Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

The Compleat Wetlander: Responding to a Changing Climate: Cast Your Vote for Protecting Water, Wetlands and Wildlife by May 15

In October of 2010 the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is scheduled to report to the President on a U.S. approach to climate change adaptation.  It will outline what federal agencies are doing and recommend additional ideas to consider in the development of a national strategy.   Currently there are a number of committees and workgroups within federal government working hard on various pieces of the report.  A number of these committees will need to begin providing their products over the summer so they can be synthesized and reviewed and submitted to the President in October.

There is a short (7-page) interim report that outlines the process available to review and comment by May 15.  All of this is available on the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force Website
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation

Progress Report of the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force
http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/20100315-interagency-adaptation-progress-report.pdf

This is not a report on how to reduce the Nation’s carbon footprint.  It is about how to adapt to changes and support resilience i.e., the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and still retain its basic function and structure. 

Planning for water resources management is identified as a very important priority in the interim report.  The report also supports searching out ways to revise and adjust existing programs.  This is important because ‘existing programs’ are the way the nation will adapt to climate change.

There is not going to be an event—a drought, a flood, the extinction of a species—that will occur bearing the label ‘Climate Change’.  It will just happen.  Furthermore, it will be hard to determine even after the fact that it was a ‘climate change’ event.  Right now species are moving north and some are breeding earlier in response to a gradual increase in temperatures.  There have been some big floods this year. 

Climate change?  Just a brief warming trend that will end? Too much development in the floodplain?  To many hard surfaces that don’t absorb water (houses, parking lots, roads, etc.)?  Or a combination of these and other factors?

The challenge over time will be to change many programs to adapt and support resilient ecosystems.  Success or failure will be closely linked to how the nation deals with its water resources.  Will water be managed so there is enough clean water for people and wildlife and wetlands and rivers? Or not?

There are many competing issues before the American public, Congress and the President.  They are important. But can the Nation afford to wait to take action to foster and reinforce resilient natural landscapes?  What’s important?

This is a democracy and everyone has the right to voice their opinion.

Including me.

Including you.

It is possible to review the comments posted.  There were 316 on May 9, 2010.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation/comments

To submit comments go to
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation/submit

For more information about wetlands and global climate change visit the Association of State Wetland Managers’ webpage on this topic at http://aswm.org/wetland-science/climate-change

Jeanne Christie
Executive Director

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