Alaska Department of Fish and Game Climate Change Strategy

Recognizing the impacts of climate change, a Climate Change Sub-Cabinet was formed in 2007 to inform the Office of the Governor of Alaska, and to prepare a comprehensive climate change strategy for the state. As part of this effort, each state agency was asked to identify how climate change impacts may affect its ability to meet its mission. Because a changing climate is anticipated to affect the sustainability of Alaska’s fish and wildlife resources and their uses, it is of interest to the department to assess the likely effects of climate change on fish and wildlife and their uses and to develop adaptation strategies to address these effects.

This report first describes expected climate impacts on the state, including an altered fire regime and sea-ice conditions, ocean acidification, effects on species abundance, distribution, and phenology, invasive species, and more. This is followed with examples of current impacts, which describes the direct effects already occurring and expected for fish and wildlife populations.

The strategy portion within this report lists overall management principles, key strategies, and key initial actions that have been taken. The principles and strategies are adapted from recommendations of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Climate Change Committee which the department helped to prepare. The key initial actions are specific actions the department planned to implement over four years following publication (approximately through 2014). 

The key strategies are to:

  • Identify the observed, likely, and potential effects of climate change on fish and wildlife, their habitats, and their uses.
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments (including threat assessments) that consider the ecological, economic, and sociopolitical ramifications of climate change effects on fish and wildlife and their uses.
  • Implement adaptive research and monitoring to assess the effects of climate change on fish and wildlife and their uses.
  • Incorporate climate change considerations into fish and wildlife management plans (including fish habitat action plans), local area management plans, migratory waterfowl plans, species conservation plans, state wildlife action plans, and others.
  • Adaptively manage fish and wildlife and their habitats in light of their vulnerability.
  • Identify and address statutory changes needed at federal, state and local levels to effectively address and manage climate change effects on fish and wildlife.
  • Determine budget needs to respond to climate change effects and allocate funding to implement first order priorities.
  • Identify and actively pursue new sources of funding to effectively respond to climate change issues.
  • Identify or develop regional partnerships to address common climate change goals and strategies.
  • Develop effective communication systems and outreach efforts for state agencies, researchers, policy makers, planners, natural resource managers, and stakeholders to enhance collaborative efforts.

Publication Date: November 2010

Related Organizations:

  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Invasive species and pests
  • Ocean acidification
  • Permafrost melt
  • Precipitation changes
  • Wildfires

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