The Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative Final Report

A Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative Final Report and companion website highlight the efforts of seven partnerships across the U.S. to build resilience of natural resources and to increase climate resilience at the landscape scale. These partnerships use existing collaborative, regional approaches to address climate change and to identify priority areas for conservation, restoration, and management actions. At each location, Federal agencies work closely with state, tribal, and local partners to prepare for and prevent climate impacts, and ensure that long-term conservation efforts take climate change into account.

This report summarizes the experiences of each of the seven partnerships during 2015-2016 and highlights some key challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations on large landscape-scale conservation planning. Many of the dynamic maps and tools are available also - which were produced to help them identify priority conservation areas and actions in their region.

The seven Resilient Lands and Waters Partnerships include: California Headwaters, California's North-Central Coast and Russian River Watershed, Crown of the Continent (northern Rocky Mountains), Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands (Lakes Huron and Erie), Hawaii, Puget Sound's Snohomish River Watershed, and Southwest Florida. 

The selected lands and waters face a wide range of climate impacts and other ecological stressors related to climate change, including drought, wildfire, sea level rise, species migration and invasive species. The report explains how each partnership has addressed these impacts, best practices that have emerged, and strategies to further adaptation initiatives. Some example highlights of on the ground actions from the successful ventures include:

Crown of the Continent

- Crown-wide identification of native salmonid conservation populations most likely to benefit from adaptation actions;

- An Adaptation Toolbox for the Crown of the Continent (Carlson, April, 2016);

- We Need the Needles: Coordinating Action to Conserve 5-Needle Pine Forests in the Crown of the Continent” (Nelson, et al. May, 2016);

- and a Crown-wide Management Strategy for Detection, Response and Containment of Aquatic Invasive Species; Eurasian Water Millefoil, Zebra and Quagga Mussel (in review, November, 2016)

 Snohomish River Watershed

- Ecosystem Recovery Story Maps - Conversations about multi-benefit restoration have led to development of regional story maps by NOAA and a Snohomish Estuary story map by SLS partners to begin telling the multifaceted stories of landscape restoration.

- Climate Change Analysis - The resilience designation has amplified work by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and ongoing coastal resilience efforts led by Washington Sea Grant. The Tulalip Tribes in turn hosted a two day sea level rise summit, resulting in a pending proposal to explore climate change threats to low-lying farms in the Snohomish and Stillaguamish estuaries.


The Resilient Lands and Waters initiative is a key part of the Obama Administration’s 2014 Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America's Natural Resources, a comprehensive commitment across the Federal Government to support resilience of America’s natural resources. The Priority Agenda called for federal agencies to work with states, tribes, and other partners to select flagship geographic regions and identify priority areas for conservation, restoration, or other investments to build resilience in vulnerable regions, enhance carbon storage capacity, and support management needs. Federal agencies, working together with states, tribes, and other partners, designated seven Resilient Lands and Waters Partnerships across the country in 2015.




Publication Date: November 17, 2016


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Case study
  • Mapping tool

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