Case Study Highlights – Adaptation

Land trusts are incorporating adaptation principles into their stewardship plans in different ways. The following case studies provide examples of various conservation approaches to build resilience of critical ecosystems.

South Kingstown Land Trust – Integrating Adaptation into Conservation Planning

The South Kingstown Land Trust (SKLT)’s vulnerability assessment and resulting conservation planning efforts identify organizational goals, natural resource assets, and management priorities. This iterative adaptive management approach enables the land trust to focus stewardship activities on critical ecosystems while allowing the flexibility to acknowledge uncertainties and revisit results. By integrating climate change adaptation considerations into conservation planning, SKLT is able to address changing environmental conditions using an informed and methodical approach, and to plan future acquisitions and restoration projects based on their stewardship objectives.

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Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers

Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers offers resources to inform adaptation responses for forest land managers.

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The Nature Conservancy CA – Connecting Multiple Resource Benefit Management to Resiliency Planning

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.

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Planning for Marsh Migration at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater 2100 is a collaborative strategic conservation plan that aims to address salt marsh loss and migration in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

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Bald Head Island Conservancy: Catalyzing Small Changes in Climate Change Adaptation

To support climate change adaptation planning the Bald Head Island Conservancy has developed a comprehensive public outreach campaign to help educate community members about potential impacts to the island and individual choices that can help improve the socioecological system’s resilience.

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Scenic Hudson: Projecting and Buffering Against Sea Level Rise Impacts

In New York, Scenic Hudson is conserving land in 82 communities in ten counties along the Hudson River to buffer against future sea level rise impacts. By targeting key properties for acquisition efforts, this land trust is working to ensure that natural processes such as marsh migration can continue to provide valuable ecological services as well as mitigate the effects of rising waters throughout the estuary.

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The Elkhorn Slough Foundation - Clearing the Floodplain, Adapting to Change

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.

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Go Zero - The Conservation Fund’s Reforestation Program

The Conservation Fund’s forest carbon offset projects are developed with careful consideration of climate and community benefits. The Fund’s carbon program supports both conservation-based forest management and forest restoration projects in some of America’s favorite places.

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Pacific Forest Trust: Carbon Projects to Mitigate Climate Change

The Pacific Forest Trust is a pioneer of approaches and standards used to create forest climate policies including carbon emissions reductions or offset projects which harness and protect the natural ability of forests to accumulate and hold carbon, acting as carbon “sinks” and providing essential climate benefits.

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Vermont Land Trust - Targeted Acquisitions for Wildlife and Ecosystems

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.

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Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation: Resiliency Planning

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) works to restore and preserve natural resources within the watershed. Restoration projects combined with community education and outreach to improve land management practices have yielded measurable water quality improvements. By increasing protection of natural features such as marshes, barrier islands, and ridges, conservation efforts help protect surrounding communities – both ecological and socio-economic – from the impacts of increasingly stronger hurricanes and sea level rise.

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The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust - Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge

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.

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Funding Conservation with Carbon Sequestration - Downeast Lakes Land Trust

Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s carbon project covers more than 19,000 acres of the trust’s 33,700 Farm Cove Community Forest in eastern Maine, and registered nearly 200,000 offsets; each offset is equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide.

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Nebraska Land Trust - Crafting Flexible Easements to Respond to Change

At Nebraska Land Trust flexible easements further long-term management objectives. As climate conditions present new management threats, it is important that conservation easements allow for the flexibility to mitigate and adapt to these impacts.

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Building Resilience with Natural Adaptations to Change

Bainbridge Island Land Trust is working with property owners to implement natural adaptation solutions to build more resilient coastal systems. The Powel Shoreline Restoration Project removed shoreline bulkheading to enhance coastal habitats and reduce risks of destructive undercutting, leveraging a failing bulkhead to produce an adaptive win-win solution to adapt to change.

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Shellfisher Preserve - Farming shellfish and adapting to changing oceans through social enterprise

The Peconic Land Trust’s Shellfisher Preserve is a collaborative enterprise that combines conservation with aquaculture activities to raise funds for property stewardship and further research on the Peconic Bay Estuary.

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Marin Agricultural Land Trust – Enhancing Carbon Sequestration

The Marin Carbon Project is working to respond to the rapid pace of global climate change by enhancing carbon sequestration in rangeland, agricultural, and forest soils through applied research, demonstration, and implementation. These efforts aim to enable landowners and land managers of agricultural ecosystems to serve as stewards of soil health and to undertake carbon farming in a manner that can improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem functions, and stop and reverse climate change.

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Shifting Shorelines, Shifting Conservation Strategies

This publication provides case studies and geospatial best practices for incorporating sea level rise into wetland conservation priorities to support adaptation.

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Building Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change Through Local Conservation Efforts: A South Kingstown Land Trust Pilot Project

Building Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change Through Local Conservation Efforts is a report resulting from a two-year pilot project aiming to foster climate change adaptation at the community level.

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Watch Hill Conservancy – Building Knowledge to Respond to Change

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.

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Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments

The National Wildlife Federation’s Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments is designed to assist fish and wildlife managers and other conservation and resource professionals to better plan, execute, and interpret climate change vulnerability assessments.

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