Climate change associated with increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases poses major threats to fish and wildlife resources of Washington State. To better adhere to our mission to “…preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems…and provide recreational opportunity…” in light of climate change, WDFW needs to proactively integrate best available science on this topic into all of our activities, planning, and decision-making processes. The Climate Task Force was formed to provide leadership in reviewing agency activities through a climate change filter and developing recommendations for agency actions to adapt to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, and to mitigate WDFW’s activities that contribute to climate change.
Below are the Climate Task Force’s goals and objectives for managing and conserving fish, wildlife, and ecosystems in a changing climate.
Drive conservation at broad landscape scales in response to a changing climate.
1.1: Lead a state-wide integrated adaptation strategy to conserve fish and wildlife biodiversity under shifting environmental conditions associated with climate change.
1.2: Build on existing and develop new partnerships with the tribes, non-governmental organizations, and other federal, state, and local agencies to enhance the ability to achieve common adaptation goals.
Mitigation is defined as measures to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Meet or exceed requirements for Washington State agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (currently defined in 2ESSB 5560).
2.1: Reduce the carbon footprint of WDFW’s facilities, vehicles, and work force through activities such as reducing energy consumption and commuter trips, and increasing the use of teleconferencing and green building.
2.2: Reduce WDFW’s greenhouse gas footprint by managing Department lands such that they offset or exceed emissions produced by the Department and potentially provide carbon credits to other state agencies and governmental entities.
Ensure fish and wildlife needs, as well as other elements of biodiversity are considered as Washington State strives to achieve sustainable energy security.
3.1: Promote balanced renewable energy development to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts on fish and wildlife ecosystems.
3.2: Provide technical assistance for renewable energy development and siting.
Provide educational and training opportunities for WDFW employees, the legislature, the public, and other management agencies regarding the implications and urgent nature of climate change for fish, wildlife, habitat and other elements of biodiversity, and provide information on how we can meet our conservation mandate in the face of climate change.
4.1: Develop an agency-wide climate communication plan, including an agency website, to keep employees informed of current agency, state, and federal climate change activities, research, and studies.
4.2: Provide educational and training opportunities for external audiences.