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Case Studies of Coastal Climate Adaptation

These case studies highlight climate adaptation efforts of coastal land trusts across the nation to inspire similar climate responsive conservation actions.


Northeast and Great Lakes, Southeast and Gulf Coast, West

Northeast and Great Lakes

  • Scenic Hudson is projecting sea level rise impacts to inform acquisition prioritization and support community education, outreach, and planning efforts. Using existing data from state and federal resources, as well as GIS algorithms including estuary-wide Lidar, habitat, and land use data, targeted acquisition is ensuring successful conservation throughout the Hudson River Valley. More.
  • The Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) is integrating resiliency into conservation planning objectives.  SWMLC’s Conservation Master Plan for the Wau-Ke-Na Preserve includes a natural features inventory and hydrologic study to build resiliency and address potential climate change impacts. More.
  • The Watch Hill Conservancy has obtained baseline environmental data, and is engaged in numerous assessment and monitoring projects to improve resiliency and their ability to respond to climate change impacts. In 2013 this small land trust published their first State of Napatree Report, detailing key data such as water quality and shoreline change, as well as research, management, and education programs. More.
  • The South Kingstown Land Trust's Climate Change Pilot Project is a multi-organizational effort to provide a community land trust with a critical assessment of habitat vulnerability to inform current and future management planning. More.

More examples coming soon!

Southeast and Gulf Coast

  • The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina (TNC SC) is integrating climate change in coastal land protection and restoration. Sea level rise, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion are already altering inland and coastal habitats within the dynamic Winyah Bay and surrounding ecosystems. TNC SC is working to save this habitat — the third largest estuarine drainage area along the Atlantic coast — by implementing a policy of climate modeling, planning and adaptation. More.
  • Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation’s Comprehensive Management Plan and “multiple lines of defense” strategy support coastal restoration and resilience. More.
  • The North Florida Land Trust has developed a strategic conservation prioritization tool to map critical natural resource categories in order to identify and prioritize strategic conservation efforts. More.

More examples coming soon!


  • The Elkhorn Slough Foundation works with agency partners to address marsh loss in the Slough and protect the surrounding watershed.  Assessments of sea level rise and other impacts of accelerated climate change have led to efforts to “clear the floodplain” in a way that will allow for migration of tidal marshes as well as the deployment of water control structures that can aid in sea level rise adaptation. More.
  • The Hawaiian Island Land Trust is responding to sea level rise, restoring habitat, and enhancing local food security on the Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge.  Nearly nine years of community outreach, education, and engagement are major drivers of restoration efforts. More.
  • The Land Trust of Santa Cruz’s Watsonville Slough Farm and Marsh Conservation project links conservation corridors in one of the largest remaining freshwater coastal wetlands on the central California coast.  This project reflects cooperative efforts to prioritize protection of key areas that exhibit resiliency traits to reduce climate change vulnerabilities of conserved lands over time. More.
  • In California, The Nature Conservancy has worked with partners to identify conservation priorities for resource management. These efforts aim for multiple benefits including water quality protection and enhancing ecological resilience. More.

More examples coming soon!

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