Shared solutions to protect shared values

  • Walrus Cows and Yearlings on Ice. Photo credit: USFWS / Joel Garlich-Miller
  • Touring by canoe. Photo creedit: USFWS / Steve Hillebrand
  • Sunrise. Photo credit: USFWS / Steve Hillebrand

The Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook, National Park Service, Rebecca Beavers, Amanda Babson, and Courtney Schupp

Dr. Beavers and colleagues delivered seminal resources to U.S. coastal national parks anagers to prepare for and adapt management strategies of the National Park Service (NPS) to climate change. The "Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook" and "Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies" reports summarize the state of NPS climate adaptation and key approaches currently in practice or considered across coastal national parks to guide adaptation planning and enhance resilience. The reports highlight innovative planning tools, collaborative opportunities, and lessons learned from 24 real-world coastal adaptation examples across 21 states, Washington DC, and 4 territories to generate inspiration and dialogue among park managers, partners, and other management agencies.

Bruce G. Marcot, PhD, U.S. Forest Service

Dr. Marcot conducts and disseminates research assessing and modeling the effects of future climate change and stressors on at-risk species, including the polar bear, northern spotted owl, Pacific walrus, and other high-latitude wildlife species. Over four decades he has developed and applied structured decision methods and statistical models for informing listing decisions and threats evaluations of at-risk or invasive species; providing climate-smart approaches for forest management; serving on a national team reviewing the Alaska Climate Science Center, and on the Science Advisory Board for the Northwest Climate Science Center; modeling the influence of old-forest reserve designs on the viability of many associated wildlife species; providing a photographic and videographic legacy of landscape images in northwest Alaska for future climate-change studies; and developing innovative ways to bridge ecological and cultural values of subsistence resources used by indigenous peoples of Alaska.

Dr. Amber Pairis, Climate Science Alliance – South Coast

Amber Pairis is committed to climate adaptation actions that promote natural resource conservation. She serves as Director of the Climate Science Alliance-South Coast, a partnership between California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative with 140 + partner agencies and organizations. In 2013 Amber was appointed by Governor Brown as the Assistant Secretary for Climate Change-California Natural Resources Agency to coordinate the State's nature-based climate adaptation activities. Pairis was the Climate Change Advisor for CDFW and created the Climate Science Program, CDFW Climate College, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency's Climate Committee, and supported development of the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.

1854 Ceded Territory Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan:1854 Treaty Authority, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Through a multi-sector and multi-organization approach, the 1854 Treaty Authority and the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, and Grand Portage Bands collaborated to develop a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan across the 1854 Ceded Territory of Minnesota. Using climate data that included both historic information and downscaled regional climate projects, the partners integrated best available climate science with local knowledge to develop customized adaptation strategies. Through this collaborative process the bands built and enhanced partnerships between the organizations that are key to helping the region adapt to a changing climate landscape.

Michael Durglo Jr, Confederated Salish and Kootenai (CSKT)

Michael Durglo Jr was the principal investigator and coordinator of the CSKT Climate Change Strategic Plan produced in 2010. He was also the founder and leader of the CSKT Climate Change Oversight Committee which integrated CSKT tribes and surrounding non-tribal partners into climate planning and management by facilitating communication and monthly meetings. He was also the founder of the CSKT EAGLES program, a youth empowerment and climate education program.

Climate Adaptation Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Climate Adaptation Fund provides direct support through a grant program to conservation organizations engaging in science-based, intentional, planned climate adaptation of ecosystems and resource management. The grant application structure and criteria help organizations connect the dots between science, planning, and action, with funding dedicated to delivering on-the-ground project implementation. WCS staff work with grantees to ensure the work is completed and that the story is shared with others. The combination of incentivization, actual implementation, and effective storytelling is having a cascading national influence beyond that of any other single grant program or NGO in the US.

Dr. Jessica Hellmann, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota

Dr. Hellmann is a leading ecologist studying the ecological impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies to reduce climate change risks. Using butterflies and plants as study species, Hellmann has spent 20 years revealing the sensitivities of rare species and the factors that affect their adaptive responses to climate change. She has collaborated extensively with local, state and federal recovery teams in this work. More recently, Hellmann has played a critical role in proposing and critiquing new management techniques for climate change, including species' relocation. She has been an outspoken advocate for climate change science and biodiversity conservation.

Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool partnership: University of Massachusetts Amherst, DOI Northeast Climate Science Center, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Massachusetts Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs

The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool inspires action to protect natural resources and help them adapt in a changing climate. With this tool, you can access information on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities of fish, wildlife, and habitats; and explore adaptation actions to promote resilient natural communities, such as culvert replacement, restoration of coastal buffers, or municipal plan development. This tool was developed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Massachusetts Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Department of the Interior's Northeast Climate Science Center. It was created for decision-makers, conservation practitioners, and managers. While designed for Massachusetts, it offers broadly relevant information and could serve as a model for other regions.


Broad Partnership Honorable Mention
Wind River Reservation Drought Preparedness Team
- Wind River Reservation Office of the Tribal Water Engineer, with the National Drought Mitigation Center, High Plains Regional Climate Center, Department of the Interior's North Central Climate Science Center, Colorado State University, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, National Integrated Drought Information System, University of Wyoming EPSCoR, Wyoming State Climate Office, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Water Assessment at UC-Boulder, Montana State University, Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub.

This project has foundational partnerships with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes at Wind River Reservation (WRR), and over 15 government agencies and university partners. These partners work closely with the Wind River Office of the Tribal Water Engineer (TWE) and the Wind River Water Resources and Control Board, who are the leadership and decision-making authority on water management, to co-produce actionable science for drought preparedness. This includes: a tribal-driven social-ecological vulnerability assessment; co-production of drought and climate change-related information and decision-support tools; and community engagement in drought/climate science education that integrate local knowledge and multi-generational learning approaches to resource management.

Federal Government Honorable Mention
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service - Fisheries Climate Vulnerability Assessment -NOAA Fisheries and NOAA Research

Fisheries managers, scientists and stakeholders urgently need information on what species are most vulnerable to climate-related changes to help guide research, develop responses and reduce impacts. Unlike terrestrial systems, there are few tools available for assessing the climate vulnerability of marine species within a region. To meet these needs, the NMFS Fish Stock Climate Vulnerability Assessment Team developed the first standardized U.S. methodology for assessing the climate vulnerability of US managed marine fish stocks (fish and invertebrates). These pivotal efforts paved the way for increasing the awareness and capacity of fisheries decision makers to prepare for and respond to climate impacts. The Team has significantly advanced the nation's ability to understand and adapt to climate-related impacts on the nation's fish stocks and fisheries.

Federal Individual Honorable Mention
Dr. Megan Friggens - USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

Megan Friggens has developed innovative methods to assess and adapt to threats and impacts to wildlife species and habitats arising from climate change. Through workshops, webinars, and web-based tools, she regularly transfers assessment and synthesis knowledge to federal, state and private land stakeholders. Megan recently applied a coupled model approach to assess habitat and species' vulnerability to climate and wildfire in the southwestern U.S. She is developing a spatially explicit model to predict fire damage on cultural resources and adapting a vulnerability assessment framework to explore implications of climate change impacts for fire regimes. She co-developed and published applications of a vulnerability assessment tool called "System for Assessing Vulnerability of Species", and multiple case study assessments that provide a foundation for developing adaptation strategies.

Non-governmental Individual Honorable Mention
Dr. Katherine Mills - Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Dr. Mills is an international leader in the effort to understand how fish populations respond to climate change. Through her research, she has made fundamental contributions to understanding how temperature changes impact lobster, cod, and salmon. She also has a deep commitment to making science relevant to society. She currently leads a major effort to develop a framework to help fishermen and fishing communities make decisions based on expected changes in the species they depend upon. She is also working closely with Maine's lobster industry to develop forecast products for the nation's most valuable fishery.

State or Local Government Honorable Mention
Dr. Olivia LeDee, formerly of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Dr. Olivia LeDee provided consistent and innovative leadership on climate adaptation for the state of Minnesota including developing and helping to operationalize the DNR's Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in Natural Resource Management policy. This policy encourages the department to implement climate adaptation strategies as well as manage lands so that vegetation can sequester more carbon. She also led the development of guidance, resources, and training for agency staff to be able to implement the policy. Olivia has also represented state agencies on the national scale with the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.