Climate Change Adaptive Capacity

Assessing the Adaptive Capacity of Conservation Organizations to Respond to the Effects of Climate Change: A Pilot Study

Lanark Bridge Staff Gauge

This pilot study looks at how conservation organizations, using MVCA as a test case, can assess their adaptive capacity through following an assessment process developed by a number of collaborative agencies. Through this process the organization can recognize strengths and challenges to identifying and addressing issues and opportunities associated with a changing climate.   Both MVCA staff and the study authors concluded  that the process has merit in gathering information which will inform strategic planning and operational decisions.

Pilot study results indicate that the MVCA maintains a moderate to high capacity to adaptively manage for the effects of climate change on watershed hydrology. The MVCA’s strengths include a long-standing track record in public outreach and knowledge dissemination, and a robust collaborative network of partners.

Ongoing challenges for the organization include the collection of information on social values, continuity of data collection that relies on seasonal volunteers, and access to financial and human resources. Both internal and external policies were deemed insufficient to address climate change; however, the MVCA is committed to adaptive management and is working to determine how environmental changes affect current operations and how potential future climatic changes may affect policy, planning and decision-making.

Developing this information is invaluable to an organization and the project team leaders applaud the willingness of MVCA staff to participate and thank them for the invaluable contributions provided through frank discussion at the workshops. The lessons learned from this pilot will be carried forward to future organizational assessments, both for MVCA and other agencies that see the value in understanding where their strengths and challenges lie.

This is a valuable tool for conservation organizations, natural systems and land managers, and municipalities to initiate the process of understanding where internal processes and resources are sufficient and where changes may be needed to increase adaptive capacity within the organization. The project team can help your organization develop an individualized process to suit your organization’s needs based on this pilot project framework. For more information on this study or how you can develop your organization’s adaptive capacity assessment please contact:

Assessing the Adaptive Capacity of Conservation Organizations to Respond to the Effects of Climate Change A Pilot Study – November 2014

Gary Nielsen

Climate Change Coordinator
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Program Coordination Section, Integration Branch
O: 705 755-3286  C:705 760-6669  F:705 755-3233

Jackie Oblak

Climate Change Coordinator
Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority


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