Building Local Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation Planning

Incorporating the Use of Tools into a Local Planning ProcessHumboldt Bay, northern California, United States; approximately 218,000 acres

About This Project

NatureServe developed a framework for a complete toolkit that can support the full range of assessment and planning applications, such as modeling watershed hydrology (sedimentation, water quality, nutrients, and pollution), and land use and conservation planning in a context of climate change. Initial scoping of geospatial planning tools resulted in the identification of NatureServe Vista for use with a tool demonstration project. For the demonstration, Vista was used to evaluate a variety of ecological, urban, and agricultural resources under current conditions and assess the impacts to these resources from urban expansion and sea level rise scenarios of one- and two-meter inundation. Vista was then used to demonstrate impact mitigation and climate adaptation strategies through finding appropriate sites to 1) relocate the airport and other inundated development, 2) conduct restoration, and 3) conserve areas that should not be developed.



The objectives of this project were to:

  • Understand the analysis and planning needs of the Humboldt Bay Initiative partners
  • Describe a toolkit that could be used to carry out these functions
  • Demonstrate the use of NatureServe Vista to assess impacts on working lands and biodiversity from future development and sea level rise as well as impacts on development from sea-level rise.

This was followed by demonstrating the capability of Vista to generate mitigation and climate adaptation plans.


Using local natural resource and land use data, NatureServe was able to show what resources and developed areas were potentially imperiled by a rising sea level and that decision support tools could enhance the Initiative’s capabilities for assessment and planning.

Examples of potential mitigation options generated in Vista for Humboldt BayThe image at right illustrates examples of potential mitigation and adaptation options that were identified in this project using NatureServe's Vista decision support tool.