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Adaptation strategies and approaches for forested watersheds

Forested watersheds improve water quality and enhance water storage, naturally regulate streamflows, reduce flood damages and stormwater runoff, replenish groundwater and provide a myriad of other benefits. Significant changes in temperature and precipitation present challenges to ensuring long-term ecosystem health, particularly in sensitive and unique riparian areas, and may amplify existing challenges related to infrastructure, stormwater, and water quality and quantity. Adaptation is critical to sustaining forests and water resources that people, animals, and plants depend upon. We have expanded our work to include hydrologic themes relevant to ecosystem-based management. 

The forested watersheds menu of adaptation strategies and approaches was designed for managers working in forests, riparian areas, floodplains, forested wetlands, and lakesheds. The menu is helpful to managers who are interested in supporting hydrologic functions and accommodating hydrologic changes, including issues related to facilities and infrastructure.


This menu is a supplemental topic developed to be used with the Adaptation Workbook, originally developed by the NIACS Climate Change Response Framework and published in the Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers (


Menu helps natural resource professional customize adaptation options specific to their values, goals and objectives.
Restrictions and Limitations
This menu should be used in conjunction with the Adaptation Workbook (published by the US Forest Service and available at )
Release Notes

A menu of tiered adaptation strategies, developed with a focus on forests of the Midwest and Northeastern U.S., as part of a flexible framework to support the integration of climate change considerations into forested watershed management and conservation activities. This menu encapsulates ideas from the literature into statements that signify climate adaptation intention and provide examples of associated tactics to help ground the concepts in specific actions. 




Researcher, Extension, Land Manager, Other

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Tool Developers:

Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS)