WCS has announced 13 new grants to nonprofit organizations implementing on-the-ground, science-driven projects that will help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change. These grants are made through the award-winning Climate Adaptation Fund, part of WCS’s Conservation Solutions division, which provides a total of $2.5 million in grant awards between $50,000 and $250,000 to conservation non-profit organizations annually. The Fund’s work contributes to WCS’s mission to protect wild places across our globe and connect communities to nature. Funded organizations for 2018 are as follows:

Alaska Conservation Foundation

American Forests

California Wildlife Foundation

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

Friends of the Garden - State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Landsward Foundation

Mississippi Park Connection

National Wildlife Federation

Pacific Rim Conservation

Point Blue Conservation Science

The Nature Conservancy Oregon

The Nature Conservancy Palmyra Program

The Nature Conservancy South Dakota


With funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund has awarded almost $17 million to 91 conservation projects since its inception. This year’s grant selection process widened the applicant pool and for the first time, invited projects using joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) strategies to apply. Further, there was a renewed focus on adaptation efforts occurring in urban environments. These urban adaptation projects provide a unique opportunity to communicate the importance of conservation and climate adaptation with diverse audiences. This year’s JMA and urban adaptation projects include:

·         Converting 50 vacant lots in Philadelphia to climate-resilient pollinator meadows to protect pollinator populations through changing climate conditions, increase stormwater retention, and reduce urban heat island effects. (National Wildlife Federation)

·         Applying three different adaptation strategies to ash-elm-mixed lowland forest in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, visited by 9 million people annually, in order to inform forest conservation strategies in the face of climate change and improve resistance to climate-induced loss of tree canopy, erosion, increased heat island effects, and dominance of invasive pests. (Mississippi Park Connection)

·         Restoring 270 acres of degraded ranch lands in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, resulting in 100,000 tons of carbon stored over 50 years and a climate-adapted habitat for local species, 11 of which are endangered. (American Forests)

The 2018 award recipients span a number of geographies and a variety of ecosystems, from the Alaskan arctic to the Palmyra Atoll south of the Hawaiian Islands, impacting species far and wide. Information obtained from these projects will help conservation specialists better understand the effects of climate change on a range of habitats, as well as making adaptation strategies more accessible through tangible examples. Innovative approaches that will be implemented by the 2018 awarded projects include:

·         On the Louisiana Gulf Coast, discarded oyster shells from restaurants will be used to construct a “recycled oyster shell living shoreline” that will grow as oyster larvae attach to the shells, dissipating wave energy and protecting wetlands. (Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana)

·         In Oregon, innovative herbicide protection pods (HPPs) will protect native perennial bunchgrasses from herbicide and allow them to outcompete invasive species, restoring the ecosystem to a better-adapted state. (The Nature Conservancy, Oregon)

·         The relocation of three endemic sea bird species from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to a restored, adaptive habitat on the main Hawaiian Islands that is strategically sheltered from the impacts of climate change that threaten these species in their current habitat. (Pacific Rim Conservation)

These solutions serve a purpose beyond climate adaptation within their respective ecosystems. The Fund encourages grant recipients to dedicate a portion of the funds to strategic communications, which serve to inform conservationists of successful methods, garner public and funder support, inspire regulatory change, and engage new audiences to bring greater awareness to climate change adaptation for biodiversity. Such actions have helped scale funded projects, leading to enhanced benefits for wildlife in a changing climate and climate adaptation knowledge.

For detailed descriptions and videos of projects previously supported by the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, visit our web site: http://wcsclimateadaptationfund.org

For a copy of our newly released report, “Embracing Change: Adapting Conservation Approaches to Address a Changing Climate,” click here.

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