U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



K.T. Ingram et al. (eds.), Climate of the Southeast United States: Variability, Change, Impacts, and Vulnerability, NCA Regional Input Reports

DOI 10.5822/978-1-61091-509-0_13,


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Climate adaptation activities are currently under way around the Southeast (SE). Efforts by local, state, and federal agencies include identification of relevant climate impacts, assessment of significant risks and vulnerabilities, and the creation of partnerships to support planning. In addition to specific projects, adaptive capacity also is being established through monitoring, research, and outreach. This analysis draws on multiple efforts to inventory adaptation in the SE. The authors of this chapter identified few advanced examples of plans and projects that have been implemented. However because of the number of efforts, diversity of groups involved, the mainstreaming of efforts, and the differences in how those efforts disseminated, this review may not fully represent adaptation activity in the SE. The majority of current efforts are aimed at identification of relevant climate risks and assessment of risk and vulnerability. Coastal areas, where risks of severe storms and sea level rise (SLR) are highly salient, are frequently the focus of attention. Efforts to bring climate change adaptation strategies and methods into mainstream activities often are done through projects that focus on resilience and sustainability. The adaptation process is complex and must include partnerships for cross-disciplinary coordinated response from many sectors including financial, technical, governance, and social. In the future, as groups move from risk and vulnerability assessments to strategic adaptation planning and implementation, the authors anticipate a shift in activities and information needs that place great emphasis on costs, benefits, and co-benefits of adaptations. As efforts advance, evaluation of adaptation efforts will become important in decision making. This review of climate adaptation programs and activities in the SE begins with an introduction to broad adaptation research questions and then introduces major stresses currently confronting regional adaptation needs. Existing stresses likely will increase the potential negative impacts of future climate changes. This summary picks up from the 2009 National Assessment report (Karl et al. 2009) that included some discussion around adaptation efforts in this region and the nation, and provides an overview of recent adaptation activities and example case studies.