Seven Recipients Presented with First Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources

Individuals and organizations honored for work to reduce climate-related threats to America’s natural resources

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: June 7, 2016

WASHINGTON - For raising awareness and addressing the impacts of climate change on America’s natural resources, seven awardees were recently recognized as the first recipients of the Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources. The new award recognizes the outstanding leadership by organizations and individuals who develop innovative approaches to prevent changes that are affecting valuable wildlife and natural resources. 

The award was established as part of the Obama Administration's Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources, which identifies key actions across the federal government to support resilience of America’s vital natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. The award is sponsored by the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy’s Joint Implementation Working Group in partnership with the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our natural resources and the communities that depend on them,” said Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “These recipients are using innovative tools right now to combat this global threat. Their leadership advances smart conservation and resource management approaches that will increase the resilience of our natural resources for our communities and economies.”

The recipients’ projects were selected from 47 nominations based on a criteria of effectiveness, innovative approach, high potential for replication, promotion of preparation and response, and collaboration. Each project represents activities from individuals and federal, tribal, state, local and non-governmental organizations from around the country. 

The seven honorees are:

  • Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, U.S. Forest Service (federal agency):  Incorporating climate vulnerability into over 185 forest management projects across the Midwest, Central Appalachians and the Northeast.
  • Dan Isaak, U.S. Forest Service (federal individual):  Prioritizing climate-informed conservation of aquatic species and habitats in the Western U.S. by mapping cold-water refuges that can support species at risk.
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (tribal): Addressing climate risks by conducting vulnerability assessments, developing adaptation plans, and implementing on-the-ground adaptation actions for natural and cultural resources in the Pacific Northwest. 
  • John R. “Jack” Sullivan, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (state/local individual):  Championing adaptation actions such as watershed-level models of cold-water stream fishery potential and helped to establish the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, the state’s leading climate adaptation organization.
  • Environmental Affairs Division, Seattle City Light (state/local): Adapting the management of hydropower resources to help ensure that the recovery and protection of listed endangered species can be achieved in the face of climate change.
  • National Wildlife Federation (NGO):  Providing national leadership in advancing and promoting climate-smart conservation across the conservation community, particularly in the development of widely-used adaptation guidance for conservation practitioners.
  • Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent (NGO partnership):  Catalyzing a landscape-scale, collaborative approach to the conservation of natural resources and adaptation actions across 18 million acres in Montana, Alberta and British Columbia.

“Given the magnitude, scope and variety of issues affecting our nation’s natural resources, working together and learning from one another is critical to creating workable solutions to ensure their sustainability,” said Dave Chanda, President of Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “This award spotlights outstanding efforts that are helping lead the way through innovative tools and actions towards climate-smart resource conservation and management. It will serve as a source of inspiration for additional efforts that advance climate-smart resource conservation and management.”

For more information about the 2016 Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards for Natural Resources, including the seven recipients, honorable mentions, and all 47 nominees, please visit the Climate Adaptation Leadership Award main page.

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