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The State of Climate Change Adaption in the Great Lakes Region

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  1. The State of Climate Change Adaption in the Great Lakes Region October 2012 Rachel M. Gregg, Kristen M. Feifel, Jessi M. Kershner, and Jessica L. Hitt Leah Kos*MEA593*Article Summary Presentation

  2. Great Lakes Region

  3. Overview • EcoAdapt: Meeting the challenges of climate change • Description of paper: • Climate Change and the Great Lakes Region • Adaptation Projects and Programs in the GLR • Regional Challenges and Opportunities • 57 Case Studies • Purpose of EcoAdapt’s State of Adaptation Program • Promote adaptation action by: • Provide real-life adaptation case studies • Collect, combine and share information • Open access among practitioners (case studies posted online)

  4. Overview • 21% of the world’s freshwater supply and 84% of North America’s supply • Increased of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions have lead to changing temperatures, precipitation patterns and water chemistry • Focus on increased temperatures and more frequent and extreme precipitation patterns • Negative impacts will outweigh positive impacts • All cases assume: • Temperatures and precipitation patterns are changing • Climate change impacts • Mitigation and adaptation strategies are needed for climate change response

  5. Adaptation Projects and Programs • Adaptation strategies grouped by relation to freshwater resources • Capacity Building • Policy • Natural Resource Management and Conservation • Infrastructure, Planning and Development • Uses IPCC definition of adaptation • Contacted those who were familiar with adaptation initiatives or projects in the region and conducted online surveys and interviews • Found 100 examples of freshwater-related adaptation activities in the GLR and 57 were made into case studies

  6. Process for Adaption • Adaptation Strategies put to use: • Strategies of the adaptation approaches are different and depend on the problem • To know which is best for the stakeholder: • Cost-benefit and capability analysis on political, institutional, technical and financial capacity • To Advance adaptation in the Great Lakes Region needs support for: • Implementation • Evaluation of effectiveness

  7. Process for Adaption

  8. Case Study 1 A Roadmap for Action: The Chicago Climate Action Plan Capacity Building Policy Natural Resource Management and Conservation

  9. Background • Potential impacts: • Increasing temperatures: more frequent heat waves, 100°days, More frequent and extreme precipitation patterns: more flooding and overwhelming of the city’s sewage systems • Changing lake levels and decreasing ice cover • In 2006, Chicago mayor established a Task Force • Multiple stakeholders • Aimed to reduce city’s green house gas emissions and adapt to climate impacts (current and future) • Performed assessments on impacts and vulnerability • Economic analysis of projected impacts and costs of inaction

  10. Implementation: Research and Analysis • First Phase: assessment of impacts, economic costs, and risks • Impacts assessment looked at 2 future scenarios • High emissions (business as usual): 1000 ppm CO2 by 2100 • Low emissions (major reductions in gases): 550 ppm CO2 by 2100 • Second Phase: Economic risk analysis and project impacts • Cost of inaction vs. benefits of action • Results showed to consider mitigation and adaption plans to minimize costs • Third Phase: Risk and likelihood of occurrences • 4 impacts: extreme heat events, intense precipitation, infrastructure damage, and decline in habitats • Adaptation actions were ranked according to benefits, costs, time, and projected barriers to implementation

  11. Implementation: Planning • 2008: Released Chicago Climate Adaptation Plan • Outlined 5 strategies and 35 actions to reduce emissions and adapt • Energy efficient buildings • Clean and renewable energy sources • Improved transportation options • Reduced waste and industrial pollution • Adaption • 9 of the 35 were adaptation actions • Manage heat, pursue innovative cooling, protect air quality, manage stormwater, implement green urban design, preserve our plants and trees, engage the public, engage businesses, plan for the future

  12. Outcomes and Conclusions • Progress in reducing greenhouse gases and implementing adaptation techniques • Currently, adaption focused on stormwater management and green urban design • Adaptation Advisory Group • Provides aid and guidance for city’s adaptation efforts, includes implementation, monitoring success, and communications • Evaluation metrics to measure success in the city • “Lesson Learned” document of best practices during the planning stage • To have a common base among Task Force members • To help communicate to the public and other cities

  13. Case Study 2Adapting to Climate Change in Ontario Parks Capacity Building Policy Natural Resource Management and Conservation

  14. Background • 9.92% of Canada is protected areas • 91% of Canadian Council on Ecological Area managers thought climate change will alter the area’s policies and planning over the next 25 years • However, no one incorporated adaption policies • 86% felt they didn’t have the capacity to deal with the issues • 621 protected areas: impacts will be site-specific • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) • Team formed in 2004 to develop adaptation strategies

  15. Implementation • Team objectives: • Evaluate the desirability and feasibility of climate change adaption options and prioritize for Ontario Parks • Seven-step adaption methodology: analyzed 1130 options • Engage stakeholders through workshops • Define problems when assessing sensitivities to climate change • Determine adaptive capacities of regions or organizations • Identify adaption options (current and potential future policies) • Evaluate and select options based on objectives • Implementation • Monitor and evaluate effectiveness

  16. Implementation • Ranking system lead to 164 recommendations • Policy, system planning and legislation • Management direction • Operations and development • Research, monitoring and reporting • Corporate Culture and function • Education, interpretation, and outreach • List developed for “desirable/very desirable” to 56 • Split half and half for “definitely not feasible” and “probably not feasible” • Found only 2 that were “definitely implementable”

  17. Outcomes and Conclusions • OMNR is actively pursuing adaption strategies • Study was good effort to begin strategies but the recommendations are currently unattainable • Efforts are still being made to prepare resource and park managers • In 2007, released “Climate Change and Ontario’s Provincial Parks: Towards and Adaptation Strategy” • Program-level strategy and framework to help OMNR prepare for impacts • Framework has 3 themes for Climate Change: • 1. Understanding, Mitigating, Adapting

  18. Case Study 3:Addressing Climate Change Impacts in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Policy Natural Resource Management and Conservation

  19. Background • Why is the Great Lakes basin important? • Huge drinking water resource • Important to regional ecosystems, commercial sectors and recreational activities • What are the threats to the water quality? • Toxins, pollutant loading, harmful algae • Climate change may enhance these and cause negative effects • Agreement built upon the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 • Is amended when important issues emerge (last time was 1987) • Amended in 2009 with new issues, including climate change

  20. Implementation • 2012: agreement signed by U.S. EPA and Canadian Environment Minister • What was it’s purpose? • Commits the US and Canada to restore and maintain the Great Lakes basin by cooperating on water quality issues to limit or eliminate environmental threats • What is the Climate Change Impacts objective? • To identify, quantify, understand, and predict impacts on the Lakes and to share information that resource managers need to address these impacts • Cooperation among all levels of government to build adaptive capacity • Recommends 5 things: • Develop/improve regional climate models • Improve links between them to determine impacts • Improve monitoring of impacts • Develop and enhance analytical tools to assess risk and vulnerability • Coordinate binational monitoring, modeling and analysis of impacts

  21. Outcomes and Conclusions • The new Agreement is a model of a binational, ecosystem-based approach to manage water quality • Activities to measure progress of US and Canada • Great Lakes Executive Committee to oversee the Agreement’s implementation • Requires triennial progress reports • Convening a Great Lakes Public Forum to meet every 3 years • informs progress to public stakeholders and allows engagement • Open access platform • encourages the exchange of relevant data or information • Establishing the International Joint Commission as an independent science advisor to both countries

  22. Case Study 4: Addressing Climate Change in the International Upper Great Lakes Study Capacity Building Policy

  23. Background • Project of the International Joint Commission • Manages the cooperative use and protection of the lakes and rivers that span the US-Canadian border (under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty) • Created a Study Board: • To improve research and information exchange that could enhance decision making regarding the regional water and river flows • Provides recommendation to the IJC makes decisions on regulations and strategies • IUGLS created to evaluate potential improvements to outflow regulation of Lake Superior and identify possible effects on water supply • funded by US and Canadian governments • 2005 report identified possible climate impacts • Will cause a decrease in supply to the region

  24. Implementation • June 2009: Study Board hosted a workshop to discuss how adaptive management could be applied to the IUGLS • Recommendation: creation of an adaptive management strategy and a committee that could identify and organize climate change adaption efforts • October 2009: Study Board requested that the IUGLS should include the assessment of climate change impacts on water levels and possible adaption strategies • April 2010: US and Canadian governments agreed to this and also consider structural and non-structural options to regulate water levels in the changing climate

  25. Outcomes and Conclusions • Barriers of evaluating IUGLS • Limited availability of climate and ecosystem data and inherent uncertainty • What is needed to advance adaptive management in the IUGLS? • Enhanced monitoring and modeling of precipitation and runoff, human alterations to the lakes and connecting waterways • Increased interaction with stakeholders to plan for changing water levels • Adaptive Management Working Group: created by the Study Board • Is developing a strategy that will • Allow for regulation changes as conditions change • Provide information on climate change and water levels to related stakeholders and interest groups so they can adapt in their sector

  26. Case Study 5: Assessing the Relative Coastal Vulnerability of National Park Units to Sea Level Rise and Lake Level Changes Capacity Building

  27. Background • National Park Service (NPS) manages about 7,500 miles of shoreline in the U.S. • Potential climate change impacts: • Sea level rise: lead to increased coastal erosion, salinization, flooding, and wetland flooding in coastal areas • Changes in precipitation pattern and extremes: changes in lake levels • Since 2001, the NPS Geologic Resources Division and the USGS perform sea level rise and lake level change hazard assessments for NPS use

  28. Implementation • Description of project • Create maps of vulnerable areas through a coastal vulnerability index(CVI) to help NPS manage protected areas against rising sea and lake levels • CVI Assessment: Shows potential changes and vulnerabilities along the coast • “Vulnerability Ranking” or “Change-Potential Ranking” based on the coast’s natural adaptive ability to adjust • Assessment done on 22 national lakeshore/seashore/parks/historical parks over the US and US territories

  29. Examples of CVI Assessment Map Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Cape Hatteras National Seashore

  30. Outcomes and Conclusions • Have CVI assessments for each park on their website • Used to: • Inform long-term management decisions • Assess long-term threats to natural and cultural resources in NPS coastal units

  31. Case Study 6:Building Capacity for Climate-Resilient Communities and Water Conservation in the Huron River Watershed Capacity Building Policy Natural Resource Management and Conservation

  32. Background • Climate impacts of concern to the watershed • Increased flooding and droughts, decreased water quality and quantity • Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) • Created 2009 Climate Change Edition of the quarterly Huron River Report • To address climate change impacts on the watershed and HRWC activities that incorporate mitigation and adaptation effort to increase watershed resilience • 2 HRWC projects specifically address climate issues and build capacity for climate-resilient communities • The Making Climate-Resilient Communities project • The Saving Water Saves Energy project

  33. Implementation:Making Climate Resilient Communities Project • 1 year project aimed to create climate-smart communities that can develop and implement adaption strategies to improve resilience to climate change • Project and participants divided into 3 sector groups • Water infrastructure, in-stream flows, and natural infrastructure • 2011: Led a series of workshops where participants examined projected climate impacts, internal adaptive capacity, and needs and opportunities for adaptation actions

  34. Implementation:Saving Water Saves Energy • 3 year project that aims to reduce water usage as a dual mitigation and adaptation strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water conservation • by educating households, businesses, and watershed organizations on water conservation and reduction of emissions • Marketing research used to: • Craft the messaging • Convene focus groups of water users in the watershed • Collect tools and resources that can help users understand the connections between water, energy, and climate change

  35. Outcomes and Conclusions • Challenges in the two projects • Alienation towards “climate change” • project focuses on resilience and energy conservation in its messaging • Generating interest in some of the activities, ex: Climate-Resilient Communities meetings • Focus on outreach to improve the number and diversity of people in attendance. Want to improve communications with different stakeholders • In both projects, partnerships are very effective • Seeking additional funding to implement, monitor and evaluate the strategies developed

  36. Case Study 7: Canada's Regional Adaptation Collaboratives Climate Change Program Capacity Building

  37. Background • Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RAC) Climate Change Program • To promote climate change adaptation preparation and planning in Canadian communities • Funded for 3 years, to support regional efforts to develop tools that local decision-makers could use to inform and reduce their risks to climate change • Supported by over 125 partners in federal, provincial and local governments, industries, aboriginal cultures and non-governmental organizations

  38. Implementation • RAC centers focus on a regional approach to adaptation • Activities at a broader scale are more difficult to initiate as climate change because impacts will be felt based on locale • There is a place-specific knowledge base among regional academics, governmental agencies and local communities • Each RAC has a different focus area based on predicted impacts and local concerns • RAC’s promote local projects that help decision makers integrate adaptation measures into regional planning, policies and programs • Results and lessons learned are shared among the other RAC’s

  39. Outcomes and Conclusions • What have the RAC’s done? • Produced new decision-making tools, knowledge, and enhanced networks capable of helping local communities and regions adapt to climate change • Outcomes vary by RAC because impacts of climate change will be different: requiring place-specific initiatives and strategies • RAC Program ended in December 2012 • A new program is being initiated that will build on the efforts of the RAC’s • The Adaption Platform (2011-2016)

  40. Case Study 8:ClimAID: Developing a Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Assessment for New York State Capacity Building Policy

  41. Background • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) • Engaged in both climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts • NYSERDA’s Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Protection (EMEP) Program • 2007: added climate change and determined priorities for projects • 2 urgent priorities were identified: • the development of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies • an assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation options • EMEP asked for proposals to address each of these needs • In 2008 the project ClimAID was funded by NYSERDA to fulfill the impacts and adaptation assessment component

  42. Implementation • ClimAID covered the entire state of New York and the diversity may result in variation of impacts and adaptive capacity • Working closely with stakeholders and coordinating with existing initiatives, the team examined 5 themes: • Climate, Vulnerability, Adaptation, Equity and Environmental Justice, and Economics • There were 8 sector teams and each examined the 5 major themes as it related to their sector • 8 sectors: water resources, coastal zones, ecosystems, agriculture, energy, transportation, telecommunications, and public health

  43. Implementation • Researchers for each theme: made specific contributions and ensured consistency across the sectors • Analyzed climate conditions and projections, vulnerabilities, effected populations and stakeholders, cost-benefit analysis for each stakeholder • NYSERDA had a Project Advisory Committee at the start of the project • Composed of experts in climate change and sectors • Met several times throughout the project to review draft materials and provide input to the project direction • Sector-specific stakeholders • provided each sector with input and feedback

  44. Outcomes and Conclusions • ClimAID helped NY State start to prepare for impacts of climate change • 2012, NYSERDA asked for proposals for adaption research to fill the knowledge gaps in ClimAID and the Interim Report of the Climate Action Plan • Currently engaging in outreach • Framing of climate change adaptation is on “climate-smart planning” • Conscious of messaging when talking to different groups • Focusing on distributing information to local communities • Providing science-based guidance when applying climate change considerations into existing practices, policies and programs

  45. Case Study 9:Climate Adaptation in the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan Capacity Building Policy Infrastructure, Planning and Development

  46. Background • Climate Change impacts likely to affect: • forest by increasing pests and diseases, increasing forest fire frequency or causing certain tree species to no longer survive in the region • aging stormwater infrastructure, resulting in more combined sewer overflows and pollution • Ann Arbor is 6th largest city in the state • Is a climate leader within the Great Lakes region • Signed the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote policies to address climate change • Committed to engaging in sustainability, climate protection, and clean energy initiatives

  47. Implementation • Ann Arbor hasn’t developed an independent climate change adaptation plan • Focused on integrating climate change into current city planning • Uses downscaled temperature and precipitation projections to know what changes have occurred and what will occur in the future • Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) • City of Ann Arbor developed a Sustainability Framework (grant from Home Depot) • Purpose: To organize 20 years of planning into a core set of 16 goals that will be integrated into the Master Plan in Fall 2012 and used in the organization • 4 theme areas: Land Use and Access, Climate and Energy, Community, and Resource Management and also has 16 sustainability goals

  48. Implementation • City also working on other projects: • Health impact assessment in low-income neighborhoods • Updating their Climate Action Plan • A unique financing mechanism to reduce stormwater input and fun major improvements • Training staff to identify mitigation and adaptation tools: • To increase understanding of how climate change could affect the programs they manage

  49. Outcomes and Conclusions • Ann Arbor engages in “adaptive” projects that aren’t specifically called “climate adaptation” • Integrating climate planning scenarios into existing planning efforts • Working with local universities • Is least disruptive and likely to have the greatest benefit to educating staff and developing the best plans