Program Briefs

Learn more about the NPS Climate Change Response Program by downloading the program brief of your choice below!
Thumbnail preview of first page of CCRP brief
Climate Change Response Program
Responding to climate change is the greatest challenge facing the National Park Service (NPS) today. Our national parks contain some of the most treasured landscapes and important historical sites in this country. They are also among the most vulnerable. National parks have always helped us better understand the workings of our planet, the lessons of history, and our relationship to the world around us. Even under the threat of climate change, these natural and cultural resources can teach us how our planet is changing and teach us about conservation for future generations. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Adaptation brief
Ongoing and future climate change will likely affect all aspects of national park management, including natural and cultural resource protection, operations and infrastructure, and visitor use and experience. In this context, adaptation is an adjustment in natural or human systems that moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities in response to climate change. Positioning the National Park Service (NPS) to adapt to rapid directional change and climate uncertainties is a central goal for the Climate Change Response Program. The ability of NPS managers to support and implement effective adaptation will influence the long-term structure, function, and viability of resources and infrastructure within parks. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Coastal Adaptation brief
Coastal Adaptation
The National Park Service (NPS) manages 12,000 miles of shoreline across 88 ocean and coastal parks. These areas currently experience effects from climate change, including greater uncertainty in the Great Lakes' water levels, changing storm patterns, increasing ocean acidity, and melting permafrost. Parks in the coastal zone are already experiencing the effects of sea level rise and will become more vulnerable as sea level rise accelerates. Climate change will amplify the existing dynamic nature of coastal and shoreline areas, threatening park resources, infrastructure, and public recreational opportunities. “Anticipatory planning” and engagement with local communities to consider new, more sustainable ways to provide visitor services and protect heritage resources in these dynamic environments are critical. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Communication brief
The National Park Service (NPS) is ideally positioned to advance public dialogue on climate change. The diversity of NPS sites provides unparalleled opportunities to explore the issue across space and time, and parks serve as living laboratories where the effects of climate change can be readily observed or demonstrated. The NPS is committed to engaging visitors, communities, stakeholders, and partners on this critical issue, and inspiring positive action that secures the best possible future for parks and people. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Cultural Resources brief
Cultural Resources
Cultural resources, which include archeological sites, cultural landscapes, ethnographic resources, historic and prehistoric buildings and structures, and museum collections, have distinct considerations with respect to climate change. Most are fixed in place or derive much of their significance from the place within which they were created. Many are non-living, and all are unique. As a result, the capacity of cultural resources to adapt to changing environments is limited. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Mitigation brief
The challenges of climate change have pushed Federal Land Managers to think and act on an ecosystem scale, creating unprecedented partnership opportunities with other land managers, policy makers and the public. At the same time the National Park Service (NPS) must demonstrate sustainability through leadership; in how we operate and manage our facilities, vehicles and lands; how we conserve energy; and how we engage innovative leadership at all levels. The NPS is committed to conserving forest carbon stocks, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by reducing our operational footprint, expanding our sustainable practices, and sharing information about the actions we are taking with the visiting public, partners and surrounding communities. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Planning brief
The National Park Service (NPS) is working to “incorporate climate change considerations and responses in all levels of NPS planning” (NPS Climate Change Response Strategy, 2010). However, how does the NPS identify what future, or potential futures to plan for? What are the best response options when faced with a range of potential climate futures? These are not easy questions. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Science brief
Climate change is shifting environmental conditions across vast landscapes, but national parks remain at fixed locations. To help meet this challenge, climate change science in the National Park Service (NPS) is providing information to help manage resources and is publishing new contributions to scientific knowledge. Scientists from the NPS, universities, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other partners collaborate on research that capitalizes on what the unique conditions of U.S. national parks can tell us. Read the rest of the brief...
Thumbnail preview of first page of Training brief
From the preservation of wildlife to the management of wildfire, climate change exerts a complex influence across all operational areas of the National Park Service. To meet our obligation to the American public, the National Park Service (NPS) must cultivate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to respond effectively. The NPS Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) takes a leadership role in workforce climate change literacy efforts. In collaboration with training managers and subject matter experts, the CCRP formulates training plans, develops and delivers content, evaluates outcomes, and coordinates training efforts across bureaus in the Department of the Interior. Read the rest of the brief...

Last updated: February 5, 2024