Jessica Hitt
Time Slot: 
Margaret A. Davidson Networking Reception, Poster Session, and CAKE Tools Cafe
Session Type: 


Compendium of Adaptation Approaches - USDA FS Climate Change Resource Center
Hannah Abbotts, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
  • Kristen Schmitt, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
hide abstract

We developed a searchable, web-based national compendium for natural resource professionals to facilitate climate change adaptation actions. The Adaptation Approaches section of the Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) is a user-friendly collection of curated, science-based climate change adaptation actions (strategies, approaches, and tactics) and covers a broad range of ecosystems. This compendium of Adaptation Approaches aligns the two primary climate adaptation resources for natural resource management in the U.S. that were developed independently through regionally focused science-management partnerships. By combining these resources into a common site, we provide a comprehensive, one-stop shop for browsing and selecting adaptation actions using a shared adaptation terminology across regions. Adaptation Approaches on CCRC is intended to assist natural resource managers in advancing climate change adaptation on federal, state, tribal, and private lands. It can be used to assist managers and landowners in developing project-level climate adaptation plans, completing NEPA documents, developing Forest Plans, and in climate change adaptation training.

US Coastal Property at Risk from Rising Seas - an interactive tool
Astrid Caldas, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Kristina Dahl, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Shana Udvardy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned Scientists
hide abstract

The “US Coastal Property at Risk from Rising Seas” interactive tool from the “Underwater” report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) uses property data from the online real estate company Zillow combined with a peer-reviewed methodology developed by UCS for assessing areas at risk of frequent tidal flooding. Using sea level rise scenarios from the 3rd National Climate Assessment, we determined how many residential and commercial properties along the lower 48 coastline are at risk of tidal flooding an average of 26 times per year or more in the coming decades even in the absence of major storms. The results can be easily explored on an interactive map showing data by state, community (census county subdivisions), and zip-code, making it a great tool for local adaptation planning to tidal flooding and sea level rise. As many as 311,000 coastal homes with an estimated market value of about $117.5 billion today will be at risk within the next 30 years—the lifespan of a typical mortgage. About 14,000 coastal commercial properties worth roughly $18.5 billion would also be at risk. Low-income and otherwise disadvantaged communities will be among those most heavily affected by chronic flooding and its accompanying financial losses. The implications for coastal residents, communities, and the economy are profound. A complementary tool for coastal congressional districts is also available to help increase awareness in congressional leaders of the impacts to homeowners and businesses, and of the resources that will be needed to address them.

EcoDIVA: A tool for integrating drivers of ecological drought to support pro-active planning
Shelley Crausbay, Conservation Science Partners
  • Molly Cross, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Kimberly R Hall, The Nature Conservancy
  • Jesse Anderson, Conservation Science Partners
  • Shawn Carter, USGS
hide abstract

Climate change increasingly affects the frequency, intensity, and extent of drought. Meanwhile, expanding human populations increase pressure on ecologically available water and alter ecosystems in ways that can increase their vulnerability to drought, with real consequences for people through the loss of ecosystem services. Over the past 3 years, the SNAPP Ecological Drought Working Group has developed a definition and framework for ecological drought that highlights trade-offs between human and ecosystem water needs which we hope can help shape innovative policies and actions aimed at managing the rising risk of drought. In this tool session, we will demonstrate "ecoDIVA," a drought vulnerability visualization tool that focuses specifically on ecosystems. EcoDIVA supports work to: 1) explore and visualize ecological drought vulnerability data and analysis, 2) play “what if?” scenarios around management strategies, and 3) consider the likelihood of ecological transformation from drought. Building from site-specific models, ecoDIVA frames potential ecological drought management strategies for a particular eco-drought vulnerability profile. The current version of the tool is based on data for a case study in the upper Missouri Headwaters of Montana, but we are interested in working with additional communities of stakeholders to build models/tools for other regions.
(note the weblink is to a concept paper that is a key design aspect of the tool -- but we don't have a tool URL yet).

What’s Your Exposure?: Explore Past, Present, and Projected Climate Stressors with the Climate Explorer and Other Tools.
LuAnn Dahlman, NOAA Climate Program Office
  • Jeff Hicks, NEMAC-FernLeaf Collaborative
hide abstract

Learn to use the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit’s Climate Explorer to explore and document a range of potential climate stressors and hazards across various regions of the United States.
We'll walk through practical examples that prepare you to use the Climate Explorer after the workshop. Learn how to generate and interpret charts to explore extreme events in the past, download graphics and/or source data for use in presentations or reports, and explain results to relevant audiences.

Climate Ready Communities: An assisted do-it-yourself climate adaptation program for small to mid-sized communities
Marni Koopman, Geos Institute
  • Geoff Weaver, Geos Institute
hide abstract

Climate Ready Communities is an assisted do-it-yourself program that supports leaders of small to medium sized communities who want to build climate resilience, but do not have the financial resources to hire a consultant or the technical capacity to do it entirely on their own. Communities in the program benefit from the following climate resilience support:

• a free, comprehensive guide - A Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience
• an affordable, companion subscription service that provides assistance in the form of templates, online tutorials, consulting time, and monthly, live support webinars
• add-on services, including climate change projections, workshop facilitation, and additional blocks of consulting hours

Developed with the assistance of local leaders in communities across the U.S., the Climate Ready Communities program is now accepting new communities that are ready to get started building climate resilience. Climate Ready Communities is a program of the Geos Institute's ClimateWise® initiative. To learn more, please visit

Hedging bets for biodiversity: TNC's Resilient Land Mapping Tool
Kimberly R. Hall, The Nature Conservancy
  • Mark Anderson, The Nature Conservancy
  • Melissa Clark, The Nature Conservancy
  • Arlene Olivero, The Nature Conservancy
hide abstract

As recognition of climate change risks to biodiversity have increased, many tools and frameworks have been developed to help update conservation planning and natural resource management. While species-specific research and projections of future impacts are sometimes available, for most species, this not the case. Further, the complexity of ecosystems, local climate impacts, and population dynamics suggest that when we focus on species-specific assessments, we are compounding the uncertainties in the science that supports our management strategies. As a complement to these targeted assessments, The Nature Conservancy has developed an approach for identifying places that are important for current biodiversity, and that we hypothesize will act as biodiversity strongholds as conditions change, based on relatively static abiotic and biotic variables. Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the “Conserving Nature’s Stage” (CNS) approach provides tools to help identify potential networks of natural areas that capture the full range of underlying site conditions (geology, soil texture, elevation). Using this variation in geomorphology as a framework, we then identify resilient sites, which are characterized by more complex topography, and higher local connectivity than nearby areas. A final step assesses regional connectivity patterns with Circuitscape, including connectivity across climate gradients. We will demonstrate two tools - an interactive data portal where people can explore multiple datasets and download data, and story maps that provide more detail on the methods. By April 2019, the portal will include resilient site and connectivity data for the Eastern US, Great Lakes region, and Great Plains region.

Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer: A Tool to Engage Governments and the Public in SLR Planning
Todd Hallenbeck, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • Eliza Berry, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • Jaclyn Mandoske, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  • Heather Dennis, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
hide abstract

The sea level rise and storm surge maps for San Francisco Bay developed by the Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) Program have supported multiple vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning efforts across the Bay Area—aiding local jurisdictions and asset managers in designing protections for human and natural communities. The maps rely on stakeholder-refined topographic data and identify low points on the shoreline that may allow inland flooding. The maps are uniquely suited to support planning efforts because they demonstrate both near-term storm and long-term sea level rise impacts.. Our new website, the ART Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer ( makes this complex information accessible to a wide audience, including the general public. The site features a “Learn” module that uses graphics and videos to provide an introductory lesson on sea level rise, tides, and storms for those who are new the topic. Our graphic-based pop-up definitions throughout the site and language translation function also cater to diverse audiences. With the site, we seek to empower stakeholders to understand risks so they can engage in finding solutions and have a seat at the table when community plans are designed. In this NAF session, we will demonstrate our website, explain the unique features of our data, and walk participants through a site-based exercise that teaches users about flood risk and makes links to broader community engagement efforts.

Gulf TREE: Your ultimate climate tool selection guide
Mikaela Heming, Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative
hide abstract

Gulf TREE (Tools for Resilience Exploration Engine) is a filter-based search engine designed to match users with relevant climate resilience tools quickly, easily, and confidently. With over 100 tools relevant to the Gulf of Mexico (and more being added all the time), Gulf TREE sorts through all these options to match users with a climate resilience tool that meets their criteria. The new web resource, released February 2018, was created by the Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice. Gulf TREE is relevant for users of all experience levels and across a wide variety of sectors, such as natural resource management, community planning, public health, and many more. Input from nearly 200 prospective end-users across the climate resilience spectrum was sought to understand which specific issues stakeholders are tackling, questions and needs for tool suitability, and to ensure an intuitive, user-friendly website. The result is a powerful and capable resource for Gulf of Mexico stakeholders and a solution to common obstacles faced by stakeholders interested in climate resilience. This approach and the product, while created in and for the Gulf of Mexico, is relevant to other regions and can be replicated. Come try out the site at the NAF Tools Café and at!

Touring Climate-Informed Practices in Agriculture and Forestry ‘As If You Were There’
Erin D Lane, USDA Forest Service
  • Karrah Kwasnik, University of New Hampshire
  • Jennifer Volk, University of Delaware
hide abstract

Climate change is heralding greater variation and uncertainty for farmers and land managers, and many have already found ways to adapt. The ability to share these experiences with others is imperative to cultivating new and/or effective techniques to reduce risks while also taking advantage of our new climate conditions. As a demonstration tool, virtual field tours offer exciting potential for spreading messages. In partnership with University of Delaware and other USDA and land grant collaborators, the USDA Northeast Climate Hub produced and launched a virtual demonstration network, ‘As If You Were There.’ This project uses immersive 360o technology and educational storytelling to feature key climate adaptation practices across working farms and forests within the Northeast. Through interactive 360o photography, users can embark into virtual field tours from their own computer or mobile devices. From here, they can access embedded video interviews, information, and resources that show how others are experiencing and dealing with increasing rainfall intensity, extended growing seasons, invasive pests, and other weather and climate risks. Throughout the tours, managers and researcher demonstrate solutions for adapting to climate change. It is our hope that these virtual field tours will collectively generate greater interest and understanding about the climate change issues facing agriculture and forestry, as well as, an appreciation for those addressing them. Used as a learning tool, the tours can increase overall adoption of climate-informed practices.

Climate Assessments and Indicators from the U.S. Global Change Research Program
Allyza Lustig, US Global Change Research Program
  • David Reidmiller, US Global Change Research Program
  • Katie Reeves, US Global Change Research Program
  • Kristin Lewis, US Global Change Research Program
hide abstract

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is mandated by Congress to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” To fulfill this mandate, USGCRP has set four strategic goals: 1) Advance Science, 2) Inform Decisions, 3) Conduct Sustained Assessments, and 4) Communicate and Educate. To these ends, USGCRP has developed a number of products that serve as effective tools for communicating about climate change and informing climate-related decisions. In this Tools Café session, we will showcase several of these products, including the following:

1) Volume I of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), the Climate Science Special Report (, which serves as an authoritative source of climate change science, with a focus on the United States.

2) NCA4 Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, which assesses the impacts of observed and projected changes (as outlined in Volume I) on American society, and is scheduled for release in December 2018 (

3) A climate indicators platform developed in a multi-year, interagency effort under the auspices of USGCRP ( Indicators can be important communication and planning tools to highlight how climate conditions are currently changing. USGCRP’s interactive platform summarizes observations of global change and provides a showcase for USGCRP agencies to highlight selected efforts.

Collaborative cross-sector systems modeling with the Elephant Builder
Jessica Ruvinsky, Bellwether Collaboratory
  • Theodore G. Wong, Bellwether Collaboratory
hide abstract

The Elephant Builder is an authentically inclusive process for mapping complex interdependencies—and harnessing them to make decisions simpler. Our collaborative systems-modeling tool integrates multi-stakeholder input to simulate social and financial outcomes under different policy scenarios in an uncertain future. The user-friendly online software helps stakeholders collaborate to construct a causal model of the relationships and processes that make up the community system. Users build the model one connection at a time, answering simple questions about what causes what. Citizens can engage at a foundational level—and when the input of community leaders is combined with that of policymakers, climate scientists, and engineers, the resulting model transparently represents everyone’s concerns. The Elephant Builder allows all stakeholders to generate quantitative predictions under different environmental and policy scenarios and to find shared solutions that span traditionally siloed domains. The broader the range of perspectives, the clearer the collective big picture. Come add your voice.

Adaptation Workbook
Danielle Shannon, Michigan Tech, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
  • Stephen Handler, USDA Forest Service, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
  • Maria Janowiak, USDA Forest Service, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
hide abstract

The Adaptation Workbook is a structured process with the flexibility to address potential effects of climate change at a site-specific level. The workbook is a platform to consider climate change in project planning, and to design adaptation actions that can help natural systems prepare for changing conditions. The Workbook is completely flexible to accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems, land uses, management goals, and project sizes. Every day more climate change information is becoming available that addresses climate projections and potential impacts on natural resources, and agriculture. Despite data availability, land owners and resource managers are unclear as to how climate change might play out at scales relevant to their work. The Adaptation Workbook was created to bridge this gap between regional impacts and project-level risks and vulnerabilities.
The Workbook can be used by a diverse range of people working in forestry, natural resources, and agriculture in rural and urban areas; including biologists, foresters, planners, soil conservationists, and consultants. The Workbook is designed primarily for professionals, but motivated landowners will also be able to use it. People with clear management goals and knowledge about their local ecosystems can use the Workbook, whether they are making management decisions for individual parcels or across a broad landscape.
The Workbook was created by the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science and the USDA Climate Hubs. The Workbook process is described in the USDA Forest Service publication Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd Edition.

A Preview of the Georgetown Climate Center’s Managed Retreat Toolkit
Katie Spidalieri, Georgetown Climate Center
hide abstract

The Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) will preview its forthcoming online Managed Retreat Toolkit for state and local governments and provide an opportunity for discussion and feedback. Anticipated Fall 2019, the toolkit will help policymakers: (1) implement best practices by highlighting the most innovative retreat practices that are being deployed at the state and local levels around the country; and (2) overcome legal and policy barriers to implementation by providing decisionmaking frameworks for navigating these barriers and evaluating tradeoffs. To that end, the toolkit will feature different sections on the range of legal tools that policymakers have for facilitating retreat, aligning policies to achieve the best outcomes, and balancing tradeoffs, including: land use and other managed retreat strategies; promoting equity; preparing “receiving communities” (i.e., the areas to which people relocate from vulnerable coasts); restoring, preserving, and facilitating the inland migration of coastal species and habitats; infrastructure disinvestment; funding mechanisms; and communication and outreach. The toolkit will build on and update GCC’s 2011 Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Toolkit and interface with its Adaptation Clearinghouse.

City Data Explorer: Tools for increased resilience to climate extremes in the Missouri River Basin
Natalie Umphlett, High Plains Regional Climate Center
  • Martha Shulski, Nebraska State Climate Office
  • Tarik Abdel-Monem, University of Nebraska Public Policy Center
  • Zhenghong Tang, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Community and Regional Planning
  • Frank Uhlarik, City of Lincoln
hide abstract

Communities all across the U.S. face a number of challenges due to a variable and changing climate, and city leaders are considering climate data and information as a guide for their comprehensive plans. Although there are a plethora of climate and climate change resources available, there are barriers to the use of these resources. A new project led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln pairs a team of climatologists, social scientists, and community and regional planners with municipal representatives to understand climate information needs for different municipality departments in select communities in the Midwest and Great Plains. Through workshops, interviews, and surveys the project aims to understand the level of climate data incorporation into municipal plans across the region, document municipal-specific thresholds to climate extremes, and develop tailored climate information and data products that will be useful for incorporation into municipal plans. In this session, the suite of tools developed for this project will be showcased.