NOAA Guide for Considering Climate Change in Coastal Conservation

NOAA's Office for Coastal Management Guide for Considering Climate Change in Coastal Conservation provides guidance on incorporating climate change information into new or existing coastal conservation plans. The step-wise process includes six iterative steps which draw from existing strategic conservation planning frameworks, while focusing on climate considerations and key resources relevant to the coastal environment, including coastal watersheds. According to NOAA, the guide is suitable for anyone working to manage or conserve lands in coastal areas including wetland, floodplain, or emergency managers; planners; or conservation organizations. A self-paced online training is provided along with the guide. 

The approach offered in this guide can be used to create a new plan if one is needed, to update an existing plan, or to further other types of planning, such as hazard mitigation or comprehensive plans. The guide takes into account the reality of the evolving knowledge related to climate impacts and modeling, and is flexible enough for users with all levels of expertise in climate-impact assessment to proceed through each step in the process.

The six step process is to:

    1. Articulate conservation goals and scope
    2. Identify conservation targets and key supporting attributes
    3. Identify non-climate stressors and evaluate their impact on conservation
    4. Identify climate stressors and evaluate the impact on conservation targets
    5. Review goals and identify management strategies
    6. Formulate a long-term management plan based on selected strategies

Each step is detailed by answering why the step is necessary, and how to achieve the goal and by what actions.  A visual conceptual model is built throughout the steps, and resources that can support the goal are provided. 

 The Appendices also offer quick reference to many valuable adaptation strategies and resources:

Appendix 1: Climate Adaptation Guidance Documents and Websites

Appendix 2: Habitat Features That Benefit Coastal Risk Reduction

Appendix 3: Summary of Climate Change Phenomena, Potential Coastal Impacts, and Consequences

Appendix 4: Adaptation Strategies, Definitions, and Examples


'How to Consider Climate Change in Coastal Conservation' is an online companion to the Guide which provides easy access to select resources for each of the six steps.



Publication Date: August 2016

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