Project Area


The Sierra Nevada Recreation And Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment And Adaptation Strategy Partnership is a Forest Service science-management collaboration with the goals to:

  1. Synthesize the best available science to assess climate change vulnerability and develop adaptation strategies for recreation and infrastructure resources on National Forests in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to understand and mitigate potentially adverse effects of climate change;
  2. Develop a framework and tools for managers to incorporate the best available science plus existing/complementary assessments into USFS recreation and engineering program assessments;
  3. Define priority regional- and forest-level climate change vulnerabilities so that such factors may be integrated in a cohesive and strategic manner throughout the land management planning process; and
  4. Produce a spatially explicit, peer-reviewed vulnerability assessment (with specific adaptation strategies noted) written to support the needs of Forest Service resource managers.

Partnership News

  • 2022: Our General Technical Report is available:
    Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Buluç, Lara Y.; Ko, Jason M., eds. 2021. Climate change vulnerability and adaptation for infrastructure and recreation in the Sierra Nevada. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-272. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station. 275 p.


  • Review existing R5 vulnerability assessments and resources to extract and organize pertinent outputs and information to priority program resources within the recreation and infrastructure programs.
  • Consult with R5 Recreation and Engineering Staff and key partners in the Sierra Nevada to:
    • Present projected climate change effects and their connections to the recreation and infrastructure programs
    • Understand the key resources within their programs that will be affected by climate change
    • Elaborate the important questions that will need to be addressed to help them assess climate change vulnerability
    • Identify the most effective management and program processes for integrating climate change analyses into:
      • Forest plan assessments and plan revision components
      • Recreation Site Analysis process
      • Capital Investment Program (CIP) process
      • Climate change and transportation resiliency analyses
      • Cost-benefit or risk analysis based on transportation asset life-cycle cost (values analysis)
    • Brainstorm the tools and applications that will best help them apply and plan for adaptation actions and analyses.
  • Compose a vulnerability assessment, including adaptation strategies, for Recreation and Infrastructure Program resources in the Sierra Nevada that answers key questions for the appropriate management and program processes.
    • The assessment and adaptation strategies will be peer reviewed and published, providing the scientific foundation for operationalizing climate change in planning and project management.
  • Develop vulnerability maps for Forest Service priority recreation and infrastructure resources. Example maps include:
    • 100-year flood event relative vulnerability maps by watershed for roads and culverts, developed recreation sites, and trails.
    • Weather-based access vulnerability maps to inform road opening and closures, developed recreation site management, and special use permit provisions.
    • Recreation activity setting vulnerability maps (key activities cross referenced with geographic or elevation based climate change effects to prioritize adaptation strategy implementation).
  • Conduct a workshop with scientists, land managers, and other stakeholders to review the vulnerability assessment.
    • Downscale information from the assessment to identify the most significant vulnerabilities to climate change for priority resources in each management unit.
    • Identify adaptation strategies and tactics to reduce resource vulnerabilities. Adaptation strategies and tactics will be linked to corresponding management operation levels at different spatial and temporal scales.


  • April 2018: Establish partnership
    Determine partners and team members, and resource areas to be covered by the vulnerability assessment.
  • September 2018: Field Consultation and Expert Elicitation
    Regional office and science teams consult with land managers and collect data for the assessment area.
  • Fall/Winter 2018: Develop vulnerability assessment
    Process data, review preliminary results, consult with resource managers and planners to develop relevant information.
  • May 2019: Conduct science-management workshop
    Present vulnerability assessment, receive feedback on the assessment, and develop adaptation options.
  • October 2019: Finalize vulnerability assessment report
    Conduct internal and external peer-review of the report.