Through its award-winning Climate Adaptation Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced 12 new grants to nonprofit organizations exploring and implementing new methods for helping America’s wildlife and people adapt to rapidly shifting environmental conditions brought about by climate change. Building on the organization’s 120-year history in long-term conservation efforts, the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, part of WCS’s Conservation Solutions division, has awarded a total of $2.5 million in new grants for 2017. They are as follows:
- Big Hole Watershed Committee
- Cascade Forest Conservancy
- Chagrin River Watershed Partners Inc.
- Climate Conservation DBA Center for Large Landscape Conservation
- Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust
- Audubon Louisiana
- Audubon Great Lakes
- The Nature Conservancy of California
- The Nature Conservancy of Iowa
- The Nature Conservancy of Utah
- Xerces Society Inc.
- Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
“Now more than ever, conservation NGOs must approach their goals by incorporating the best available climate science into their planning and applied conservation work,” said John Robinson, WCS’s Chief Conservation Officer. “Each of these new awardees are doing just that by addressing the needs of their target species and ecosystems under a changing climate regime using novel thinking and tools that other conservation practitioners can learn from and apply at a wider scale.”
The WCS Climate Adaptation Fund is made possible by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). This year’s round of grant-making also builds on WCS’s previous awards that funded a range of wildlife and ecosystem adaptation projects. In 2017, awards have expanded the portfolio by adding projects in three new states and the US territory of Guam. Some notable outcomes include:
- Protecting coldwater habitats in the Chagrin River, Ohio, by improving the structure and health of the surrounding forest needed for species migrating due to climate changes (Chagrin River Watershed Partners of Ohio)
- Restoring forest hydrology and maximizing cool air refugia by creating wildlife connectivity across 250 acres in a key linkage area along the US-Canada border in Idaho (Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative)
- Reducing upland and stream bank erosion accelerated by climate change, breaking the business as usual conservation cycle in the U.S. territory of Guam and serving as a demonstration of strong climate adaptation practice in the Micronesia archipelago. (The Nature Conservancy of California)
Some of these climate adaptation projects will have positive downstream impacts for human communities, as well as wildlife, including those conducting adaptation work in urban and suburban sites, which also bring the language of climate adaptation to new, diverse audiences. Key outcomes include:
- Preparing coastal wetlands to withstand extreme fluctuations in lake levels in the Great Lakes regions of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan; bringing with it much needed conservation attention and investment to post-industrial lands. (Great Lakes Audubon)
- Helping both wildlife and people living in the Mississippi River Basin adapt to climate driven precipitation increases by restoring wetlands to capture and store stormwater runoff in urban and agricultural areas. (The Nature Conservancy of Iowa)
“Projects supported by the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund are leading the way toward a more climate-prepared approach to conservation and have engaged both the public and private sector in adapting to climate change,” said Sacha Spector, Program Director for the Environment at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “These impacts are truly building resilience for both natural systems and human communities across the United States.”
In addition, the Fund has helped many of its grant partners leverage more resources for their projects, leverage significant new public investments in climate adaptation, and has raised awareness of the impacts of climate change on both wildlife and communities. Strategic communications efforts championed by WCS and DDCF have helped to scale the impact of the 78 adaptation projects support by the Fund to-date, expanding their influence well beyond their original project boundaries, and resulting in new, innovative solutions to mitigate climate-driven problems.
For more information on projects previous supported by the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, videos, and detailed descriptions visit: http://wcsclimateadaptationfund.org