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The ACT Framework draws on collective knowledge to translate climate change projections into a portfolio of adaptation actions.
Coastal areas are commonly defined as the interface or transition areas between land and sea, including large inland lakes. Climate change is impacting and will continue to affect coastal areas in a variety of ways. Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean temperatures. In addition, rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and become more acidic. These changes are already impacting coastal and marine ecosystems.
One of the first activities initiated by the Watch Hill Conservancy (WHC) when it was established was to create a partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to collaboratively work to protect the piping plovers on Napatree. Plovers are the emblematic logo of the WHC. WHC personnel assist FWS scientists in a number of ways: they help erect fencing to keep the public away from plover nesting and feeding sites, observe plovers for nest building behavior, monitor nests, and remove fencing at the end of the season.
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.
Numerous land trusts have already incorporated elements of climate adaptation planning into their management strategies. In general, a climate change adaptation plan identifies and assesses impacts that are likely to affect the planning area, develops goals and actions to best minimize these impacts, and establishes a process to implement those actions. Climate change adaptation actions can often fulfill other management goals, such as sustainable development and risk reduction, and can therefore be incorporated into existing decision-making processes.
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.
The National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) is a national database of conservation easement information that compiles records from land trusts and public agencies throughout the United States, and aims to help agencies, land trusts, and other organizations plan more strategically and identify opportunities for collaboration.
The North Florida Land Trust has used 26 natural resource criteria to map and prioritize strategic conservation objectives in a seven-county region. The resulting North Florida Conservation Priorities map offers a quantitative guide of conservation values, informing acquisition and management priorities in this area.
Blackwater 2100 is a collaborative strategic conservation plan that aims to address salt marsh loss and migration in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
Given the complexity of climate change and associated threats, preparing to address impacts and minimize vulnerabilities through strategic conservation planning has become even more critical than ever.