Oral Presentation Session 11

Oral Presentation Session 11

Alex Score
Time Slot: 
Wednesday 4:30pm - Concurrent Session 7
Session Type: 
Symposium (Individual Presentations)


Bridging the Boreal: Implementing shared adaptation strategies across Alaska and northwest Canada
Amanda Sesser, Holistic Adaptation
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The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative has built an international partnership of over 30 organizations, including agencies, local governments, Tribes/First Nations, and research institutions that is implementing shared landscape scale conservation and adaptation strategies through a participatory process. In this northern region, we have the opportunity to anticipate and respond to changes in climate and land use before they occur. This aim of this collaboration is to continue to allow for the economic development of local communities and access for globally important resources while maintaining ecological integrity. To be proactive, we are working to maintain connectivity in this still intact landscape by identifying geophysical linkages among management units of the existing conservation estate that can be protected before this landscape becomes fragmented by development. We are also setting into place an adaptive management framework based on “benchmarks” that partners are using to disentangle the effects of management actions from climate change. The benchmarks are assemblages of intact catchments that are of sufficient size to capture large‐scale processes and maintain habitats resilient to disturbance. These science-based linkages and benchmarks are being implemented currently by two partner organizations (BLM and FWS); other organizations are interested in implementing shared adaptation strategies in the near future (e.g., Yukon Government). The partnership has been successful because it has built trust among diverse partners and identified shared values across the entire cross-boundary landscape and bridged the science-implementation gap.

  • Amy Pocewicz, Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative
  • Ben Matheson, Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative / Wildlife Management Institute
When Adaptation Planning is an Oxymoron: Learning from Agency Restructuring and Complex Adaptive Systems
Christopher L Hoving, Michigan DNR
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In 2011, the Michigan DNR Wildlife Division restructured to be a more adaptive learning organization. As part of that restructuring, a new administrative unit was created called the Planning and Adaptation Section. Adaptation in this context included, but was not limited to climate adaptation. In developing a planning framework for our state wildlife management agency, it quickly became apparent that the planning staff and the adaptation staff had different visions for the needs and limits of planning relative to adaptation. Planning staff valued “legibility.” They saw planning as a way to make the work of the agency simple and clear enough to be understood. They saw plans as vehicles for increasing legibility. Adaptation staff valued complexity. They saw adaptability as flexibility and maintaining diverse options to be ready for an unpredictable future. After much discussion we agreed that a healthy organization needs both plans and flexibility, and that housing responsibility for both in one administrative unit was especially useful. It mirrors the healthy functioning of a complex adaptive system, in which forces creating diverse options are balanced with forces selecting from those options for efficiency. Complex adaptive systems often create relatively simple patterns that are both dynamic and resilient to disturbance. In a future with an increasingly unpredictable climate, taking lessons from complex adaptive systems can help organizations plan and adapt more effectively.

  • Christopher L Hoving, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Patrick Lederle, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • William F Porter, Michigan State University
Adaptation Design Tool for natural resource management: Demonstration for coral reefs of Puerto Rico
Jordan M West, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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As climate change impacts on natural resources continue to intensify, ecosystem managers are looking for ways to account for projected changes in order to maximize effectiveness of their management activities. The Adaptation Design Tool, developed as a collaborative project of the inter-agency U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and The Nature Conservancy, walks practitioners through steps for (1) adjusting the design of their management actions to be more climate-smart and (2) developing additional climate-smart actions to address remaining vulnerabilities. This tool was experimentally applied during a coral reef and watershed management plan revision in southwest Puerto Rico. The structured tool worksheets were used to examine management actions currently in the plan, from the perspective of two categories of design considerations: how climate change will affect relevant stressors being managed by the action, and the implications of that information for how climate change will impact the effectiveness of the action. This supported the crafting of climate-smart versions of management actions. Several new actions that addressed gaps in the previous plan were also developed using the Adaptation Design Tool. The full output of the tool exercise was summarized for inclusion in the revised watershed management plan. While the tool has been piloted for coral reef management planning, it is also fully transferable to and beginning to be used in other systems and applications such as climate-smart adaptation planning for wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation restoration activities.

  • Jordan M. West, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • David A. Gibbs, ORISE Fellow at US EPA
Integrating and implementing climate change into State Wildlife Action Plans
Toni Lyn Morelli, DOI Northeast Climate Science Center
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In 2015, fish and wildlife agencies across the U.S. revised their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs). SWAP coordinators were challenged to incorporate climate change impacts and species and habitat responses as part of their 10 year strategic approach to managing vulnerable resources. The DOI Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) led the development of a report intended to assist the Northeast and Midwestern States meet this charge by synthesizing information on: 1) regional and State-specific climate change projections, 2) existing regional Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments, 3) biological responses to climate impacts with a focus on Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need, and 4) a range of adaptation strategies, actions and tools available to natural resource agencies to conserve wildlife and ecosystems over the short and long term. The outline and content for this document was co-produced through an iterative process with input from State Coordinators, members of the NEAFWA, MAFWA, and numerous partners. This presentation will describe the process, goals, challenges and results of this collaborative effort. The NE CSC viewed the delivery of the synthesis document as a starting point for coordinated and collaborative climate adaptation across the region; follow up efforts reflect on how the synthesis was utilized by the States and other initiatives stemming from its release. Additional endeavors are underway to continue exploring shared climate science needs across States (e.g., how Atlantic coastal States will address the threat of sea level rise) and implement SWAP-identified climate strategies and actions during the coming years through diverse partnerships.

  • Michelle D Staudinger, Science Coordinator
  • Elda Varela Minder, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
  • Elizabeth Crisfield, Terwilliger Consulting, Inc
  • Sally Ann Sims, Innovative Partnerships for Conservation
  • Karen Terwilliger, Terwilliger Consulting, Inc.