Sunday, September 28, 2014

Agencies Take Action to Help Safeguard Fish, Wildlife and Plants in a Changing Climate

Logo of the United States Fish and Wildlife Se...

In partnership with state, federal, and tribal agencies, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service released a report entitled “Taking Action” which describes
50 projects that collectively address the natural resource impacts of
climate change. The report was created in response to the *National Fish,
Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy* which was published in
March, 2013.

“Across the nation, a broad coalition of natural resource agencies is
working with partners and stakeholders to collectively address the current
impacts and future threats of climate change,” said Rowan Gould, Deputy
Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The concrete actions
documented in this report represent real progress, but helping native
species  cope with the effects of climate disruption requires us to build
on these successes and redouble our commitment to the National Strategy for
the benefit of our natural ecosystems and the millions of Americans that
rely on them.”

Projects highlighted in the report were selected from approximately 100
case studies which represent over 350 individual, federal, tribal and state
agencies, departments, non-governmental organizations, private businesses,
and landowners. They cover a wide geographic range and include:

   - Using conservation easements and other tools to protect more than
   250,000 acres from White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire to
   Moosehead Lake in Maine, providing a connective corridor of contiguous,
   climate-resilient wildlife habitat
   - Installing engineered log jams and planting native trees to protect
   remnant spawning habitat for salmon along 12 miles in the Quinault River on
   Washington’s Olympic Peninsula while also stabilizing streams against
   erosion
   - Using new climate adaptation forestry practices to plant a diverse
   suite of native tree species in northern Minnesota
   - Providing online training for natural resource managers and
   conservation professionals across the nation on the fundamentals of climate
   science and tools for climate adaptation to help them make smart land
   management decisions for the future

“The state perspective has been integral to shaping the *Taking
Action* progress
report. The report builds on and documents many of the partnership efforts
underway to move climate adaptation from planning to action across the
country” said Kevin Hunting, Chief Deputy Director of the California
Department of Fish and Wildlife. “While the report lays out priority
actions being taken now, there is still much more to be done to
comprehensively address wildlife and fisheries adaptation to a rapidly
changing climate.”

The examples highlighted in this report are not a comprehensive account of
what has been accomplished, but rather illustrate the diversity of
projects, scales of planning, and partnerships that can be and are being
utilized across the natural resource management sector to respond to the
impacts of climate change. These challenges include changing species
distributions and migration patterns, the spread of wildlife diseases and
invasive species, the inundation of coastal habitats with rising sea
levels, changing productivity of our coastal oceans, and changes in
freshwater availability.

Development of the *National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation
Strategy* was made in response to a 2010 call by the U.S. Congress for a
national, government-wide climate adaptation strategy to assist fish,
wildlife and plants. The strategy’s implementation is coordinated through
the Joint Implementation Working Group, which is co-led by the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the California
Department of Fish and Wildlife (representing state fish and wildlife
agencies). The Joint Implementation Working Group, which includes
representatives from 15 federal agencies, five state fish and wildlife
agencies, and one inter-tribal commission, oversaw development of the *Taking
Action* progress report with support from the Association of Fish and
Wildlife Agencies.