Vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning for projected changes in water quality and quantity for protected areas in the Upper Mississippi watershed

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Patricia Heglund, Josh Eash, Andrew Allstadt
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Climate change and the extreme weather associated with it can be a major challenge to landowners and land managers interested in the protection, restoration, recovery, and management of wetlands and wildlife habitats. The Midwest is not only experiencing an increase in average temperatures and precipitation, but also an increase in the frequency of extreme events, such as heat, floods, and drought. Forecasting the potential impacts of the changes over the next 25 to 50 years will be important for decision makers and landowners seeking to minimize the impacts to infrastructure and to the habitats themselves and prepare for the future. We developed an interactive tool to help natural resource managers assess vulnerability in watersheds across the Midwest. Relevant metrics of climate change exposure and adaptive capacity were identified and quantified in collaboration with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The vulnerability assessment tool was piloted in an adaptation thinking workshop in which we engaged natural resource biologists and managers to conceptualize climate impacts and adaptation opportunities for managed wetlands. This project served as an important step in increasing local and regional ability to address climate change.


John T. Delaney, Kristen L. Bouska, Josh D. Eash, Patricia J. Heglund, Andrew J. Allstadt. Mapping climate change vulnerability of aquatic-riparian ecosystems using decision-relevant indicators. Ecological Indicators 125 (June 2021).