Wetlands have the ability not only to help humans mitigate the impacts of climate change, but also to adapt to climate change. Wetland restoration, enhancement and creation can be incorporated into land use planning and decisions as communities look for ways to manage stormwater, floodwater conveyance, and storm surges. “Natural” or “green” infrastructure designs have been incorporating wetlands and specific wetland functions to replace or add to the capacity of often outdated and crumbling mechanical infrastructure systems such as water treatment plants, dams and/or levees. Typically, this demands a transdisciplinary approach which includes hydrologists, engineers, wetland scientists, land use planners, policy makers, local citizens and other stakeholders from local, state, tribal and federal agencies. Several state and federal government agencies have begun to explore and adopt adaptation strategies as part of their climate change action plans, or goals for future actions. For example, states may be looking at ways to incorporate climate change adaptation into their wetlands protection program, with some overlapping goals in both regulatory and resource management areas.
ASWM has been researching ecosystem benefits attributed to wetland ecosystems in connection to climate change adaptation have compiled information regarding economic valuation methods for communicating wetland values. Adaptation strategies for coastal and freshwater wetlands are explored in ASWM's Recommendations for a National Wetlands and Climate Change Initiative paper (2009). ASWM's State Wetland Climate Change Adaptation Summaries (2010) is posted here. These summaries are updated on an ongoing basis as information about new tools and adaptation planning becomes available for each state. These summaries have been updated in 2013.
Climate Change Adaptation