Climate Adaptation in the Midwest: what’s happening, where we’re going, and lessons learned

Climate Adaptation in the Midwest: what’s happening, where we’re going, and lessons learned

Daniel Vimont
University of Wisconsin - Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 1
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The Midwest United States faces a unique set of physical, social, and political issues in adapting to climate change. Within this varied landscape, a number of efforts at understanding and implementing climate adaptation have emerged. This session will summarize some of the historical and expected future climate changes in the Midwest, and introduce some of the efforts at understanding, motivating, and carrying out climate adaptation in the region. The session will focus on co-production of actionable climate science, cross-sectoral adaptation efforts, and developing partnerships between organizations in the Midwest to catalyze knowledge generation and adaptation. The session will include a question-and-answer panel discussion on lessons learned and future directions for climate adaptation in the region.


The Dane County Climate Adaptation Plan
Keith Reopelle, Office of Energy and Climate Change, Dane County
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Dane County has spent the past year and a half developing a nation-leading, economy-wide Climate Adaption Plan (CAP) that proposes bold programs and policies for both adaption to, and mitigation of, climate change. The Dane County Office of Energy and Climate Change will be sharing highlights of their CAP in this session and giving a brief overview of some of the most innovative and impactful strategies that will build resilience while at the same time significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Programs and policies highlighted will include the power sector, transportation sector and advanced agriculture practices.

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts: enabling climate adaptation in Wisconsin
Daniel J Vimont, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
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The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, or WICCI, is a broad network of individuals and organizations around Wisconsin that work to develop and share information that enables climate adaptation in the State and region. WICCI is organized as a “Collective Impact Organization”, which is an especially effective model for addressing complex topics such as climate adaptation. In this talk, I will share some of the successes and difficulties in carrying out WICCI’s mission in Wisconsin and the Midwest. The talk will also unveil new climate data resources that can be broadly used to understand and anticipate expected climate changes and impacts across much of the United States.

Adaptation for Natural Resources Management in Wisconsin
Dreux Watermolen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies formed the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) in 2007. WICCI’s first phase resulted in the 2011 report Wisconsin's Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptation, a resource to help decision-makers preserve jobs, invest resources more wisely, build resiliency and protect our built and natural environment. Wisconsin's Changing Climate has since served as a spring board for Wisconsin DNR’s adaptation activities. This presentation will provide an overview of fish, wildlife, forestry, and water resources adaptation activities.​

Putting Partners First: the NIACS approach to climate change adaptation
Chris Swanston, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service
  • Maria Janowiak, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service
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The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) has been designed as a collaborative effort among the Forest Service, universities, conservation organizations, and forest industry to provide information on managing forests for climate change adaptation and enhanced carbon sequestration. As a regional, multi-institutional entity, NIACS builds partnerships, facilitates research, and synthesizes information to bridge the gap between carbon and climate science research and the information and management needs of natural resource professionals, woodland owners, policymakers, and members of the public. In our work on climate change adaptation, one of our fundamental guiding principles has been to put the needs of our partners first. Following this principle has led us to several important milestones through time – creating information and products that are useful for our partners, designing a structured adaptation process that allows partners to be in the driver’s seat, and expanding our focus beyond forest management when our partners made the request.