National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy

Founded on an agreement among major conservation interests (e.g. local governments, states, tribes, conservation organizations, federal agencies, and private landowners), the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy is an integrated, coordinated, and comprehensive response to the threats of climate change. This multi-partner strategy outlines a unified approach to maintaining the key terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems needed to sustain fish, wildlife and plant resources and the services they provide in the face of accelerating climate change. Developed in response to a request by Congress, the Strategy was released in March 2013 - the product of extensive national dialogue over nearly two years and was shaped by comments from more than 55,000 Americans. The technical content was developed by over 90 scientists and natural resource managers from federal, state, and tribal agencies across the country. 

The Climate Adaptation Strategy provides a roadmap of key steps needed over the next five years to reduce the current and expected impacts of climate change on our natural resources, which include: changing species distributions and migration patterns, the spread of wildlife diseases and invasive species, the inundation of coastal habitats with rising sea levels, changing productivity of our coastal oceans, and changes in freshwater availability.

The Strategy describes major current and projected impacts of climate change on eight major ecosystem types of the U.S. (inland waters, coasts, the marine environment, forests, and grasslands, shrublands, deserts, and tundra) and on the fish, wildlife and plant species those ecosystems support . Each section identifies climate impacts and key goals, strategies, and actions for managing species and natural resources in the changing climate, along with case studies and indicators of success to help track progress. In addition, the Strategy includes national-level strategies and a discussion of cross-cutting issues such as the role of agriculture, transportation, and invasive species on the resiliency of fish, wildlife and plants.

The partnership was co-led by Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (representing state fish and wildlife agencies). An intergovernmental steering committee that included representatives from 15 federal agencies, five state fish and wildlife agencies, and two inter-tribal commissions oversaw development of the strategy with support from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.


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Publication Date: March 26, 2013

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  • Adaptation plan


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