Climate adaptation is any action taken that reduces the vulnerability of natural communities and the built environment to the impacts of climate change.  For example, if we are going to get larger storms, what do we need to do to our stormwater practices and infrastructure to reduce the chances of flooding or pipe or dam failure?  If warmer air temperatures mean we are more susceptible to a new forest pest or pathogen, what do we do to reduce tree loss?  These are some of the questions we are considering, along with water resource professionals from throughout the watershed, in our Making Climate Resilient Communities project.

We are not alone in our efforts to adapt to changes in climate.  There are communities, agencies and organizations throughout the Great Lakes Region that are engaged in efforts to determine courses of action in response to climate change.  Those of us who are working in this arena are pioneering a new field and can serve as a resource to others.

Recently, EcoAdapt, an organization focused on facilitating climate adaptation, released a report: The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region. The report provides an overview of climate change in the region, shares the results of a survey to water resource professionals capturing adaptation activities and reflects on common challenges and opportunities to push the needle forward on climate adaptation.

HRWC’s Climate Resilient Communities and Saving Water Saves Energy projects stand proudly among the 57 case studies highlighted in the report (pg 94).  You will also find other examples from our watershed including the efforts of the City of Ann Arbor (pg 103) and the Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities project that has selected Ann Arbor as one of it’s assessment cities (pg 142).  This report, along with many other adaptation resources can be found on CAKE (Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange) website.