NCAP map

NCAP is a Forest Service - National Park Service collaboration that is using an "all lands" approach to:

  1. Increase awareness of climate change;
  2. Assess the vulnerability of cultural and natural resources; and
  3. Incorporate climate change adaptation into current management of federal lands in the North Cascades region.


Project Overview


The North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) is a Forest Service – National Park Service collaboration on climate change adaptation. NCAP addresses adaptation at a large scale – the region that includes Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, North Cascades National Park Complex, and Mount Rainier National Park – a land area of 6 million acres. NCAP is the third Forest Service – National Park Service partnership on climate change adaptation in the country. Two previous case studies – Olympic NF/Olympic NP (Washington) and Inyo NF/Devils Postpile NM (California) – serve as successful examples of the benefits of this type of cross-boundary partnership. NCAP takes on the challenge of applying this approach to a larger landscape that is more geographically, ecologically, and institutionally complex than its predecessors. NCAP is also a science-management partnership. The USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station is leading the effort and the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington serves as the primary climate science provider for the project.

NCAP has four primary objectives:

  1. Synthesize published information and data on climate change science to develop an educational program for resource managers and stakeholders.
  2. Assess the vulnerability of natural and cultural resources (e.g. water, vegetation, wildlife, fisheries, recreation, roads, high-elevation ecosystems) to a warmer climate.
  3. Develop science-based adaptation strategies and tactics that will increase ecosystem resilience to climate change while maintaining other management objectives.
  4. Ensure that science-based adaptation options are effectively incorporated into relevant planning documents.


NCAP objectives were accomplished with workshops, a review of scientific literature, and by working closely with resource experts from the parks, forests, and partner agencies. The final product will be a series of reports by resource sector that will cover climate change projections, resource vulnerabilities, management context and objectives of the agencies, and adaptation strategies with examples of tactics. The resource sectors covered by NCAP will include hydrology, roads and human access, fisheries, wildlife, and vegetation and ecological disturbances.

The following presentation gives and overview of the NCAP project. This presentation was presented by Crystal Raymond at the PNW Climate Science conference in Seattle, WA on September 14th, 2013. [PowerPoint] [PDF]

Assessment & Planning

NCAP conducted vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning for the North Cascadia region during a series of two-day workshops by resource sector. These workshops brought together managers from all four of the Parks and Forests in the partnership. Day one involved a review of the relevant climate change and impacts science and a discussion of management goals and objectives followed by a working session during which Park and Forest resource specialists collaborated with scientists and resource experts from partner agencies to identify key vulnerabilities. The second day started with a review of adaptation strategies and the management and planning context on the Parks and Forests, including any barriers to adaptation planning, followed by a working session to develop adaptation options. The results of these workshops were then compiled into a series of reports by the following resource sectors:

  • Climate Change, Fish, and Fish Habitat in the North Cascadia Ecosystem
  • Climate Change and Vegetation Management in the North Cascadia Region
  • Climate Change, Hydrology, and Access in the North Cascadia Ecosystem
  • Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlife Habitat in the North Cascadia Ecosystem


USFS Logo US Forest Service
USFS Pacific Northwest Research. NCAP is facilitated by David Peterson and Crystal Raymond of the USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station in Seattle, WA. The partnership includes two national forests: Mt Baker – Snoqualmie and the Okanogan – Wenatchee.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is located along the western slopes of the Cascade Range. The forest extends from the Canadian border south to Mt. Rainier National Park. The forest is characterized by a wetter and more maritime climate than the eastern Cascades, and is home to mountain meadows, old-growth forests, and glacier-covered peaks. Mt. Baker itself is a hub of recreational activity and holds the world record for highest recorded snowfall at 1140 inches, or 95 feet. Approximately one half of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is designated as wilderness.

The Okanogan–Wenatchee National Forest extends from the crest of the Cascade Range eastward to the Okanogan Highlands, and from the Canadian border south to the Yakima River Valley. Located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range, this east-side forest covers a large elevation gradient and a variety of vegetation and forest types, including high elevation alpine ecosystems that transition to drier, ponderosa pine forests at low elevations. Lush meadows, dense forests, shrub-steppe communities, high elevation lakes, and volcanic peaks represent the variety of landscape characteristics that are featured in the Okanogan–Wenatchee National Forest.

NPS Logo National Park Service
Regina Rochefort is the primary contact for the NPS. The NPS partners include two national parks: North Cascades National Park Complex and Mount Rainier National Park.

North Cascades National Park Complex straddles the Cascade Crest from the Canadian border south to the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. The park captures the transition from a wet, maritime climate in the western Cascades to a drier, continental climate in the east. Rain and snowfall gradients, in addition to varied elevation, slope and soil types lead to diverse vegetation across the landscape and more recorded plant species than any other U.S. national park. The North Cascades National Park, with over 300 glaciers, also contains more glaciated area than any park in the lower 48 states.

Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899 and it encompasses 235,625 acres comprised almost entirely of wilderness area (approximately 97%). Located in the Cascade Range about 50 miles southeast of Seattle, Mt. Rainer is the tallest volcano in the contiguous United States and the most heavily glaciated of any single peak. Existing vegetation patterns in the park are largely shaped by climatic variation and a 12,800 ft elevation gradient over a relatively small geographic extent. Forest cover at the lower elevation park boundary transitions to subalpine parkland at mid- to high-elevations and to an alpine zone from treeline up to the snow and ice covered summit of Mt. Rainier.

CIG Logo Climate Impacts Group

Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington is the primary science provider for the partnership.