Meaningful adaptation actions will need to consider the projected climate impacts and sectoral impacts, as well as the risk and vulnerabilities associated with these impacts. The evaluation of the risks and vulnerabilities along with climate and sectoral impacts will allow a more in-depth understanding of how the region and sub-regions are impacted by climate change. A number of risk and vulnerability assessments/frameworks will be evaluated in the second report. Here we present a number of recommendations for improving the understanding of climate change impacts for the region and implementing effective adaptation actions.


For ecosystem level adaptation to climate change, a bet-hedging strategy for management is to aim to generally promote, protect, and restore biodiversity [5,147,148]. While key species are certainly of particular importance for ecosystems and human values, intact ecological communities with genetically diverse populations and high biodiversity are generally considered to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change [147]. To that end, some general recommendations for managing ecosystems within the MaPP region in an era of accelerating climate change include:

  • Incorporate climate change modeling and projections into coastal and marine resource management and planning at appropriate scales.
  • Seasonal climate forecasts for incorporating ENSO and PDO effects are currently underutilized and could be more effective for year to year planning and management [25].
  • Continue participating in and developing assessments of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems [149,150].
  • Develop feasibility analyses to identify and prioritize management strategies for specific sectors.
  • Develop integrative and cross-sectoral climate adaptation implementation plans that identify actions to reduce climate vulnerability and risk, monitor climate impacts and adaptations, and approaches for identifying trade-offs among sectors and activities within the region.
  • Promote, protect, and restore biodiversity as a way of bet-hedging and coping with climate dynamics and non-linearities. Create protected areas at ecologically-meaningful scales in order to protect marine ecological processes and key sites for vulnerable species [151–153].
  • Improve and integrate monitoring for key climate change variables and indicators at fine temporal and spatial scales, and integrate empirical data with modeling of climate projections (e.g. Hunter et al. forthcoming work, K. Hunter., pers. comm., July 2017).

Fisheries and aquaculture

  • Consider and apply both reactive and proactive fisheries adaptation responses at the regional and sub-regional level [122].
  • Support and integrate scenario planning for possible future management options [93,154].

Human Communities

  • Improve monitoring frameworks: Invest in climate impacts monitoring both regionally and sub-regionally.
  • Investigate the applicability of tools such as “Surging Seas” for visualizing sea level rise and improving local understanding of risk and adaptations:
  • Apply a marine protected areas vulnerability assessment tool in marine protected areas planning processes to incorporate climate change impacts on marine systems.
    • Example: CEC North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool [153].
  • Consider local and regional priorities and investigate applicable and relevant vulnerability and risk assessment frameworks and tools. An evaluation of these tools is upcoming from MaPP contractors (“Project 2”; early 2018). 
    Some examples include but are not limited to:
    • CEC North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment [153],
    • HRVA BC Government Hazard Risk Vulnerability Assessment,
    • CVI Coastal Vulnerability Assessment,
    • CCVI Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment – Canadian Index,
    • CVCA Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis,
    • VI Environmental Vulnerability Index,
    • GRaBS Assessment Tool; and more.
  • Support diversification of economic sectors, reducing single sector dependencies on fisheries in cases where species are likely to decline significantly [111,122].
  • Provide support and resources for community groups, to increase public educations and participation in identifying climate change impacts and local level management [155,156].

Marine infrastructure

  • Prioritize local level assessments of infrastructure vulnerability and risk to help prioritize actions [157,158].
  • Once assessments are carried out, proactively aim to reduce the vulnerability of exposed infrastructure (e.g. coastal roads, low-lying essential services).
  • Plan for sea level rise by developing high elevation alternative transportation and infrastructure.
  • Reduce the impacts of sea level rise on nearshore habitats and infrastructure with marine reserves that protect coastal wetlands, estuaries, mudflats, kelp forests, and eelgrass beds [151].
  • Invest in economic development to diversify remote local economies and increase community resilience (i.e. invest in tourism, resource conservation, arts and culture).
  • Consider adaptive and multi-functional solutions that can be altered to address low to high level impacts and can provide multiple benefits.
    • Example: Soft coastal protection measures such as sand dunes or wetlands can both protect coasts from rising sea levels and low to moderate wave action, and provide ecosystems services (like increasing biodiversity, providing habitat for primary and secondary production, increasing recreation opportunities, etc.) [159].
A stream runs in the foreground carving its way through a rocky beach. The beach stretches into the background with trees and tall grass growing to the left.
Erosion from High Stream Flow | Photo by Barb Dinning