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The USA recently announced the creation of a draft National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.

In March, a partnership of federal, state and tribal fish and wildlife conservation agencies released a nationwide strategy intended to to help public and private decision makers address the impacts that climate change is having on natural resources and the people and economies that depend on them.

The partnership was co-led by Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (representing state fish and wildlife agencies).

An intergovernmental steering committee that included representatives from 15 federal agencies, five state fish and wildlife agencies, and two inter-tribal commissions oversaw development of the strategy with support from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Developed in response to a request by Congress, the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy involved extensive national dialogue that spanned nearly two years. Over 55,000 Americans provided input during the comment period.

The Climate Adaptation Strategy provides a roadmap of key steps needed over the next five years to reduce the current and expected impacts of climate change on our natural resources, which include: changing species distributions and migration patterns, the spread of wildlife diseases and invasive species, the inundation of coastal habitats with rising sea levels, changing productivity of our coastal oceans, and changes in freshwater availability.

The Strategy identifies seven key steps to help safeguard the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants in a changing climate:

Conserve habitat to support healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions;

Manage species and habitats to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable commercial, subsistence, recreational and cultural use;

Enhance capacity for effective management;

Support adaptive management through integrated observation and monitoring and use of decision support tools;

Increase knowledge and information on impacts and responses of fish, wildlife, and plants;

Increase awareness and motivate action to safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants; and

Reduce non-climate stressors to help fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems adapt.

Development of the Fish & Wildlife Adaptation Strategy was guided by a partnership of federal, state and tribal fish and wildlife conservation agencies in response to a 2010 call by the U.S. Congress for a national, government-wide climate adaptation strategy to assist fish, wildlife, and plants, and related ecological processes in becoming more resilient, adapting to, and surviving the impacts of climate change.

More than 90 researchers and managers from federal, state and tribal natural resource management agencies across the country participated in drafting the strategy.

The draft Strategy received nearly 55,000 comments from 54,847 individuals, 51 non-governmental organizations, 17 governmental entities, and 5 tribes.  Input and suggestions provided in the comments were carefully reviewed and incorporated into the final document.

The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy can be found on the web at: