Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Indiana Dunes
by Cathy Martin, Program Manager, Save the Dunes
Save the Dunes and the Field Museum partnered with local ecologists and land managers to create the Indiana Dunes Climate Change Adaptation Plan, an action-oriented plan based on existing research, planning workshops, informed opinions, climate modeling, and present conditions and realities that will help increase regional preparedness in climate change adaptation and promote resiliency in natural areas in the nearshore region of the Indiana dunes.
Climate change is both a threat and an unknown in the Indiana dunes region. While many consider climate change a concern for the future, its impacts have been actualized in Northwest Indiana’s natural communities. In recent years, ecologists have seen habitat structures altered and the decline or extirpation of a number of native and once-flourishing species as climate change creates conditions that favor nonnative and invasive species. In an attempt to slow the loss of species and high quality habitats in our region, Save the Dunes, along with local and regional land managers, scientists, and conservation organizations, plan to take the necessary and overdue measures to prepare for climate change.
Before on-the-ground projects can be implemented to protect the quality and diversity of habitats of the Indiana dunes, the Field Museum hosted a series of workshops to identify both vulnerable and resilient habitats and species, forecast species that we expect to lose and new ones we expect to migrate into this region, and develop climate adaptation strategies for land managers based on the abilities of our natural communities to withstand the impacts of climate change.
We're currently hosting outreach events for this project; if you're interested in learning more contact cathy @ savedunes.org.
This project is made possible by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Lake Michigan Coastal Program and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.