- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The EPA on Friday released a report that can help reduce the potential impact of climate change on estuaries, forests, wetlands, coral reefs and other sensitive ecosystems. The report, entitled Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources, identifies strategies to protect the environment as these changes occur.
"People always say 'Don't just tell us what will happen – tell us what we can do about it,'" said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. "By using the strategies outlined in this document, we can help managers protect our parks, rivers, and forests from possible future impacts of a changing climate."
To develop this assessment, the agency said it studied various natural zones protected by the federal government. The report sets management goals set for each protected area to understand what strategies will increase the resilience of each ecosystem
The agency said it believes the findings in the report can be broadly applied to lands and waters managed by other government or nongovernmental organizations.
The report found that climate change can increase the impact of traditional stressors (such as pollution or habitat destruction) on ecosystems, and that many existing best management practices to reduce these stressors can also be applied to reduce the impacts of climate change.
For example, current efforts to reverse habitat destruction by restoring vegetation along streams also increase ecosystem resilience to climate change impacts, such as greater amounts of pollutants and sediments from more intense rainfall. According to the agency, the nation's ability to adapt to climate change will depend on a variety of factors including recognizing the barriers to implementing new strategies, expanding collaboration among ecosystem managers, creatively re-examining program goals and authorities, and being flexible in setting priorities and managing for change.
The Global Change Research Program in EPA's Office of Research and Development led the development of the report. According to an agency release, it is one of 21 synthesis and assessment products commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.