The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) has launched a new initiative focused on forested watersheds and climate adaptation tools relevant to natural resource management. This effort seeks to develop tools and resources related to climate-informed management of forested areas critical to water resources management in the Midwest and Northeast regions. The hydrologic focused “menu” of climate adaptation strategies and approaches has been created for land managers to use in their structured decision-making process using the Adaptation Workbook.

Download the informational flyer to read more about this tool and effort.

What is it?

The Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for forested watersheds helps land managers and conservationists integrate climate uncertainty into broader watershed management goals and activities. This tool was created for use in the Adaptation Workbook to support planning and land management activities in the Midwest and Northeastern U.S.

Why was it created?

Intentional climate adaptation planning within ecosystem management has become a necessary part of the job for natural resource professionals in this era of change. One of the major challenges in adapting ecosystems to climate change is in the translation of broad adaptation concepts to specific, tangible actions. Using the forested watersheds menu of strategies and approaches with the Adaptation Workbook can make watershed management plans more robust to uncertainty and changing conditions.

This tool is appropriate for natural resource management of:

  • Forests
  • Floodplain and riparian areas
  • Forested wetlands
  • Forested lakesheds
  • Accommodating hydrologic change
  • Supporting hydrologic function and water quality
  • Infrastructure considerations
  • Recreation sites near water

How does it work?

The tool is a supplement to the decision-support tool created for forest and ecosystem management – Swanston et al, 2017. Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd edition ( Although a variety of broad concepts and considerations are available to natural resource professionals to manage forested watersheds in the face of climate change, tools that move from generalities to tangible, practical, on-the-ground ways which increase watershed resilience are needed. Example of the concept to action framework that tiers adaptation concepts to strategies and more specific approaches for action:

Concepts to action examples from the forested watershed menu
  • Citation: Shannon, P. Danielle, Christopher W. Swanston, Maria K. Janowiak, Stephen D. Handler, Kristen M. Schmitt, Leslie A. Brandt, Patricia R. Butler-Leopold, and Todd Ontl. 2019. "Adaptation strategies and approaches for forested watersheds." Climate Services



Where can I use this tool?

Use the menu in planning today at the Adaptation Workbook online platform. Also, check for upcoming trainings such as the Adaptation Planning and Practices online course offered each year. Find a list of upcoming trainings. Read how real-world land managers are already using this adaptation menu to support their decision-making in our gallery of demonstration projects


This effort builds upon the success of the Forest Adaptation Resources and the associated Adaptation Workbook that have been developed for natural resource professionals.

Download the informational flyer to read more about this tool and effort.

Contact Danielle Shannon for more information.