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Adaptation is defined as “"initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems against actual or expected climate change effects." The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, like other agencies with stewardship responsibility, has given much thought in how to prepare for the ongoing and potential impacts of climate change, and as a result, numerous projects have been undertaken. The backbone of these efforts is the Climate Smart Sanctuary Initiative, a process developed to help national marine sanctuaries and other marine protected areas plan for, adapt to, and manage for impacts associated with climate change. Its components include a process for developing a climate change site scenario and climate change action plan; obtaining advisory council and other public input; conducting training for staff and partners; greening operations; and preparing documentation for and obtaining certification. Standards for certification, suggested management and adaptation measures for MPA managers, and documentation formats are also included. Guidance has been developed and is being piloted at Gulf of the Farallones, Fagatele Bay, and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuaries.
The sanctuary system’s West Coast Region, particularly concerned about the impacts of ocean acidification, has prepared an action plan that defines a range of actions, including monitoring, research, outreach, and mitigation. Other sites in the sanctuary system have also undertaken similar projects.