White House Uses Ecosystem Restoration As Key to Climate Resilience

Along with designating the San Gabriel National Monument, this week the White House launched a series of initiatives that "build community resilience by strengthening America’s natural resources and supporting green infrastructure."

This is important – restoring ecosystems as a key way to address climate change, and actually measuring the carbon they sequester: forests, grasslands, wetlands and coastal areas. It also integrates natural systems into our everyday urban lives, another refreshing idea.

The Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda is a first of its kind, comprehensive commitment across the federal government to support resilience of our natural resources, says the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Like FEMA’s new policy, the initiatives spring from the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

"States, cities, and communities depend on America’s bountiful natural resources, and climate change is putting many of these vital resources at risk. By investing in smart strategies for conserving and restoring our lands and waters, we can help make communities more resilient to climate impacts while slowing the harmful effects of carbon pollution. Similarly, investments in green infrastructure can help communities better prepare for the impacts of climate change while also improving water quality and community health," they say.

Bioswales are an example of green infrastructure:

Bioswale1

Among the long list of initiatives:

  • Army Corps of Engineers is developing quantitative estimates of how much carbon is stored on the 20 million acres of land and water it manages.
  • Army Corps of Engineers is updating a model to assess coastal vulnerability, so far finding that a third of its projects are vulnerable to climate change
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is supporting over 300 projects that protect coastal communities from sea level rise.
  • Tall Wood Competition: design innovative wood products for high-rise building construction that supports sustainable forestry.
  • Coastal Salt Marsh Restoration
  • Engaging communities to grow urban forests

The American Forest Foundation announced $10 million for a  program that will help private forest owners maintain their land  sustainably.

Read our article, Obama Pushes Climate Resilient Infrastructure Forward, about announcements made over the summer.

Here are all the initiatives:

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