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Water: Climate Ready Estuaries

Explore Climate Ready Estuaries

CRE Website Directory
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The Climate Ready Estuaries program is a partnership between EPA and the National Estuary Programs (NEPs) to address climate change in coastal areas. This effort, initiated in 2008 (see EPA press release announcing the CRE program), brings together EPA's Oceans and Coastal Protection Division and Climate Change Division to build additional capacity in the NEPs and other coastal communities as they prepare to adapt to the effects of climate change. An article announcing the program was published in NOAA's Coastal Services magazine in May/June 2009.

Other EPA offices, such as the Office of Research and Development, are supporting this effort as well. The purpose of Climate Ready Estuaries is to assist NEPs and coastal communities in becoming "climate ready" by providing tools and assistance to assess climate change vulnerability and plan for adaptation.

A number of other federal programs work on coastal adaptation to climate change. As part of the Climate Ready Estuaries program, EPA will coordinate and communicate with other federal agencies and external partners to share information, identify opportunities for collaboration, and minimize duplication of effort.


Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: Southeastern US Climate Ready Estuaries (4 pp, 622K, About PDF) (EPA, March 2014) 
This brochure shares lessons from CRE projects with six National Estuary Programs in the Southeast U.S.

Lessons Learned from the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: New England Climate Ready Estuaries (4 pp, 1.0MB, About PDF) (EPA, December 2012)
This brochure shares some of the lessons from CRE projects that were communicated by New England National Estuary Programs at a June 2012 workshop in Boston.

Lessons Learned from the Climate Ready Estuaries Program (PDF) (4 p, 1.35MB, About PDF) (EPA, June 2011)
This document presents beat practices and lessons-learned from the CRE annual progress report for 2010.


CRE Partner Projects

In 2008–2012, CRE provided targeted assistance to NEPs to identify climate change vulnerabilities, develop adaptation plans, and begin to implement selected actions within these plans. Details on 2008–2012 partner projects are available on the CRE Where You Live page.


CRE Publications

Climate Change and Coastal Watersheds: Adaptation to Attain Clean Water Goals and Sustainable (8 pp, 724K, About PDF) (EPA, December 2012)
This section of the Climate Ready Estuaries 2012 Progress Report highlights some of the ways that NEPs have used CRE projects to continue reaching for a sustainable future where the aspirations of the Clean Water Act can be achieved.

Climate Change Risk Management: CRE Adaptation Projects and the Risk Management Process (8 pp, 720K, About PDF) (EPA, December 2012)
This section of the Climate Ready Estuaries 2011 Progress Report examines how CRE projects illustrate and support the risk management paradigm for climate change adaptation.

Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgement: The San Francisco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Massachusetts Bays program worked in partnership with EPA's Office of Research and Development to use expert elicitation as a methodology for identifying climate change-related risks. The respective reports detail the results of this effort.

King Tides Fact Sheet (PDF) (1p, 877K, About PDF) (EPA, June 2011)
Learn how to leverage a King Tide for a sea level rise education campaign.

Rolling Easements (PDF) (176 pp, 6.2MB, About PDF) (EPA, June 2011)
This primer examines rolling easements, a collection of approaches allowing beaches and wetlands to migrate inland as sea levels rise in cases where traditional protective measures, such as the construction of dikes, seawalls, and other structures, may prove economically or environmentally unsustainable. NOAA's Coastal Services magazine published an article discussing this primer in September/October 2011.

Adaptation Planning for the National Estuary Program (PDF) (19 pp, 477K, About PDF) (EPA, May 2009)
This white paper develop by the Climate Ready Estuaries program describes five critical elements of adaptation planning in coastal areas and provides examples and resources for more information.

Climate Ready Estuaries Program Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas (PDF) (32 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF) (EPA, January 2009)
This guide provides a brief introduction to key physical impacts of climate change on estuaries and a review of on-the-ground adaptation options available to coastal managers to reduce their systems' vulnerability to climate change impacts.

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP)  4.1: Coastal Sensitivity to Sea Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region (2009). This report addresses the vulnerability of coastal areas to sea level rise.

CRE Progress

Climate Ready Estuaries 2012 Progress Report (24 pp, 5.5MB, About PDF) (EPA, December 2012)
This report describes program accomplishments and the new NEP projects started during 2012. The progress report uses NEP projects from 2008–2011 to show how climate change adaptation will help to meet clean water goals.

CRE 2011 Progress Report (PDF) (24 pp, 5.9MB, About PDF) (EPA, December 2011)
This document reports on 2011 program accomplishments and the new NEP projects started during 2011. The progress report uses NEP projects from 2008–2010 to illustrate how the risk management paradigm can be used for climate change adaptation.

EPA Climate Ready Estuaries brochure (PDF) (2 pp, 300K, About PDF) (EPA, June 2011)
This brochure provides basic information about EPA’s work with the National Estuary Programs to address climate change in coastal areas.

CRE 2010 Progress Report (PDF) (28 pp, 3.9MB, About PDF) (EPA, December 2010)
This document focuses on the accomplishments of the existing CRE Partners, including vulnerability assessments, stakeholder engagement, climate change indicators and monitoring, and adaptation planning. This report complements the 2009 CRE Progress Report; together they provide a summary on the design and accomplishments of CRE.

CRE 2009 Progress Report (PDF) (21 pp, 4.1MB, About PDF) (EPA, December 2009)
This document provides an overview of CRE’s accomplishments in 2009, including activities being managed by the NEP Partners, lessons learned in the adaptation planning process, challenges encountered, and next steps for the program.

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