Nature-based adaptation from Design to Execution: Examples from Jamaica to Jamaica Bay

Nature-based adaptation from Design to Execution: Examples from Jamaica to Jamaica Bay

Time Slot: 
Luncheon Sessions Day 2

This session will explore nature-based adaptation efforts in a range of ecosystems and locales. Learn the range of considerations and strategies for promoting adaptation through conservation and restoration from Jamaica to Jamaica Bay.

Cross-Cutting Themes: 


Resilient Islands: Advancing Ecosystem-based Climate Adaptation in SIDS of the Caribbean
Montserrat Acosta-Morel, The Nature Conservancy
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The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean are among the world’s most vulnerable places to the impacts of climate change. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), together with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is promoting the implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation in SIDS of the Caribbean through enhancements to communities’ planning processes inclusive of the many benefits ecosystems provide. TNC is mapping community-level vulnerability to climate change using the suite of IFRC tools used for priority site selection and the identification of solutions, namely, the Strategic Targeting Methodology and the Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment, to develop tailor-made assessment decision-making tools for communities to become better adapted to natural hazards. Through the application of these tools in communities in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, for the first time, members will be able to identify the benefits ecosystems provide for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and compare with others such as gray infrastructure. These assessments, spanning from the individual and household-level, to the municipal and province/state scale, will provide ideas that will enable community-members to prioritize nature-based solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. Through the integration of ecosystem-based adaptation in the IFRC tools, it is expected that the methodology can be easily replicated in many communities, promoting livelihoods and ensuring sustainability.

Integrated, Participatory Planning to Evaluate Coastal Resilience Investments in Jamaica Bay, New York
Jordan R. Fischbach, RAND Corporation
  • Debra Knopman, RAND Corporation
  • Heather Smith, ARCADIS US
  • Philip Orton, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Adam Parris, Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay
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Jamaica Bay, located at the southeastern end of the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, is a valuable resource for the City of New York and the surrounding metropolitan region. It was one of the region’s most heavily flooded areas during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is also highly vulnerable to forces affecting the coast, including sea level rise, storm surge, and wetland degradation. In the years following Sandy, many ideas have been proposed to reduce the bay’s vulnerabilities, but the region has lacked an analytical framework for evaluating the efficacy of these various proposals and comparing their merits across the goals of flood risk reduction, improved water quality, and ecosystem restoration.

In this talk, we describe a participatory research study that explored current and future resilience-related concepts in Jamaica Bay, conducted in partnership with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. The study included new integrated systems modeling designed to explore the future impacts of sea level rise and other key climate drivers as well evaluate conceptual flood risk reduction and ecosystem restoration proposals.

Study results show that climate change will have a significant impact on natural and human systems in and around Jamaica Bay if no further major investments are made. The conceptual resilience investments evaluated could modestly reduce tidal flooding and improve water quality. A restoration-focused concept could also yield substantial new marsh habitat, but these benefits would largely disappear with a sufficiently high rate of sea level rise by year 50.

Embracing Change: The "4 Ws" Framework for Adapting Conservation Approaches to Address a Changing Climate
Liz Tully, WCS
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Climate change may undermine the effectiveness of current conservation efforts. Given that time and money for conservation are limited, there is a need for investments that embrace the realities of a changing climate. To incentivize innovative efforts to help wildlife and ecosystems respond to climate change, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) created the Climate Adaptation Fund in partnership with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Fund has awarded more than $14 million to 78 adaptation projects across the US. This portfolio includes a diversity of conservation practices applied in strategic ways to help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate. In this symposium, we will highlight HOW conservationists are doing their work differently, to maximize the effectiveness of their investments as the climate changes using an accessible "4Ws" framework.
We will offer real-world examples of how conservation practitioners are already modifying the WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY of their conservation endeavors, in the face of a changing climate. By demystifying climate informed conservation work, these stories are intended to motivate others to evaluate their conservation strategies and determine whether different approaches will be needed in the context of climate change and uncertainty.