Stakeholder Engagement

Christine L. Schirmer

Coordination and convening of federal and other climate-adaptation entities. The SW CASC has taken the initiative to organize and foster discussions from the regional to national level among diverse climate-adaptation entities, including RISAs, USDA Hubs, CASCs, and conservation partnerships. We have also drawn NGOs and state and local agencies as appropriate. Activities include symposia and panels at the National Adaptation Forum, CPAWS, and AGU, with future ones planned for NAFWA, ESA, and other meetings. These discussions are fostering coordination and utilization of existing capacity more effectively and identifying critical gaps and needs in climate-adaptation capacity. It is also increasing awareness and motivating action in climate adaptation.

Convening stakeholder groups. The SWCASC organized a well-attended symposium and panel discussion, Forests in the Oven, in Flagstaff, AZ, that drew together the leading regional and national experts on forest dieback and consequences of future hotter droughts. The SW CASC worked closely with several LCCs, the USDA Southwest Hub, California state agencies, and NGOs to organize and convene the Southwest Climate Summit, attended by more than 250 scientists and managers, ad featuring a broad set of presentations, discussions, and workshops. The SW CASC collaborated with the Society for Conservation Biology to plan and convene a workshop on Adaptation Planning, attended by a large cross-section of managers and scientists from across the Southwest. These activities increased knowledge, disseminated knowledge and perspectives, fostered discussions, raised awareness, and generated enthusiasm and energy for climate adaptation activities across the region.

Southwest Adaptation Forum and Practitioners Adaptation Network

In October 2018, the SW CASC co-convened the Southwest Adaptation Forum (SWAF) with the University of Arizona Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS). SWAF brought together over 100 adaptation and assessment researchers and practitioners from across the region and nation to exchange best practices and to build a network dedicated to integrated, community-based climate assessment and adaptation. Partners for SWAF included (but were not limited to): American Society of Adaptation Professionals, the USDA Southwest Climate Hub, the Climate Science Alliance, and several tribes. The main goals of SWAF were to:


  • Strengthen existing and build new relationships among climate adaptation and assessment practitioners in the region
  • Identify gaps in our existing stakeholder and practitioner networks
  • Generate synergy and momentum for future engagement among partners and stakeholder groups, and
  • Position this emergent network to take tangible action.


During SWAF, participants identified a strong interest in creating a regional “network of networks” that builds capacity to develop actionable adaptation solutions. Through a USGS cooperative agreement, CCASS and SW CASC have partnered to realize this vision of a network that SPANs the boundary between climate adaptation and assessment practitioners through facilitated conversations and strengthened partnerships in the interior Southwest region. The mission of the Southwest Practitioners Adaptation Network (SPAN) is to gather climate adaptation and assessment practitioners in the Southwest to exchange experiences and best practices from their work and build a network dedicated to finding and implementing integrated, community-based adaptation solutions. The project team is currently developing a website for the network and will link to it here when it is available.


Science-focused partnerships, assessment, translation to capacity, info sharing, network building, convenings to community engagement, science to action equals actionable solutions