Making Climate Change Part of Everyday decisions, helbrecht

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Making Climate Change Part of Everyday decisions, Lynn Helbrecht

Making Climate Change Part of Everyday decisions, Lynn Helbrecht

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  • Climate change moving faster than predicted   WASHINGTON – The effects of climate change driven by human activity are spreading through the United States faster than had been predicted, increasingly threatening infrastructure, water supplies, crops and shorelines, according to a review of climate science and its effects by a federal-advisory committee.   A draft of the Third National Climate Assessment delivers a bracing picture of environmental changes and natural disasters that mounting scientific evidence indicates is fostered by climate change: heavier rains in the Northeast, Midwest and Plains states that have overwhelmed storm drains and led to flooding and erosion; sea-level rise that has battered coastal communities; drought that has turned much of the West into a tinderbox.   “ Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says. “Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer.”   The draft report — more than 1,000 pages compiled by more than 300 experts during the past three years — sums up what has become increasingly apparent: The country is hotter than it used to be, rainfall is becoming both more intense and erratic, and rising seas and storm surges threaten U.S. coasts. It arrives days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its annual State of the Climate Report, which noted that 2012 was the hottest year on record.   The report explicitly addresses the most controversial question in climate change, saying that consumption of fossil fuels by humans is the main driver of climate change.
  • Climate change moving faster than predicted   WASHINGTON – The effects of climate change driven by human activity are spreading through the United States faster than had been predicted, increasingly threatening infrastructure, water supplies, crops and shorelines, according to a review of climate science and its effects by a federal-advisory committee.   A draft of the Third National Climate Assessment delivers a bracing picture of environmental changes and natural disasters that mounting scientific evidence indicates is fostered by climate change: heavier rains in the Northeast, Midwest and Plains states that have overwhelmed storm drains and led to flooding and erosion; sea-level rise that has battered coastal communities; drought that has turned much of the West into a tinderbox.   “ Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says. “Americans are noticing changes all around them. Summers are longer and hotter, and periods of extreme heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer.”   The draft report — more than 1,000 pages compiled by more than 300 experts during the past three years — sums up what has become increasingly apparent: The country is hotter than it used to be, rainfall is becoming both more intense and erratic, and rising seas and storm surges threaten U.S. coasts. It arrives days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its annual State of the Climate Report, which noted that 2012 was the hottest year on record.   The report explicitly addresses the most controversial question in climate change, saying that consumption of fossil fuels by humans is the main driver of climate change.
  • National CliAssessment
  • Most adaptation planning documents have collaboration or partnerships as a strategy right up front. As natural resource managers, the scale and potential magnitude of the challenge requires us to work at broader scales, and across disciplines and sectors. As a fish and wildlife agency, I would say we have been one of the early adopters, and fully embraced the partnership challenge. DOI -- LCCs , we are active participants in the steering committeee. USFWS developed a National Climate Adaptation Strategy for Fish, Wildlife and Plants and our agency participated in the steering committee. Closer to home, the agency co-hosted a workshop on climate change and fish and wildlife in 2009 with the NWF, and that partnership continues to this day. Dan Siemann with NWF is here today .
  • The Washington State Integrated Climate Response Strategy was directed by state legislation in 2009 and completed in April of this year. The recommendations and the strategy represent an authorizing environment and a high level directive to advance climate adaptation efforts in state agencies.
  • WDFW participated on the steering committee which developed the statewide response strategy, and was a strong voice in ensuring a specific focus for fish and wildlife. Agency staff lead a stakeholder groups which provided input into the ecosystems and species chapter of the strategy, and also subsequently drafted specific recommendations for the chapter. The agency also participates on the steering committee of the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the Great Northern Conservation Cooperative, and Phil Anderson was one of four state agency directors represented on the steering committee that developed the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Adaptation Strategy. We continue to work closely with our conservation partners on developing capacity to address climate change and appropriate response strategies.
  • Monthly e-newsletter for staff Brown bag presentations Climate Change reference library on agency intranet In-depth workshops for program staff Climate Change page on agency website Developing tools and guidance for integrating climate change into agency activities. LAST FRIDAY – BILL GEER 14 clubs in Washington educating sportsmen about climate chagne
  • I want to share just a few examples of some research projects we have been collaborating on.
  • Specifically, most of the information comes from report issued in 2009, authorizing and funded by the legislature: WA Climate change Impacts Assessment NEW SECTION. Sec. 404. (1) In preparing for the impacts of climate change consistent with executive order number 07-02, the departments of community, trade, and economic development and ecology shall work with the climate impacts group at the University of Washington to produce: A comprehensive state climate change assessment that includes the impacts of global warming, including impacts to public health, agriculture, the coast line, forestry, infrastructure, and water supply and management; An analysis of the potential human health impacts of climate change on the state of Washington.
  • Colored dots = locations where there is a long enough summertime stream Temp data to generate statistics on annual average of warmest week in the year. Continuous shading = surface temperature. Temperature in interior columbia basin – california central valley Temperature in Washington’s martime summer climate becomes as warm as interior of the columbia. In Olympic Peninsuala – stream temperatures more resilient. REFUGE Figure 9. August mean surface air temperature and maximum stream temperature for 1970-1999 (top left) and the 2040s (top right, emissions scenario A1B). The area of favorable thermal habitat for salmon declines by the 2040s in western Washington, and in eastern Washington many areas transition from stressful to fatal for salmon. Rising stream temperature will reduce the quality and quantity of freshwater salmon habitat substantially. The duration of temperatures causing thermal migration barriers and extreme thermal stress (where weekly water temperatures exceed 70°F) are predicted to quadruple by the 2080s. Western Washington stream temperatures are generally cooler, so are further from stress thresholds than streams in eastern Washington.
  • The next two slides provide an overview of the first two projects: the second two are still in progress.
  • Key Assumptions The climate-gradient corridor approach is based on several simplifying assumptions: • Species ranges will move to track suitable climates. In particular, species ranges will tend to move down temperature gradients (i.e., upward in elevation or latitude) as the climate warms. This is well-documented in paleoecological studies and in observations of species responses to recent climate change. • Climatic gradients between core areas will remain largely constant. We base this assumption on evidence that temperature and moisture gradients at scales between several kilometers and several hundred kilometers are driven largely by enduring physiographic features, particularly topography (Daly 2006). Because topography itself is unchanging, we assume that the shape of climate gradients will not change substantially at these scales. • Species range shifts will be more likely to occur through natural areas. We assume that species range shifts, being ultimately facilitated by the dispersal movements of individuals, will be more likely to occur through areas with fewer anthropogenic barriers to movement (e.g., roads, urban areas).
  • This is the most important and challenging part of our climate work. Our goal is to integrate climate considerations fully and seamlessly into all appropriate agency activities. The challenge is that there is no instruction manual, and in some cases this requires a new way of thinking and planning and assessing data. (For example, in designing stream crossings, we can no longer consider historical data, but how to integrate future flow projections can be tricky. Part of what we have learned is that we may have gotten a little bit ahead of ourselves with the science. And that if we focus on how to integrate cc into what we do, if we focus on the decisions we are making and how climate can/should informa that – we can ask better questions of our scientists. More focused. Bat Conservation Forest Plan for Wildlife Management Areas – prioritizing areas for treatments
  • Will CC effects undermine restoration efforts? Uncertainty. Grouped restoration techniques based on targeted watershed function and process, then classify as likelihood to ameliorate CC effect. Identify which actions will remain effective despite CC effects. However, restoration and cc adaptation work at different timescales, so a restoration action that does not immediately help ameliorate CC should not be avoided.
  • Monthly e-newsletter for staff Brown bag presentations Climate Change reference library on agency intranet In-depth workshops for program staff Climate Change page on agency website Developing tools and guidance for integrating climate change into agency activities. LAST FRIDAY – BILL GEER 14 clubs in Washington educating sportsmen about climate chagne

Transcript

  • 1. Lynn Helbrecht Climate Change/SWAP Coordinator Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Making Climate Change part of everyday decisions
  • 2. Lynn Helbrecht Climate Change/SWAP Coordinator Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife “Talk is not enough Climate Changing; heat is on, Time to do something.”
  • 3. FOR TODAY -- TWO TOPICS: 1. Brief overview of WDFW’s approach to addressing climate change. 1.Lessons learned in the last 3 years – and how we are modifying our program as a result
  • 4. WDFW Strategic Goals for Climate Change • Drive conservation at broad landscape scales in response to a changing climate • Provide education for employees and the public regarding the implications of climate change for fish, wildlife and habitats. • Build on existing and develop new partnerships WDFW: responding to the challenge of climate change SCIENCE Assessing the vulnerability of fish, wildlife and their habitat to climate change EDUCATION Building our capacity to respond INTEGRATION integrating adaptation into core work COLLABORATION With agencies, tribes, conservation partners
  • 5. WDFW: responding to the challenge of climate change Prepared in response to 2009 state legislation – the Climate Leadership Act WDFW lead a stakeholder advisory group to develop recommendations for fish, wildlife and plants for the Washington State Integrated Climate response Strategy.
  • 6. Integrated State Climate Change Response Strategy released March, 2012 Washington’s Climate Change Response Strategy Table of Contents
  • 7. WDFW Strategic Goals for Climate Change • Drive conservation at broad landscape scales in response to a changing climate • Provide education for employees and the public regarding the implications of climate change for fish, wildlife and habitats. • Build on existing and develop new partnerships WDFW: responding to the challenge of climate change SCIENCE Assessing the vulnerability of fish, wildlife and their habitat to climate change EDUCATION Building our capacity to respond INTEGRATION Identifying adaptation opportunities and integrating to our core work COLLABORATION With agencies, tribes and conservation partners
  • 8. WDFW Strategic Goals for Climate Change • Drive conservation at broad landscape scales in response to a changing climate • Provide education for employees and the public regarding the implications of climate change for fish, wildlife and habitats. • Build on existing and develop new partnerships WDFW: responding to the challenge of climate change SCIENCE Assessing the vulnerability of fish, wildlife and their habitat to climate change EDUCATION Building our capacity to respond INTEGRATION Identifying adaptation opportunities and integrating into our core work COLLABORATION With agencies, tribes and conservation partners
  • 9. Examples of Climate Science at WDFW • Pacific Northwest Climate Change Vulnerability Study [in progress]
  • 10. Partners: USGS, UW, TNC, WDFW, IDFG, U of I, NWF Results and Data can be found at: http://www.climatevulnerability.org/ Pacific Northwest Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Designed to answer the questions: Which species and systems are most sensitive to climate change? Which places are likely to see the most change? Which species and systems will be able to adapt? How can managers use this information to inform their work?
  • 11. American Pika Sensitivity & Confidence Scores https://courses.washington.edu/ccdb/drupal
  • 12. Sensitivity Index for WA’s SGCN 58 Birds
  • 13. Climate Gradient Corridors Analysis KEY ASSUMPTIONS 1.Species ranges will move to track suitable climates. 2.Climatic gradients between core areas will remain largely constant. 3.Species range shifts will be more likely to occur through natural areas. Statewide product identifies areas for species to move from warmer to cooler temperatures. For more information: waconnected.org/climate-change-analysis/
  • 14. WDFW Strategic Goals for Climate Change • Drive conservation at broad landscape scales in response to a changing climate • Provide education for employees and the public regarding the implications of climate change for fish, wildlife and habitats. • Build on existing and develop new partnerships WDFW: responding to the challenge of climate change SCIENCE Assessing the vulnerability of fish, wildlife and their habitat to climate change EDUCATION Building our capacity to respond INTEGRATION Identifying adaptation opportunities and integrating into our core work COLLABORATION With agencies, tribes and conservation partners
  • 15. How will climate change affect WDFW? • Acquisition of new lands for habitat • Restoration projects – will our investment continue to provide expected benefits over time? • Technical Assistance and Grants– are we providing appropriate guidance for marine and riparian areas? • Species management and recovery planning • Permitting – are we adequately considering the risk of increased/low flows? • Planning processes – SWAP, wildlife management areas, business plans • Infrastructure; culverts, roads, hatcheries, stream crossings.
  • 16. PART II – WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  • 17. Lesson #1 Identify “Climate Sensitive” decisions first, THEN figure out what science or other tools are needed to inform those decisions.
  • 18. HOW? • Two-day workshop with WDFW managers in fisheries and aquatic resources, focused on the Skagit Watershed • Small groups identify climate sensitive decisions: – Harvest Management, – Hatcheries – Habitat Restoration – Fish Passage – Habitat Acquisition – Hydraulic Permit Approvals
  • 19. Climate Sensitive Decisions Why is this decision vulnerable? What is the risk of not addressing climate? 1.Develop Yield Models • Based on past data. • Based on previous/static conditions. • Tends to over predict overharvest. • False assumptions (pH) • Overestimate production = overharvest = increase extinction risk on non harvested. VERY HIGH !! 2. Monitoring • Increased variability = increased uncertainty = reduced harvest or increased monetary effort. • May need to increase partnerships (share data) HIGH 3. Determining directed harvest (salmon, all fish, shellfish species, stock, hatchery vs wild fish) • Overharvest vulnerable species. • Missed harvest opportunity with non- vulnerable species. VERY HIGH 4. Recovery goals balanced with harvest goals • Overestimating productivity sets unrealistic goals. • Habitat capacity changes, changing balance relationships VERY HIGH HARVEST MANAGEMENT
  • 20. Climate Sensitive Decisions Why is this decision vulnerable? What is the risk of not addressing climate? 1.Develop Yield Models • Based on past data. • Based on previous/static conditions. • Tends to over predict overharvest. • False assumptions (pH) • Overestimate production = overharvest = increase extinction risk on non harvested. VERY HIGH !! 2. Monitoring • Increased variability = increased uncertainty = reduced harvest or increased monetary effort. • May need to increase partnerships (share data) HIGH 3. Determining directed harvest (salmon, all fish, shellfish species, stock, hatchery vs wild fish) • Overharvest vulnerable species. • Missed harvest opportunity with non- vulnerable species. VERY HIGH 4. Recovery goals balanced with harvest goals • Overestimating productivity sets unrealistic goals. • Habitat capacity changes, changing balance relationships VERY HIGH HARVEST MANAGEMENT
  • 21. Climate Sensitive Decision Adaptation Option Policy Implications Science or Information Needs (why and rank?) Stakeholder s 1. Models • Capture climate change dynamics in models, new distributions, stock structure. • Test models with new base periods reflecting climate change. • Use shorter, more recent data sets. Tribal agreement PFMC/PST agreement Budgets • Provide guidance on climate change base periods, data sets. • Identify gaps and suggest research and monitoring to address. • Inventory exiting models and which parameters/data sets may be most vulnerable. • Examine model performance. All recreational and commercial harvesters. 3. Determining directed harvest • Put most vulnerable populations on high priority list for monitoring. • Begin planning for climate change now, with other managers, including adapting to increased uncertainty. • Develop additional selective harvest tools, lower by catch tools. Agreement among fishery managers, state, tribal, federal, PEMC. Legislation? • Identify highest vulnerability populations. • Improved monitoring for most vulnerable species. Both productivity and harvest impacts. • Projections of climate change impacts, species that will do well and species that won’t? • Review HGMPs for climate change. • Evaluate methods for incorporating uncertainty. Harvesters, NGOs, Salmon Recovery Boards, Other Hs. 4. and 5. Develop Yield models, balance recovery Building more long term uncertainty into population models (that inform harvest decisions), [precautionary yield models]. ** ** More understanding of productivity dynamics of “other” species, the ones we don’t focus on.
  • 22. Lesson #2 The “inquiry” – asking the climate question is a critical step. Providing guidance and tools to do this in a structured, systematic manner is key. Identifying and documenting “why” a decision, project, species or habitat is climate sensitive, rather than a relative ranking or absolute score.
  • 23. Sensitivity Index for WA’s SGCNs 58 Birds (12 incomplete)
  • 24. Lesson #3: Climate change data has to be presented in the context of existing stressors
  • 25. Partners: USGS, UW, TNC, WDFW, IDFG, U of I, NWF Results and Data can be found at: http://www.climatevulnerability.org/ Pacific Northwest Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Designed to answer the questions: Which species and systems are most sensitive to climate change? Which places are likely to see the most change? Which species and systems will be able to adapt? How can managers use this information to inform their work?
  • 26. Lesson #4: Successful adaptation to climate change means doing more of what we already do (selectively), NOT a wholesale new approach • . Climate change information should help us target existing efforts. Possibly also to bring more support to efforts that will increase resilience.
  • 27. Slide credit: Tim Beechie, NW Fisheries Science Center WDFW and its partners spend billions of dollars restoring salmon habitat in Washington. How could we use a climate change lens to target those resources?
  • 28. Slide credit: Tim Beechie, NW Fisheries Science Center Salmon Restoration and Climate Adaptation
  • 29. WHAT’S NEXT? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?
  • 30. WDFW Strategic Goals for Climate Change • Drive conservation at broad landscape scales in response to a changing climate • Provide education for employees and the public regarding the implications of climate change for fish, wildlife and habitats. • Build on existing and develop new partnerships WDFW: responding to the challenge of climate change SCIENCE Assessing the vulnerability of fish, wildlife and their habitat to climate change EDUCATION Building our capacity to respond INTEGRATION Identifying adaptation opportunities and integrating to our core work COLLABORATION With agencies, tribes and conservation partners
  • 31. Lynn Helbrecht Climate Change/SWAP Coordinator WDFW 360-902-2238 Lynn.helbrecht@dfw.wa.gov