Friday, November 16, 2012

Fill out the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) user survey!

Help CAKE help YOU! Complete our brief user survey and be entered to win awesome prizes! We're giving away free books, a Kindle Fire, and more! 

The CAKE team is working every day to help you get the information you need to prepare for and respond to climate change. In order to keep CAKE growing and at the forefront of adaptation knowledge, we need your input today. 

Complete the survey to find out which 5 popular Island Press books you can choose from!  

Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated and will help us as we plan for CAKE's future!

Thank you in advance for your time and help!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Climate Change Adaptation on the Front Burner in the Great Lakes Region According to New EcoAdapt Survey

By Rachel M. Gregg 

Climate change may have been placed on the back burner during the presidential debates, but it is a hot topic of conversation – and action – in the Great Lakes!

The region’s freshwater resources are experiencing climate-induced changes in temperature, precipitation, lake level, and water chemistry that are affecting human communities and natural environments; these effects are expected to magnify in coming years. Managers, planners, and decision makers are tasked with the challenge of developing strategies to prepare for and respond to a changing climate; these strategies and actions are classified as “adaptation.”

To develop a better understanding of how people in the Great Lakes are engaging in climate change adaptation and to support others who want to learn from these examples, EcoAdapt expanded their State of Adaptation survey to include the freshwater resources of the region. Through interviews and surveys with regional practitioners, EcoAdapt developed a synthesis report, The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region. This synthesis provides:
·         A summary of key regional climate change impacts;
·         Examples of over 100 adaptation initiatives from the region, focusing on activities in the natural and built environments as they relate to freshwater resources;
·         Fifty-seven case studies, detailing how adaptation is taking shape (see examples on 2nd page of this release); and
·         An overview of challenges and opportunities for freshwater adaptation in the Great Lakes region.
The majority of adaptation activities in the region focus on building capacity to address climate change, including improving understanding and awareness, acquiring and developing resources and tools, and establishing collaborative partnerships. Important next steps for advancing adaptation in the Great Lakes region are to increase information exchange, encourage planning and integration across political boundaries, implement adaptation plans and strategies, and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken.

Products generated from this project, including case studies, will be shared through another EcoAdapt project, the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE; The synthesis report and case studies provide useful information on climate change adaptation in the Great Lakes for both novice and experienced practitioners within or beyond the region’s borders to apply to their own work. Readers can learn about different types of adaptation strategies, find real world examples of how others in similar disciplines or regions are incorporating climate change into their work, and locate the people and tools needed to help move their adaptation efforts forward. CAKE also provides the opportunity for users to join and engage in a community of practice where they can share their own case studies, tools, resources, and lessons learned.

To learn more about the State of Adaptation Program and this project, visit the project page. To join the CAKE community and learn more about climate adaptation, visit

What does adaptation look like in the Great Lakes?

Real people are doing real things to meet the challenges of climate change to the Great Lakes Region. Here are a few examples of what’s afoot:

Example 1: The Minnehaha Creek Watershed Stormwater Adaptation Study
Where: Minneapolis and Victoria, Minnesota, USA
Who: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
Why: Storms in the state have become more frequent and intense in recent years and these events are overwhelming the region’s stormwater management systems. Recent flooding events in cities such as Duluth have increased the need for climate-smart water resource management approaches to reduce the risk of infrastructure and property damage, pollution, and habitat loss.
How: Project partners are engaged in a stakeholder-driven process to evaluate existing stormwater systems, identify vulnerabilities, and develop adaptation plans to increase resilience.

Example 2: The Community Adaptation Initiative
Where: Ontario, Canada
Who: The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR), Clean Air Partnership, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Why: Climate change impacts in Ontario include increasing air temperatures, more extreme precipitation events, and decreasing lake levels, among others, that are affecting community health, resources, and economic well-being.
How: This outreach project is designed to increase public understanding and awareness to climate change in order to spur action. The partners have created five case studies of municipal adaptation activities in the province and a series of fact sheets on adaptation. In addition, they are hosting training and planning workshops to build community capacity for adaptation and develop climate-smart communities.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Facilitating the Implementation of Adaptation Strategies in California

By Alex Score
Redwood National Park/Michael Schweppe
California has just finalized its comprehensive state guidance on climate adaptation, the California Climate Adaptation Planning Guide (APG). The APG was developed to provide decision making guidance for local governments on adaptation priorities. The guidance document follows the release of the Our Changing Climate 2012 report, funded by the California Energy Commission, which determined that the state will continue to experience increasing temperatures, dry conditions, and sea level rise, among other climate-related effects. The APG is a flexible guidance document that is designed to help communities adapt to a changing climate. The document consists of four main parts: step-by-step vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning; in-depth analysis of climate change impacts; a regional impact analysis; and adaptation strategies organized by sector.

The APG is the result of a collaborative effort between the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Emergency Management Agency, with technical support from the California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) and with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Join us for the 1st National Adaptation Forum: Action today for a better tomorrow

National Adaptation Forum
Action today for a better tomorrow

You are invited to be a part of the 1st National Adaptation Forum (NAF): Action today for a better tomorrow. Please join us as we kick-off the inaugural convening of adaptation practitioners and experts from around the country focused on moving from adaptation planning to adaptation action.

Goals of the NAF:

  • Provide a professional development opportunity for the adaptation inclined.
  • Contribute to the development of a community of practice around climate change adaptation.
  • Create a venue for practitioners to share information, progress, and strategies, in order to build the capacity of their community.
  • Supporting on the ground implementation by providing managers and regional experts with a venue to exchange knowledge of and tools for incorporating climate change into their work.
This professional development event affords attendees the opportunity to learn more about how to make their work climate smart, share what they have learned with others, and develop a stronger network to be climate savvy in all that they do.
NAF Executive Committee Members include:

Margaret Davidson, NOAA
Naomi Edelson, National Wildlife Federation
Mike Goldstein, U.S. Forest Service
Lara Hansen, EcoAdapt
Noah Matson, Defenders of Wildlife
Amber Pairis, CA Department of Fish and Game
Joel Scheraga, U.S. EPA
For more information please visit: The agenda is coming soon, a call for abstracts (trainings, symposia and working group proposals) opens October 15th , and registration will open November 1st. We hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Institutionalizing Climate Change in New York City

AngMoKio @Wikimedia Commons

On August 22, the New York City Council passed legislation to institutionalize the New York City Panel on Climate Change and the New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force "for the purpose of advising the City on climate change projections and adaptation." Both panels were initially convened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2008 in order to support PlaNYC, a comprehensive sustainability plan for the city.

According to the legislation, the New York City Panel on Climate Change will meet at least two times a year in order to review the most up-to-date climate science and impacts data. Using this information, the panel will make recommendations to the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and the Adaptation Task Force on incorporating climate projections into planning processes. The Task Force will meet twice per year to review the recommended projections, evaluate the impacts on the city's public health, natural systems, built infrastructure, and economy, and develop coordinated adaptation strategies to reduce the city's vulnerability.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is North Carolina's new state bird the ostrich?

Good news, we finally know where the state of denial is!
It certainly isn't in Hawaii where last month the governor signed historic legislation making adaptation the law of the land. Their state bird is the Nene.

Brenda Zaun @Wikimedia Commons

Adamantios @Wikimedia Commons
Nope - it turns out that North Carolina can shorten its name, change its postal code abbreviation to DN, and officially adopt a new state bird.

North Carolina's governor recently made history by allowing historic legislation to happen without her signature. Now HB 819 prevents state agencies from making policy decisions based on the latest scientific assessments of how sea level rise will play out along their shores, guaranteeing that decisions about coastal zoning, development, and protection will get it wrong, costing local and state governments untold dollars in future costs and liabilities.

Of course if you are afraid of climate change and don't mind getting a little sand in your ears, now could be a good time to move to North Carolina! We look forward to monitoring the efficacy of outlawing reality. For more on this approach see the Adaptation Mavens' column on CAKE.

- Lara

Monday, August 6, 2012

Update: Adapting to Rising Tides in San Francisco Bay

Check out the updated case study on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission's Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) Project on CAKE. It's our featured case study for the next two weeks. The case study includes descriptions and links to the impacts and vulnerability assessments conducted by the project team as the project moves from planning and assessment to implementation.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Adaptation ABCs: L is for long-term thinking

is for long-term thinking.
One quick and dirty way to take a big step towards making your decisions climate-savvy is simply to ask whether a particular decision makes sense over the long term given the expected manifestations of climate change. We may not make every decision with the next several decades in mind, but there are plenty of decisions where a long-term view can sure save us time, money, and heartache. Thinking of buying a house near the coast, in a floodplain, or in a fire-prone area? It's well worth getting at least a rough idea for how flooding, fire, and erosion might change as a result of climate change. Is insurance likely to become prohibitively expensive or unavailable? Will you be evacuating and possibly losing your possessions every 30 years? Every 10 years? Pondering whether to invest in some expensive equipment to support your burgeoning agricultural efforts? Might be worth thinking about whether climatic changes and effects could affect your ability to pay off the loans, or even the utility of the equipment itself if certain crops or agriculture approaches become untenable in your area.     

Think Progress Outlines 10 Things that Climate Change is Worsening

A Think Progress blog by Rebecca Leber and Ellie Sandmeyer lists the top ten things that global climate change is exacerbating:
Wikimedia Commons
  1. Increasing price of food
  2. Melting glaciers
  3. Landslides
  4. Dust storms
  5. Toxic algae blooms

For the rest of the list check out their blog post here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hawaii's Governor signs new Climate Change Adaptation Policy

Wikimedia Commons (Celine Nadeau)
State Senate Bill 2745 was signed by Governor Neil Abercrombie on July 9th, which enacts climate change adaptation as a statewide policy in Hawaii. The purpose of the act is to "encourage collaboration and cooperation among county, state, and federal agencies, policy makers, businesses, and other community partners to plan for the impacts of climate change and avoid, minimize, or mitigate loss of life, land, and property of future generations." Read the full text here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

EcoAdapt Selected to Receive Funding from California LCC

We are pleased to announce that EcoAdapt's proposal to facilitate a collaborative, multi-stakeholder effort to develop a large scale vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategies for focal resources of the Sierra Nevada was one of eight projects selected for funding from the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). Funded projects range from regional invasive plant management to predicting sea level rise impacts on tidal wetlands.
Mike Baird, Wikimedia Commons
Project partners include the U.S. Forest Service, Conservation Biology Institute, and Geos Institute. Specific project objectives include assessing the vulnerability of Sierra Nevada focal resources to climate change, using spatial analysis and expert input to prioritize conservation areas or actions, and identifying implementable management responses to climate change in the Sierra Nevada. Scientists, land managers, and conservation practitioners will be invited to provide input throughout this project with the goals of creating a more integrated assessment, building buy-in and capacity across a range of stakeholders, and ensuring that both scientific and managerial viewpoints are integrated throughout.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Update on North Carolina's Sea Level Rise "Debate"

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that sea levels along a "hot spot" on the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts are rising 3-4 times faster than the global average. House Bill 819 in North Carolina aims to mandate that planners ignore these projections in favor of past patterns. As Stephen Colbert said, "If your science gives you a result you don't like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved!"

Check out the Mavens' take over on CAKE (make sure tongue is planted firmly in cheek) and join the CAKE community discussion here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

North Carolina: Making Sea Level Rise Illegal?

Outer Banks, NC (
North Carolina, home to barrier islands and low-lying coastal lands popular with residents and tourists alike, is considering mandating that state agencies and local governments ignore the broad scientific consensus that accelerated sea level rise will have devastating effects for coastal communities in the coming years. The key part of House Bill 819 is the following:
“…rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of [sea level rise] may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of [sea level rise].”
This proposed policy would essentially mandate a linear approach to a very non-linear phenomenon, demanding that scientists, planners, and decision makers ignore basic physics (e.g., how much change, how quickly will it happen). Being skeptical is one thing. Rejecting the existence or utility of science is another thing entirely. 

Read more at:
Check out some SLR-related projects over on CAKE:
And join the CAKE community discussion here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adaptation ABCs: K is for Knowledge

You know more than you think you know! Isn't that great? Most people approach climate change as if it were a mystery, an ark of secrets hidden from us by those much wiser. Funny thing is, the effects of climate change are pretty easy to wrap your mind around if you recognize that you already know a lot, and successfully adapting to climate change depends as much on knowledge about people, communities, and existing planning and management approaches as it does climate-specific knowledge. If you don't know something, talking with others may get you not only an answer, but a support system or community of practice. Even if the answer you get is that nobody knows the answer to the question you're asking, knowing that something is uncertain or unknown is real, important scientific knowledge that you can use. You can take action based on your knowledge of the certain and the uncertain, the known and the unknown. Knowledge is power and you are powerful.   

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New report demonstrates how climate-informed maps can help guide conservation efforts in an era of change

In the past, we prioritized investments in conservation by identifying where imperiled species live, where biological diversity is high, or where iconic, scenic, or recreation areas are located. But in an era of climate change, species are likely to move to new areas, some habitats may shift while others may be more resilient to climate impacts, and the places we currently value are unlikely to stay as we currently recognize. So then, how do we prioritize our conservation investments in such a time of change?

Climate-informed conservation blueprints, which were created as part of the Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats Campaign, can help provide a roadmap for building habitat resilience and guiding conservation efforts and investments under changing conditions. EcoAdapt and the Geos Institute were commissioned by the Sierra Club to create independent, science-based blueprints for the Greater Puget Sound ecoregion. The resulting climate-informed conservation maps identify areas that have contemporary ecological value – for example, high biodiversity or focal species habitats – and have greater vegetation stability or instability under modeled future climatic conditions. This information can be used to suggest priority areas and strategic conservation actions that may provide species and ecosystems with a greater likelihood of persistence and function throughout the rapidly changing climate over the next 75 years.

The report provides guidance regarding the interpretation, implementation, and limitations of the blueprint maps as well as a summary of methods used, key patterns and findings, and possible adaptation and conservation approaches. Fundamental approaches and principles recommended throughout include: (1) protect and restore intact or likely stable areas to provide current and future strongholds for species; (2) reduce non-climate stressors to increase the resilience of ecosystems to climate change; (3) utilize climate-smart restoration and management techniques; and (4) maintain or create connectivity corridors and linkages that allow species to shift as conditions change.

Please see A Climate-Informed Conservation Blueprint for the Greater Puget Sound Ecosystem on our website

- Jessi