Among presentations at the National Climate Change Adaptation Forum April 2-4, 2013 were case studies of projects in different ecosystems that are addressing the effects of climate change. Short videos tell stories unfolding in three locations.
Protecting and restoring freshwater tidal migration zones along the Hudson River
Although during Hurricane Sandy they proved the value of natural habitats in mitigating flood damage, the tidal wetlands of the Hudson River could nonetheless drown as sea levels rise. The nonprofit organization Scenic Hudson is undertaking a number of measures to protect the river and its valley from this consequence of climate change, such as building resilient structures; encouraging community conversations about climate-change readiness, land conservation and stewardship; and conducting acquisition and restoration projects.
Restoring a natural ecosystem engineer to provide riparian areas in Southern Utah
Can a nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent become a superhero in the fight against climate change? The Grand Canyon Trust thinks its possible. By forming ponds, wetlands and meadows, beaver restore and expand riparian habitat that numerous species depend on. As climate change lengthens droughts and produces more extreme precipitation events, beaver dams could increase the volume of water retained in the mountains, raise the water table and expand riparian areas. To encourage the work of these natural engineers, the Trust is reintroducing beaver in scores of stream segments in southern Utah.
Using climate science to strategically guide habitat conservation
Saving the entire earth is a daunting prospect, but identifying and protecting areas that offer the most important conservation opportunities is a size of task that collaborative efforts can tackle. In Montana, the Trust for Public Land worked with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to conserve and restore 52,000 acres identified as potentially resilient and pertinent to two at-risk coldwater fisheries, bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout. The project has multiple benefits both for the species dependent on this habitat and for modeling an approach to public investment in landscape-level conservation.