Climate Change Adaptation
Statewide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
In 2009, the Washington State Legislature passed E2SSB 5560 which tasked the Department of Ecology with convening an inter-agency group to develop a state-wide Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The Department of Natural Resources was identified as a partner agency in this process and led the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), with the Department of Agriculture, responsible for developing the plan for Natural Resources (working lands and waters).
The final Washington State Climate Adaptation Strategy was released at the end of March 2012. The strategy provides tools for agencies, local governments, NGO’s, and Washington residents to begin to plan for the changes that are expected with a changing climate. The strategy outlines an approach to dealing with the potential effects of climate change on Washington’s natural environment and resources, on a statewide, all lands basis.
DNR’s Response to Climate Change
Nearly all DNR operations –Forestry, Aquatics, Agriculture and Rangeland, Resource Protection (fire fighting and emergency response), Conservation and others-- will be affected by climate change. The impacts of climate change on Washington’s natural resources may have profound economic and social impacts, while in some cases may also present new opportunities.
DNR is working to address these challenges and opportunities. DNR’s Strategic Plan 2014-2017 makes addressing climate change a priority, as underscored by Commissioner Goldmark:
“Today, our paramount natural resource management challenge is a changing climate and environment. In a world of accelerating environmental change and uncertainty about the varied impacts that change will have, building resilience into our natural systems must be our watchwords.”
DNR’s commitment to addressing climate change is expressed in Goal 5 of our Strategic Plan:
Mitigate and adapt to a changing environment and climate
- Design Climate Adaptation Strategies in Major Areas of DNR Management Responsibility
- Develop Ocean Acidification Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies
- Encourage Clean, Renewable Energy Development on State Lands and with State Resources
- Continue to Reduce DNR’ s Carbon Footprint
- Position DNR to Participate in Carbon Markets
As described in the Strategic Plan, these activities guide DNR to assess climate-related risks and opportunities, develop and implement response measures, and ensure that resilience is a central part of managing Washington’s natural resources in the face of a warming world.