The Geos Institute worked closely with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) and local stakeholders to develop a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and a Preparedness Strategy for the Tillamook estuaries and their watersheds. The five estuaries of Tillamook County and their watersheds are home to ecologically important species and resources that also support the local economy, provide recreational opportunities, and bring natural beauty and overall well-being for people throughout the region. TEP plays an important role in the restoration and management of natural resources throughout the county, especially by working with partners, land-owners, and other stakeholders throughout the region.
The diversity and abundance of natural resources in the region are vulnerable to impacts from numerous stressors, including climate change. Climate change is already affecting the species and resources of the region and is expected to accelerate and worsen over time. Ocean acidification, from an increase in carbon dioxide in the ocean, is causing a decline in larval survival among shellfish. Other climate change stressors include warmer rivers and streams with more algal blooms and lower oxygen levels, larger and more destructive storm and flood events, greater storm surge impacts, more frequent heat waves and drought conditions, loss of important conifers in the area, more frequent forest fires, and numerous other impacts.
TEP has a strong reputation and history in the region as an organization focused on building partnerships across a variety of sectors from throughout the local communities. TEP works with government agencies, NGOs, scientists, private landowners, local governments, industry, and active community members. These existing relationships position TEP favorably for taking a leadership role in coordinating climate action across communities, groups, and individuals.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Preparedness Strategy provide information on how the resources and people of the Tillamook Estuaries and watersheds will be impacted, as well as what strategies and actions might be implemented in order to reduce the overall risk associated with climate change. The Tillamook region’s culture of collaboration around natural resource management and conservation provides a sound base for addressing future change.
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