Climate change will have profound impacts on both the human and natural communities of Cascadia, from declining snowpack and increasing wildfire to shifting habitat availability for native species. The scale and pace of these changes will require a historic effort by public and private partners to identify and implement actions that will help human and natural communities adapt. While it is imperative to keep working towards reduce our contribution of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere through climate mitigation, we must also increase the resiliency of our natural and human communities to respond to change and disturbance. The identification of a shared regional climate adaptation strategy for directing independent and collaborative efforts will be critical to ensuring a sustainable and biodiverse Cascadia into the future.
Read about our approach for co-producing a regional Climate Adaptation Strategy for natural systems in this brief handout (PDF).
Hear from climate leaders in Cascadia on why we need to act together today in this 15-minute video:
A shared vision for the future
The Cascadia Partner Forum envisions a region where our environment is resilient to the impacts of climate change, where residents with diverse life experiences and values—rural and urban communities, landowners, Native Tribes and First Nations, policy-makers, natural resource and economic development decision-makers—understand the dynamic nature of the Cascadian landscape and are working together to conserve connected networks of lands and waters, their diversity, naturally functioning and able to adapt, so that native fish and wildlife and people have flexible options far into the future.
Individuals across Cascadia are breathing life and depth into our shared vision through our Resilient Futures Project, where we people who live and work in our region to write one word on a chalkboard that represents a trait, value, or thing they would like to see in a resilient Cascadia 100 years from now.
We can come together to today to make this future possible, join us.
Public and private partners, including our partner forum, have invested significant resources on building a network of partners across political and organizational boundaries working towards a resilient Cascadia. Therefore we are working to continue this collaborative work in our region through development of a Cascadia Climate Adaptation Strategy: a collaborative plan for ensuring the resilience of our ecosystems.
Developing a strategy
Our shared strategy is a multi-scale effort aiming at providing access to information, spatial priorities, tools to explore options, resources towards implementation of actions, and communications for creating a resilient Cascadia for ecological and human communities today and into the future. It is being developed comprehensively but delivered in phases, as some components will take longer to execute. The process of building and sharing these pieces will be as important as the product.
In 2019, we hosted workshops in Washington and British Columbia to hear from partners on how a shared strategy can help our collective work. Click here to read the full report from these workshops that will inform our work going forward.
The Cascadia Partner Forum is planning to facilitate the process and provide the tools needed for coordinated climate adaptation at scale. This process will result in a living regional collaborative climate adaptation strategy. We currently envision the Strategy having five key elements:
- Building capacity
- Empowering action
- Encouraging motivation
- Providing coordination
- Facilitating fundraising
We are underway building a regional tool that will be annually updated to the current conditions of our region to help us set shared spatial priorities to support our resilient vision, while allowing partners to see how individual decisions fit into a regional context of a resilient future and how the cumulative impact of those decisions impact our region over time. We’re calling this tool, TerrAdapt – click here to learn more about our work to create this tool in partnership with Google.
Building off a strong foundation
Our work to build a regional climate adaptation strategy builds off of the tremendous amount of work already underway in Washington and British Columbia including existing climate adaptation plans, vulnerability assessments, science and data, and resources for implementation. To connect with these resources from our website and Databasin, see links below:
- Climate adaptation plans within or overlapping Cascadia (completed or ongoing);
- Climate vulnerability assessments within or overlapping Cascadia;
- Spatial priorities (datasets, reports, and analyses that inform spatial priority areas in Cascadia organized by areas as follows: Scientific Analyses that Identify Spatial Priorities, Designated Spatial Priorities, Expert Opinion, and Species Presence/Occurrence/Habitat mapping.
Cascadia has many practitioners and decision-makers already planning for climate change and acting to improve the resilience of our natural and human communities. It is home to scientists focused on producing actionable climate change science, and committed to working with those who can use the science to ensure it is useful. It is an area that attracts funding to conserve its wonders. We have a history of collaborating around individual priority issues to get them addressed. And we have a landscape where opportunities still abound, so we have options for balancing the needs of people with a resilient landscape that can support, inspire, and nurture us far into the future. Together we can better gain support for and act on these opportunities, to ensure a resilient Cascadia.
This effort is guided by our open Strategy Core Team and our Partner Forum’s leadership team made up of public and private partners throughout the region, while smaller support teams will be working on each of the components of the strategy with a much wider set of partners. We are hosting quarterly webinars to keep all interested parties up to date on our collective work, and offering new opportunities to engage. If you are interested in learning more or engaging in the work please contact us.
Thank you to the Charlotte Martin Foundation, Climate Impacts Group, Conservation Northwest, Google, Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (through Sustainable Markets Foundation), North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Seattle City Light, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilburforce Foundation for the funding and support to date towards the process and tools to build this strategy.