Improving the Odds: Using Climate-Readiness to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change on the Great Lakes Ecosystem

This National Wildlife Federation report documents the efforts of Great Lakes' cities, businesses, scientists and resource managers to adapt to climate change and protect people, wildlife and natural resources. The report calls for the widespread adoption of "climate-ready" strategies like those cited in a diverse set of case studies. The report features current climate-ready practices and policies that help build adaptive capacity in the region, and identifies tools and future opportunities for action.

The report describes the six principles of Great Lakes Climate-Readiness, describing climate-ready actions as those which:

  1. Support strategies that protect water levels,
  2. Reduce other, non-climate stressors,
  3. Protect biological diversity and ecosystem resiliency,
  4. Partner to pursue policies that achieve both mitigation and adaptation benefits,
  5. Implement proactive restoration strategies, and
  6. Increase scientific capacity and monitoring.

The report reviews climate-readiness initiatives in the Great Lakes. Some of these initiatives are already being implemented, while others are in the planning or research phases. Examples include the work done by environmental NGOs, restoration experts and the Great Lakes Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA). The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a key source of funding and adaptation planning.

Part II of the report focuses specifically on Climate-Ready Strategies for Water-Abundant Regions. Recommendations are provided for each of the following sectors: shoreline areas and industry, human health, water resources, ecosystems and wildlife, agriculture and forestry.

In addition, the report contains 22 case studies of climate-readiness programs in the Great Lakes Basin. Many of these case studies concern water resources. One such initiative is the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The objective of the Compact is to regulate water use and withdrawal, and to limit diversions from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent water withdrawals from causing adverse impacts on the basin’s ecosystems and watersheds while protecting the economic and environmental values of the waters for future generations.



Publication Date: October 2010

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Case study
  • Policy analysis/recommendations


Go To Resource