Resilience Metrics: Tools, Techniques, and Tactics for Advancing Successful Climate Adaptation

  • As coastal communities move toward a climate-resilience future, there’s a lot they can learn from places where adaptation efforts are underway. Atlantic City, NJ King tide flooding. Photo credit: Jacques Cousteau NERR.

    As coastal communities move toward a climate-resilience future, there’s a lot they can learn from places where adaptation efforts are underway. Atlantic City, NJ King tide flooding. Photo credit: Jacques Cousteau NERR.

  • In 2015, five National Estuarine Research Reserves came together to develop tools to assess adaptation progress based on lessons learned across the reserve system. Photo credit: Tijuana River NERR.

    In 2015, five National Estuarine Research Reserves came together to develop tools to assess adaptation progress based on lessons learned across the reserve system. Photo credit: Tijuana River NERR.

  • To build on and share this experience, a 2018 catalyst project led by the Tijuana River NERR developed the Resilience Metrics toolkit.

    To build on and share this experience, a 2018 catalyst project led by the Tijuana River NERR developed the Resilience Metrics toolkit.

  • Resilience Metrics offers step-by-step guidance and facilitation tools to help communities envision adaptation success and then identify, prioritize, and track appropriate indicators and metrics.

    Resilience Metrics offers step-by-step guidance and facilitation tools to help communities envision adaptation success and then identify, prioritize, and track appropriate indicators and metrics.

  • The toolkit represents the culmination of 10 years of work on adaptation progress and success, and has increased the capacity of the reserve system to support national, state, and local adaptation efforts. Photo credit: Dstana (Wikimedia Commons).

    The toolkit represents the culmination of 10 years of work on adaptation progress and success, and has increased the capacity of the reserve system to support national, state, and local adaptation efforts. Photo credit: Dstana (Wikimedia Commons).

As coastal communities work to move toward a climate-resilient future, the lessons learned from existing adaptation efforts are a valuable resource to assess what is working, and why. In recognition of the widespread need for tools to track and evaluate adaptation progress and success, five National Estuarine Research Reserves – Tijuana River, Kachemak Bay, Jacques Cousteau, Hudson, and Wells – came together in 2015 through the Successful Adaptation Indicators and Metrics project to explore and collaboratively develop tools to assess adaptation progress. To share lessons learned with other reserves and coastal decision makers in their own conversations about successful adaptation, this follow-on Catalyst project refined, compiled, and leveraged the wealth of knowledge and tools generated by those initial reserve participants.

The project created a web-based toolkit, called Resilience Metrics, designed to complement other climate adaptation planning tools. The toolkit provides a rationale for how monitoring and evaluation support climate adaptation as well as guidance for how to envision adaptation success and then identify, prioritize, and track appropriate indicators and metrics.