The State of Marine and Coastal Adaptation in North America: A Synthesis of Emerging Ideas

This report presents EcoAdapt's synthesis of climate adaptation projects throughout North America's marine and coastal environments. The report provides an overview of key climate change impacts on the natural and built environments in marine and coastal U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and a thorough review of adaptation options available to marine and coastal managers.

The report opens with a summary of marine and coastal climate impacts including the changes in air and water temperatures, sea level rise, changes in precipitation patterns, altered ocean and atmospheric circulation, and changes in water chemistry in North America.

Commonly used adaptation approaches and successful examples of implementation are then presented in four broad categories including:

  • natural resource management and conservation,
  • capacity building,
  • infrastructure planning and development, and
  • governance and policy. 

Adaptation examples provided are organized by the geographic regions: Arctic Canada, Eastern Canada and Northeast U.S., Mid-Atlantic U.S., Southeast/Gulf Coast U.S., Gulf of Mexico and Yucatan Peninsula -Mexico, Alaska and British Columbia, Pacific States U.S., Baja Peninsula and Pacific Coast -Mexico, Nationwide U.S., Nationwide Canada, and Nationwide Mexico.

The report concludes with a discussion of the common trends and challenges of the adaptation projects inventoried. The projects discussed exemplify how to overcome barriers to adaptation by improving the understanding of climate science, risks, and vulnerabilities; investing in capacity building, acquisition of resources, and outreach and education; and developing collaborative partnerships. 


Publication Date: January 2011

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Rachel M. Gregg
  • Lara J. Hansen
  • Kirsten M. Feifel
  • Jessica L. Hitt
  • Jessi M. Kershner
  • Alex Score
  • Jennie R. Hoffman

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Policy analysis/recommendations
  • Progress report

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Precipitation changes
  • Sea-level rise
  • Water temperatures

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