From the Mountains to the Sea: Applying the Yale Framework in Puget Sound

Jan 31, 2013 (Last modified Jan 22, 2014)
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EcoAdapt and the Yale Mapping Framework

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The iconic ecosystems of western Washington, including the Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, and North Cascades, support diverse and abundant ecosystems, species and habitats, and provide a range of natural resources and services for human communities. However, the new and variable conditions that are emerging due to rapid climate change are expected to significantly alter the natural systems that wildlife and human communities both depend on. In the face of mounting climate and current land-use stressors, it is critical that we develop climate change adaptation strategies that help sustain Washington's unique ecosystems, species and habitats.

To help address this challenge, components of the Yale Framework were used to structure an investigation of how and where important aquatic freshwater and coastal marine ecosystem habitats from the coastal and inland mountains to the Puget Sound (Western Washington) are likely to be affected by climate change. Changes in coastal habitats due to sea level rise and the potential impact to existing biodiversity hotspots, as well as the influence of land use — namely shoreline armoring and projected development — on more resilient coastal habitats were also considered. We are currently working with state agency and non-profit organization partners in the region to use these maps to prioritize conservation opportunities and actions for each ecosystem, as well as inform adaptation planning across ecosystem types.


  1. Identify watersheds likely to be more or less impacted by changing climate conditions
  2. Identify watersheds likely to continue to harbor focal fish species
  3. Assess how projected changes in wildfire regimes could potentially exacerbate hydrologic changes in watersheds

Geographic Location

Puget Sound lowlands in Western WA

Principal Investigator

Eric Mielbrecht

Ecosystem Type

Freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems

Framework focus

Jessi Kershner. 2013. From the Mountains to the Sea: Applying the Yale Framework in Puget Sound. In: Data Basin. [First published in Data Basin on Jan 31, 2013; Last Modified on Jan 22, 2014; Retrieved on Jun 9, 2023] <>

About the Author

Jessi Kershner
Lead Scientist with EcoAdapt

Lead Scientist for EcoAdapt and Adaptation Consultation Program Manager