Sitka Technology Group

Threatening Thaw in Cold War Climate Battle

In the world of false choices America’s two-party system imposes on politicians, climate change has as its multiple-choice options: a) use of fossil fuels is bad and must stop immediately; or b) scientific consensus is wrong and no action is necessary. The blue vs. red options make for saucy sound bites, gripping headlines, and ultimately a more passionate constituency prone to pay whatever it takes to stop the zealots across the aisle. Sadly, recent moves to plan for climate adaptation may now be threatening this intensely entertaining Cold War standoff by creating the kind of middle ground that could slow our race towards Mutually Assured Destruction.

Appropriately, it’s the disruptive Californians who are developing this middle ground by revising their State Wildlife Action Plan to incorporate climate adaptation. There is no admission of guilt, nor blaming of culprits, but instead they’re making an honest attempt to plan for changing weather using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. In using this standards-based organizing principle developed by the Conservation Measures Partnership, the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) is developing a framework that could serve as a model for other states as well.

California faces some unique challenges in managing climate adaptation due to its environmental diversity. To accommodate the variety, CDFW separated the state into 19 “ecoregions, twenty watersheds, and four marine study region.” Each will identify priority conservation targets, assess threats, and develop unique mitigation strategies. We are already measuring environmental change that can be attributed to climate. This plan will guide conservation of species and habitats over the next 10 years. Our responsibilities as trustee for fish and wildlife in California doesn’t allow us the luxury of time to wait for a more definitive answer,” explains CDFW Special Advisor, Armand Gonzales. To keep all the regions working within the same framework and track the variations in their plans, CDFW is using Miradi Desktop and Miradi Share software to ensure environmental strategies are implemented within a unified plan. The common language enforced by the Open Standards will ensure they can compare results between individual projects and evaluate the overall performance of the entire program. This will allow them to adapt their climate adaptation plan based on monitoring results that are also couched within the Open Standards framework.

Now that’s a solution might get both Khrushchev and Kennedy blinking…


Foundations of Success (FOS) is a non-profit committed to improving the practice of conservation. FOS has worked for over a decade with practitioners around the world to improve the design, management, performance monitoring, and learning from conservation projects and programs. FOS serves as the coordinating body for the Conservation Measures Partnership, helped develop the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, and manages both Miradi Adaptive Management Software and Miradi Share

Sitka Technology Group develops customized software for sustainability-focused government agencies and nonprofits. Delivering great software since 2003, today Sitka provides services from early-stage needs assessments through iterative development, maintenance and hosting.