Bull trout. (Photo Credit: USFWS Facebook)
Govt launches first US-wide strategy to address climate change
Monday, April 01, 2013, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
In partnership with State and Tribal agencies, the Obama Administration has released the first nationwide strategy to help public and private decision makers address the impacts that climate change is having on natural resources and the people and economies that depend on them. Developed in response to a request by Congress, the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy is the product of extensive national dialogue that spanned nearly two years and was shaped by comments from more than 55,000 Americans.
Fish, wildlife, and plant resources provide important benefits and services to Americans every day, including jobs, income, food, clean water and air, building materials, storm protection, tourism and recreation. For example, hunting, fishing and other wildlife-related recreation contribute an estimated USD 120 billion to our nation’s economy every year, and marine ecosystems sustain a US seafood industry that supports approximately 1 million jobs and USD 116 billion in economic activity annually.
The Climate Adaptation Strategy provides a roadmap of key steps needed over the next five years to reduce the current and expected impacts of climate change on our natural resources, which include: changing species distributions and migration patterns, the spread of wildlife diseases and invasive species, the inundation of coastal habitats with rising sea levels, changing productivity of our coastal oceans, and changes in freshwater availability.
The Climate Adaptation Strategy builds upon efforts already underway by federal, state, tribal governments and other organizations to safeguard fish, wildlife and plants and the communities that depend on them, and provides specific voluntary steps that agencies and partners can take in the coming years to reduce costly damages and protect the health of our communities and economy. The strategy does not prescribe any mandatory activities for government or nongovernmental entities, or suggest any regulatory actions.
Implementation of the strategy will provide public and private decision makers with the information and tools they need to consider and respond to climate change as part of their ongoing activities. The Strategy identifies seven key steps to help safeguard the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants in a changing climate:
- Conserve habitat to support healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions;
- Manage species and habitats to protect ecosystem functions and provide sustainable commercial, subsistence, recreational and cultural use;
- Enhance capacity for effective management;
- Support adaptive management through integrated observation and monitoring and use of decision support tools;
- Increase knowledge and information on impacts and responses of fish, wildlife, and plants;
- Increase awareness and motivate action to safeguard fish, wildlife, and plants; and
- Reduce non-climate stressors to help fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems adapt.