Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the North-central California Coast and Ocean


Hutto, S.V., K.D. Higgason, J.M. Kershner, W.A. Reynier, D.S. Gregg

photo montage of sea life

This vulnerability assessment is a science-based effort to identify how and why focal resources (habitats, species, and ecosystem services) across the North-central California coast and ocean region are likely to be affected by future climate conditions. The goal of this assessment is to provide expert-driven, scientifically sound assessments to enable marine resource managers to respond to, plan, and manage for the impacts of climate change to habitats, species, and ecosystem services within the region. This information can help prioritize management actions, and can help managers understand why a given resource may or may not be vulnerable to a changing climate, enabling a more appropriate and effective management response. Climate change vulnerability of 44 focal resources, including eight habitats, populations of 31 species, and five ecosystem services was assessed by considering exposure and sensitivity to climate changes and non-climate stressors and adaptive capacity. The 44 focal resources were identified and assessed by representatives from federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Coastal habitats in the study region, including beaches and dunes, estuaries, and the rocky intertidal, along with associated species and ecosystem services, were identified through this assessment as being most vulnerable, and will likely be prioritized for future management action.

Key Words:

Climate change, climate-smart, adaptation, vulnerability assessment, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, GFNMS, climate impact, focal resources, habitats, species, ecosystem services