Years participated in RESESS:
Download PDF »
Major: Geology and Natural Resources Ecosystem Assessment
Academic Affiliation: North Carolina State University
Research Mentors: Andrea Ray and Heather Yocum
Communications Mentor: Peter Shellito
Deanna’s curiosity and love for the outdoors in North Carolina led her to study Geology and Natural Resources at NC State University. After attending the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Peru in December of 2014, she became interested in the bridge between science and policy, and began to focus on bigger picture climate science. As a RESESS intern at NOAA, she is gaining even more understanding on communicating climate science to policy makers and public land managers.
Understanding the Use of Climate Information in State Wildlife Action Plans
Public land management plans are potentially powerful policies for building sustainability and adaptive capacity. Land managers are recognizing the need to respond to numerous climate change impacts on natural and human systems. For the first time, in 2015, the federal government required each state to incorporate climate change into their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) as a condition for funding. As important land management tools, SWAPs have the potential to guide state agencies in shaping and implementing practices for climate change adaptation. Intended to be revised every ten years, SWAPs can change as conditions and understanding of climate change evolves. This study asks what practices are states using to integrate climate change, and how does this vary between states? To answer this question, we conducted a broad analysis among seven states (CO, MT, NE, ND, SD, UT, WY) and a more in-depth analysis of four (CO, ND, SD, WY). We use seven key factors that represent best practices for incorporating climate change identified in the literature. These best practices are species prioritization, key habitats, threats, monitoring, partnerships and participation, identification of management options, and implementation of management options. The in-depth analysis focuses on how states are using climate change information for specific habitats addressed in the plans. We find that states are integrating climate change in many different ways, showing varying degrees of sophistication and preparedness. We summarize different practices and highlight opportunities to improve the effectiveness of plans through: communication tools across state lines and stakeholders, explicit targeting of key habitats, enforcement and monitoring progress and success, and conducting vulnerability analyses that incorporate topics beyond climate and include other drivers, trajectories, and implications of historic and future land-use change.