Climate scenario planning for the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

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Coastal managers from California and Alaska partnered to apply the Tijuana River Reserve’s expertise in collaborative scenario planning to prepare for the future in Kachemak Bay, Alaska.


Explore some of the great resources and tools resulting from this collaboration!


Capturing the discussion

Decision-support tools


Learn more about the project and process below.


Enhancing resiliency through collaboration

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve  (Kenai Peninsula, Alaska)

Climate change impacts in Alaska are much more pronounced than in other regions of the United States. Outside of the high-arctic, the impacts of recent climate change have been better documented on the Kenai Peninsula than elsewhere in Alaska.

However, none of these efforts have resulted in tangible recommendations or a long-term strategy for adaptation when faced with uncertainty about forecasted futures as a result of rapid climate change. Barriers hindering effective climate change planning on the peninsula include the uncertainty of future trajectories, a need for a synthesis of regional data, and limited capacity for interagency collaboration. To address these issues, the Tijuana River Reserve partnered with their sister Reserve in Kachemak Bay to enhance the regional capacity of coastal communities on the Kenai Peninsula to adapt and prepare for a changing climate through climate scenario planning.


Transferring knowledge

Drawing upon experience using scenario planning to help local communities prepare for climate change in the Tijuana River Valley (Southern California), the Tijuana River Reserve supported Kachemak Bay Reserve (Southeast Alaska) in using the best available science to inform dialogue among local decision-makers on the Kenai Peninsula about how climate change may impact communities. The project engaged regional leaders and community stakeholders to collaboratively develop plausible future planning scenarios based on a wide range of possible environmental responses to a changing climate. Ultimately this process and the resulting scenarios are helping to inform area resource managers and land use planners as they lay the groundwork for future research and community planning.

An interdepartmental team from both Reserves, lead by the Coastal Training Programs at each Reserve, facilitated discussions among Kenai Peninsula stakeholders through a workshop series from March 2016 to April 2017 in Homer, AK.


Climate Adaptation for Coastal Communities (CACC) training

March 2016 | Homer, Alaska | Agenda

Partnered with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (OCM) to host the CACC training. This workshop laid the ground-work for the scenario planning workshops by introducing local stakeholders to:

  • Climate science,
  • Vulnerability assessments,
  • Climate adaptation planning, and
  • Climate communications.


Scenario Planning & Pathways to Successful Adaptation workshop

October 2016 | Homer, AK | Agenda | Workshop Summary

Workshop participants took the next steps in thinking about Homer’s, and the surrounding areas’ and communities’ efforts to prepare for, adapt to, and work together towards a climate-resilient future. In this workshop participants:

  • Identified a desirable future for Homer and surrounding areas, considering diverse community goals, climate change, and other opportunities and stressors;
  • Developed feasible, climate-resilient pathways from the present state to the desired future state; and
  • Linked the work accomplished during the workshop (on a vision of a desirable future and adaptive pathways) to their daily work, planning efforts and decisions.

This workshop was developed and facilitated in partnership with the NERRS Science Collaborative’s Successful Adaptation Indicators & Metrics (SAIM) project.


Successful Adaptation Part II: Strategies, Pathways and Evaluation workshop

April 2017 | Homer, AK | Agenda | Workshop Summary

Building on participants’ experience and expertise, as well as the workshop in fall 2016, and the
Kenai Lands Forum (Spring 2017), participants took the next steps in thinking about planning processes
and community efforts to prepare for, adapt to, and work together towards a climate‐resilient
future. In this workshop attendees:

  • Linked the search for solutions to current problems to planning processes and partnerships;
  • Evaluated short- and long-term adaptation in light of their vision and future scenarios;
  • Developed indicators and metrics of successful adaptation; and
  • Identified ways to proactively build capacity to respond to change.

This workshop was developed and facilitated in partnership with the NERRS Science Collaborative’s Successful Adaptation Indicators & Metrics (SAIM) project.


Capturing the discussion

Summarized below are the key takeaways from the facilitated dialogue at the workshops.


Empowering the Kenai Peninsula

This project helped empower and support stakeholders in the Kenai Peninsula, providing them with a framework from which they can work towards a common vision for the future of their community in the face of a changing climate.  Benefits of this process for the region included:

  • Increased awareness and understanding of climate change science and vulnerabilities among decision-makers.
  • A strengthened stakeholder network to address a changing climate and increase coastal resilience.
  • Expanded regional capacity to prepare for climate change with tangible adaptation actions.


Empowering your community

The benefits go beyond the Kenai Peninsula, as this process was well documented in order to provide other communities tools for fostering similar future planning discussions.  Below are some of the decision-support tools that were developed and enhanced throughout this process.


Decision-support tools

  • Workshop series – What facilitation strategies and tools did we use throughout the project?



  • Game of Futures – Do your adaptation strategies work under different future scenarios?

Contact Dani Boudreau, Coastal Management Specialist at dboudreau(at) for more information and resources.

Learn more about our funder, the Science Collaborative…
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to the reserves. The Science Collaborative is managed by the University of Michigan’s Water Center through a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Funding for the research reserves and this program comes from NOAA. Learn more at or