NWF's Community-Based Work
Climate-Smart Communities Program
Climate change is intensifying existing stresses on wildlife and their habitats and amplifying natural hazards that threaten people and property. The Climate-Smart Communities program helps cities and towns use nature-based approaches to prepare themselves for the impacts of climate change in ways that support people, wildlife, and habitats.
In King County, Washington, NWF helped prepare a tool to help landowners understand the benefits healthy trees can have for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Forestry Climate Preparedness and Response (CPR) tool quantifies and explains complex forest characteristics (i.e. total carbon load at a particular site) using an embedded Geographic Information System (GIS). It demonstrates how trees help landowners both reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the effects of climate change by reducing stormwater runoff and erosion and providing shade during hot summer months. The tool is being used by land managers across King County to make climate smart decisions when dealing with their forests. NWF recently partnered with the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition to present a webinar on "climate-induced stormwater flooding, reducing thermal pollution in local waterways, and minimizing heat island effects," through use of the Forestry CPR tool.
National Wildlife Federation has been working in our nation’s capital to promote wildlife-friendly approaches to urban sustainability. NWF has been an active participant in Sustainable DC, an ongoing process to develop a sustainability plan for the District of Columbia. NWF has provided technical expertise to both the Climate Change and Nature working groups. In particular, NWF has been leading the effort to ensure that climate change adaptation is addressed in the plan, in addition to mitigation, and that nature-based solutions are included. NWF is also co-authoring a section on climate change adaptation to be included in the forthcoming Sustainable DC Plan and the District’s Climate Action Plan.
NWF has partnered with the DC Environmental Network (DCEN) to host a community dialogue on wildlife, natural systems, and a sustainable DC. Twenty local leaders, climate and sustainability experts, and students from the DC metropolitan area came together at the National Wildlife Federation office to consider strategies to be included in the Sustainable DC plan.
Through the Climate-Smart Restoration Partnership Project for the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay (a partnership of NWF, NOAA and the Kresge Foundation), NWF made significant progress helping the coastal restoration community better understand and incorporate climate change adaptation into their work around the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. To take this work a step further and catalyze climate adaptation activities in the communities where these projects are located, NWF has selected two GLRI restoration project sites as anchors in the Great Lakes Region: Black River Habitat Restoration project in Lorain, Ohio and the Clinton River Spillway project in Macomb County, Michigan.
The GLRI restoration projects in Lorain and Macomb County will serve as the basis for conducting outreach to surrounding or nearby coastal communities to help them prepare for the impacts of climate change. NWF will emphasize the benefits of nature-based approaches to address the risks of climate change as well as to provide additional community benefits like recreational opportunities and economic development through fisheries and tourism. Depending on the needs of the communities, NWF’s outreach activities may drive the development of new planning activities that are focused on climate change adaptation or NWF may help communities integrate climate change adaptation approaches into existing planning efforts.
In these communities, NWF is conducting outreach activities to help residents, businesses and local officials understand the benefits of ecological restoration to their communities. NWF is also developing a Coastal Community Toolkit (to be completed by October 2013) that will be informed by the two on-the-ground climate-smart restoration projects and meetings with local officials, residents, and other stakeholders. NWF will share this toolkit by partnering with regional and national organizations, hosting webinars, and making presentations.
Other NWF Climate-Smart Resources for Cities and Towns
- Corridors: NWF's Northeast Regional Center is working with the Vermont Natural Resources Council and state agencies to provide safe road crossings for wildlifevia their Critical Paths project.
- Trees: Trees for Wildlife is a program for children ages 6 to 18, involving science-based learning, physical planting and ongoing stewardship activities.
- Habitats: NWF's Certified Wildlife Habitat program helps you transform your backyard, school, business or community into safe and healthy haven for local wildlife.
- On The Ground: Learn more about climate adaptation activities in NWF's Great Lakes, Northeast, and Pacific regional offices.
More About Climate Smart Communities