On January 19, the Obama administration, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies released a draft national strategy to prepare for the impacts of climate change. “The impacts of climate change are already here and those who manage our landscapes are already dealing with them,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior, David J. Hayes. “The reality is that rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, loss of sea ice and changing precipitation patterns – trends scientists have definitively connected to climate change – are already affecting the species we care about, the services we value, and the places we call home. A national strategy will help us prepare and adapt.”
The paper proposes strategies to mitigate climate change over the next five years, and provides a road map to manage wildlife habitats. Though the strategy primarily focuses on fish, wildlife and plants, it does offer suggestions for the agriculture, energy, and transportation sectors in order to utilize adaptation resources in their area. A steering committee comprised of government representatives from 16 federal agencies, five state fish and wildlife agencies and two inter-tribal commissions lead the development of the strategy, and represent members from California, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, and North Carolina. The Obama administration also launched a new website for the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, and the website features the strategy for public review, a two-page factsheet explaining the components of the strategy, and offers public workshops and online webinars in January and February. The workshops are advertised as an opportunity for members of the general public to learn about the development and goals of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. The strategy is available for public review and comment through March 5, 2012.