Climate Change: Agencies Should Develop Guidance for Addressing the Effects on Federal Land and Water Resources   [open pdf - 5MB]

"Climate change has implications for the vast land and water resources managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service (FS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Park Service (NPS). These resources generally occur within four ecosystem types: coasts and oceans, forests, fresh waters, and grasslands and shrublands. GAO obtained experts' views on the effects of climate change on federal resources and the challenges managers face in addressing climate change effects on these resources. GAO held a workshop with the National Academies in which 54 scientists, economists, and federal resource managers participated, and conducted 4 case studies. GAO recommends that the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior develop guidance incorporating agencies' best practices, which advises managers on how to address climate change effects on the resources they manage and gather the information needed to do so. In commenting on a draft of this report, the three departments generally agreed with the recommendation and provided technical comments, which GAO has incorporated into the report as appropriate. According to experts at the GAO workshop, federal land and water resources are vulnerable to a wide range of effects from climate change, some of which are already occurring."

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