Adaptation Strategies of Great Lakes Coastal Ecosystems to Climate Change

Natural resource practitioners working in Great Lakes coastal ecosystems must make decisions about how to help coastal properties adapt to climate change.

Courtesy of USDA Climate Centers.

Adaptation Strategies of Great Lakes Coastal Ecosystems to Climate Change presents a menu of coping actions to help practitioners move from general concepts to concrete, targeted coping tactics for their system. This menu draws on a wide range of contemporary publications and reports, in addition to the expertise of regional managers and scientists brought together by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science. It can be used with a structured decision-making process like the Adaptation Handbook, and can be applied to a variety of situations on the Great Lakes coasts to account for varying management objectives, geographic settings, and site conditions. The menu has been tested with several organizations as part of project-level planning in the Great Lakes watershed.

Download the publication

How to cite: Schmitt, K.; Krska, R.; Deloria, C.; Shannon, PD; Cooper, M.; Eash, J.; Haugland, J.; Johnson, SE; Johnson, SM; Magee, M.; Mayne, G.; Nelson, C.; Nigg, C.; Sidie-Slettedahl, A.; Brandt, L., Handler, S.; Janowiak, M.; Butler-Leopold, P.; Ontl, T.; and Swanston, C. 2022. Adaptation Strategies of Great Lakes Coastal Ecosystems to Climate Change. White paper. Houghton, MI: United States Department of Agriculture, Northern Forests Climate Hub. 61 p.

Case studies

We used a working draft to test the application of the menu with three real coastal management projects in the Great Lakes. We used feedback from project teams to refine strategies and approaches in the final release.

Ford Cove Shoreline and Coastal Restoration Project

Ford House and partners used the Adaptation Menu and Handbook to incorporate climate considerations into planning for the restoration of 1 mile of hardened Lake St. Clair shoreline and more than 17 acres of adjacent marshes, coastal habitats and forested wetlands. See more at

shore of the Apostle Islands National Lake; Vulnerability and adaptation of coastal wetlands

The coastal wetlands of the Apostle Islands National Shore are managed in part for conservation purposes. A project team examined how climate change might affect its ability to maintain a stable number and distribution of high-quality floristic wetland communities over time. They used the menu to determine where management interventions might be appropriate. See more at

Allouez Bay Marsh Bird Habitat Improvement Project

This highly collaborative project focuses on improving habitat quality for marsh birds by managing invasive plant species, maintaining and enriching native plants, and increasing semi-marsh conditions in the Bay of Allocate. Climate challenges for this project include the potential for increased high-energy storms and rapid, large-scale water level changes. The group plans management actions in several different phases, in part to provide protection from wind and waves before undertaking certain vegetation restoration actions. See more at

Related: NOAA: 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report and Useful Interactive Tools


Enjoy CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador – or a patron on Patreon.

Don’t want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up to receive daily updates from CleanTechnica via email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise or suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.