Thursday, June 14, 2018

DCNR Outlines 123 Action Steps In Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation Report On Public Lands

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn Thursday released the department’s Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan outlining 123 action steps to be undertaken to make the Commonwealth more resilient to potential impacts from a changing climate.
The 53-page plan including the vulnerabilities and recommendations was developed with the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, a collaborative of the U.S. Forest Services, universities, conservation groups and the forest industry.
“As the state’s leading conservation agency, DCNR is using the best available science to develop and implement climate change strategies to minimize and adapt to these impacts, and serve as a role model for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Dunn said.
The secretary will highlight climate change resiliency during keynote remarks tonight at the annual Pennsylvania Environmental Council dinner in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania is experiencing higher temperatures; increased precipitation; higher numbers of storm events; decreased snow cover; and changing distribution of some plants and animals related to climate change.
Pennsylvania has seen measurable changes in temperature, precipitation, and storm intensity. Since the early 20th century, the commonwealth has seen a temperature increase of more than 1.8° F. Winter temperatures have risen even faster, increasing 1.3 °F per decade from 1970 to 2000 in the northeast U.S.
Annual precipitation has increased about 10 percent over the past 100 years, and heavy precipitation events also have increased significantly. According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, the heaviest downpours, which are the number of days where the total precipitation exceeded the top 1 percent of all rain and snow days, have increased by 71 percent in the Northeast.
During 2017, staff members from across all of DCNR’s bureaus participated in a rigorous process to determine and prioritize the department’s greatest climate change vulnerabilities, and identify strategies to address them.
Dunn noted efforts are already underway to implement recommendations, including significant work over the past several years on energy conservation and renewable energy in DCNR’s hundreds of buildings and vehicle fleet, and the department’s leadership of the movement to plant trees along streams to improve water quality and address impacts from climate change.
Getting underway this year is an effort to increase staff knowledge and expertise on climate change challenges and solutions through a newly-formed communication and education team.
To test adaptive management practices on the ground, DCNR will be launching a climate change adaptation pilot project on public lands in the Southcentral part of the state, including the 85,000-acre Michaux State Forest, and Kings Gap, Pine Grove Furnace, and Caledonia state parks.
The report concludes by saying, “As the climate changes, so will species, natural communities, and the ecological, societal, and economic services they provide. Consequently, the department needs to embrace a conservation paradigm that facilitates, manages, and copes with change in the natural world. As our scientific understanding of climate change advances and as we implement and learn which adaptation strategies are and are not successful, this plan will continually evolve.”
Click Here for a copy of the report.
More information is available on DCNR’s Addressing Climate Change On Public Lands webpage.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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