10:07 PM

Task Force calls for swift action to boost climate change preparedness

The State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience today released sweeping recommendations for climate change preparation in the United States. The culmination of a year of work, the task force’s report acknowledges the vital role our nation’s wildlife and habitat play in protecting communities from the effects of climate change.

The report focuses on seven major climate change resilience themes, including disaster-preparedness and recovery, building resilient communities, and ensuring that our nation’s natural resources, including wildlife habitat, are resilient as well. The report emphasizes the ability of natural systems to help protect communities from climate change impacts like flooding and violent storms, while also absorbing carbon in the atmosphere through plant photosynthesis.

The report echoes the key recommendations of the Obama Administration’s Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda, which was released last month:

  • Restoring and conserving habitat, targeting lands for conservation that provide climate resilience benefits and protecting wildlife and plants vulnerable to climate change through the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy;
  • Combating invasive species that degrade and weaken habitat, reducing climate resilience;
  • Researching ocean acidification, increased salinity and increasing water temperatures, and planning resilience strategies for coastal communities and ocean wildlife;
  • And protecting and managing water resources to reduce drought impacts for people and wildlife alike.

The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife’s Vice President for Climate Change and Natural Resources Adaptation Noah Matson:

“States, local communities and tribes across the nation know that they are on the front lines of the climate change battle. When a huge storm, heat wave or wildfire hits, communities need to respond quickly to protect vulnerable citizens, minimize loss of life, restore essential services, and rebuild to better withstand the next disaster. The task force has taken a major step forward in meeting these challenges through improved preparation, better communication and smarter policies.

“In particular, we commend the task force for recognizing the critical importance of conserving and protecting natural systems as a key element of building climate resilience. Healthy forests, wetlands, floodplains and coastal lands, in addition to providing vital habitat for wildlife, can help buffer communities from natural disasters and even naturally store carbon to reduce the magnitude of climate change. We are pleased that the task force’s recommendations build on the Obama Administration’s Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda and we strongly support the task force’s call for “full and robust implementation” of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @defendersnews.