Tuesday, April 22, 2014

AFWA Releases Two Resource Guides to Federal and NGO Climate Adaptation Programs

Fish and wildlife provide many important ecosystem and cultural services that support people, communities and economies across the country. Many observed changes in the global climate are impacting valuable natural resources. These impacts are expected to compound existing threats to fish and wildlife and their habitats, making it more difficult and costly for state fish and wildlife agencies to manage.

Climate change adaptation, defined as an adjustment in natural and/or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities and moderates negative impacts, is a new and rapidly expanding part of fish and wildlife conservation.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Climate Change Committee cited a need for a greater understanding of the available resources from federal agencies and natural resource conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities to which state fish and wildlife agency managers can refer for climate adaptation information and assistance.

As a result, the Association has released two, new publications–the Resource Guide to Federal Adaptation Climate Programs for State Fish & WildlifeAgencies and the Resource Guide to NGO Climate Adaptation Resources andTools for State Fish & Wildlife Agencies. Each guide summarizes available tools or resources and provides a brief description and link.  

The federal government has emphasized the importance of preparing fish and wildlife for future climate conditions as well as improving preparedness among human communities. For example, the Executive Order—Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, created a federal Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. It also created a State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, indicating that states will have an invaluable role in adaptation. State fish and wildlife agencies, having the major responsibility for fish and wildlife management, can lead the nation in facilitating fish and wildlife adaptation to novel climate and other conditions.

In addition, natural resource conservation NGOs and universities have made significant investments in climate adaptation planning and data management. This has led to a vast and growing system of resources that state fish and wildlife managers can use in conservation planning, including in the revision of State Wildlife Action Plans.

The goal of the NGO Resource Guide is to provide that understanding and to encourage state fish and wildlife managers to fully engage with NGOs on climate adaptation work on the state level. This guide is organized in a generalized framework for stepping through a planning process starting with resources that provide free access to data for download and visualization followed by resources for completing vulnerability assessments; adaptation frameworks and planning resources; and digital adaptation networks including forums for collaboration and communication on climate adaptation.

The specific implications of climate change on fish and wildlife are uncertain and vary on a regional and state basis. The resources and tools suggested throughout both guides can be combined with information from state climatologists and state-wide climate adaptation plans to support efforts to understand and respond to the anticipated impacts of a changing climate on fish and wildlife.

For more information about AFWA’s Climate Change focus area, go to http://www.fishwildlife.org/index.php?section=climate_change&activator=50

> Download the Resource Guide to Federal Adaptation Climate Programs for State Fish & WildlifeAgencies 

> Download the Resource Guide to NGO Climate Adaptation Resources andTools for State Fish & Wildlife Agencies