PREP Reports & Publications

2020 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

Ivy Mlsna, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP), one of 28 National Estuary Programs supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is updating their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the 2020-2030 timeframe. A broad, risk-based, qualitative, planning-level climate change vulnerability assessment was conducted concurrent with this update, as directed by the Funding Guidance for this program.

EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program published Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans (the Workbook), which provides guidance on conducting risk-based climate change vulnerability assessments and the development of adaptation action plans. This Workbook was used to guide the methodology for PREP’s climate change vulnerability assessment (CVA) project.

It is important to note how this report differs from other CVAs. Rather than an assessment of ecological or species-level impacts due to predicted future climactic shifts, this report is an assessment of how climate change may impact PREP’s ability to meet management goals outlined in the CCMP. Actions such as community education or support for legislative efforts can easily be carried out despite changes to New Hampshire’s climate, however, actions such as salt marsh restoration and enhancement may be challenging in the face of sea-level rise and increased frequency and intensity of storms leading to increased erosion of marshland. This report highlights management priorities that may be hindered by climate change and provides recommendations for adaptation or mitigation actions that PREP could take in response to those challenges.

The following report describes the process PREP followed as well as the results of the assessment. The process is presented in the step-by-step methodology outlined in The Workbook.