Concurrent Session: Wetlands in a changing climate II
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM Thu
Co-authors: Kristen Bouska, U.S. Geological Survey
Title: Climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation thinking for managed wetlands
Abstract: Conceptualizing vulnerabilities of natural resources to climate change will be critical to ensure management objectives are feasible. We worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to develop an interactive and customizable online dashboard to evaluate climate change vulnerabilities at a regional scale. Model users can select the weithgs for different vactors. The dashboard combines 15 metrics of projected climate changes (i.e., hydrology, precipitation, and temperature) and five metrics representing each watershed's capacity to adapt to changing conditions into a vulnerability score. We tested the application of the tool on managed wetland systems by bringing together staff from four USFWS refuges across the Midwest to participate in an adaptation workshop. During the workshop, we developed a conceptual model to visualize how management actions are used to meet habitat objectives within wetland management systems across a variety of wetland functions (e.g., waterfowl habitat, floodwater retention). Next, we discussed how climate change may affect components of the model and used the dashboard to spatially assess vulnerability of managed wetlands to climate change. Using a scenario planning approach, we incorporated multiple potential future conditions and identified effects and a multitude of adaptation strategies in five management categories (drawdown, flood-up, maintaining target water levels, infrastructure maintenance, and long-term habitat maintenance) that could be considered for each scenario. We will present an example of how resource managers can use the dashboard to assess climate change vulnerability and use that information to transition into subsequent stages of the adaptation planning process.
Bio: John Delaney is a biologist at the US Geological Survey in La Crosse, WI, studying climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, ecological vulnerability, and developing tools to assist managers in decision making.