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Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Adaptation in State Wildlife Action Plans and Other Management Plans

December 1, 2022

The Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Adaptation into State Wildlife Actions Plans and other Management Plans aims to help state fish and wildlife agencies incorporate climate change adaptation for fish and wildlife and their habitats into State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) and other natural resource management plans. This update to the original 2009 Voluntary Guidance reflects the advancements in climate science and in our understanding and implementation of climate adaptation developed over the past 13 years. The document provides principles and tools that can be used to plan for and implement climate change adaptation, voluntary guidance for incorporating climate change into the existing required elements of SWAPs, and case studies to demonstrate adaptation strategies deployed by states in their management efforts.

Climate change continues to be a significant issue for wildlife and natural systems and for the people who rely on the ecosystem services they provide. There is now a well-established and growing scientific literature on the impacts of climate change on wildlife and their habitats, including climate-driven range shifts, population changes, and even species extinctions. At the same time, efforts to address climate change impacts can be made in cooperation with efforts to address other threats, including habitat loss/fragmentation from development, introduction of invasive species, water pollution, and wildlife diseases, many of which may be exacerbated by climate change. Since climate change is a complex and often politically charged issue, it is understood that the decision to revise SWAPs, or other plans, to address climate change rests solely with each state fish and wildlife agency.

All states are required to update their SWAPs by 2025 to qualify for federal funding. Although consideration of climate change is not a requirement for this revision of SWAPs, assessing the impacts of climate change and identifying species and habitats vulnerable to those impacts can help states meet the required eight elements for the revision and prepare for funding opportunities that can support climate adaptation efforts. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, if passed by the Senate, would provide billions of dollars to states to implement SWAPs, including addressing climate change impacts on fish and wildlife.

The Voluntary Guidance Document introduces and explains seven overarching principles for incorporating climate adaptation into SWAPs. These principles (found in Chapter 2) are: 1. Fully integrate climate change into SWAPs 2. Adopt forward-looking goals 3. Explicitly link actions to climate vulnerabilities 4. Manage for change, not just persistence 5. Consider broader landscapes and longer timeframes 6. Address uncertainty by considering future scenarios and use of adaptive management 7. Engage diverse partners with climate experience and expertise

Publication Year 2022
Title Voluntary Guidance for States to Incorporate Climate Adaptation in State Wildlife Action Plans and Other Management Plans
Authors Aimee Delach, Alison B Cariveau, Brian Hess, Bruce Stein, Caroline Jezierski, Diana Swan-Pinion, Jacob Blandford, Janet Alice Cushing, Jason Goldberg, Junko Hoshi, Karen Cozzetto, Kimberly E Szcodronski, Laurel James, Leona Svancara, Lindsey Thurman, Logan Benedict, Maggie Ernest Johnson, Mark Humpert, Molly S. Cross, Rebecca M. Quinones, Robert Newman, Roger Mangham, Ginny Seamster
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70238924
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center