Adaptation involves taking practical actions to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities, and strengthen the resilience of ecosystems. These case studies highlight the many ways land trusts are already working to assess impacts and reduce risks to people and the environment through stewardship solutions.
The ESF has been responding to potential climate change impacts by working cooperatively to study and address salt marsh loss. In addition to working with agencies and regional research facilities, ESF conservation projects such as constructing water control structures to adapt to rising sea levels and acquisition and management efforts to “clear the floodplain” address climate change challenges by allowing for migration of tidal marshes and building ecological resilience.
Sea level rise amplifies hazards such as coastal erosion, inundation due to storm surge, extreme tides, and tsunami, and is projected to lead to more frequent and increasingly severe flooding. To respond to these threats conservation efforts on the 277-acre Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge aim to mitigate impacts of sea level rise, promote habitat restoration, and support food security and community sustainability.
To inform management decisions in the region, TNC-CA and partners conducted comprehensive climate change planning and vulnerability assessments for this area. The climate change planning effort began by identifying six key species and habitats in the Mount Hamilton project area.
The Vermont Land Trust executed a targeted 163 acre land acquisition to help struggling black bears move between the Green Mountain and Taconic ranges. Working to connect these vast open spaces in Vermont and New York enhances the ability of bears to move from their home ranges to feeding habitat, and increases connectivity for a variety of wildlife.
In Rhode Island, the Watch Hill Conservancy (the Conservancy or WHC) works to preserve, conserve, maintain, and enhance the scenic, open space and historical values and the character of the area. In addition to promoting preservation, the Conservancy runs educational programs and works to acquire and preserve interests in real property in order to support the continued vitality and sustainability of the community. WHC partners with the Watch Hill Fire District to protect and manage the Napatree Point Conservation Area, a dynamic peninsula system that includes diverse ecosystem types and offers a variety of educational and recreational opportunities to people in this region.
The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina (TNC SC) is integrating climate change in coastal land protection and restoration. Sea level rise, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion are already altering inland and coastal habitats within the dynamic Winyah Bay and surrounding ecosystems.