National Adaptation Forum Daily Digest
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Welcome to the NAF Daily Digests!

The American Society of Adaptation Professionals, in partnership with EcoAdapt and a crew of volunteer reporters, are teaming up to keep you up to speed with all the latest and greatest news from the National Adaptation Forum!

We know it isn’t possible to attend every fantastic adaptation event taking place throughout the U.S. and even when there it's hard to choose which session to join. The ASAP Daily Digests will help you keep up with key lessons from plenaries and panels, be on the cutting-edge of emerging technologies and stay up-to-speed on innovative approaches to addressing adaptation.

These digests go beyond a summary of what transpired to include "tweetable" quotes you can use to promote your own program and your partners. We hope you’ll enjoy sharing in the excitement of the fourth National Adaptation Forum!

Please let us know if you would prefer to opt-out of receiving the Daily Digests scheduled for this week by selecting the unsubscribe option in the footer below or by replying directly to this email.

Stop By and Chat with ASAP!

Want to make the most of that precious time between sessions? Come chat with us at ASAP's NAF booth, located at Booth #7, and learn all about the benefits of joining our growing network of adaptation heroes.

We also invite you to Take Your Networking to the Next Level at the ASAP Networking Event at NAF, tonight from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. at 123 E Doty St. in Madison. Eat, drink and chat with current and prospective ASAP Members from across the country! Tickets at the door are $10.

Conducting a Tribal/Indigenous Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Developing a Tribal Adaptation Plan

Contributed by Sharon Hausam, Pueblo of Laguna

Shannon McNeeley, Colorado State University
Chas Jones, Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center
Eric Chapman, Lac du Flambeau
Joe Hostler, Yurok Tribe
Stefanie Krantz, Nez Perce Tribe
Genelle Winter, Metlakatla Indian Community

“We will be resilient no matter what comes at us.” – Eric Chapman, Lac du Flambeau

The speakers for this panel described indigenous climate adaptation as community-driven, rooted in tradition, already underway, and perpetual, to ensure resilience. The voice of the community, in quotes from elders and resource users, is the source of planning and practice. Community members recognize environmental change – whether they refer to it as “climate change” or not – and the Metlakatla Indian Community, among others, have adapted their harvesting practices as such.

Tribes recognize the need to use key resources, such as wild rice at Lac du Flambeau and salmon among the Nimiipuu, while also respecting the role of the entire ecosystem, as well as social and political systems, without prioritizing one element over another. The Yurok Tribe addresses community well-being holistically, integrating physical, environmental, and mental health. Vulnerability assessments are also a meaningful and essential part of indigenous resilience, as communities use the information from them to support their own understanding. A major takeaway from this session is that, for indigenous communities, adaptation work is a personal commitment, driven by relationships within the community.

Twitter summary: Indigenous climate adaptation is community-driven, rooted in tradition, already underway, and perpetual, to ensure resilience. Lac du Flambeau, Yurok, Nimiipuu, and Metlakatla exemplify the methods and role of adaptation.

Effectively Shifting Power — Using Equity as a Lens to Enhance Community Resilience

Contributed by Shameika Hanson, The Nature Conservancy

Kristin Baja, USDN
Leah Bamberger, City of Providence
Elizabeth Felter, City of San Francisco
Rob Phocas, City of Charlotte

"Why do we start with race? Race is the deepest disparity, and it is in everything." —Kristin Baja

The work of equity is constant and ongoing, and requires us to practice these concepts every day. Leah Bamberger talked about her work in Providence, RI, a coastal city with very high income-inequality issues, as well as an energy burden and air quality issues that disproportionately affect low-income communities and those of color. With the desire to make Providence's sustainability plan more equitable and justice-focused, they wanted to have the impacted communities lead the planning process. Bamberger and colleagues recognized the role of government wasn't suitable to be the messenger to these communities so they partnered with those who were to  understand what the needs and issues were. To make communities more resilient they are trying to create Resilience Hubs that are community led and community owned.

Elizabeth Felter from the City of San Francisco talked about the city's push to shift power to its communities, currently in the beginning stages. The biggest lessons learned were to recognize and respect what is happening on the ground and plans that have already been made; hold community meetings that are more focused and themed instead of trying to fit a lot into a little, and target engagement to specific focus areas. Similarly, Rob Phocas’ work in Charlotte, NC, is focused on making the area a smart city, and he credits his success so far to keeping a justice/equity focus on all the work. To empower the community and give them the ability to own the work, he and colleagues worked with community leaders and corporations to test projects in the area.  The lessons learned were to lean deeply into the desires and needs of the community members, and when they make suggestions, practitioners should not only listen, but strive to change strategies to ensure residents needs are met.

Two of the ambassadors from the Charlotte community were invited up for the panel discussion. It was amazing to hear from them the experience that members of the community had with this process, and their presence really reiterated the need to listen to community members and let them lead.

Twitter summary: WOW session 2 of day 1 @ #NAF2019 had panelists; Leah Bamberger, Elizabeth Felter, and Rob Phocas talking to audience members about how to effectively shift power by using an equity lens to build community resilience.

Managing Landscapes for Adaptive Capacity: Tools and Strategies for Identifying, Conserving and Connecting Climate Refugia

Contributed by Lily Swanbrow Becker, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Carlos Carroll, Klamath Center for Conservation Research
Toni Lyn Morelli, USGS
Diana Stralberg, University of Alberta
Jennifer Cartwright, USGS
Meade Krosby, University of Washington
Travis Belote, The Wilderness Society

This session featured a series of talks highlighting landscape-scale work on identifying and developing adaptation strategies for climate refugia. Speakers offered helpful insights into framing the way natural resource managers think about prioritizing conservation investments in the era of climate change. The conceptual tools outlined in this session addressed a fundamental question natural resource managers working on adaptation continue to grapple with: How do we manage for resilient future landscapes by facilitating change rather than fighting to restore or conserve a historic state?

In addition to providing helpful ways of framing this challenging topic, speakers shared case studies illuminating some of the excellent spatial information available via By sharing these examples, speakers painted a picture of linking broad-scale concepts to fine-scale mapping to on-the-ground management, a link that resource managers working on climate adaptation continually aspire to make.

It was hopeful hearing conservation success stories and seeing landscapes prioritized as potential climate refugia highlighted on a map. The session offered a strategy for those working to protect wild landscapes and the species that live in them, and promoted active thinking about the concept of climate refugia for wildlife in general. It is also hopeful realizing that certain landscapes have features that protect against accelerating climate change. We just need to lend a hand!

Nature-Based Solutions for Coastal Resilience – Protecting Infrastructure, Nature, and People

Contributed by Sebastian Malter, CDM Smith

Brenda Dix, ICF
Jeff King, US Army Corp. of Engineers
Rebecca Lupes, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Geoff Crook, Oregon Department of Transportation
Kelly Leo, Nature Conservancy, Resilient Coasts Program Director

The U.S. has over 60,000 miles of coastal road infrastructure that is increasingly exposed to the risks of sea level rise and extreme storms. Agencies and communities across the U.S. are feeling the impact and have started to incorporate resiliency in planning efforts. This session discussed the use of nature-based solutions as a powerful tool for resilience. These solutions use naturally occurring features of coastal landscapes or are engineered and built to mimic natural conditions. The speakers highlighted beaches, dunes, maritime forests, and wetlands in the context of their recent and ongoing efforts.

During the presentation, common themes emerged reflecting the challenges practitioners face when trying to plan and implement nature-based solutions. For example, there is a lack of demonstrative projects, guidance, and tools to help evaluate benefits that go beyond purely technical performance. Some of the lessons learned showed that nature-based solutions can be very cost effective and are also more adaptive than traditional gray coastal protection infrastructure like flood walls. Further, nature-based solutions provide other benefits, such as improving recreational value for communities and restoring natural habitats.

It was inspirational to learn that more urgently needed guidance materials, lessons learned, and demonstration projects are emerging that can help to upscale nature-based solutions on a wider scale. One key takeaway is that regulations are increasingly requiring the consideration of resiliency and risk management aspects in transportation planning. This hopefully will provide practitioners with an environment that enables opportunities to integrate nature-based solutions into resiliency efforts.

Climate Change at the Intersections: Addressing Cross-sectoral Concerns in Indian Country

Contributed by William Golding, Daily Digest Volunteer

Shasta Gaughen, Pala Band of Mission Indians
Caitriana Steele, USDA Southwest Climate Hub
Rachael Novak, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Lesley Jantarasami, Oregon Department of Energy
Christopher Swanston, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
Rob Croll, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

“It was easy to listen, but hard to understand; but this has fundamentally changed the way I view the world.” – Christopher Swanston, NIACS

This session’s presenters foregrounded the need for culturally sensitive approaches to climate adaptation, and how indigenous communities such as the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and many other tribes, are providing leading examples of intersectional efforts for place-based climate change resilience. Efforts need to be made by state, county, and local governments to support indigenous nations by recognizing and supporting them in leading regional roles for improved climate change resilience efforts. Food security, water security, healthy ecosystems, and community health are needed for resilience in response to extreme weather resulting from climate change. I found it inspirational that the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Sciences (NIACS) and other organizations are listening and learning in an effort to build greater cultural understanding into their approaches to management, as well as the planning tools made available for climate actors.

Twitter summary: Indigenous nations are leading the way on intersectional climate change resilience — but governments need to meet them halfway on understanding their culture. #indigenuity

A More Resilient Rural America: Accelerated Rural Action for Climate Adaptation

Contributed by Jennifer Li, Georgetown Climate Center

Gwen Griffith, Model Forest Policy Program
Tonya Graham, Geos Institute  
Edward Gardiner, U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

Panelists introduced the recently launched Resilient Rural American Project (RRAP) tool, a series of self-guided training modules to help incorporate rural resilience strategies into comprehensive plans and other local planning processes. Drawing on survey feedback from both rural users and service providers, RRAP's first module details the six phases of risk assessment and planning for resilient land use strategies: 1) prepare; 2) explore hazards; 3) assess priorities and explore risks; 4) identify options for actions; 5) updates comprehensive plan; and 6) take action. The RRAP tool and panel focused on strengthening the ability of climate service providers to address underserved rural communities, which often lack staff, resources, and technical capacity. Participants discussed opportunities for the module to address building local government capacity and incorporate strategies that address social cohesion. RRAP is a collaboration between the Model Forest Policy Program, the International City/County Management Association, EcoAdapt, Geos Institute, and the NOAA Climate Program Office. The project team is currently soliciting feedback from beta testers and advisors.

Dissecting Community Adaptation Project Development and Implementation: What Does It Take to Move into Action?

Contributed by Rich Bunnell, NAF Daily Digest Editor

Melissa Deas, Washington D.C. Department of Energy and Environment
Matt Gray, City of Cleveland
Alisha Pegan, City of Boston
Kathryn Wright, Cadmus

Climate action plans are filled with terrific ideas, but once those ideas enter the real world, it becomes clear that implementation is a plan in and of itself, taking into account the complexities and nuances of dealing with real people and real physical space. In this panel and workshop, practitioners from Boston, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C., detailed how municipalities approach public outreach and engagement during the implementation process. A thread that emerged was meaningful grassroots involvement, coupled with communication strategies that break from planning jargon and reflect members of the public’s lives and experiences. One particularly memorable example was an illustration from Climate Ready Boston comparing the city’s most extreme sea level rise projections with the height of former Celtics player Kevin Garnett.

The session ended with a consultation exercise in which members of the audience joined the panel to help the City of Denver solve a climate action implementation dilemma. In short, Denver needs to implement capital improvements driven by climate science due to risks from heat and extreme weather — but without near-term, noticeable climate impacts such as hurricanes or sea level rise, there is little sense of urgency. Examples from the audience included Portland, OR, which held a one-day scenario planning workshop for the public, and Miami, which builds risk into its capital planning process as a key prioritization factor.

As the session concluded, the city representative from Denver weighed in with just about the best compliment a forum panel could receive: “I came into this thinking ‘This would just be an exercise’ … but this was actually really, really helpful!"

Twitter summary: With a little help from the audience, practitioners from Boston, DC, and Cleveland helped the City of Denver with a dilemma: How do you convey to the public that it is urgent to implement a climate action plan, when its climate impacts are much more long-term? #NAF2019
There will be more to read soon on our website! Our volunteer reporting team is so amazing, we’re having a hard time keeping up with them (thank you!).
Be sure to follow us at @adaptpros with hashtag #NAF2019 on Twitter to learn more about what is happening on the ground!
This National Adaptation Forum Digest is brought to you by the American Society of Adaptation Professionals. We are the nation's premier professional association for climate change adaptation and resilience practitioners and scholars.

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