adaptation of species that much of their history. In this sense, these depend on areas outside U.S. borders goals represent tools within the conser- will require continued collaboration and Each goal has helpful checklists vation toolbox. What this Strategy seeks action with international partners. to chart milestones. to do is assist the management commu- nity to better understand the application Each goal identifies a set of initial strate- of these tools that may be most effective gies and actions that should be taken or in a period of climate change. In other initiated over the next five to ten years. words, this Strategy seeks to integrate Actions under various individual goals with and build upon existing manage- are interrelated and interdependent. To ment programs. These goals are intended the extent possible, actions within goals to be implemented with full recogni- are listed in sequential order; but goals tion of the existing rights and obligations are not. It is more useful to think of of those who implement and will be goals as sectors within which the appro- impacted by the activities. For example, priate actions are progressing in logical United States treaties and federal court sequence. The “Actions” were compiled decisions require consultation with from Technical Team submissions Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 53
  • 59. Goals, Strategies & Actions The management challenge will not be to keep current conservation areas as they are, but rather ensure there is a network of habitat conservation areas that maximizes the chances that the majority of species will have sufficient habitat somewhere.determined to be broadly applicable tothe eight major U.S. ecosystem typesconsidered in this document. In addition,examples of more detailed “Ecosystem-specific Actions” were also developedby the Technical Teams, in order toillustrate how these approaches couldbe carried out in particular ecosystems. roger smithA set of these specific actions mostrelevant to each ecosystem is availablein the eight ecosystem-specific back- Goals-at-a-Glanceground papers referenced in Appendix Aand posted online at www.wildlifeadapta- Goal 1: Conserve habitat to support healthy Sustaining a diversity of healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations over time requires conserving a sufficient and ecosystem functions in a variety and amount of habitat and building a changing climate. well-connected network of conservation areas A short-term progress check list to allow the movement of species in response is offered under each goal. These to climate change. checklists are composed ofitems that can serve as useful milestones Goal 2: Manage species and habitats to pro- Incorporating climate change information into tect ecosystem functions and provide fish, wildlife, and plant management effortsof progress toward the achievement of sustainable cultural, subsistence, is essential to safeguarding these valuablethe relevant goal. Not every action has recreational, and commercial use in natural resources.a corresponding checklist item and not a changing climate.every item on the checklist is a specificaction under that goal. Each of the Goal 3: Enhance capacity for effective Climate change adaptation requires new waysitems in these lists could be achieved or management in a changing climate. of assessing information, new management tools and professional skills, increased col-initiated over the next five to ten years laboration across jurisdictions, and a review ofby pursuing the strategies and actions laws, regulations, and policies.under each goal. Accomplishing theseitems will show real progress in imple- Goal 4: Support adaptive management in a Coordinated observation, information manage-menting the Strategy. While adaptation changing climate through integrated ment, and decision support systems can help observation and monitoring and use management strategies to be adaptive andplanning for biological resources is still of decision support tools. adjust to changing conditions.a new endeavor, it is important torecognize that work on all of these goals Goal 5: Increase knowledge and information Research must be targeted to address keyis already underway. This Strategy on impacts and responses of fish, knowledge gaps and needs, and findings mustattempts to build on the excellent work wildlife, and plants to a changing be rapidly incorporated into decision supportof pioneering state governments, federal climate. tools available to natural resource managers and other decision makers.agencies, tribes, conservation partners,private landholders, and others who Goal 6: Increase awareness and motivate Climate change adaptation efforts will be mosthave been leading the way on adaptation. action to safeguard fish, wildlife, successful if they have broad popular supportMany of the Case Studies found and plants in a changing climate. and if key groups and people (such as privatethroughout the Strategy highlight some landowners) are motivated to take action.of these ongoing efforts. Goal 7: Reduce non-climate stressors to help Reducing existing threats such as habitat deg- fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems radation and fragmentation, invasive species, adapt to a changing climate. pollution, and over-use can help fish, wild- life, plants, and ecosystems better cope with the additional stresses caused by a changing climate.54 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 60. areas may lose the specific communi- ties or species they were established to protect. For example, Joshua trees are projected to be virtually eliminated from most of the southern portions of its current range by the end of the century, including Joshua Tree National Park (Cole et al. 2011). Conservation areas willlarry kruckenberg likely also gain new species, including Goal 1 in some cases, species equally in need of conservation. The management challenge will not be to keep current conserva- Conserve habitat to support healthy tion areas as they are, but rather ensure there is a network of habitat conservation fish, wildlife, and plant populations and areas that maximizes the chances that ecosystem functions in a changing climate. the majority of species will have suffi- cient habitat somewhere. This will be a major challenge, both in knowing what S tudies of past periods of climate change and their effects on will constitute “habitat” for any partic- species and ecosystems help us understand what may happen in ular species in the future, and in dealing the future. The major lesson from the recent fossil record of the with biosphere scale dynamics that have transition from the last Ice Age to the current inter-glacial period is now been unleashed that may be beyond management’s ability to redress (e.g., that when climate changes, each species responds in its own way ocean acidification). (Hunter et al. 1988). Another lesson of past periods of climate This Strategy attempts to build on the excellent work of S pecies found living together in one climate may not live together in another, and vice versa. Thus, the natural change is that not all species will survive. Managers will need to come to terms with the need to make hard choices about pioneering state governments, community types recognized today, the investment of limited resources and federal agencies, tribes, such as spruce-fir forests of the North, the likelihood of success. conservation partners, private hemlock-beech forests of the Northeast, landholders, and others who or tallgrass prairie of the Midwest, will Many of our nation’s imperiled species have been leading the way on not simply move northward or upslope. (both those currently listed either as adaptation. Instead, the species composition of these Threatened or Endangered as well as communities will change. many other species that may eventu- ally be considered for listing) do not This observation has many implications occur in existing conservation areas. for our conservation efforts in the current Indeed, the major threat to many species period of climate change. Many existing on the U.S. Endangered Species List conservation areas, such as Sequoia is the loss of habitat caused when the National Park or the National Elk Refuge, habitat they depend on is converted to a were established largely to protect different use. Climate change will make specific natural communities or species. the problem worse—and will make the As the climate continues to change and need for new conservation areas more each species responds individually, these urgent. The most robust approach to Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 55
  • 61. Goals, Strategies & Actionshelping fish, wildlife, and plants adapt land to be protected in perpetuity willto climate change is to conserve enough not be enough. Biologists and conserva-variety and amount of habitat to sustain tion land managers also must manage Kentkenucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resourcesdiverse and healthy (e.g., viable, abun- these conservation areas in innova-dant) populations as landscapes and tive and flexible ways, as species andseascapes are altered by climate change. ecosystems respond and adjust (often inMajor reviews of climate change conser- unpredictable fashion) to climate change.vation management options generally Flexible tools such as re-designation oridentify increased habitat conservation exchanges of some existing public landsand/or establishing or restoring habitat and the creation of additional types and/connectivity as the top or among the top or numbers of conservation easements,options to pursue (Mawdsley et al. 2009, leases, and incentives for private land-Heller and Zavaleta 2009). We will need owners will be essential.well-connected networks of conserva-tion areas to allow for the movement of The first step to meeting this challengespecies in response to climate change. is identifying the best candidates forSelecting areas that will be both resilient conservation areas. Given that natural it more likely that native biodiversityand able to capture the broadest range of community types will be changing as will be conserved. Some species’ habitatspecies is an important challenge. each species responds to climate change under climate change may be well outside in its own way, identifying “future” their current or historic range. HealthyIt needs to be emphasized that, as used habitat types and the best areas to and biologically diverse ecosystems arehere, the term “conservation area” does represent them will prove challenging. likely to better withstand or adjust to thenot imply anything about ownership. A Areas will need to be selected through impacts of climate change. Increasing theconservation area is simply any area that the use of existing and new informa- number (redundancy) and distribution ofis managed, at least in part, to maintain tion and tools, such as inventories, gap protected fish, wildlife, and plant popula-some element of natural diversity. In this analyses, mapping (including geophys- tions is important for the same reason.sense, a Conservation Reserve Program ical as well as biological features (Beier Establishing larger and more hospitable(CRP) lease on a farm in Iowa defines a and Brost 2010, Anderson and Ferree conservation areas for species to transi-conservation area as much as a conser- 2010), vulnerability assessments, and tion to will also increase opportunitiesvation easement on privately owned geophysical and biological modeling for species to create new assemblages oftimberland in Maine, a State Game Land (such as Species Distribution Models). species that are better able to persist in ain Pennsylvania, or a National Wildlife Geographic Information Systems tech- dynamic climate.2, 3Refuge in Florida. These are examples niques, climate models, and inventoryof very different kinds of conservation data can assist federal, state, tribal, and Another challenge will be providingareas, but each is an important compo- local agencies, as well as industry and corridors between conservation areas sonent in the overall effort to conserve private land owners in setting collec- that species can freely move to new loca-adequate habitat for our Nation’s tive priorities for conservation and tions with suitable habitat. Protectingliving resources. This Strategy makes connectivity. Coordinating the efforts of and restoring large blocks of habitat andno presumption about the best way of many agencies and landowners will be a using linkages and corridors to developsecuring additional conservation areas daunting process, but is a critical part of networks for movement will facilitate(e.g., lease, conservation easement, doing the job effectively and efficiently. connectivity. Riparian corridors, suchfee acquisition, etc.), only that climate as floodplains, are useful as a conduitchange will demand that we increase and Increasing the number, quality, and size 2 See “For Landowners” at < accelerate collective efforts to of conservation areas can increase the endangered>do so. But simply creating new networks opportunities for individual species to 3 See “Programs & Services” at < wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs>of conservation areas or acquiring more adapt to climate change, and also make56 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 62. Case Study Making salmon populations more resilient As a species that requires cold , fast flowing streams for spawning, salmon could be hard hit by climate change. Indeed, climate models project widespread, large increases in air and stream temperaturesfor migratory species and for providing in Washington State (Mantua et al. 2009),access to water. In addition, appro- where much of the nation’s key salmonpriate transitory or “stopover” habitat for habitat is located. Combined with antici- pated declines in stream flows, highermigratory species can promote biolog- temperatures would threaten not just theical connectivity between non-physically salmon, but also the immensely valuableconnected areas. Private landowners, tim torrell industries, cultural traditions, and ecosys-land trusts and government agencies tems that depend on the species.such as energy, transportation, andwater resources agencies will be critical As a result, there is a need to map streams Some of these strategies are already beingpartners in creating these ecological throughout the salmon’s range to figure out implemented as part of the effort to protectconnections. At the same time, managers which ones are most likely to stay cold with and restore endangered salmon species. For sufficient water flow (Mantua et al. 2009). example, two aging dams on the Elwha Rivermust also guard against enabling move- The Washington Climate Change Impacts are being removed, giving salmon access toment of invasive and overabundant Assessment describes steps that can be 60 miles of high elevation, coldwater rivers,species, pests and pathogens. taken to maintain good salmon habitat and streams in Olympic National Park. even in a changing climate, including: The availability of that additional, diverseBecause human development in the »» limit the amount of water that can be habitat will increase salmon resilienceUnited States has been so extensive, some withdrawn from streams for irrigation or (Waples et al. 2009).of the habitat necessary for a compre- other purposes, especially in times ofhensive network of conservation areas Meanwhile, the Columbia Basin Water high temperatures and low stream flow; Transactions Program is tackling the problemwill need to be restored. In the context »» protect undercut banks and deep of low stream flows. By taking such actions asof a period of climate change, ecological stratified pools, where water tempera- acquiring water rights and leasing water, therestoration will not necessarily be about tures are lower; program is able to reduce water withdrawals atattempting to restore specific species »» restore vegetation along streams, critical times. In another example, the USDAor combinations of species, but rather which cools the water and reduces Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programabout restoring the conditions that favor sediment and pesticide levels; (CREP) and National Oceanic and Atmospherichealthy, diverse, and productive commu- »» release cold water from large storage Administration’s Pacific Coastal Salmonnities of species. Key components of such Recovery fund are helping to restore vegeta- reservoirs during summer; and tion in riparian zones. This restoration not onlyrestoration can include promoting or »» remove dams and other barriers so that helps protect streams from rising temperaturesmimicking natural disturbance regimes cooler, protected headwaters flow more and sediment, it also provides greater inputslike fire; managing issues like in-stream swiftly downstream, and salmon can of leaf litter and large logs that support streamflows, water withdrawals, and stormwater swim upstream farther and faster. food webs and create habitat diversity.runoff; and addressing poorly-sited infra-structure, such as roads in floodplainsand sensitive coastal areas. Effectiverestoration will require applying proto- example, improving the sustainability Overall, single jurisdiction or singlecols and techniques that anticipate a of working ranchlands, such as is being interest approaches to land and waterrange of future conditions, including done through the NRCS Sage-Grouse protection are not sufficient to deal withdifferent species compositions, caused Initiative, can ensure that these lands the landscape-scale changes being drivenby climate change and that can facilitate remain in grass that supports both by climate change, and in some instances,adaptation. ranching livelihoods and wildlife species may even be counter-productive. Fish, associated with grassland and shrubland wildlife, and plant conservation agen-Alternatively, cultural and struc- habitats, rather than being degraded cies, local governments, tribes, andtural conservation practices applied to by development, tillage, woody species private conservation interests must workworking agricultural and forest lands encroachment or other stressors. together in a coordinated way to buildcan provide a means of helping some an ecologically-connected network ofspecies adapt to climate change. For conservation areas. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 57
  • 63. Goals, Strategies & ActionsStrategy 1.1: Identify areas for an Strategy 1.2: Secure appropriate A ctionsecologically-connected network of conservation status on areas 1.2.1: Conserve areas identified in Actionterrestrial, freshwater, coastal, identified in Action 1.1.1 to 1.1.1 that provide high priority habitatsand marine conservation areas complete an ecologically- under current climate conditions and are likely to be resilient to climate changethat are likely to be resilient to connected network of public and/or support a broad array of species inclimate change and to support a and private conservation areas the future.broad range of fish, wildlife, and that will be resilient to climate 1.2.2: Conserve areas representing theplants under changed conditions. change and support a broad range of geophysical settings, including range of species under changed various bedrock geology, soils, topography,Actions conditions. and projected climate, in order to maximize future biodiversity.1.1.1: Identify and map high priority areasfor conservation using information suchas species distributions (current andprojected), habitat classification, land cover, Case Studyand geophysical settings (including areas ofrapid change and slow change). Building connectivity in New Jersey1.1.2: Identify and prioritize areas currently Climate change could threatenexperiencing rapid climate impacts (e.g., amphibian species throughthe coastline of Alaska, low-lying islands, increased flooding as well as drying.and high alpine tundra).1.1.3: Assess the potential of species toshift ranges, and prioritize conservationefforts taking into account range shiftsand accounting for ecosystem functionsand existing and future physical barriers. USFWS/Gary Stolz1.1.4: Establish and maintain a comprehen-sive, inter-jurisdictional inventory of currentconservation areas and candidate highpriority conservation areas in order tocoordinate future conservation efforts. If current low-lying coastal areas in For many amphibians, the key habitat is the New Jersey are flooded by spring high tides, vernal pool, a temporary pond that is typically1.1.5: Re-prioritize conservation targets as expected with sea level rises caused by deepest in the spring. The state has been bothof existing land and water conservation climate change (Titus and Richman 2001), working to preserve existing vernal pools andprograms in light of areas identified in many amphibians will no longer be able to looking for sites where it could create new1.1.1.and listed in 1.1.4 and 1.4.2. migrate up the Cape May Peninsula. That pools. The sites were picked based on such could threaten the viability of species like criteria as elevation above anticipated sea the state-endangered eastern tiger sala- level rise, vicinity to other vernal pools and mander and Cope’s gray treefrog. upland habitat, location on state protected land, proper soil characteristics, and use by a The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife variety of species. is working to provide more habitat for these amphibians and to better connect habi- When the effort is complete, the state will tats to allow migration. Such migration have established a connected network of prevents small populations from becoming vernal pool “strongholds” that will give New isolated, thus, preserving genetic diversity Jersey’s amphibians a far better chance to for key species (Marsh and Trenham 2001, adapt and survive as sea levels rise. Cushman 2006).
  • 64. 1.2.3: Build back-up redundancy into the 1.3.4: Restore disturbance regimes as 1.4.5: Assess existing physical barriersnetwork of conservation areas by protecting appropriate to emerging conditions, or structures that impede movement andmultiple examples of the range of priority including instituting human-assisted dispersal within and among habitats toareas identified in Action 1.1.1. disturbance where necessary (e.g., increase natural ecosystem resilience to prescribed fire). climate change, and where necessary,1.2.4: Work with partners at landscape consider the redesign or mitigation ofscales to strengthen and maximize use of 1.3.5: Develop programs to encourage resil- these structures.existing conservation programs, particularly ience through restoration of habitat featuresthe conservation title of the Farm that provide natural buffers. 1.4.6: Provide landowners and stakeholderBill, conservation easement tax incentives, groups with incentives for conservation andthe private lands programs focused on 1.3.6: Develop market-based incentives restoration of key corridor habitats throughendangered species, and other federal that encourage habitat restoration where conservation programs such as those underand state private lands incentive programs appropriate. the conservation title of the Farm Bill andto conserve private lands of high conserva- landowner tools under the ESA as well astion value, to enhance habitat values other mechanisms such as conservationand maintain working landscapes under Strategy 1.4: Conserve, easement tax incentive programs designedclimate change. to protect private lands of high connectivity restore, and as appropriate value under climate change.1.2.5: Identify and pursue opportunities to and practicable, establish newincrease conservation of priority lands and ecological connections amongwaters by working with managers of existingpublic lands such as military installations conservation areas to facilitate GOAL 1 fish, wildlife, and plant migration, P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S Tor state lands managed for purposes otherthan conservation. range shifts, and other transitions Areas resilient to climate change caused by climate change. identified;Strategy 1.3: Restore habitat Gap analysis of geophysical settings A ctions completed and priority candidatefeatures where necessary and areas identified;practicable to maintain ecosystem 1.4.1: Identify species with special connec-function and resiliency to climate tivity needs (i.e., those that are area-limited, Desired ecological connec- resource-limited, dispersal-limited, or tivity among conservation areaschange. process-limited). identified; 1.4.2: Assess and prioritize critical connec- Baseline comprehensive inventoryActions tivity gaps and needs across current of conservation areas completed;1.3.1: Develop and implement restoration conservation areas, including areas likely to serve as refugia in a changing climate. Suite of land protection toolsprotocols and techniques that promote (designations, exchanges, acqui-ecosystem resilience and facilitate adap- 1.4.3: Conserve corridors and transi- sitions, easements, leases,tation under a range of possible future tional habitats between ecosystem types incentives) evaluated and updated;conditions. through both traditional and non-traditional (e.g., land exchanges, rolling easements) Protocols for incorporating climate1.3.2: Restore degraded habitats as appro- approaches. change into ecological restorationpriate to support a diversity of species efforts developed and implemented;assemblages and ecosystem structure and 1.4.4: Assess and take steps to reducefunction. Begin conserving and/or restoring risks of facilitating movement of undesirable non-native species, pests, and pathogens. high priority areas for fish, wildlife,1.3.3: Restore or enhance areas that will and plants under climate change.provide essential habitat and ecosystemservices during ecosystem transitions undera changing climate. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 59
  • 65. Goals, Strategies & Actions developed climate change strategies for their agencies (see Chapter 5 for a more detailed discussion of ongoing adapta- tion planning). Nonetheless, many other agencies and most of the specific resource plans agencies are responsible for do not yet take climate change into account. ThisUSFWS/Ryan Hagerty deficiency must be addressed, because managing for the status quo is no longer Goal 2 sufficient. We must build on our legacy of conservation action and begin to inte- grate climate adaptation strategies and Manage species and habitats to protect actions into existing species and conser- vation area management plans if species ecosystem functions and provide sustainable and ecosystems are to survive and thrive cultural, subsistence, recreational, and in an uncertain future (see Glick et al. 2011a and Poiani et al. 2011 for a discus- commercial use in a changing climate. sion of applicable methods). Management plans and programs must A s described in Chapter 1 , humans depend upon and derive consider species’ abilities to adapt to multiple benefits from fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. Our climate change. They must also consider living resources are vital for ceremonial, spiritual, and subsistence the ability of habitats to be resilient in practices by indigenous peoples; recreational activities such as sport the face of climate change, not neces- fishing, hunting, birding, and nature photography; and commercial sarily in the sense of maintaining their interests such as fisheries, wood products, and food production. They current species composition, but in the sense of their overall functionality. are part of the core fabric of America, providing livelihoods, cultural Maximizing the chances for species to identity, and boundless opportunities. adapt to climate change likely includes maintaining a full range of genetic diver- Maximizing the chances for species to adapt to climate T he United States has a highly devel- oped set of management agencies and authorities that work to maintain our sity across managed plant and animal populations. Some species may need change likely includes more direct management, such as captive existing living resources and the many breeding. In other cases, managers may maintaining a full range of uses and benefits they provide. Virtually need to consider whether human inter- genetic diversity across all of these agencies have sophisticated ventions such as translocation or assisted managed plant and animal management plans for the species and relocation are appropriate. Because some populations. areas under their jurisdiction. Some of of these actions may be new and poten- these plans have incorporated climate tially controversial, they need to be fully change considerations. For example, explored before moving forward, and some 17 states have already developed or collaborative, deliberative, and flexible are in the process of developing climate decision-making will be critical. adaptation strategies for their fish, wild- life, and plant resources. At the federal level, the FWS, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service have all 60 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 66. Continued development and application 2.1.3: Identify species and habitats 2.1.9: Develop strategic protection, retreat,of ecosystem based approaches to natural particularly vulnerable to transition under and abandonment plans for areas currently climate change (e.g., wetlands, cool-water experiencing rapid climate change impactsresource management is also a key step to warm-water fisheries, or cool season (e.g., coastline of Alaska and low-lyingin this process. This approach grew out of to warm season grasslands) and develop islands).broad acknowledgement that successful management strategies and approaches formanagement required multi-dimen- adaptation.sional, multispecies, and multi-sector Strategy 2.2: Develop and apply 2.1.4: Review and revise as necessaryapproaches across broader time and techniques to maintain or mimic natural species-specific managementspatial scales than was previously prac- disturbance regimes and to protect vulner- approaches to address criticalticed. The scale and scope of climate able habitats consistent with emerging climate change impacts wherechange impacts on natural and human conditions.communities make this type of approach necessary. 2.1.5: Review and revise as neces-even more essential for sustaining sary existing species and habitat impactecosystem functions in a changing world. avoidance, minimization, mitigation, and A ctions : compensation standards and develop new 2.2.1: Use vulnerability and risk assess- standards as necessary to address impacts ments to design and implementStrategy 2.1: Update current or in a manner that incorporates climate management actions at species to change considerations.develop new species, habitat, ecosystem scales.and land and water management 2.1.6: Review permitting intervals in light 2.2.2: Develop criteria and guidelines thatplans, programs and practices of the scope and pace of climate change foster the appropriate use, and discourage consider climate change and inappropriate use of translocation, assistedsupport adaptation. 2.1.7: Review existing management frame- relocation, and captive breeding as climate works and identify ways to increase the adaptation strategies. ability of stakeholders to adapt theirActions : 2.2.3: Where appropriate, actively manage actions to climate variability and change populations (e.g., using harvest limits, while preserving the integrity and sustain-2.1.1: Incorporate climate change consid- seasons, translocation, captive breeding, ability of natural resources, habitats, anderations into new and future revisions of and supplementation) of vulnerable species ecosystems.species and area management plans (e.g., to ensure sustainability and maintain biodi-North American Waterfowl Management 2.1.8: Utilize the principles of ecosystem- versity, human use, and other ecologicalPlan, National Forest Plans, State Wildlife based management and green functions.Action Plans, and agency-specific climate infrastructure.change adaptation plans such as federalagency adaptation plans required by E.O.13514) using the best available scienceregarding projected climate changes andtrends, vulnerability and risk assessments,scenario planning, and other appropriatetools as necessary.2.1.2: Develop and implement best manage-ment practices to support habitat resiliencein a changing climate. USFWS/Dave Menke Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 61
  • 67. Goals, Strategies & Actions 2.3.2: Protect and maintain high qualityStrategy 2.3: Conserve genetic A C TI O NS native seed sources including identifyingdiversity by protecting diverse 2.3.1: Develop and implement approaches areas for seed collection across elevationalpopulations and genetic material for assessing and maximizing the potential and latitudinal ranges of target species.across the full range of species for maintaining genetic diversity of plant and 2.3.3: Develop protocols for use of propaga- animal species.occurrences. tion techniques to rebuild abundance and genetic diversity for particularly at-risk plant and animal species. 2.3.4: Seed bank, develop, and deploy asCASE STUDY appropriate plant materials for restorationSeed banking in a changing climate that will be resilient in response to climate change. native seed evaluation & 2.3.5: Develop ex-situ living collections with collection development partners such as botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, and aquaria. GOAL 2 P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S T restore native field Species requiring active intervention plant communities establishment identified; Genetic conservation issues identified; Fire and other disturbance regimes managed to better suite emerging seed private grower conditions; storage production Criteria and guidelines developed for translocation, assisted relocation,CLIMATE CHANGE MAY BRING THE LOSS of Conservation Alliance to develop a long- and captive breeding;major populations of plants—or even entire term program to manage and supply nativespecies. One of the key approaches for plant materials for various federal land Vulnerability and risk assessmentsboosting a species’ chances of surviving in management restoration and rehabilitation and scenario planning used to guidea changed world is maintaining the species’ needs. Working with hundreds of partners in species management decisions;genetic diversity. federal, tribal, and state agencies, univer- Best management practices devel- sities, conservation groups, native seed oped and initiated;Both of these issues can be addressed by producers, and others, the program hascollecting and banking seeds and other plant now collected seeds from more than 3,000 Species and area managementmaterials. An extensive seed bank can save native plant species in the United Sates. plans updated;species that go extinct in the wild, preservethe genetic diversity needed for other species Global networks, such as the Global Strategy State Wildlife Action Plans updatedto cope with a changed environment, and for Plant Conservation and the Gran Canaria to include climate adaptation;provide the seed needed for restoration Declaration on Climate Change and Plant Agency specific climate changeprojects. Conservation, also exist to protect plants. adaptation plans developed and These are both important documents that integrated with other appropriateSuch a preservation effort is now underway. In can be used in the development of criteria plans;2001, Congress directed the Interagency Plant and guidelines for plants. Seed banks and living collections developed consistent with planning.Graphic adapted from BLM/Interagency Native Plant Materials Development Program62 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 68. Although some regionally integrated, multi-jurisdictional climate change adap- tation programs and plans exist, more are needed. Collaborative efforts will result in more informed, relevant, and creative solutions for all stakeholders. Federal, state, and tribal resources managers should work together with their part- ners across jurisdictions and regional Goal 3 scales (including international borders) to provide context and coordination forusfws species and conservation area manage- Enhance capacity for effective management ment in the context of climate change scenarios. Current institutional discon- in a changing climate. nects and barriers can hamper our ability to manage fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems across jurisdictions. This is an Climate change adaptation req uires altering existing or developing opportunity for practitioners to network new ways of assessing information, new management tools, and their capacities to be more effective and new professional skills. Natural resource agency professionals need efficient in terms of monitoring, data accessible opportunities to learn about climate-related species, sharing, data development, and adap- habitat, and ecosystem changes as well as how to identify the most tive management. Existing and emerging promising strategies to conser ve fish, wildlife, and plant populations partnerships and organizations (e.g., and functioning ecosystems. LCCs, Climate Science Centers (CSCs) JVs, Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs), NFHPs, regional W It is becoming increasingly hile well-trained in ecology and ocean governors’ alliances, AFWA, the applied resource management, Association of State Wetland Managers, important to train wildlife many managers have not yet had the and others) provide useful forums for professionals on how to opportunity to learn about and under- multiple jurisdictions and partners to incorporate climate change into stand how climate change “changes the better work together to define, design, their management practices. rules” about conservation of fish, wildlife, and deliver sustainable landscapes at a and plants. These professionals require regional scale. training to enhance their capacity and confidence to understand the impacts of Many fish, wildlife, and plant conser- climate change and to design and deliver vation laws, regulations, and policies effective climate adaptation programs. were developed without the current understanding of climate change. These Climate change impacts are occurring at legal and policy foundations should scales much larger than the operational be reviewed to identify opportunities scope of individual organizations and to improve, where appropriate, their agencies, and successful adaptation to usefulness to address climate change climate change demands a strong collab- considerations. This review process oration among all jurisdictions charged should assure that these legal foundations with fish, wildlife, and plant conserva- assist, and do not impede, adaptation tion, both domestic and international. efforts. Appropriate regulatory tools and Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 63
  • 69. Goals, Strategies & Actionsadequate enforcement will be important A ctions 3.1.3: Develop training on the use ofto reduce existing stressors on fish, wild- existing and emerging tools for managing under uncertainty (e.g., vulnerability and risklife, and plants. It is also essential that 3.1.1: Build on existing needs assessments to identify gaps in climate change knowl- assessments, scenario planning, decisionprograms are reviewed to maximize the support tools, and adaptive management). edge and technical capacity among naturalutility of existing conservation funding resource professionals.and to increase the priority of climate 3.1.4: Develop a web-based clearinghousechange adaptation work. 3.1.2: Build on existing training courses and of training opportunities and materials work with professional societies, acade- addressing climate change impacts on micians, technical experts, and natural natural resource management. resource agency training professionalsStrategy 3.1: Increase the climate to address key needs, augment adapta- 3.1.5: Encourage use of interagencychange awareness and capacity personnel agreements and interagency tion training opportunities, and develop (state, federal, and tribal) joint trainingof natural resource managers curricula, a common lexicon, and delivery programs as a way to disperse knowledge,and other decision makers and systems for natural resource professionals share experience and develop interagency and decision makers.enhance their professional communities of practice about climateabilities to design, implement, change adaptation.and evaluate fish, wildlife, and 3.1.6: Support and enhance web-basedplant adaptation programs. clearinghouses of information (e.g., www., etc.) on climate change adapta- tion strategies and actions targeted towards the needs of resource managers and deci- sion makers. Case Study 3.1.7: Increase scientific and manage- Sea level rise in Delaware ment capacity (e.g., botanical expertise) to A rising sea combined with sinking develop management strategies to address land creates a watery future. The state of impacts and changes to species. Delaware is experiencing both, with rela- 3.1.8: Develop training materials to help tive sea levels to rise at the rapid rate of managers and decision makers apply one inch every eight years (NOAA 2009). climate knowledge to the administration of That is a big problem in a state where more existing natural resource and environmental than 10 percent of the land lies less than laws and policies. eight feet above sea level and no spot is farther than 35 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay, or Delaware River. Residences, communities, and industries Greg Thompson / usfws are at risk. In fact, the state is already experiencing worrisome coastal flooding. Breaches in the sandy shoreline at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, for instance, have allowed saltwater into freshwater marshes that provide important waterfowl habitat. Wildlife Refuge is collaborating with the state of Delaware to implement short-term Keenly aware of the threat, the state of adaptation strategies to address inunda- Delaware has created a Sea Level Rise tion and saltwater intrusion into freshwater Initiative to understand the impacts of sea impoundments by re-establishing the level rise, prepare for inundation in some shoreline. areas, respond where necessary, and keep the public informed. Prime Hook National64 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 70. Case Study Traditional ecological knowledgeStrategy 3.2: Facilitate acoordinated response to climatechange at landscape, regional,national, and international Jeff Nicholsscales across state, federal,and tribal natural resourceagencies and private conservationorganizations. Indigenous communities possess Alaska Natives are already facing the effects traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and of climate change head on. For example, due relationships with particular resources and to erosion rates and increased climate changeActions homeland areas, accumulated through effects (e.g., sea ice retreat, permafrost melt, thousands of years of history and tradi- storm effects) the village of Newtok, home3.2.1: Use regional venues, such as LCCs, tion, which make them highly sensitive to, to the Qaluyaarmiut people, has begun relo-to collaborate across jurisdictions and and aware of, environmental change. TEK cation plans (Feifel and Gregg 2010). Thedevelop conservation goals and landscape/seascape scale plans capable of sustaining can be defined as the “holistic, evolving Qaluyaarmiut are avid fishermen and dependfish, wildlife, and plants. practices and beliefs passed down through on the natural environment for subsistence. generations about the relationships of living The American Indian Alaska Native Climate3.2.2: Identify and address conflicting beings to their environment” (Swinomish Change Working Group represent a broadmanagement objectives within and among 2010). This knowledge is place-specific and alliance of indigenous communities, tribalfederal, state, and tribal conservation includes the relationships between plants, colleges, scientists, and activists, who workagencies and private landowners, and seek animals, natural phenomena, landscapes, together to empower indigenous climateto align policies and approaches wherever and phenology that are used for regular change adaptation. Indigenous educationalpossible. practices like hunting, fishing, trapping, and institutions are critical vehicles for nurturing forestry (Rinkevich et al. 2011). indigenous environmental knowledge and3.2.3: Integrate individual agency and scientific capacity, and can be leaders ofstate climate change adaptation programs Because of the dependence of American regional indigenous responses to climateand State Wildlife Action Plans with other Indians and Alaska Natives on their natural change (Upham 2011).regional conservation efforts, such as resources for their economic and culturalLCCs, to foster collaboration. identity, climate change is a threat not only In addition to working groups that focus on3.2.4: Collaborate with tribal govern- to those natural resources, but also to the indigenous climate issues, TEK is alreadyments and native peoples to integrate traditions, the culture, and ultimately, the being utilized by other management entitiestraditional ecological knowledge and prin- very health of the communities themselves. in Alaska. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceciples into climate adaptation plans and TEK holds great value with respect to and the State of Alaska Department of Fishdecision-making. climate change assessment and adaptation and Game collect and use TEK for research efforts, by helping to understand climatic and monitoring fish populations and their3.2.5: Engage with international neigh- impacts on a wide variety of ecological responses to climate and environmentalbors, including Canada, Mexico, Russia, processes and ecosystems, at various change (Rinkevich et al. 2011). The responseand nations in the Caribbean Basin, Arctic scales (Nabhan 2010). Governments and to certain environmental disasters and theCircle, and Pacific Ocean to help adapt organizations, from the Intergovernmental justification of listing the polar bear as ato and mitigate climate change impacts Panel on Climate Change to DOI, are threatened species both relied on the inclusionin shared trans-boundary areas and for increasingly recognizing the value of TEK as of TEK to understand and document historicalcommon migratory species. a complement to research for developing a ecological characteristics (Rinkevich et al.3.2.6: Foster interaction among land- comprehensive response to climate change 2011). The relationships developed in Alaskaowners, local experts, and specialists to impacts, both in indigenous and non-indige- are an excellent example of not only how TEKidentify opportunities for adaptation and to nous communities (DOI 2010, Anisimov et can be successfully integrated into manage-share resources and expertise that other- al. 2007). Despite this gradually increasing ment activities, but also how this knowledgewise would not be available to many small acknowledgement, the status and trust obli- can be collected, used, and protected in alandowners. gations related to TEK have yet to receive respectful and culturally-sensitive manner. comprehensive treatment. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 65
  • 71. Goals, Strategies & Actions 3.3.6: Continue the ongoing work of 3.4.5: Review existing conservation relatedStrategy 3.3: Review existing the Joint State-Federal Task Force on federal grants to tribal agencies and revisefederal, state and tribal legal, Endangered Species Act Policy to ensure as necessary to provide funding for tribalregulatory and policy frameworks that policies guiding implementation of the climate adaptation activities. ESA provide appropriate flexibility to addressthat provide the jurisdictional climate change impacts on listed fish, wild- 3.4.6: Develop a web-based clearinghouseframework for conservation of life, and plants and to integrate the efforts of funding opportunities available to supportfish, wildlife, and plants to identify of federal, state, and tribal agencies to climate adaptation efforts.opportunities to improve, where conserve listed species.appropriate, their usefulness to 3.3.7: Initiate a dialogue among all affected GOAL 3address climate change impacts. interests about opportunities to improve the P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S T usefulness of existing legal, regulatory, and policy frameworks to address impacts of Natural resource professionalActions sea level rise on coastal habitats. training needs identified;3.3.1: Review existing legal, regulatory Climate adaptation training collab-and policy frameworks that govern protec- oratives established;tion and restoration of habitats and identify Strategy 3.4: Optimize use ofopportunities to incorporate the value of existing fish, wildlife, and plant Core curricula for climate adaptationecosystem services and improve, where established; conservation funding sourcesappropriate, the utility of these frameworksto address climate change impacts. to design, deliver, and evaluate Training opportunity and accessi- climate adaptation programs. bility increased;3.3.2: Review existing legal, regulatory and Interagency personnel assignmentspolicy frameworks and identify opportunities A ctions expanded;to develop or enhance, where appropriate,market-based incentives to support resto- 3.4.1: Prioritize funding for land and water Regional collaboratives engagedration of habitats and ecosystem services protection programs that incorporate climate to serve as venues for inter-juris-impacted by climate change. Identify change considerations. dictional collaboration on climateopportunities to eliminate disincentives to change adaptation;conservation and adaptation. 3.4.2: Review existing federal, state, and tribal grant programs and revise as neces- Legal, regulatory, and policy frame-3.3.3: Review existing legal, regulatory and sary to support funding of climate change works regarding key conservationpolicy frameworks and identify opportunities adaptation and include climate change statues reviewed and as necessary,to improve, where appropriate, compensa- considerations in the evaluation and ranking updated;tory mitigation requirements to account forclimate change. process of grant selection and awards. Floodplain maps updated;3.3.4: Review existing legal, regulatory and 3.4.3: Collaborate with state and tribal agen- Dialogue initiated to improve imple-policy frameworks that govern floodplain cies and private conservation partners to mentation of existing legal policymapping, flood insurance, and flood mitiga- sustain authorization and appropriations for frameworks, regulations, and poli-tion and identify opportunities to improve the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program cies to respond to climate impacts;their usefulness to reduce risks and and include climate change criteria in grantincrease adaptation of natural resources review process. Criteria to include climate changeand communities in a changing climate. adaptation in existing conservation 3.4.4: Collaborate with agricultural interests grant programs developed;3.3.5: Review existing legal, regulatory and and businesses to identify potential impactspolicy tools that provide the jurisdictional of climate change on crop production and Criteria for including climate changeframework for conservation of fish, wildlife, identify conservation strategies that will adaptation needs in resource alloca-and plants to identify existing provisions maintain or improve ecosystem services tion developed;that provide climate change adaptation through programs under the conservationbenefits. title of the Farm Bill or other vehicles. Funding allocations reviewed/ revised in light of climate change priorities.66 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 72. Inventory, monitoring, and observation systems should be maintained, addressed, and where needed, coordinated to enable resource managers to monitor and identify changes in ecological baselines from the species to the ecosystem level, and to prioritize and develop adapta- tion plans and actions. Monitoring and tracking key ecological variables Goal 4 can provide early warnings of pendingjenny leff change, and is essential to evaluating and improving adaptation responses Support adaptive management in a over time. The National Ecological Observatory Network is an example of changing climate through integrated such an effort to deploy instrumenta- observation and monitoring and use of tion at sites to measure key ecosystem variables arrayed across important envi- decision support tools. ronmental gradients. Other such systems include, but are not limited to, the Forest There is uncertainty regarding the specific impacts of climate Inventory and Analysis, the Natural change on natural resources. There is also much to be learned about Resource Assessment, the Breeding Bird Survey, the National Wetlands Inventory, the effectiveness of management actions to mitigate these impacts. Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, the To improve understanding of adaptation options, it is important Integrated Ocean Observing System and to support the development and use of long-term data series, many others. Monitoring systems, espe- information systems, and decision support tools. cially those that meet local to regional needs, will allow managers and other decision makers to evaluate the efficacy Vulnerability assessments and scenario planning can inform T he use of these tools, best profes- sional judgment, and stakeholder involvement is critical to the design of management actions. International efforts are critical to monitor and track and enable management climate impacts on species that migrate and implementation of management planning and decision-making approaches to promote climate change to and depend on areas beyond U.S. under uncertainty. adaptation. The continuous learning borders. Where existing systems do not principles of adaptive management meet all management needs, additional should be used to monitor the response programs may need to be developed. to management actions, evaluate effec- While observation systems provide tiveness, gain new knowledge, and critical data for resource managers, improve and inform future management those data have far greater utility when decisions. When coupled with research processed, analyzed, and made avail- on specific impacts to fish, wildlife, able as readily useable information. plants, and habitats and their response to The need for information management climate change (Goal 5), managers will and increased access to information is be better equipped to implement effective well-documented (Glick et al. 2011b). A management actions. multi-disciplinary approach to link and Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 67
  • 73. Goals, Strategies & Actionsmake available data currently devel- 4.1.5: Develop consensus standards and Strategy 4.1: Support, coordinate, protocols that enable multi-partner use andoped by separate agencies or groups willincrease access to and use of this infor- and where necessary develop data discovery, as well as interoperability of distributed but integrated databases and analysis tools related to fish,mation by resource managers, planners, wildlife, and plant observation, inventory,and decision makers. inventory, monitoring, and monitoring. observation, and informationVulnerability assessments are important systems at multiple scales to 4.1.6: Develop, refine, and implement monitoring protocols that provide keyscience-based tools that inform adapta- detect and describe climate information needed for managing andtion planning by identifying, quantifying, impacts on fish, wildlife, plants, conserving species and ecosystems in aor evaluating the degree to which natural and ecosystems. changing climate.resources or other values are likely to beaffected by changing climatic conditions. 4.1.7: Use existing or define new indica- A ctions tors at appropriate scales that can be usedThey may focus on natural resources, to monitor the response of fish, wildlife,communities, species, sites, regions, 4.1.1: Synthesize existing observations, plants, and ecosystems to climate change.sectors, or other values or targets, and monitoring, assessment, and decisionshould consider both current and future support tools as summarized by the 4.1.8: Promote a collaborative approach to U.S. Global Change Research Program acquire, process, archive, and disseminateimpacts. Vulnerability is generally Ecosystem Working Group. Conduct a knowl- essential geospatial and satellite-baseddefined as a combination of sensitivity edge-gap analysis of existing observation remote sensing data products (e.g., snowto change, likely exposure to changing networks, indicators, monitoring programs, cover, green-up, surface water, wetlands)conditions, and the capacity to adapt remote sensing capabilities, and geospatial needed for regional-scale monitoring andto those changes over time (IPCC AR 4 data necessary to define priorities. land management.2007). Vulnerability assessments should 4.1.2: Use available long-term monitoring 4.1.9: Collaborate with the Nationaladdress all three factors. These types of programs at appropriate scales (local to Phenology Network to facilitate monitoringassessments can help managers develop international) as baselines for popula- of phenology; create an analogous Nationaland prioritize adaptation strategies as tion and migration changes that could Population Network to catalog changeswell as inform management approaches. be affected by climate change (e.g., in distribution and abundance of fish, International Waterfowl Surveys). wildlife, and plants that have been identified as most vulnerable to climate change.Tools, such as vulnerability and risk 4.1.3: Work through existing distributedassessments and scenario planning, efforts (e.g., NCA, National Estuarine 4.1.10: Identify and develop a lessonscan inform and enable management Research Reserve System’s system-wide learned/success stories list of multi-partnerplanning and decision-making under monitoring program, State Natural Heritage data development, analysis, and dissemina- Programs, National Wildlife Refuge System tion efforts.uncertainty. Identifying, developing, and National Park Service inventory andand employing these types of tools will monitoring programs) to support inte-help managers facilitate adaptation of grated national observation and informationindividual species, increase habitat systems that inform climate adaptation.resilience, and help identify where 4.1.4: Expand and develop as necessary achanges to the built environment may network of sentinel sites (e.g., tribal lands,conflict with ecosystem needs. National Estuarine Research Reserves, and National Wildlife Refuges) for inte- grated climate change inventory, monitoring, research, and education.68 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 74. GOAL 4 P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S T Public/private collaborative convened to build nationally inte- grated inventory, monitoring, observation and information systems to inform climate change USFWS/GREG WANNER adaptation actions; Existing public and private inven- tory, monitoring, observation, and information systems linked and information systems assessed, linked, and made available; 4.2.5: Synthesize vulnerability assessmentsStrategy 4.2: Identify, develop, and Data collection standards for across jurisdictions to provide regional common set of climate changeemploy decision support tools assessments. metrics established;for managing under uncertainty 4.2.6: Engage scientists, resource(e.g., vulnerability and risk Coordinated sentinel sites identified, managers, economists, and stakeholders linked, and as necessary, estab-assessments, scenario planning, in climate change scenario planning lished to monitor climate changestrategic habitat conservation processes, including identification of a set impacts and responses; of plausible future scenarios associatedapproaches, forecasting, and with climate phenomena and socio- Targeted monitoring of fish, wildlife,adaptive management evaluation economics likely to significantly impact plants, and their habitats for thesystems) via dialogue with fish, wildlife, and plants. effects of climate change initiated;scientists, managers (of natural 4.2.7: Ensure the availability of and provide Federal, state, and tribal managersresources and other sectors), guidance for decision support tools (e.g., provided with access to naturaleconomists, and stakeholders. NOAA’s Digital Coast, Sea Level Affecting resources information and other Marshes Model (SLAMM), etc.) that assist necessary data; federal, state, local, and tribal resourceA C TIO N S managers and planners in effectively Evaluation of existing and new managing fish, wildlife, and plants in a climate adaptation plans uses4.2.1: Develop regional downscaling of changing climate. observation and monitoringGlobal Climate models to conduct vulner- systems;ability assessments of living resources. 4.2.8: Use observation and monitoring systems in an adaptive management Regionally downscaled climate4.2.2: Develop, disseminate, and utilize framework to evaluate the effectiveness projections produced wheregeophysical and biological modeling of specific management actions and adapt appropriate;(such as Species Distribution Models). management approaches appropriately. Standardized climate change4.2.3: Conduct vulnerability and risk 4.2.9: Develop a central repository for scenarios developed;assessments for habitats and priority sharing experiences and reporting prog-species (threatened and endangered Models for climate change impacts ress in implementing the Strategy in orderspecies, species of greatest conservation to species and habitats improved or to share information across implementingneed, and species of socioeconomic and developed; agencies and partners and to inform futurecultural significance). iterations of the Strategy. Framework of tools for managing4.2.4: Define national standards and under uncertainty developed;criteria to identify fish, wildlife, plants,and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate Vulnerability and risk assessmentschange impacts. conducted for priority species. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 69
  • 75. Goals, Strategies & Actions case study Sentinel site monitoring Gabi Estill/Elkhorn Slough NERR The innovative approaches to sentinal site monitoring provide a framework that can be applied to inform the climate change management dialogue. Crafting an effective climate adapta- is under stress from eutrophication, ground- tion strategy is difficult without having good water withdrawals, and other factors. data on the impacts of climate change. Collecting that vital information, in turn, To understand the complex effects of requires observing and measuring what is these stressors, the NERRS is intensely happening at specific locations over many monitoring the ecosystem. Researchers years. In 2008, the National Estuarine are recording surface water levels, testing Research Reserve System (NERRS) began water quality, and measuring changes establishing such so-called “sentinel sites” occurring in tidal marsh plants, and to learn how estuarine habitats respond to submerged aquatic vegetation. They are sea level change. also monitoring the amounts of sediment in the wetlands and changes in land elevation. One of those sentinel sites is the Elkhorn Slough Reserve in California’s Monterey So far, the project has documented a Bay. The area began losing some of its worrisome trend. The marshes appear to tidal wetlands more than 100 years ago be sinking, and this subsidence greatly when dikes and water control structures decreases their resilience to future sea began to decrease tidal exchange and to level rise. Eventually, rising sea levels will many portions of the estuary. An artificial increase the vulnerability of a railroad line, mouth to the estuary created in 1946 to a power plant, and a number of adjacent accommodate a new harbor also contrib- farms to flooding and coastal erosion. The uted to wetland loss. Now, sea level rise is monitoring data will be informing the adap- further threatening this valuable estuarine tation measures that are taken to reduce ecosystem. At the same time, the estuary vulnerability.70 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 76. Knowledge gaps regarding impacts on species and ecosystems will need to be addressed. Existing research collabora- tions such as the USGCRP can enable natural resource managers and other decision makers to focus and prioritize research. There are many critical areasUSFWS/Larry Jernigan where increased basic understanding is needed to anticipate and help reduce the Goal 5 impacts of climate change on fish, wild- life, and plants including how climate change will alter the effects of pollutants Increase knowledge and information on and other existing stressors in ecosys- tems, and how species will respond to impacts and responses of fish, wildlife, and changes in climatic and non-climatic plants to a changing climate. factors. New findings should be rapidly incorporated into decision support tools (e.g., state-and-transition models) and The design and delivery of fish, wildlife, and plant climate change made available to managers, as well as into climate change adaptation planning, adaptation programs is also hampered by lack of detailed knowledge delivery, and evaluation. By improving about specific impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants, and the state of knowledge, managers can habitats and their adaptive capacity to respond. better develop novel and anticipatory adaptation strategies. The services associated with healthy ecosystems, including I t is important to note that despite a growing foundation of information, many uncertainties and gaps remain in The use of models to project potential changes in weather patterns and natural clean water, healthy habitats, systems has already generated a great our understanding about the current and and desirable living and deal of useful information to help us future impacts of climate change and recreational environments are plan for future climate impacts, espe- ocean acidification on natural resources invaluable. cially at large scales. Additional and more and ecosystems. refined models at temporal and spatial Focused research on developing a clear scales appropriate to climate adaptation set of indicators that could be used to objectives established by natural resource track and assess the impacts of climate managers are required. Development of change and the effectiveness of adapta- models to predict how changes in climate tion efforts over time is still in its infancy variables (e.g., temperature, humidity, but has been growing in recent years. atmospheric CO2) impact habitat and Additional basic research to develop, fish, wildlife, and plant abundance and improve, and integrate information distribution is a priority and should from physical monitoring systems, initially focus on processes that are satellites, and national weather service already occurring and that act on short systems is needed to better under- (i.e., decadal) time scales. stand how the climate is changing. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 71
  • 77. Goals, Strategies & Actions case stud y Plants and their pollinatorsMost Americans appreciate the aestheticvalues that healthy populations of fish,wildlife, and plants offer, and many havea cultural, recreational, or economicassociation with wildlife and wild places.Few, however, fully understand the USFWS/Laura Perlickservices that well-functioning ecosys-tems provide to society or what the fullcost of replacing those services would be.Methods should be developed to objec-tively quantify the value of ecosystem More than 75 percent of flowering Research at Northern Arizona Universityservices and to understand potential plants, which provide a bounty of fruits, are trying to answer this question. In theimpacts from climate change to these seeds, nuts, and nectar for wildlife, depend mountains of San Francisco Peaks north ofimportant services. Once these values on pollinators. As the climate changes, Flagstaff, Arizona, teams of researchers areare quantified, they can be considered plants will grow in different places and conducting extensive surveys of plant-polli-in better economic decision-making bloom at different times. That raises a nator relationships at five different sites. high-stakes question: Will pollinatorsprocesses. follow? If they cannot, then vital ecological This collaborative study is looking across relationships could be severed. ecosystems from the desert foothills up to the highest mountain peaks, collectingStrategy 5.1: Identify knowledge The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arizona both ecological and climate data, andgaps and define research Ecological Services Field Office and the capturing changes in ecological relation-priorities via a collaborative Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental ships over time.process among federal, state,tribal, private conservation 5.1.2: Bring managers and scientists 5.1.5: Based on priority conservation needsorganization, and academic together at the appropriate scales to priori- identified by resource managers, developresource managers and research tize research needs that address resource national, and as appropriate, regionalscientists. management objectives considering a research agendas identifying key high level changing climate. questions for which more fundamental research is needed to enable developmentActions 5.1.3: Encourage agencies with scientific of management applications or decision assets and expertise to participate in and support tools; and facilitate consultation5.1.1: Increase coordination and commu- contribute to regional dialogues about among major science funding agencies tonication between resource managers actions needed to meet management-driven maximize incorporation of these needs intoand natural and social scientists through science needs. funding opportunities and work plans.existing forums (e.g., National ScienceFoundation (NSF), USGCRP, NCA, USDA, 5.1.4: Participate in research planning for 5.1.6: Prioritize research on questionsCooperative Ecosystem Studies Units, relevant programs of agencies (e.g., NSF, relevant to managers of near-term riskCSCs, LCCs, JVs, RISAs, Associations of NOAA, state agencies, and local govern- environments (e.g., low-lying islands, alpineFish and Wildlife Agencies, State Wetlands ments), and intergovernmental forums systems and high-elevation headwaters,Managers, State Floodplain Managers, (e.g., Conservation of Arctic Flora and coral reefs, and glaciated areas) or highlyCoastal States Organization, National Fauna working group of the Arctic Council) vulnerable species.Estuarine Research Reserve Association, to ensure inclusion of research relevantand others) to ensure research is connected to missions of agencies and resource 5.1.7: Prioritize research and methodsto management needs. managers. development for the valuation of ecosystem services and the role these services play in ameliorating climate change impacts on people and communities.72 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 78. 5.2.5: Accelerate research on establishingStrategy 5.2: Conduct research the value of ecosystem services and poten- GOAL 5 P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S Tinto ecological aspects of climate tial impacts to communities from climatechange, including likely impacts change (e.g., loss of pollution abatement Working groups are developed that or flood attenuation; climate regulationand the adaptive capacity of by forests and wetlands through carbon share data, expertise, and respon- sibilities for addressing researchspecies, communities and sequestration, oxygen production, and CO2 needs;ecosystems, and their associated consumption; and pollination by insects, birds, and mammals).ecosystem services, working Initial inventory of knowledge gaps completed;through existing partnerships or 5.2.6: Identify pollutants likely to benew collaborations as needed affected by climate change and accelerate Research agenda developed; research on their effects on fish, wildlife,(e.g., USGCRP, NCA, CSCs, RISAs, and their habitats, including contaminant Research to address priorityand others). effects that will likely increase vulnerability knowledge gaps initiated; to climate change. Regional and subregional projec-Actions tions of climate change impacts5.2.1: Produce regional to subregional completed; Strategy 5.3: Advanceprojections of future climate change impacts understanding of climate change Protocols and methods for valuingon physical, chemical, and biological condi- impacts and species and ecosystem services developed;tions for U.S. ecosystems. ecosystem responses through Approaches to improve validity of5.2.2: Support basic research on life histo- modeling. projections of future climate andries and food web dynamics of fish, wildlife, improve linkage of atmospheric/and plants to increase understanding of how climate models to ecological impactspecies are likely to respond to changing A ctions models developed.climate conditions and identify survivalthresholds. 5.3.1: Define the suite of physical and biological variables and ecological5.2.3: Identify and address priority climate processes for which predictive modelschange knowledge gaps and needs (e.g., are needed via a collaborative processspecies adaptive capacity, risk and rewards among state, federal, and tribal resourceof assisted relocation, climate change managers, scientists, and modelsynergy with existing stressors). developers.5.2.4: Conduct research on the propagation 5.3.2: Improve modeling of climate changeand production of native plant materials to impacts on vulnerable species, includingidentify species or genotypes that may be projected future distributions and theresilient to climate change. probability of persistence. 5.3.3: Develop models that integrate the potential effects of climate and non-climate bill lynch stressors on vulnerable species. 5.3.4: Develop and use models of climate- impacted physical and biological variables and ecological processes at temporal and spatial scales relevant for conservation. 5.3.5: Provide access to current climate data and ensure alignment with data management and decision support tools at agency and departmental levels. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 73
  • 79. Goals, Strategies & Actions action. Communicating science-based information on the socio-economic value of ecosystem services to public and private decision makers and opinion leaders should be accomplished by using real examples. Development and implementation of effective adaptation policies and practicesKeith Weller/usda requires that interested constituen- Goal 6 cies and key stakeholders understand the fundamentals of climate change adaptation. Practical education and Increase awareness and motivate action outreach efforts and opportunities for participation should be developed and to safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants in a implemented whenever possible. changing climate. Strategy 6.1: Increase public A daptation efforts will be most successful if they have broad awareness and understanding of climate impacts to natural support and if key groups and people are motivated to take action resources and ecosystem themselves. Resources should be targeted toward elected officials, services and the principles of public and private policy makers, groups that are interested in climate adaptation at regionally- learning more about climate change issues, private landowners, and culturally-appropriate scales. and natural resource user groups. A ctions Engaging stakeholders early and repeatedly is key to making H elping stakeholders understand the concept of uncertainty and decision-making in the context of 6.1.1: Develop focused outreach efforts and materials aimed at local, state, tribal, and this Strategy work. federal government authorities; land and uncertainty are also important and water managers; economic policy decision integral parts of adaptive management. makers; zoning and transportation officials; etc. on ecosystem services, climate impacts Engaging stakeholders early and repeat- to fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems, edly to increase awareness of the threats the impacts of other local stressors, and the importance of adaptation planning. from climate change, to gather input in developing appropriate, integrated adap- 6.1.2: Develop outreach efforts and mate- tation responses, and to motivate their rials to other key audiences, such as the participation and action is key to making private sector (e.g., agriculture, forestry, etc.), cultural leaders, and private land this Strategy work. managers that provide information on existing conservation incentive programs. The concept of ecosystem services is gaining traction among elected officials and policy makers, but not enough is being done to translate the concept into 74 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 80. 6.1.3: Identify and partner with key stake- 6.2.5: Develop educational materials andholder groups (e.g., conservation and teacher trainings for K-12 classrooms linked GOAL 6 P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S Tenvironmental organizations, hunting and to state education standards on impactsangling groups, trade associations, outdoor and responses to climate change. Focused outreach to key decisionmanufacturers and retailers) to help develop makers initiated;and distribute key climate change and adap- 6.2.6: Develop collaborations with zoos,tation messages tailored for their interest museums, aquariums, botanic gardens, Stakeholder representativesgroups as well as the broader public. arboreta, and other organizations and engaged in working groups related universities to increase communication and to climate change messaging;6.1.4: Incorporate information about poten- awareness of impacts and responses totial climate change impacts to ecosystem climate change. Improved messaging and targetingservices in education and outreach of information on fish, wildlife, andactivities. 6.2.7: Develop core messaging and recom- plants, ecosystem services, and mended strategies to communicate the climate change to key audiences6.1.5: Increase public awareness of existing Strategy within participating organizations, developed;habitat conditions and the benefits of local associations and clubs (e.g., gardenbuilding resiliency of those habitats. clubs), and with the public. Agency-produced educational and interpretive materials and papers 6.2.8: Develop strategy to assess effective- are developed and distributed; ness of communication efforts and modifyStrategy 6.2: Engage the public as appropriate. Tools designed to engage citizensthrough targeted education and in monitoring impacts of climateoutreach efforts and stewardship change developed;opportunities. Strategy 6.3: Coordinate climate Educational curricula developed; change communication effortsActions across jurisdictions. Collaborations with zoos, aquaria, museums, and botanic gardens6.2.1: Identify and make opportunities avail- initiated;able for public involvement to aid in the A ctionsdevelopment of focused outreach materials. Workshops and communication 6.3.1: Develop, implement, and strengthen programs increasing awareness6.2.2: Use public access points, nature existing communication efforts between of climate change related issuescenters, and hunting and fishing regulation federal agencies, with states and tribes regarding fish, wildlife, and plantsguides to inform tourists, visitors, and recre- to increase awareness of the impacts and across agencies developed;ational users of climate change impacts to responses to climate change.and adaptation strategies for fish, wildlife, Effectiveness of communications 6.3.2: Engage employees from multiple assessed.and plants. agencies in key climate change issues by6.2.3: Develop specific programs and/or expanding existing forums for informationmodify existing programs (e.g., bird and sharing and idea exchange, and create newamphibian surveys) to motivate action forums and channels as needed.and engage citizens in monitoring impacts 6.3.3: Provide access to tools (web-basedof climate change on the landscape and others) that promote improved collab-(e.g., citizen science monitoring for oration, interactive dialog, and resourcedetection of invasive species, nature sharing to minimize duplication of effortcenter programs, etc.). across jurisdictions.6.2.4: Make research and monitoring infor-mation regarding climate impacts to speciesand natural systems accessible and easilyunderstood to the public and other partners USFWS/Pat Hagan(e.g., commercial fisheries, etc.). Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 75
  • 81. Goals, Strategies & Actions stressors are not adequately addressed. Thus, reducing these existing stressors is both essential to maintain short-term survival for some species, but also may be some of the most effective ways to increase resilience of fish, wildlife, and plants in a changing climate. Where possible, reducing non-climate stressorsusFWS/Ryan Hagerty should be approached with a changing Goal 7 climate in mind to prioritize actions and discourage maladaptive decisions. Continued application of ecosystem Reduce non-climate stressors to help fish, based approaches to natural resource wildlife, plants, and ecosystems adapt to a management is also a key step in this process given the scale and scope of changing climate. climate change impacts on natural and human communities. The importance of conserving, restoring, and connecting This Strat egy identifies actions that natural resource managers suitable habitats as a way to enhance fish, and others can take to address the impacts of climate change on wildlife, and plant resiliency has been fish, wildlife, and plants and the human uses and benefits that living discussed previously, and reducing and systems provide. One of the most important actions is to reduce the mitigating the ongoing degradation asso- negative impacts of existing stressors to help increase the capacity of ciated with human development such as fish, wildlife, and plants to cope with changing climate conditions. pollution and loss of open space is also critical. Opportunities for collaboration should be actively pursued with land-use Addressing existing stressors has been the focus of natural W hile this Strategy does not attempt to catalog all of those critical efforts, it is important to note that some planners as well as major sectors such as agriculture, transportation, and water resource conservation and resource interests to identify common of these existing stressors (such as habitat management efforts for concerns and shared solutions. loss, fragmentation, and degradation, decades, often with notable invasive species, disease, pollution, over- As described previously, invasive species successes. harvesting, destructive harvest practices are pervasive in our environment and (e.g., fisheries bycatch and illegal trade) becoming more so every day. There are not only some of the things decision are no easy ways to combat invasive makers can control, they are also likely to species, but coordinating efforts across interact with climate change to magnify jurisdictions, international borders and negative impacts on fish, wildlife, and among terrestrial and aquatic resource plants (Negri and Hoogenboom 2011). managers and citizen scientists can help. Indeed, the cumulative effects of these Greater coordination in stepping up existing stressors is already a major threat efforts at prevention, enhancing early to many species, some of which may not detection and rapid response programs, survive long enough to have a chance and avoiding accidental movement of of adapting to climate change if existing invaders is essential (National Invasive Species Council 2008). Moreover, 76 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 82. Case stud y Fighting the spread of water hyacinth Introduced into the United States in the late 1890s from South America, water hyacinth has spread rapidly across the southeastern United States, and today is already a major pest. This floating plantdecisions regarding increasing connec- produces vast, thick mats that clog water- ways, crowding out native plants andtivity and restoring corridors will have to making boating, fishing, and swimmingbe weighed with the threat of invasives Phil Whitehouse almost impossible.and the consequences of choosing oneadaptation strategy over another. In Because water hyacinth cannot surviveaddition to the threats from invasive when winter temperatures drop belowspecies, climate stresses are causing freezing, climate change will only make But these steps must be taken before thesome native pests and pathogens as the problem worse. Rising temperatures plant gets established, emphasizing the vitalwell as pollution exposure to become will allow this pest to invade new areas, importance of planning for invasions projected and the plant will likely spread north. in a changing climate and constantly moni-increasingly problematic and this will Fortunately, there are some effective toring vulnerable ecosystems for the firstneed to be considered when management measures for fighting invasions of water telltale signs of such invasions.plans are developed. hyacinth, such as utilizing weevils along with some herbicides (Mallya et al. 2001).Strategy 7.1: Slow and reverse 7.1.6: Consider application of offsite habitat A ctionshabitat loss and fragmentation. banking linked to climate change habitat priorities as a tool to compensate for 7.2.1: Work with local and regional land-use, unavoidable onsite impacts and to promote water resource, and coastal and marineActions habitat conservation or restoration in desir- spatial planners to identify potentially able locations. conflicting needs and opportunities to mini-7.1.1: Work with local land-use planners,flood-plain administrators, and others to mize ecosystem degradation resulting from 7.1.7: Consider market-based incentivesidentify shared interests and potential development and land and water use. that encourage conservation and resto-conflicts in reducing and reversing habitat ration of ecosystems for the full range 7.2.2: Work with farmers and ranchers tofragmentation and loss through established of ecosystem services including carbon develop and implement livestock manage-planning and zoning processes. storage. ment practices to reduce and reverse7.1.2: Work with farmers and ranchers to habitat degradation and to protect regenera- 7.1.8: Minimize impacts from alternativeapply the incentive programs in the conser- tion of vegetation. energy development by focusing sitingvation title of the Farm Bill as well as the options on already disturbed or degraded 7.2.3: Reduce existing pollution and contam-landowner tools under the ESA and other areas. inants and increase monitoring of air andprograms to minimize conversion of habi-tats, restore marginal agricultural lands to water pollution as necessary. 7.1.9: Identify options for redesign andhabitat, and increase riparian buffer zones. removal of existing structures or barriers 7.2.4: Work with water resource managers where there is the greatest potential to to identify, upgrade, or remove outdated7.1.3: Provide landowners with appropriate restore natural processes. sewer and stormwater infrastructure toincentives for conservation and restorationof key habitats, such as conservation ease- reduce water contamination.ment tax incentive programs, designed to 7.2.5: Increase restoration, enhancement,protect private lands of high habitat connec- Strategy 7.2: Slow, mitigate, and and conservation of riparian zones andtivity value under climate change. reverse where feasible ecosystem buffers in agricultural and urban areas to7.1.4: Work with water resource managers degradation from anthropogenic minimize non-point source enhance design and siting criteria for sources through land/ocean- 7.2.6: Work with federal, state, and tribalwater resources infrastructure to reduce use planning, water resource environmental regulators to address poten-impacts and restore connectivity in flood- planning, pollution abatement, tial pollution threats, including impairmentsplains and aquatic habitats. and the implementation of best to water quality.7.1.5: Work with local and regional water management practices. 7.2.7: Reduce impacts of imperviousmanagement agencies to evaluate historical surfaces and stormwater runoff in urbanwater quantities and base flows and develop areas to improve water quality, groundwaterwater management options to protect or recharge, and hydrologic function.restore aquatic habitats. Climate Adaptation Goals, Strategies & Actions | 77
  • 83. Goals, Strategies & Actions7.2.8: Reduce ground and surface water 7.3.4: Apply risk assessment and scenario 7.4.2: Implement the 2011 U.S. Nationalwithdrawals in areas experiencing drought planning to identify actions and prioritize Bycatch Report recommendations (NMFSand/or increased evapotranspiration. responses to invasive species that pose 2011) to increase information of bycatch the greatest threats to natural ecosystems. levels, identify fisheries and/or species with7.2.9: Promote water conservation, reduce potential bycatch concerns, and improvewater use, and promote increased water 7.3.5: Implement existing national, state monitoring of bycatch levels over time.quality via proper waste disposal. and local strategies and programs for rapid response to contain, control, or 7.4.3: Reduce negative impacts of capture7.2.10: Develop and implement proto- eradicate invasive species, and develop practices and gear on important habitats forcols for considering carbon sequestration new strategies as needed. fish, wildlife, and plants.and storage services of natural habitats inmanagement decisions. 7.3.6: Assess risks and vulnerability to 7.4.4: Determine sustainable harvest levels identify high priority areas and/or species in changing climate, and design, imple-7.2.11: Incorporate the recommenda- for monitoring of invasive species and ment, and evaluate management plans andtions and actions from the National Action success of control methods. practices to eliminate over-harvest of fish,Plan for Managing Freshwater Resources wildlife, and a Changing Climate into water resource 7.3.7: Monitor invasive species and patho-planning. gens associated with fish, wildlife, and plant 7.4.5: Increase efforts to monitor and species for increased understanding of reduce illegal species trade in the United7.2.12: Consider the impact of logging distributions and to minimize introductions. States.practices on fire risk and ecosystemdiversity and function. 7.3.8: Apply integrated management GOAL 7 practices, share innovative control method- P R O G R E S S C H E C K LI S T ologies, and take corrective actions when necessary to manage fish, wildlife, andStrategy 7.3: Use, evaluate, and Regional and local land-use, water plant diseases and invasives. resource, coastal, and marineas necessary, improve existing planners engaged;programs to prevent, control, and 7.3.9: Work with federal, state, regional, and county agricultural interests to identifyeradicate invasive species and Collaboration with farmers and potentially conflicting needs and opportu- ranchers to review/revise livestockmanage pathogens. nities to minimize ecosystem degradation management practices begun; resulting from pests, pathogens, and inva- sive species eradication, suppression, and Nationwide inventory of outdatedActions control efforts. legacy infrastructure initiated;7.3.1: Use, integrate, and implementexisting pest and pathogen risk assessment Disruptive floodplain infrastructure reduced/removed;methodologies for imported organisms and Strategy 7.4: Reduce destructiveestablish appropriate regulations to prevent capture practices (e.g., fisheries Coordinated invasive speciesdeliberate importations of pests, pathogens,or other species that are predicted to be bycatch, destructive fishing gear), and disease monitoring system established;harmful or invasive. over-harvesting and illegal trade to help increase fish, wildlife, and Multiple barriers to invasive species7.3.2: Employ a multiple barriers approachto detect and contain incoming and estab- plant adaptation. introduction in place;lished invasive species, including monitoring Strong import screening protocolsat points of origin and points of entry for established; A ctionsshipments of goods and materials into theUnited States and for trans-shipment within 7.4.1: Reduce the unintentional capture Coordinated national invasivesthe country. Utilize education, regulation, (such as fisheries bycatch) of species in management actions implemented;and risk management tools (e.g., the Hazard fishing and other capture activities.Analysis and Critical Control Point process). Pollution/contaminant monitoring improved;7.3.3: Develop national standards forcollecting and reporting invasive species Destructive capture practicesdata to facilitate information sharing and identified and response.78 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 84. USFWS/Joshua Winchell CH.4 Opportunities for Multiple Sectors Climate change poses significant challenges for more than our nation’s ecosystems. Its impacts also will be felt in cities and towns, and in sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation and other infrastructure, housing, and water resources. The anticipated impacts to those sectors have been well documented and the threat of climate change has already prompted important adaptation efforts. It is important to consider not only the impacts of other C hicago is installing “green” roofs that put vegetation on top of buildings and “cool” pavement that reflects light sectors will ultimately impact our nation’s fish, wildlife, and plants. At times, adap- tation efforts taken by these sectors can sectors on species and their to tamp down anticipated heat waves conflict with the needs of ecosystems ecosystems, but to look for (Hayhoe and Wuebbles 2010). Keene, (maladaptation). For example, south- opportunities for coordinated New Hampshire, has upgraded storm- western cities diversifying their water adaptation strategies that water systems and other infrastructure supplies may take vital water away from provide co-benefits. after being hit by devastating floods (City wildlife and farmers. But far more often, of Keene, New Hampshire 2007). Native climate change adaptation can benefit Americans are moving entire villages in multiple sectors. Restoring wetlands Alaska and making trout habitat more to provide more resilient habitats also resilient in Michigan (Buehler 2011). can improve water quality and slow Overall, at least 17 states have or are floodwaters helping downstream cities. developing climate adaptation plans. At Protecting coastal ecosystems also helps the federal level, adaptation efforts are protect communities and industries from being coordinated by the ICCATF and are rising sea level along the coast. Moreover, described in the October 2011 Progress research on the economics of climate Report of the Interagency Climate Change adaptation shows that it can be far Adaptation Task Force (CEQ 2011). cheaper to invest in becoming more resil- ient now than to pay for damages caused All of these affected interests will respond by climate change later (ECA 2009). to climate change impacts in their own way, and the decisions made in these In working to reduce climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, and plants, it Opportunities for Multiple Sectors | 79
  • 85. Opportunities for Multiple Sectorsis important to consider not only theimpacts of other sectors on these species There are seven overarching climate adaptation strategies, common to alland their ecosystems, but to look for sectors, that can benefit fish, wildlife, and plant adaptation:opportunities for coordinated adaptationstrategies that provide co-benefits. These 1 | Improve the consideration of impacts to fish, wildlife, and plants in thesectors can take actions that also reduce development of sector-specific climate adaptation strategies.non-climate stressors on ecosystems. Forinstance, precisely matching fertilizer 2 | Enhance coordination between sectors and natural resource managers,amounts to the differing needs of each land-use planners, and decision makers regarding climate change adaptation.section of a field can cut overall fertilizeruse and nutrient runoff, thus reducing 3 | Use integrated planning to engage all levels of government (local, state,the algal blooms that stress aquatic federal, and tribal) and multiple stakeholders in multi-sector planning.ecosystems and increase their vulner-ability to climate change (e.g., increasing 4 | Make best available science on the impact of climate change on fish, wildlife,water temperatures). and plants accessible and useable for planning and decision-making across all sectors.It is outside the scope of this Strategyto describe in detail the climate change 5 | Explicitly consider natural resource adaptation in sector-specific climateimpacts on various sectors or their adap- adaptation planning.tation needs. Instead, this chapter brieflydescribes relevant climate impacts and 6 | Improve, develop, and deploy decision support tools, technologies, and bestrecommends actions for managers in management practices that incorporate climate change information to reducethese sectors to promote co-benefits and impacts on fish, wildlife, and plants.ensure that the needs of fish, wildlife,and plants are considered in their climate 7 | Assess the need for, and the utility of, expanding compensatory mitigationadaptation efforts. requirements for projects that reduce ecosystem resilience. Additional resources on Impacts to Other Sectors National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Water Resources in a Changing Climate (ICCATF 2011) The effects of climate change on agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity in the United States (CCSP 2008d) Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States (CCSP 2007) Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I (CCSP 2008b) Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region (CCSP 2009a) The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment (Climate Impacts Group 2009) Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI 2011) California Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS) (CNRA 2009)80 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 86. Australia, Asia, or South America in the and retired marginal land to all three 4.1 Agriculture future. A successful climate change adap- agricultural land uses. Expanding crop tation strategy for grassland species must production in this way will likely increase Agricultural production is the predom- contend with the global market forces pressures on plant and wildlife species inant land use on the American and the associated policy responses that may also be confronting pressures landscape. Virtually all crop (390 that generate the returns to agricul- resulting from a changing climate. Given million acres) and pasture land (119 tural production. This represents a more the managed nature of agricultural lands million acres), as well as a large frac- formidable challenge than adapting and the likely expansion of cropland into tion of rangeland (409 million acres), public lands management to respond to a grassland areas, it is critical to iden- is privately owned by more than two new stressor. tify strategies to aid plant and wildlife million landowners and provides a liveli- adaptation in agriculture-dominated hood to them and those who rent from Agricultural production is an economic landscapes. them. Climate change aside, grassland activity that is uniquely sensitive to species in the United States will feel more changes in precipitation and tempera- Maintaining viable grassland species pressure over the next century as food ture and these agronomic factors are populations requires adopting more production responds to greater demand predicted to be more variable in a wildlife friendly agricultural practices, from a larger global population and as changing climate. Producers and govern- managing the intensity of agricultural farming technologies expand the range ments will seek to mitigate the increased production, and selectively retiring for planting annual crops both north and risk of shortages due to crop failure by some lands from production. Existing west. Further changes can be expected increasing or encouraging increased programs offer incentives for producers. when drought, flood, or other climatic production. If new technology or more For example, the Environmental Quality disruption affects crop production in nutrients and water cannot be used to Incentives Program offers cost share satisfy increasing demand for food, for wildlife friendly livestock fencing. Irrigated agriculture relies heavily on surface- open space will be used with increasing Other practices, like haying and grazing water diversions and groundwater pumping. intensity for agricultural production, systems that have schedules sensitive to Projected climate changes include less with pastureland converting to cropland, bird nesting seasons and integrated pest snowpack which would mean less natural management, can make crop produc- rangeland to pastureland and cropland, springtime replenishment of water storage in tion more compatible with wildlife and the surface-water reservoirs. pollinators. Using long-term contracts and perma- nent easements, other programs encourage landowners to take and keep land out of crop production when doing so confers large conservation benefits. Two programs that are particularly relevant to grasslands are the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) and CRP. The former offers annual contract payments or lump-sum easement payment to landowners who want to maintain or enhance viable grasslands and the latter offers annual contract payments to landowners who convert cropland to grassland. Long-term contracts arejohn curley particularly well-suited to climate change Opportunities for Multiple Sectors | 81
  • 87. Opportunities for Multiple Sectorsconcerns because they can be used as“rolling easements,” permitting the land-scape configuration of habitat to evolve Case Studyover time. The CRP has been credited Lesser prairie-chicken in a changing climatefor providing habitat and increasingpopulations of waterfowl and grassland The lesser prairie-chicken , whichbirds that had seen long-term popula- resides mainly in the grasslands of thetion declines prior to the program. Both southern Great Plains region, is a species in trouble. The conversion of native range-programs employ critical elements of lands to cropland, decline in habitat qualityclimate adaptation strategies such as due to herbicide use, petroleum andoutreach, technical assistance, and mineral extraction activities, and excessivefinancial incentives to help landowners grazing of rangelands by livestock have allrestore and conserve grassland ecosys- contributed to a significant decline in popu-tems and help to mitigate the effects of lation leading to its Candidate status underclimate change. the federal Endangered Species Act (NRCS 1999).Adaptation strategies for agriculturealso benefiting natural resources Climate change is expected to make the bird’s plight worse. Climate change models»» Encourage producers to take sensi- project that temperatures in the lesser tive lands out of crop production for prairie-chicken’s range will climb by about extended periods of time and restore 5 °F and that precipitation will decrease wildlife habitat on these lands. by more than one inch per year by 2060 (USGCRP 2009). Such changes would likely»» Encourage producers to maintain harm the lesser prairie-chicken’s chances grassland habitat. of survival. Greg Kramos / USFWS»» Encourage producers to adopt agri- The good news is that simple management cultural production and land use steps can make a big difference. Under strategies that are resilient under existing USDA conservation programs, changing conditions and that benefit farmers and ranchers are compensated agriculture, fish, and wildlife. to take land out of production to create wildlife habitat. In fact, a landscape-»» Improve estimates of ecosystem scale geospatial analysis has shown services to better link conservation that restoring native prairie grasses and compensation with the environmental sagebrush on 10 percent of land enrolled services producers provide. in CRP, if properly targeted, could offset the projected population decline of lesser»» Encourage producers to adopt prairie-chicken from climate change wildlife-friendly practices. (McLachlan et al. 2011).82 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 88. 4.2 EnergyClimate-related changes to fish and wild-life habitat will occur simultaneous tochanges that are occurring in the energysector. Some of these changes will haveclear implications for energy produc-tion and use (CCSP 2007). Energy usagepatterns are expected to change in theUnited States, as are population demo-graphics that drive regional energydemand and seasonal energy needsfor heating and cooling (CCSP 2007, USFWS/Rachel MolendaUSGCRP 2009). For instance, averagewarming can be expected to increaseenergy requirements for cooling andreduce energy requirements for heating(USGCRP 2009). Development of more efficient clean sources of energy remains a challenge,In addition to challenges in managing Changes in the production and use but is becoming increasingly important in aconsumer demand for electricity, of fuels for transportation, heating, changing climate.particularly during peak load periods, and cooling must also be considered,changes in the physical environment including the increased production ofmay affect existing generation capacity biofuels. Coastal (and offshore) facili-and constrain the siting of new energy ties and infrastructure for producing change effects. The migration of species,generation capacity (CCSP 2007). For and distributing liquid transportation particularly those listed as threatenedexample, changes in precipitation and fuels could be subject to similar impacts or endangered, or the change in statussnow pack will affect the seasonality and as coastal power plants (CCSP 2007, of currently healthy populations underoverall generating capacity of hydro- USGCRP 2009). Changes in population future environmental stressors, couldelectric power, and decreased freshwater demographics could also affect levels of affect the operation and siting of existingavailability and increased surface water consumption and the location of infra- and new energy infrastructure. Thetemperatures will affect water-cooled structure associated with the delivery of sources of energy that are used influ-thermoelectric power plants in some fuels (CCSP 2007). ence the rate of GHG emissions, as wellregions (USGCRP 2009). Coastal power as the level of stress placed on local fish, Decisions made within the energy wildlife, and plant populations along theplants in some regions could be subject sector affect fish, wildlife, and plants, supply chain. For this reason, it is impor-to climate-related impacts from erosion, as do decisions in the natural resource tant that efforts within the energy sectorinundation, storm surges, and river management sector affect the energy and natural resources management sectorflooding as sea level rises and precipita- sector. There is considerable uncertainty are better informed.tion increases, especially during severe as to how many species of fish, wild-weather events (USGCRP 2009). Changes life, and plants will respond to climatein the intensity or frequency of severestorms could also affect the reliability oftransmission infrastructure (CCSP 2007,USGCRP 2009). Opportunities for Multiple Sectors | 83
  • 89. Opportunities for Multiple SectorsAdaptation strategies for energy plants in a number of ways. In responsedevelopment also benefiting natural to rising sea levels and extreme precipi-resources tation events, communities may develop»» Increase consultation and better align engineered structures, such as seawalls natural resource management and and levees, to protect critical assets from energy sector climate change adapta- potential inundation. These strategies, in tion strategies and activities, including turn, may adversely affect surrounding vulnerability assessments. landscapes, resulting in habitat loss, and the inability of fish, wildlife, and»» Incentivize the siting of new large plants to respond to climate-based energy projects in previously disturbed stressors. In the longer term, human areas or areas that have the least impact populations will likely shift to areas with to fish, wildlife, and plants. Avoid areas ample natural amenities while people of high ecological vulnerability and Human responses to climate change in the that remain in areas without neces- areas with limited water availability urban environment will likely include both sary resources will exert more effort to and competing water demands. fortification and relocation, impacting wildlife import those resources (CCSP 2008a). and natural systems in a variety of ways.»» Research and develop energy tech- The shifts in human population and the nologies that minimize climate change use of resources can be expected to strain impacts to fish, wildlife, and plants. Human responses to climate the ecosystem services provided by the change in the urban environment natural environment. Increased human»» Use local and regionally appropriate demand for water resources will likely approaches that incorporate adaptive are expected to take one of two reduce water availability for fish, wildlife, management principals to develop general paths: fortification or and plants. and site renewable energy resources relocation. to reduce vulnerability and enhance The availability of culturally, commer- the resilience of local and regional cially, and recreationally important ecosystems. (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). Sea level rise and changes in temperature, precipita- species for human uses (e.g., fishing, tion, and extreme weather events will hunting, watching) will also change have the greatest impact on society and as species distributions respond to a4.3 Housing and urban centers. Physical damage from changing climate and human population pressures. Availability of those species storms, flooding, and sea level rise willUrbanization threaten infrastructure and development, will ultimately affect subsistence and particularly along the coast. Changing commercial use, recreation, tourism, andSince U.S. cities, towns and communities the economy. Also affecting the economy temperatures and precipitation patternsdeveloped with an assumption of rela- will be the response of harvestable will affect the built environment as welltively stable climatic conditions, many resources (e.g., timber, fish) to a changing as resource availability (e.g., water).U.S. municipalities and urban centers climate. Decisions made regarding Increased temperatures and forest firesare at risk from the changing climate. development can affect fish, wild- will reduce air quality and threaten lifeThis risk is exacerbated by a burgeoning life, and plant populations by reducing and property (McMahon 1999).urban population; 80.7 percent of the habitat availability, fragmenting habitats,U.S. population now resides in urban and increasing multiple stressors. And Human responses to climate change inareas, an increase of 12.1 percent conversely, development will be affected the urban environment are expected tosince 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau 2012). by the presence of species listed under take one of two general paths: fortifica-Further, 30 percent of the U.S. population the ESA, the number of which will likely tion or relocation. Each of these broadlives in a “coastline county”—and popu- grow due to climate change. strategies will affect fish, wildlife, andlation along coasts continues to increase84 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 90. Adaptation strategies for communityplanning also benefiting naturalresources case stud y»» Provide opportunities to engage many Stormwater runoff different stakeholders in land use and resource use decisions that incorporate Altered runoff predicted climate change considerations. by climate change has the potential to»» Anticipate changes in human demo- increase the volume graphic patterns in response to climate of stormwater that can change, identify potential conflicts contribute to pollution, with the protection of fish, wildlife, and as well as drainage and flooding problems. plants, and develop possible solutions.»» Continue current research on the valuation of ecosystem services so that communities can make better- raymond shobe informed decisions regarding land use and resource protection.»» Educate the public about ecosystems, ecosystem services, and anticipated A major source of pollution related project the local impacts of development climate changes, and prepare the public to development along the coastline is in a changing climate (Blair et al. 2011). for projected changes. stormwater runoff. Runoff degrades water Urbanized watersheds were compared with quality, making it an important stressor less-developed suburban and undevel-»» Develop multi-objective strategies affecting resilience and sustainability of oped forested watersheds to examine the to identify landscapes which sustain coastal habitats and species. As a result relationship between land-use change and ecological values and provide human of increasing development, impervious stormwater runoff and how this will be benefits through ecosystem services surfaces that do not allow rain to pene- amplified under climate change. (e.g., urban green space which provides trate the soils (such as parking lots, roads and rooftops) increase the amount, peak This user-friendly and flexible tool provides recreational and cooling values; resto- flow, and velocity of stormwater runoff, a mechanism to quantify the volume of ration of native habitats and species; carrying pollutants into waterways and runoff and peak flow estimates under and promotion of native and drought scouring streambanks. Changing precipi- different land use and climate change tolerant species in development tation patterns, especially increased scenarios. It provides an improved under- standards). frequency and intensity of heavy rains, will standing of the impacts of development on have a compounding effect on the amount stormwater runoff as well as the potential»» Provide tools and methods that of stormwater released into surrounding impacts associated with climate change encourage communities to analyze ecosystems. in urbanized communities. Moreover, the potential costs and benefits of this research provides coastal resource adaptation strategies (i.e., fortify, Many tools are being developed to help managers with a tool to protect coastal accommodate, relocate) and their land managers make informed decisions. habitat resiliency from both non-climatic impact on surrounding habitats. For example, The National Oceanic and stressors such as development as well Atmospheric Administration’s National as climate-associated stressors such as»» Incorporate habitat migration potential Centers for Coastal Ocean Science at changing patterns of precipitation. into land-use planning and protect key Hollings Marine Laboratory has devel- corridors for species movement. oped a stormwater runoff-modeling tool to»» Review federal programs to encourage buyouts and other mitigation measures in areas vulnerable to recurring climate change impacts. Opportunities for Multiple Sectors | 85
  • 91. Opportunities for Multiple Sectors is initiated with a lifetime of 20 to 40 Natural resource and transportation4.4 Transportation years, advice and information from agencies should work together to develop natural resource agencies is needed to best practices that address the poten-and Infrastructure ensure the right plantings for the future tial to use bridges, culverts, and roadwayTransportation planners, owners, and climate, not just current native species. design to mitigate specific impacts suchoperators face many of the same impacts These conservation plans and strategies as sea level rise, precipitation, and storm-and challenges of climate change as would be used by Metropolitan Planning water on flora and fauna. For example,natural resource managers. Impacts of Organizations and state Departments one method to deal with more intenseparticular concern include rising sea level of Transportation, airport planners and precipitation events and resultingas well as increases in very hot days and other transportation agencies in the flooding is to increase the diameter ofheat waves, Arctic temperatures, intense development of transportation plans to culverts. Larger culverts can, in someprecipitation events, and hurricane inten- avoid potential ecosystem impacts, allow cases, also help to improve the abilitysity (CCSP 2008b). While climate change advanced planning to minimize or avoid of the culvert to serve as a passage forposes threats to existing infrastructure, impacts, and to promote habitat resil- mammals, amphibians, and fish. Wherea changing climate likely will create new ience. Transportation agencies also could both goals are being considered, theopportunities for increased Arctic transit use these conservation strategies in the passage requirements of various animalsor reduce operational costs for snow project development process to miti- and the geometry and geomorphologyremoval and maintenance. gate project effects in a more predictable, of the given stream should be taken into effective, and efficient manner. account in culvert design. As anotherClimate change will need to be consid- example, protecting barrier islands andered in future infrastructure design, as The use of advanced conservation wetlands benefits both the natural envi-projects are designed to stand the test of strategies and conservation banks by ronment and also reduces the effects oftime and are built with long timeframes transportation agencies should continue storms on the land and transportationand local conditions in mind. Thus, it is to be encouraged. However, when such infrastructure (roads) and operations.necessary to understand how the impacts advanced practices are deployed, natural The Transportation Research Board hasof climate change on local conditions are resource and transportation agencies recommended a number of operationalexpected to change during the project’s should collaborate on sharing and iden- and design adaptation strategies forlifetime. Early and coordinated planning tifying changing land use patterns to best transportation systems responding to acan allow transportation professionals inform locations for advanced conserva- variety of climate impacts.and natural resource managers to design tion and banking such that the goals of both canbe met given a changing climate. case stud yNatural resource and transportation Interagency cooperative conservationagencies would benefit from increasedcollaboration on anticipated changes While not applicable to all transportation agencies, Eco-Logical: An Ecosystemin flora and fauna patterns and poten- Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects is an example of one existing robusttial ways to address them. Regional program approach to help address ecosystem and species conservation given a changing climate and offers a framework for achieving greater interagency cooperative conservation.habitat conservation plans and strate- Eco-Logical is an environmental review toolkit designed to help agencies join in partner-gies developed by resource agencies ships as catalysts for greater stakeholder cooperation and coordination through promotingwould provide information and a better a Strategic Habitat Conservation and an ecosystem approach to species and ecosystemunderstanding of the types of species conservation, including the integration of climate change into the conservation strategy. Itthat will be supported in the future. is goal driven, and based on a collaboratively developed vision of desired future conditionsFor example, if a transportation project that integrates ecological, economic, and social factors. It is applied within a geographic framework defined primarily by ecological boundaries (Brown 2006).86 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 92. richard wasserman quality water resources. All decisions non-climate stressors by using strate- made regarding water resources will gies that incorporate green infrastructure have a direct influence on the quantity and watershed-based approaches that and quality of habitat that supports both use the ecosystem services provided Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States in maximum water capacity aquatic and terrestrial species. by fish, wildlife, and plants. Living but severe drought has caused water levels resources can also serve as bio-indicators to drop. Many of the impacts described in Section of water quality or perform biofiltra- 2.3.6: Inland Water Ecosystems apply to tion, thereby improving local waterAdaptation strategies for transportation other aspects of water resource manage- quality and increasing the value of thosealso benefiting natural resources ment beyond fish, wildlife, and plants. water resources. Additionally, riparian Rising stream temperatures, altered zones and wetlands have been shown to»» Strengthen interagency and stake- precipitation patterns, reduced snow- improve water quality, reduce flooding, holder cooperation and coordination, pack and earlier snowmelt, and saltwater and sequester CO2. particularly between transportation intrusion are expected to impact the and natural resource planners and management of water supply, water The Freshwater Action Plan (ICCATF managers. quality, and water use. Impacts on water 2011) provides the following recommen-»» Identify changing transportation resources will vary between regions, as dations that can assist the water resources demands resulting from climate change precipitation is anticipated to increase sector in ensuring the continued protec- and the implications to infrastructure in certain areas, decrease in others, and tion of fish, wildlife, and plant resources: development. overall become more variable with more Adaptation strategies for water resource severe drought and heavier rainfall,»» Use the best available habitat conser- management also benefiting natural often occurring in the same area. Past resources vation plans to develop strategies water levels and precipitation patterns associated with transportation projects »» Establish a planning process that will no longer serve as indicators of that take into account climate change includes multiple levels of govern- future conditions as climate change impacts to habitats and species. ment, prioritization of challenges, and creates conditions outside of historical»» Develop best management practices parameters (CCSP 2008d). considerations for other resources. (BMPs) and best designs for trans- »» Improve water resources and climate portation projects to accommodate Climate change impacts and adapta- change information for decision- climate change effects and incorporate tion needs for the water resources sector making to help move decisions beyond conservation needs at the same time. are described in much more detail in a reliance on past conditions. the recently published National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater »» Strengthen assessment of vulnerability Resources in a Changing Climate (here- of water resources to climate change.4.5 Water Resources after Freshwater Action Plan) (ICCATF »» Expand water use efficiency, conserva-Water resources are shared by fish, wild- 2011), which establishes 24 priority tion, productivity, and substitution tolife, plants, and many different human actions for federal agencies in managing reduce overall demand of water.interests (e.g., agriculture, drinking water, freshwater resources in a changingmanufacturing, energy). The balance climate. The Freshwater Action Plan »» Support integrated water resources identifies “ensuring adequate water management through coordinatedof use and consumption will ultimately supplies; protecting human life, health, adaptive management.determine the quantity and quality ofwater available for species and ecosys- and property; and protecting the quality »» Support training and outreach to buildtems. Already under stress from climate of freshwater resources” as major chal- response capability using cross-disci-change, the nation’s fish, wildlife, and lenges (ICCATF 2011). The water plinary education, instruction, andplant populations would be further resources management community can training while focusing on solutionsstressed by a lack of available, high build resilience to both climate and integrated across multiple sectors. Opportunities for Multiple Sectors | 87
  • 93. usfws CH.5 Integration & Implementation This first national-scale effor t identifies the major strategies and initial actions needed to help our valuable living resources and the communities that depend on them address the challenges of climate change. Although the Strategy identifies some of the essential actions that can be taken or initiated in the next five to ten years, its success relies on additional planning and action by federal, tribal, state, and local governments and many partners. developed similar efforts, such as Alaska’s 5.1 Strategy Integration Climate Change Strategy released in 2010 and the California Climate Adaptation The Strategy builds upon and comple- Strategy released in 2009. The number ments many existing climate adaptation of state resource agencies with climate efforts. Continuation and expansion of vulnerability and adaptation efforts these efforts is critical to achieving the underway is increasing, and this Strategy goals of this Strategy. can serve as a resource for states as well as local governments, tribes, federal First, many local governments and agencies, and others. states have already begun to develop adaptation plans, either through their Second, many multi-governmental and local land-use planning efforts, within non-governmental partnerships already their state fish and wildlife agencies, conduct sophisticated resource manage- or more broadly across state govern- ment planning that can incorporate ment. For example, Washington State climate change. Two examples are JVs4 released the Washington State Integrated and the NFHAP,5 partnerships of federal Climate Change Response Strategy in agencies, states, tribes, conservation December 2011, which explains the organizations, and industry working climate change adaptation priorities and to protect priority bird and fish habi- potential strategies and actions to address tats respectively. These efforts offer ideal those concerns. Many other states have opportunities to bring climate change 4 5 88 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 94. information into existing resource makers and partners (CEQ 2010, 2011, In addition, the USGCRP has producedmanagement planning to ensure manage- Pew Center 2010, 2012). Many of the a series of 21 Synthesis and Assessmentment actions advance adaptation in a strategies and actions in this Strategy Products on the current informationchanging climate. Such efforts can also are based in part on efforts identified, regarding the sensitivity and adapt-draw upon a growing number of impor- planned, or implemented by one or more ability of different natural and managedtant tools and approaches for adaptation other agencies (federal, state, or tribal). ecosystems and human systems toplanning and action. For example, the climate and related global changes. TheseClimate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange The USGCRP7 is responsible for reports address topics such as sea level(CAKE),6 a joint project from EcoAdapt publishing a National Climate rise (CCSP 2009a), ecosystem changeand Island Press, provides detailed infor- Assessment (NCA) every four years (CCSP 2009b), agriculture, biodiversity,mation and access to information, tools, describing the extent of climate change land and water resources (CCSP 2008d),and case studies on adaptation to climate. in the United States and its impacts. adaptation options for climate-sensitive The most recent national assessment systems and resources (CCSP 2008c),Many tribal governments and organi- was published in 2009, and provides the energy production (CCSP 2007), humanzations understand the need to adapt scientific foundation for this Strategy. health (CCSP 2008a), and transportationas they are already experiencing the The next assessment in 2013 will provide (CCSP 2008b).impacts of climate change on species, new information about impacts, oppor-habitats, and ecosystems that are vital tunities, and vulnerabilities. Future NCAs Another important entity is the ICCATF,8to their cultures and economies. For will provide a basis for evaluating the which was established in 2009 to helpexample, the Swinomish Tribe in the effectiveness of the adaptation actions in the federal government and partnersPacific Northwest, which depends on this Strategy and determining next steps. understand, prepare for, and adapt to thesalmon and shellfish, has developed the impacts of climate change. The devel-Swinomish Climate Change Initiative. 7 opment of this Strategy was endorsedThis effort seeks to assess local impacts, in the ICCATF’s 2010 Progress Reportidentify vulnerabilities, and prioritizeplanning areas and actions to address Planning for climate adaptation will require 8 a team effort involving federal, state, initiatives/adaptationthe impacts of climate change, and can tribal, and local governments if it is to beserve as an example for other tribal successful.governments.A number of climate adaptation effortsare underway at the Federal level. ManyFederal agencies have initiated effortsto assess risks and impacts of climate John Miller/Aroostook Band of Micmacs/Fred Corey photochange, and design adaptation efforts toreduce these risks. Federal agencies withnatural resource management respon-sibilities like DOI, NOAA, USDA, EPA,and others have initiated a wide varietyof efforts to better understand, monitor,prepare for, and respond to climatechange impacts in their mission areas,including targeted science, the applica-tion of new tools and assessments, andtraining for natural resource decision6 Implementation & Integration | 89
  • 95. Integration & Implementationto the President. The ICCATF has alsolaunched other efforts to advance climate USFWS/Gary Peeplesadaptation that both inform this Strategyand provide opportunities for theStrategy’s implementation. One of theseis the Freshwater Action Plan. Releasedin October of 2011, the Freshwater Successful implementation will requireAction Plan describes the challenges partnerships, innovation, and passion.that a changing climate presents for themanagement of the nation’s freshwaterresources, and recommends a set of In addition, following direction fromactions federal agencies can take to help Presidential Executive Order 13514 and 5.2 Strategyfreshwater resource managers reduce the the ICCATF, CEQ issued Implementingrisks of climate change. Instructions to all federal agencies to Implementation launch climate change adaptation plan- Successful implementation of thisIn addition, the National Ocean Council ning with the first agency plans due in(NOC) is developing a series of actions to Strategy will take commitment and June 2012. This presents many oppor- resources by government and non-address the Resiliency and Adaptation to tunities for the resource managementClimate Change and Ocean Acidification government entities, and must include agencies involved in the development of steps to formulate specific objectives,priority objective, one of nine priority this Strategy to develop their own agency-objectives identified by the National select and implement conservation specific plans (if they have not already actions, and evaluate, learn, and adjustOcean Policy (NOP). These actions will done so) and to interact with other agen-address how the NOC will implement the our course of action as needed to achieve cies whose programs may influence our goals in a changing world. LogicalNOP to respond to the challenges posed their prospects for success. Many federalby climate change and ocean acidifica- models for transitioning from the frame- agencies have already conducted assess- work of the Strategy to more specifiction. A Draft Strategic Action Plan outline ments of their vulnerability to climatewas released for public comment in June action plans are described by Peterson et change and are developing adaptation al. (2011) and Glick et al. (2009).2011, and a draft Implementation Plan plans to reduce risks, respond to impacts,for the NOP was released for comment and take advantage of possible benefi-in January 2012. A final Implementation cial changes of a changing climate. ThisPlan is expected in 2012. This Strategy Strategy should serve as a useful resourcehas been developed in coordination with to all these efforts.both the Freshwater Action Plan and theNOP Strategic Action Plan, so that the Scott Newhall/Time Out Chartersthree strategies support and reinforceeach other.90 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 96. To ensure effective coordination, imple- to design and deliver programs and 2 An inter-jurisdictional coordinatingmentation, tracking, and updating of actions that advance adaptation of fish body with policy maker representa-the Strategy, this report proposes the and wildlife resources in a changing tion and staff support from federal,following steps: climate. state, and tribal governments should be established. This body should meet1 Federal, state, and tribal govern- »» Federal members of the Strategy biannually to monitor performance ments and conservation partners Steering Committee will coordi- and evaluate implementation of the should incorporate appropriate nate lead roles, responsibilities, and Strategy and report its findings to elements of the Strategy (goals, strat- milestones for implementation of the the public. egies, and actions) into their plans Strategy across the federal sector. and actions at national to local levels »» Federal agencies with programs that »» This coordinating body will be tasked (e.g., development of implementa- with promoting awareness, under- affect fish, wildlife, and plants and the tion plans by federal, state, and tribal standing, and use of the Strategy as a habitats they depend on should ensure governments). key tool in addressing climate change. that ongoing agency adaptation plan-»» LCCs can play an important role in ning efforts under Executive Order »» Starting in June 2014, the coordinating facilitating development of action 13514 reflect and align with the recom- body, with support from DOI, NOAA, plans to implement the Strategy that mendations, strategies, and actions of and CEQ, should start a revision of the include specific objectives, actions, and the Strategy. Strategy, to be completed by June 2015. commitments of resources appropriate This revision will incorporate informa- »» The ICCATF should continue to to their geographic areas. The LCCs tion produced by the 2013 NCA. facilitate coordination and interaction have a good mix of membership of among federal agencies regarding this »» The coordinating body will establish a state, federal, tribal and private conser- Strategy and other climate adaptation mechanism to engage representatives vation organizations, and operate at planning efforts at both the national of non-governmental organizations, scales appropriate to successfully facili- and regional level. natural resource industries, private tate implementation of this Strategy landowners, and international conser- through a collaborative process. CSCs, vation partners to assist with Strategy RISAs, and other regional collaborative implementation and revision. efforts should incorporate appropriate elements of this Strategy as a resource for guiding their future science and assessment agendas and adaptation strategies.»» Many states have already incorporated climate change considerations in their State Wildlife Action Plans. Future revisions of these plans and other States’ Wldlife Action Plans that lack climate change considerations should incorporate appropriate elements of this Strategy, AFWA’s Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate USFWS/Steve Hillebrand Climate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans and Other Management Plans, and other appropriate resources Integration & Implementation | 91
  • 97. Integration & Implementation»» The coordinating body will work with regional conservation collaboratives This Strategy is the such as LCCs to facilitate transition beginning of a significant from the framework of this Strategy to collective effort to geographically specific implementation action plans. safeguard the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants, and»» The coordinating body will develop a process and tools, including the the communities and Progress Checklists of this Strategy, economies that depend on to evaluate implementation and shall them in a changing climate. include an assessment of implementa- A challenging task lies tion in their annual report. ahead, and much remains»» The coordinating body will work to be learned about the with the ICCATF to facilitate efficient communication and coordination specific impacts of climate among federal agencies and between change and the responses jane pellicciotto federal agencies and state and tribal of plants, wildlife, and governments. The coordinating body ecosystems. should facilitate these interactions in a way that fosters clear, consistent, and efficient communication and avoids duplication of effort. New climate change and adaptation This Strategy offers a common framework science is coming out almost daily and for meaningful adaptation response, and»» The FWS, NOAA, and AFWA will will help guide the way. But we know will help ensure that the nation’s valu- collaborate to staff and support the enough now to begin taking effective able fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems work of the coordinating body. action to reduce risks and increase continue to the benefit of our nation, our resiliency of these valuable natural communities and our economy for years resources—and we cannot afford to wait to come. to respond to the changes we are already seeing or to prepare for those yet to come. Unless the nation begins a serious effort to undertake this task now, we risk losing priceless living systems—and the countless benefits and services they provide—as the climate inexorably changes.92 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
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  • 108. Marine Water Ecosystemsflickr/kjell Ecosystem-Specific Background Papers Ecosystems_Paper.pdf These ecosystem-specific background Legislation papers were developed by the Technical Legislative_Language_for_Adaptation_Strategy.pdf Teams (see Appendix E for a listing of the Technical Teams and their members) as source material for the Strategy detailing Related Resources, Reports, Appendix A: Supporting the impacts of climate change on specific and Materials ecosystems as well as adaptation strate- Materials gies and actions for those systems. They Adaptive Management: The U.S. Department of Interior Technical Guide B elow are supporting materials for the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy (hereafter are not formal appendices to the Strategy and have not been, nor will they be updated or revised based on either the ments.html The Technical Guide presents adaptive management as a tool to help bureaus make better decisions in Strategy). The supporting materials are agency or public reviews of the Strategy. the context of uncertain or incomplete information. made available to increase understanding These papers have been edited by the America’s Climate Choices of the development of the Strategy and to Management Team for length, style, and provide more detailed information about content, and the Management Team The National Research Council of the National subjects mentioned in the Strategy. Each accepts responsibility for any omis- Academies is conducting a series of coordinated of these materials is available online on sions or errors. Please follow the links activities designed to advance the U.S. response to climate change. the Strategy’s web site: www.wildlifeadapta- to access detailed information regarding, or via the links listed in climate change adaptation for specific Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service this appendix. ecosystems. (APHIS): National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) Forest Ecosystems The APHIS’s NWRC can work with conservation Ecosystems_Paper.pdf and land and resource management agencies and organizations to address invasive species damage Shrubland Ecosystems management. Ecosystems_Paper.pdf Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) Grassland Ecosystems CAKE is a joint project of Island Press and EcoAdapt. It is aimed at building a shared knowledge base for Ecosystems_Paper.pdf managing natural systems in the face of rapid climate Desert Ecosystems change, and includes a large database of adaptation case studies, reports, and tools, as well as links to Ecosystems_Paper.pdf federal, state, and local adaptation plans. Arctic Tundra Ecosystems Climate Change Tree and Bird Atlases Ecosystems_Paper.pdf The tree and bird atlases examine current distribu- tions and modeled future-climate habitats for 134 Inland Water Ecosystems individual tree species and the distribution of 150 bird species by geographic area. Ecosystems_Paper.pdf Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) Coastal Ecosystems CCRC is a reference Web site for resource managers Ecosystems_Paper.pdf and decision makers who need information and tools to address climate change in planning and project implementation. Resources | 103
  • 109. ResourcesClimate Forest Vegetation Simulator Projection Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios National Road Map for Responding (ICLUS) Climate Changespecies/index.php is a modification to the Forest Vegetation The EPA is developing scenarios broadly consistent The National Road Map for Responding to ClimateSimulator, a stand dynamics model generally used with global-scale, peer-reviewed storylines of popula- Change was developed by the U.S. Forest Serviceto support forest planning, project analysis, and tion growth and economic development, which are to achieve the goal of all National Forests being insilvicultural prescription preparation. used by climate change modelers to develop projec- compliance with a climate adaptation and mitigation tions of future climate. strategy. The Roadmap integrates land management,Climate Science Centers (CSCs) outreach, and sustainable operations Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task It focuses on three kinds of activities: assessing Force (ICCATF) current risks, vulnerabilities, policies, and gaps inRegional CSCs will provide scientific information,tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, and knowledge; engaging partners in seeking solutions initiatives/adaptation and learning from as well as educating the public andcultural resource managers can apply to anticipate,monitor, and adapt to climate and ecologically-driven The Council on Environmental Quality is co-chairing employees on climate change issues; and manag-responses at regional-to-local scales. the ICCATF which is comprised of over 200 federal ing for resilience, in ecosystems as well as in human agency staff. communities, through adaptation, mitigation, and sus-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tainable consumption Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Plant Protection Act (PPA)The EPA provides a good overview of climate adapta- and links to related resources and materials. The IPCC is the definitive scientific intergovernmen- The PPA consolidates all or part of 10 existing U.S.Forecasts of Climate-Associated Shifts in tal body tasked with reviewing and assessing the Department of Agriculture plant health laws intoTree Species (ForeCASTS) most recent scientific, technical, and socio-economic one comprehensive law, including the authority information produced worldwide relevant to the regulate plants, plant products, certain biologicalThe maps, known as ForeCASTS depict future suit- understanding of climate change. Work on the Fifth control organisms, noxious weeds, and plant habitat ranges for North American tree species Assessment Report is currently underway.within the United States as well as across the globe. Responding to Climate Change in National Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) Forests: A Guidebook for DevelopingIt uses projections of future climate in combination Adaptation Optionswith the concept of fine-scale ecoregions and can LCCs are self-directed, applied conservation science be used to assess the risk to geneticintegrity of North American forest tree populations. partnerships that will support conservation at land- This guidebook created by the U.S. Forest Service scape scales. contains science-based principles, processes,Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change and tools necessary to assist with developingTools and Approaches for Land Managers MC1 Dynamic Global Vegetation Model adaptation options for national forest global-vegetation-model Rising to the Urgent Challenge: Strategic PlanThis document provides a collection of resources MC1 is a widely used dynamic global vegetation for Responding to Accelerating Climate Changedesigned to help forest managers incorporate cli- model (DGVM) that has been used to simulate poten- change considerations into management and tial vegetation shifts in California and Alaska, all of CCStrategicPlan.pdfdevise adaptation tactics. It was developed in north-ern Wisconsin as part of the Northwoods Climate North America, and over the entire globe under vari- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service climate changeChange Response Framework project and contains ous climate change scenarios. strategy, titled “Rising to the Urgent Challenge:information from assessments, partnership efforts, Strategic Plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Change,” establishes a basic framework withinworkshops, and collaborative work between scientists Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate which the Service will work as part of the largerand managers. conservation community to help ensure the sustain-ForGRAS (Forest Genetic Risk Assessment ceq/2011_national_action_plan.pdf ability of fish, wildlife, plants and habitats in the faceSystem) The Freshwater Action Plan recommends federal of accelerating climate agency actions to aid freshwater resource manag-summaries/genetic-risk-assessment-system ers in managing and protecting the nation’s water Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to resources. Climate Change Vulnerability AssessmentThis assessment framework serves as a tool for management activities and conservation National Ocean Policy tion_horizon.pdfefforts, for evaluating species’ genetic resources,and for detecting vulnerabilities. It has the advantage This guidance document is a product of an expert policy workgroup on climate change vulnerability assess-of accounting for multiple threats that may result inthe most severe genetic impacts. In July of 2010, Executive Order 13547 established ment convened by the National Wildlife Federation in a National Ocean Policy and tasked the interagency collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. National Ocean Council with developing this strategic action plan.104 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 110. The seed selection tool (SST) Clean Water Act: the primary federal law the United States governing water pollution. USFWS/George GentryThe seedlot selection tool (SST) is a GIS mapping The Act established the goals of eliminatingprogram designed to help forest managers match releases of high amounts of toxic substancesseedlots with planting sites based on climatic into water, eliminating additional waterinformation. pollution by 1985, and ensuring that surface waters would meet standards necessary forTemplate for Assessing Climate Change Impactsand Management Options (TACCIMO) human sports and recreation by Climate Change: a significant and lastingA web-based tool that provides land owners, man-agers, and planners with the most current climate Appendix B: Glossary change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decadeschange science available. Developed by EFETAC Adaptation (Climate Change): adjustment to millions of years. It may be a change inresearchers in partnership with USDA Forest Service in natural or human systems in response to average weather conditions or the distributionSouthern Regional Planning, Land and Resource actual or expected climatic stimuli or theirManagement; Southern Regional Cooperative of events around that average (e.g., more effects, which moderates harm or exploits or fewer extreme weather events). ClimateForestry; and Western Wildland Environmental Threat beneficial opportunities. change may be limited to a specific region orAssessment Center, the TACCIMO tool compiles cli-mate change projections, literature-based impacts Adaptation (Biological): the process or the may occur across the whole Earth.and management options, and Forest Service product of natural selection that changes anland and resource management plans in an online Climate Models: quantitative methods to organism’s behavior, physiological function, or simulate the interactions of the atmosphere,database. anatomical structure, so that it is better suited oceans, land surface, and ice. They are usedU.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) to its environment. for a variety of purposes from study of dynamics of the climate system to projections Adaptive Capacity: the ability of a species toThe USGCRP coordinates and integrates federal become adapted (i.e., to be able to live and of future climate.research on changes in the global environment and reproduce) to a certain range of environmental Coastal Zone Management Act: an Act oftheir implications for society. conditions as a result of genetic and Congress passed in 1972 to encourageVoluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate phenotypic responses. coastal states to develop and implementClimate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans coastal zone management plans. This act wasand Other Management Plans Anthropogenic: of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature. established as national policy to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, Biodiversity: the variability among living restore or enhance, the resources of theThis document, which was produced by the Climate organisms from all sources, including Nation’s coastal zone for this and succeedingChange Wildlife Action Plan Work Group which was terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic generations.created as a joint work group by the Associationof Fish and Wildlife Agencies Climate Change ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity Conservation: Preservation, protection, orand Teaming with Wildlife Committees, provides within species, among species, and of restoration of the natural environment, naturalvoluntary guidance for state fish and wildlifeagencies wanting to better incorporate the impacts ecosystems. ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife.of climate change on wildlife and their habitats into Conservation Partners: entities workingWildlife Action Plans. Bycatch: unwanted marine creatures that are caught in the nets while fishing for another toward the conservation of fish, wildlife, and species other natural resources, which includes local governments, non-government organizations, Carbon Sequestration: the long-term storage charitable foundations, academic institutions, of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon. industries, private landowners, and other It has been proposed as a way to slow the interested individuals. atmospheric and marine accumulation of the greenhouse gas, which is released by burning Downscaling: refers to techniques that take fossil fuels. output from global climate models and add information at smaller scales. Downscaling methods are used to obtain local-scale surface weather from global or regional-scale models. Resources | 105
  • 111. ResourcesEcosystem: a biological environment Exclusive Economic Zone: a zone of an Habitat Degradation: the process in whichconsisting of all the organisms living in a ocean or sea over which a state has special natural habitat is rendered functionally unableparticular area, as well as all the nonliving rights over the exploration and use of marine to support the species present. In this(abiotic), physical components of the resources, including production of energy from process, the organisms that previously usedenvironment with which the organisms interact, water and wind. It stretches from the seaward the site are displaced or destroyed, reducingsuch as air, soil, water, and sunlight. edge of the state’s territorial sea out to 200 biodiversity. nautical miles from its coast.Ecosystem Function: the physical, chemical, Habitat Fragmentation: describes theand biological processes or attributes that Extreme Events: includes weather phenomena emergence of discontinuities in an organism’scontribute to the self-maintenance of the that are at the extremes of the historical preferred habitat, causing populationecosystem, such as decomposition, nutrient distribution, especially severe or unseasonal fragmentation. Habitat fragmentation can becycling, pollination, and seed dispersal. weather such as heat waves, drought, floods, caused by geological processes that slowly storms, and wildfires. alter the layout of the physical environment orEcosystem Process: A natural phenomenon in by human activity such as land conversion andan ecosystem that leads toward a particular Farm Bill: colloquial name for the primary road building.result. agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive omnibus Harmful Algal Blooms: a rapid increase orEcosystem Services: the benefits people bill is passed every five years or so by the accumulation in the population of algae inobtain from ecosystems. These include United States Congress and deals with both an aquatic system forming visible patchesprovisioning services such as food, water, agriculture and all other affairs under the that may harm the health of the environment,timber, and fiber; regulating services such purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. plants, or animals. They can deplete theas the regulation of climate, floods, disease, The formal title of each bill varies, but oxygen and block the sunlight that otherwastes, and water quality; cultural services the current version is known as the Food, organisms need to live, and some algaesuch as recreation, aesthetic enjoyment, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. blooms release toxins that are dangerous toidentity, and spiritual fulfillment; and animals and humans.supporting services such as soil formation, Geomorphological Change: changes observedphotosynthesis, and nutrient cycling. in landforms and the processes that shape Hydrology: the movement, distribution, and them. The study of geomorphological change quality of water, including the hydrologic cycle,Endangered Species Act (ESA): environmental can be used to understand landform history water resources, and environmental watershedlaw signed on December 28, 1973, that and dynamics, and to predict future changes sustainability.provides for the conservation of species that through a combination of field observations,are endangered or threatened throughout all Hypoxia: a phenomenon that occurs in aquatic physical experiments, and numerical modeling.or a significant portion of their range, and the environments as dissolved oxygen becomesconservation of the ecosystems on which they Globalization: refers to the increasingly global reduced in concentration to a point where itdepend. The ESA replaced the Endangered relationships of culture, people, and economic becomes detrimental to aquatic organismsSpecies Conservation Act of 1969. It has been activity. living in the system.amended several times. Greenhouse Gas: a gas in an atmosphere Invasive Species: non-indigenous species ofEutrophication: the movement of a body that absorbs and emits radiation within the plants or animals that adversely affect theof water′s trophic status in the direction of thermal infrared range. This process is the economy, environment, and/or ecology of theincreasing biomass, by the addition of artificial fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. habitats and bioregions they invade.or natural substances, such as nitrates and The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s Keystone Species: a species that hasphosphates, through fertilizers or sewage, to atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, a disproportionately large effect on itsan aquatic system. methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. environment relative to its abundance. SuchEvapotranspiration: describes the sum of Habitat: an ecological or environmental area species play a critical role in maintaining theevaporation and plant transpiration from that is inhabited by a particular species of structure of an ecological community, affectingthe Earth’s land surface to atmosphere. animal, plant, or other type of organism. many other organisms in an ecosystem andEvaporation accounts for the movement of It is the natural environment in which an helping to determine the types and numbers ofwater to the air from sources such as the organism lives, or the physical environment various other species in the community.soil, canopy interception, and waterbodies. that surrounds (influences and is utilized by) aTranspiration accounts for the movement of population.water within a plant and the subsequent lossof water as vapor through its leaves.106 | National Fish, Wildlife & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
  • 112. Maladaptation: an adaptation that, although Permafrost: soil at or below the freezing point Risk Assessment: the determination ofreasonable at the time, becomes less and of water (0 °C or 32 °F) for two or more years. quantitative or qualitative value of risk relatedless suitable and more of a problem or to a concrete situation and a recognized threat Phenology: the study of periodic plant andhindrance as time goes on. It is possible such as climate change. animal life cycle events and how these arefor an adaptation to be poorly selected or influenced by seasonal and inter-annual Sea Level Rise: As water warms, it expands,become less appropriate or even become, on variations in climate. and the ocean surface rises. The melting ofbalance, more of a dysfunction than a positive inland glaciers and continental ice sheets,adaptation over time. Resilience: (Current Ecological Usage) - the including those in Greenland and Antarctica, capacity of an ecosystem to return to itsMitigation: in the context of climate change, a causes additional sea level rise. Sea level original state following a perturbation, includinghuman intervention to reduce the sources or change is highly variable regionally. It depends maintaining its essential characteristics ofenhance the sinks of greenhouse gases. on the relative increase in water levels as taxonomic composition, structure, ecosystem well as local land elevation changes causedNatural Disturbance Regimes: the pattern and functions, and process rates. (Emerging by subsidence or uplift, and local rates ofdynamics of disturbance events (e.g., fires, Climate Change Usage)—In the emerging sediment accumulation. Relative sea level risefloods, landslides, etc.) that mold the structure context of climate change, resilience might refers to a local increase in the level of theand species composition of an ecosystem. best be thought of as the ability of an ocean due to the interaction of these factors. ecosystem to recover from or adjust easily toNatural Resources: materials and components change, measured more in terms of overall Sentinel Site: A location that is selected tothat can be found within the environment. ecosystem structure, function, and rates and represent a certain, preferably large, class ofA natural resource may exist as a separate less in terms of taxonomic composition. A ecosystems for intensive monitoring.entity, such as fresh water and air, as well as a grassland that remains a grassland in theliving organism, such as a fish, or it may exist Socioeconomics: a word used to identify face of climate change could be thought ofin an alternate form which must be processed the importance of factors other than biology as resilient, even if its species compositionto obtain the resource, such as metal ores, oil, in natural resource management decisions. is substantially altered. On the other hand, aand most forms of energy. For example, if management results in more grassland that becomes a forest in the face fishing income, it is important to know how theNon-climate Stressors: in the context of of climate change was not resilient: it has income is distributed between small and largeclimate adaptation, non-climate stressors transformed into a new system. boats or part-time and full-time fishermen.refer to those current or future pressures Resistance: the capacity of the ecosystemand impacts threatening species and natural Stakeholders: a person, group, organization, to absorb disturbances and remain largelysystems that do not stem from climate change, or system that affects or can be affected by an unchanged.such as habitat fragmentation, invasive organization’s actions.species, pollution and contamination, disease, Restoration: (Current Ecological Usage) - the Stratification: in relation to water, stratificationand over exploitation. process of repairing damage to the diversity occurs when water masses with different and dynamics of indigenous ecosystems,Nonpoint Source Pollution: refers to both properties (salinity, oxygenation, density, which can include promoting or mimickingwater and air pollution from diffuse sources. temperature) form layers that act as barriers natural disturbance regimes; managing issuesNonpoint source water pollution affects a to water mixing. These layers are normally like in-stream flows, water withdrawals, andwaterbody from sources such as polluted arranged according to density, with the least stormwater run-off; and addressing poorly-runoff from agriculture areas draining into dense water masses sitting above the more sited infrastructure. (Emerging Climatea river or wind-borne debris blowing out to dense layers. Change Usage) - In the emerging context ofsea. Nonpoint source air pollution affects air climate change, restoration might best be Vulnerability Assessment: a tool usedquality from sources such as smokestacks thought of as focusing on repairing damage in adaptation planning for informing theor car tailpipes. Although these pollutants to such structural or functional aspects of development and implementation of resourcehave originated from a point source, the long- the ecosystem as listed above, as opposed management practices.range transport ability and multiple sources to attempting to restore the original speciesof the pollutant make it a nonpoint source of composition of an ecosystem.pollution.Ocean Acidification: the ongoing decrease inthe pH and increase in acidity of the Earth’soceans, caused by the uptake of carbondioxide from the atmosphere. Resources | 107
  • 113. Resources IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Lori Iverson/USFWS ICCATF Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force JVs Migratory bird and other Joint Ventures LCC Landscape Conservation Cooperative Appendix C: Acronyms NC NERR North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve ACIA Arctic Climate Impact Assessment NCA National Climate Assessment AFWA Association of Fish and Wildlife NERRS National Estuarine Research Agencies Reserve System AMSA Arctic Marine Shipping NFHAP National Fish Habitat Action Plan Assessment NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service ASCE American Society of Civil NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Engineers Administration AZ CCAG Arizona Climate Change Advisory NOC National Ocean Council Group NOP National Ocean Policy