Climate Change Adaptation
Statewide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
In 2009, the Washington State Legislature passed E2SSB 5560 which tasked the Department of Ecology with convening an inter-agency group to develop a state-wide Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The Department of Natural Resources was identified as a partner agency in this process and led the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), with the Department of Agriculture, responsible for developing the plan for Natural Resources (working lands and waters).
The final Washington State Climate Adaptation Strategy was released at the end of March 2012. The strategy provides tools for agencies, local governments, NGO’s, and Washington residents to begin to plan for the changes that are expected with a changing climate. The strategy outlines an approach to dealing with the potential effects of climate change on Washington’s natural environment and resources, on a statewide, all lands basis.
Internal Climate Adaptation Strategy
Almost all DNR programs will be affected by climate change, and must therefore consider how best to adapt. The impacts of climate change on Washington’s natural resources will have profound economic and social impacts. An effective climate change adaptation strategy must be based on sound science and take into account the economic, environmental, and cultural impacts of each recommendation.
In DNR’s “Strategic Plan: 2010-2014,” the agency is tasked with developing and implementing a climate adaptation strategy. This strategy is to include:
- Developing staff education efforts regarding scientifically sound adaptation information and priorities in partnership with university and other scientists.
- Participating in an integrated monitoring program with other entities and identifying the most vulnerable situations and trigger points for change in management actions.
- Incorporating climate change adaptation considerations in all relevant agency programs, including attention to ecological interactions, species genetics and adaptiveness, migration pathways, response to major disturbance events, and management of human infrastructure.
- Coordination with other state and federal agencies, tribal governments, and private organizations to develop a statewide and/or broader climate adaptation strategy.
- Integration with renewable biomass energy efforts underway in Eastern Washington.
In December 2011, a Steering Committee comprised of DNR staff was convened to develop a timeline and plan for developing the agency’s adaptation strategy. DNR’s strategy is scheduled to be complete by December 2012.