Shared solutions to protect shared values

  • Salmon. Photo by Tim Torrell
  • Desert southwest. Photo by Jono Hey / Flickr
  • Boy with frog. Photo by Tom Woodward / Flickr

What is the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy?

The Strategy is a framework for unified, nation-wide action to safeguard the Nation’s fish, wildlife, and plants and the important services they provide in a changing climate. Developed by federal, state, and tribal agencies with responsibility for managing wild living resources, the Strategy outlines the goals, strategies, and actions needed to reduce the vulnerability and increase the resilience of fish, wildlife, and plants in a changing climate. The Strategy builds on growing efforts of federal, state, tribal agencies, and non-governmental entities to understand, track, and reduce impacts of a changing climate on the nation’s valuable fish, wildlife, and plants.

Why do we need the Strategy?

The nation’s species and habitats are already showing changes consistent with a warming climate, such as changes in abundance, distribution and timing of reproduction. These and other impacts (e.g., spread of invasive species, diseases) are expected to increase with continued changes in climate, with serious consequences for the many U.S. communities and economies that depend on natural systems. Taking action now can help reduce the vulnerability of natural systems and assist public and private decision makers from many different sectors in enhancing the sustainability of fish, wildlife and plants in a changing climate.

What is the timeframe of the Strategy?

The first iteration of the Strategy focuses on actions that can be taken or initiated in the next five to ten years to help fish, wildlife, and plants adapt to changes currently projected to occur during the next century. Because new information will become available in the coming years, this adaptation Strategy will be revisited, refreshed, and as necessary, revised in the future using information from the U.S. National Climate Assessment and other sources.

How is this Strategy different from other efforts?

This Strategy is the first nation-wide, joint adaptation strategy by the three levels of government (federal, state, and tribal) that have primary authority and responsibility for the living natural resources of the United States.

How does the Strategy relate to other climate adaptation efforts?

The Strategy fits into the broader context of federal, state, and tribal climate adaptation efforts. It is being coordinated with other cross-cutting strategies and plans, such as the National Ocean Policy and the National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate (aka the Freshwater Action Plan). The Strategy complements these other efforts by focusing on fish, wildlife, and plant adaptation throughout the U.S. and contains several strategies and actions that are consistent with the other plans. The Strategy is intended to work in harmony with State Wildlife Action Plans and state climate adaptation plans. An increasing number of tribes also are creating adaptation plans that the Strategy will help to inform.

How can I get involved in implementing the Strategy?

Meaningful engagement from interested and affected stakeholder groups and citizens supports and informs successful implementation of the Strategy and ensures that adaptation work is communicated to key external audiences. We welcome your input and involvement.

Learn more about how to get involved.

What progress has been made to implement the Strategy?

Nearly 100 projects describing implementation of the Strategy have been voluntarily shared with the JIWG as evidence of a larger, collective national effort. Many public, private, and Tribal partnerships - representing over 350 individual federal and state agencies, Tribes, non-governmental organizations, private businesses and landowners - have contributed to those projects and the implementation of the Strategy. Those projects are being conducted throughout all corners of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Island Territories. In September 2014, the Joint Implementation Working Group for the Strategy released its first progress report, Taking Action. It provides summaries of 50 climate adaptation projects currently underway and illustrates the diversity of projects, scales of planning, and breadth of partnerships responding to the Strategy’s “Call to Action” to address the effects of climate change on the nation’s fish, wildlife and plant resources. Read the report for more information.

In 2015, the JIWG released the Next Steps Report, which provides a sampling of the many ways in which Federal, State, and Tribal agencies are undertaking climate adaptation and resilience efforts in FY 2015 and 2016 to implement the recommendations of the Strategy. This report builds on the 2014 Taking Action report, but is more forward looking and emphasizes a broader picture of the climate adaptation and resilience work currently underway or planned in the near future.