Posts By: ASAP Admin

For A More Resilient Rural America   

Contributed by Gwen Griffith, Model Forest Policy Program 

(a shorter version of this story appears in our ASAP member newsletter June 28, 2018)

Rural communities are highly dependent upon natural resources that are affected by climate change. These communities also face particular obstacles in responding to climate change that increase their vulnerability to its impacts.” National Climate Assessment 2014

Across America, less than 20% of the population (~ 60 million) lives on 95% of the land that we call “rural” America.  They are the vital stewards of the sparsely populated landscapes of small towns, watersheds, forests, grasslands, deserts, and farms. These lands provide nature’s services that 80% of Americans depend on for air, water, food, fiber, habitat, and recreation. Despite the importance of managing rural lands for climate resilience, underserved rural communities lack the capacity to tackle climate impacts on their own.

Recognizing this critical challenge, the Model Forest Policy Program is embarking on a new approach to meeting the particular needs of rural adaptation with the Resilient Rural America Project (RRAP),  developed in collaboration with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), EcoAdapt, Geos Institute, and the NOAA Climate Program Office and funded by the Climate Resilience Fund and Harmonic International, Inc.

The overarching goal is to accelerate rural climate action by strengthening the ability of adaptation professionals to meet the needs of underserved rural communities and operate from a more sustainable funding stream.  The project objective is to co-produce and beta test an innovative adaptation training module that enables and motivates rural leaders to take action on a specific, priority adaptation strategy. Using a co-production model, the training content and delivery methods are developed in consultation with rural users and adaptation service providers. The selection of the training module topic depends on input from adaptation professionals and rural users to understand their priorities and needs. The resulting training module will be a time efficient process that fits the particular needs of rural leaders. The first step in user engagement is the rural resilience service provider survey, which is available at this survey link. We strongly encourage climate professionals of all disciplines to take this survey now and contribute to the design and success of the project. The survey findings and training module will be a resource for all adaptation professionals and rural leaders. Thank you for taking this survey and contributing to rural resilience where ever you are!

Survey Link:

Local Solutions in 2018: Reflections from the Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference

ASAP staff welcoming current and prospective members at our conference booth

The ASAP Team was excited to be a part of the Local Solutions Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire earlier this month. We presented the 2018 New England Regional Adaptation Leadership Award, debuted our new training: Becoming Principled Adaptation Professionals and Transforming our Field of Practice, and spoke about volunteers accelerating adaptation action during a panel about encouraging residents to be spokespeople for adaptation. But far and away the best part of the conference was reconnecting with Northeast-based ASAP members. We’re grateful to be able to share reflections from two of them, Melissa Ocana and Lisa Graichen.

Both Melissa and Lisa enjoyed connecting with colleagues about developing and maintaining climate-related collaborative networks. Melissa coordinates the Massachusetts Ecosystem Climate Adaptation Network (Mass ECAN) via her role at University of Massachusetts Extension. Lisa, who works with University of New Hampshire Extension/NH Sea Grant, is an active member of the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW). Melissa said, “this conference was a helpful reminder that our network can learn much from and contribute to other networks in the region. It was insightful sharing with coordinators of networks such as the Climate Leadership Network for higher education, Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), and NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup.”

Melissa helped facilitate ASAP’s workshop on “Growing into Principled Adaptation Professionals.” During the workshop, participants used ASAP’s Living Guide to the Principles of Climate Change Adaptation to create a checklist of questions to help assess how their work is reflecting best practices in the adaptation field. This exercise prompted participants to ask questions like:

  • “Am I using the most up-to-date science?”
  • “Who would feel left out/ who should be at the table?”
  • “How does this leverage collaborations?”
  • “Am I factoring in uncertainty and leaving room for adaptive management?”
  • “How am I measuring success?”

“We don’t often get the space or time to reflect on our practice with fellow adaptation practitioners who get ‘it,’ so I appreciated this session,” said Ocana. We appreciate you, Melissa! And we appreciate the Massachusetts state government-led resilience work you’re helping support: the MVP Program and integrated State Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation Plan.

ASAP Executive Director Beth Gibbons with RALA winner Sherry Godlewski of the NH Dept. of Environmental Services and conference host Michael Simpson of Antioch University

A highlight for Lisa was watching NH CAW co-chair Sherry Godlewski from New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services win the ASAP Regional Adaptation Leadership Award (RALA). (And a highlight for ASAP was giving out the award!) Also, Lisa noticed that at climate conferences like this one, there is a growing focus on creative outreach and engagement approaches, climate impacts on mental health, and the importance of equitable adaptation. Hearing about interesting projects and practices, such as the one in Richmond, Virginia, that combined science museum education, art, video, and citizen science to make progress on urban heat island issues in the city, was a valuable piece of her conference experience.

ASAP member Rachel Gregg from EcoAdapt presented on monitoring and evaluation

Lisa and Melissa both appreciated hearing colleagues share their challenges in addition to their successes. Lisa said, “Several colleagues and I were (sort of) joking that we’d love a session at a future conference that focuses on failures! Sharing both kinds of lessons is important (and cathartic!)” Melissa noted that she found the session hosted by ASAP partner EcoAdapt on monitoring and evaluation addressed critical, difficult, and often overlooked aspects of adaptation work. “The truth is that it’s hard to measure success of adaptation actions.”

We share Melissa and Lisa’s sentiment that the best part of the conference was the people. Lisa summed it up well when she said, “I left with a much-needed boost of optimism, knowing that so many fantastic people are working hard on climate adaptation around the region.” We’re grateful to the Antioch University Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience for hosting such a successful event, and are already looking forward to Local Solutions 2020.

ASAP Announces 2018 New England Regional Adaptation Leadership Awards

The ASAP Regional Adaptation Leadership Award recognizes that deliberate and proactive adaptation, preparedness, and resilience-building is a change process, a deviation from business as usual, and a courageous act of doing something new and different. The award recognizes and celebrates that at the heart of adaptation innovation and action are individuals who make this change happen — sometimes with very few resources. Earlier this month at the Local Solutions: Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference in Manchester, NH, ASAP presented the RALA to three adaptation leaders from the New England region.

Winner: Sherry Godlewski

Sherry Godlewski embodies the very essence of the Regional Adaptation Leadership Award: She has dedicated 17 years to working for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ water, air, waste, and environmental health programs. Sherry is recognized by her colleagues for understanding how to work with people — and how to get things done! She brings stakeholders together, builds communities of understanding, and has launched multiple adaptation networks. Her ability to design, implement, evaluate and improve programs is a testament to her passion of her work, willingness to learn, and dedication to improvement.

A trained environmental communicator and former college instructor, Sherry is committed to providing science-based education and technical assistance to support New Hampshire state agencies and communities’ resilience efforts. To achieve this vision, Sherry has worked to build collaborative networks across the state, including the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW), Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup (UVAW), and State Agency Environmental Resilience Group (SERG). Serving as the current Co-Chair to each of these groups, Sherry has helped guide organizational missions and visions, design and deliver educational material, conceptualize and implement project proposals, and inform and coordinate adaptation activities across the state.

Runner-up: Mia Goldwasser Mansfield

As the Program Manager for Climate Ready Boston, Mia led the development of Boston’s first climate resilience plan. The plan developed the city’s first consensus-driven climate projections and vulnerability assessment, and outlines a set of actionable resilience initiatives for the city to pursue. Mia’s vision is to proactively prepare Boston for climate change in a way that improves lives for all the city’s residents, particularly those most vulnerable to climate change. Her vision for the work has helped to ensure that the process included robust community engagement, as well as strong overlap with the 100 Resilient Cities process for building an equitable and resilient city.

Runner-up: Grover Fugate

Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, has become synonymous with the concept of “coastal community resiliency.” His vision, even before Superstorm Sandy significantly changed or damaged major portions of the state’s southern coastline, has for nearly two decades focused quite closely on the need to start preparing the state’s 21 coastal communities for the impacts of sea level rise and strong storms to come. With the University of Rhode Island, the Coastal Resources Management Council prepared the Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP), the state’s first comprehensive set of
adaptation and resiliency recommendations designed to support state and municipal efforts to meet the bchallenges of climate change.

Interest Topics:

What’s NOAA Done for me Lately?


Recent announcements regarding the proposed budget cuts to NOAA have a lot of people wondering: What does NOAA do for the adaptation community, and what can the adaptation community do for NOAA? ASAP compiled an A to Z on Adaptation at NOAA to help answer those questions.

AC4 – Part of the FIREX program on fire research, prevention, and management. The AC4 program funded 10 new projects last year alone: 17 individual grants totaling $6.5 million to universities and non-Federal research laboratories.

Building Resilience in South Carolina’s Lowcountry through Regional Partnerships – This Sea Grant Program helps communities in South Carolina plan for and adapt to the area’s increasing flood challenges.

Climate Program Office – Situated under the Office of Ocean and Atmospheric Research (OAR), the CPO brings physical and social science together to address pressing climate challenges on a national and global scale.

Digital Coast – This website serves tailored data visualization, information, case studies, and trainings for communities and decision makers along U.S. coastlines.

Ecosystem Services – Ecosystem services are the benefits that nature provides to people.

Fisheries – Anglers took 61 million recreational fishing trips last year, caught 300 million fish and reported releasing 57% — awesome reporting!

Great Lakes Integrated Sciences & Assessments – A Great Lakes program distributing over $1.2 million in adaptation grants to over 54 partners across eight states and the province of Ontario.

High Plains Regional Climate Center – The climate data hub for our agricultural heart. HPRCC informs, protects, and serves tribes and agricultural communities in the central United States.

Ice Coverage & Extent – NOAA tracks changes to snowpacks on mountains and ice extent on the Great Lakes, regionally relevant climate change impacts. Of course the Arctic tracking informs shifts in our global system and we rely on NOAA to keep tabs on these shifts as well.

Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve – Located at one of the least-disturbed estuaries in the Northeast Corridor, this reserve’s researchers’ enhanced understanding of salinity and sea level rise inform adaptation programs across America.

Kachemak Bay NERR – This Alaskan NERR is ground zero for loss from sea level rise and permafrost loss, making it among the places in the U.S. most at risk from climate change. Lessons from here are being applied to climate-risk communities across the country.

Louisiana Coastal Zone – Varying from 16 to 32 miles inland from the Gulf Coast, the coastal zone spans 10 million acres and includes 40 percent of the nation’s coastal wetlands.

Minnesota Sea Grant – Off the =beaten path of adaptation, this Sea Grant program puts climate change front and center in work related to green infrastructure, coastal management, and water resource trainings.

NIDIS – This brainchild of the Western Governors Association delivers easily accessible drought information and administers the Drought Early Warning System that informs tribes, farmers, ranchers, and water managers across the country.

Observations – Nothing compares to observed data when it comes to make the case for climate change action. Observations are irrefutable and irreplaceable. The National Weather Service collects some 76 billion observations and issues 1.5 million forecasts and 50,000 warnings.


Oceans – There is only one global ocean! NOAA observation and management  teams monitors this essential resources and informs us on how prepare for climate impacts and curb our future climate footprint.

Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments – With its unique engagements with landfill operators, ranchers, and beach resorts, this RISA is a leader in private sector engagement and the business of adaptation.

Quarterly Climate Impacts & Outlooks – Quarterly outlooks inform regional decision making by providing case studies on impacts from the past season’s weather and providing insight on what’s coming up next.

Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments – As NOAA’s social science home, this program supports hands-on integration of climate information and data through 10 regional programs and distributes over $10 million annually to universities across the country.

Sea Grant Network – This is the service home and work horse of NOAA. Sea Grant meets people where they are in schools, at docks, on the river and at the water’s edge across the country through research, extension, and education.


Satellites – Data from NOAA’s satellite network protects us every day and constantly enhance our understanding of our changing planet.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge – Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) plays an increasing role in the work done across the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), RISA, and Coastal Management programs.

U.S Climate Resilience Toolkit – The definitive source for case studies, decision support models, and data and visualization tools. This is the one stop shop for taking adaptation programs from planning to implementation.

Virginia Sea Grant – Building coalitions, advancing fellows, engaging with ports, military installations, rural and coastal communities, this Sea Grant program’s portfolio of adaptation accomplishments stands out.

Weather – Weather, water and climate events cause an average of approximately 650 deaths and $15 billion in damage per year and are responsible for 90 percent of all presidentially declared disasters. NOAA tells you when it is safe to sit on your porch and watch the storm roll in or hunker down and wait it out.

eXplorer – Climate eXplorer allows the user to layer information including health, land use, economic, demographic, and climate data necessary to have a holistic view of impacts and adaptation opportunities.

You! – NOAA’s program support the climate observations, research, engagement, training, resource development and more that you use everyday to do your adaptation work.

Zulu – Sometimes you need a simple Zulu Time conversion chart – NOAA’s got that too.

Interest Topics:

Announcing​ ​Three​ ​New​ ​Members​ ​of​ ​the​ ​American​ ​Society​ ​of​ ​Adaptation Professionals​ ​Board​ ​of​ ​Directors

Announcing Three New Members of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals Board of Directors

Congratulations to Jessica Grannis, Jennifer Jurado, and Jacqueline Patterson, the newly appointed members of the ASAP Board of Directors! They’ll serve alongside Steve Adams, Joyce Coffee, Josh Foster, Eric Mielbrecht, John Nordgren, and Missy Stults.

Jessica Grannis

Jessica Grannis currently serves as the Adaptation Program Manager for the Georgetown Climate Center and an Adjunct Professor for the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown Law. In this role, she oversees staff and student projects to provide direct legal and policy support to states and local governments as they plan for and implement policies to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Recently, Jessica worked with the 100 Resilient Cities network to create a report on policy recommendations for reforming the National Flood Insurance Program. Jessica has over 10 years of experience working on adaptation and environmental law issues with adaptation practitioners from different sectors and disciplines. In her former role as Staff Attorney for the California Ocean Protection Council, she helped craft the state’s coastal adaptation strategy and helped the council’s staff navigate potential legal and policy challenges.

Jennifer Jurado

Dr. Jennifer Jurado currently serves as Chief Resiliency Officer and Director of the Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division for Broward County, Florida. In this role, she oversees regional and organizational climate resilience initiatives, water resource policy and planning, environmental monitoring, shoreline protection, and marine resources programs. Since joining the county in 2002, Jennifer has been a key figure in the advancement of multi-jurisdictional initiatives focused on water resource sustainability and management, climate adaptation efforts, and the integration of climate policy in comprehensive planning. She has played a prominent role in analyzing and planning for future sea level rise in the built environment, and recently wrote an article on community resilience in Go Riverwalk magazine. Jennifer has also made significant contributions to the organization and advancement of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a four-county collaboration focused on regional climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and to the president’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. In 2013, she was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change for her leadership on climate resilience. Jennifer holds a doctoral degree in marine biology and fisheries from the University of Miami.

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson currently serves as the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Previously, she served as Coordinator and Co-Founder of Women of Color United and as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate, and activist working on women’s rights, violence against women, HIV and AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, emergency response, and environmental and climate justice. The NAACP, in partnership with the Clean Air Task Force, published a landmark report demonstrating the health risks to African American communities from airborne pollutants caused by oil and natural gas development. Jacqueline served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid, Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health, Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University, and as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies. She currently serves on the Steering Committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, the Advisory Board for the Center for Earth Ethics, and the boards of directors for the Institute of the Black World, the Center for Story Based Strategy, GRID Alternatives, and the U.S. Climate Action Network. Jacqueline holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

Interest Topics:

While There’s a Microphone in Our Hands

We’ve all read the stories and seen the news clips. We all know about the trillions of gallons of water that flooded Texas. We know that Florida residents have been displaced, some killed. We know that the building materials which covered natural flood mitigation landscapes kept the water above ground. Some of our ASAP members are experiencing this personally. Our thoughts are with them.

Interest Topics:

Censorship: The Enemy of Science


The Guardian reported Monday that United States Department of Agriculture staffers received instructions to remove any language referencing climate change. Mere hours after the Guardian posted their article, The New York Times preemptively released the most recent draft of the Climate Change Report, a key part of the fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), which details the predicted effects of climate change and the hazards we already face from climate change today.

On both sides of this problem, the action results from the fear of being without power: for USDA leaders, this is the loss of political power, and for climate scientists, this is the inability to do what is right for the public. (more…)

Stakes and Temperatures Rise Together in Southern States

In our July 14 newsletter, ASAP Managing Director Beth Gibbons examined the uncertainties of a recent economic study on the effects of climate change produced by the Climate Impact Lab. Here, ASAP Intern Mary Winn Granum shares another take on the impact of CIL’s findings.


In the June 30 issue of Science, a study led by the Climate Impact Lab indicated that the economy  would suffer greater losses in Southern states, where rising temperatures would create more extreme, less habitable conditions. The study, “Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States,” designed a systematic framework for examining impacts down to a county level to process data more precisely than that of federal and state impact estimates.

Looking ahead to 2080, the hottest regions in the country – some of which contain the poorest counties in the country – may suffer losses up to 20% of GDP per year due to severe weather and other climate-related damages. Although these projections are still years in the future, practitioners must work now to mitigate such devastation to these communities. (more…)