The National Estuarine Research Reserve System uses its living laboratories to find solutions to crucial issues facing America’s coasts, including climate change and resilience. The input of land managers, decision-makers, and researchers across agencies was sought to ensure that the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH) would provide results that could be directly applied to current management and conservation decisions. Changes in climate have direct effects on ecosystems and also interact with current stressors to impact vital coastal habitats. Adaptive capacity, either natural traits of the system or potential management actions, can lessen the impacts of climate change. The CCVATCH utilizes a facilitated expert elicitation process to assign numerical scores for the potential impact of climate change (e.g. change in CO2, temperature, precipitation, sea level, and extreme climate events) and environmental stressors (e.g. invasive and pest species, nutrients, sedimentation/erosion, and environmental contaminants) on the habitat and adaptive capacity potential into a spreadsheet-based decision support tool. Tool design and facilitation process was tested on multiple habitats at each of two pilot sites (e.g. Chesapeake Bay Virginia and North Inlet-Winyah Bay South Carolina NERRs). The pilot project helped the development team to refine the CCVATCH so that it can be used nationally by coastal resource managers as a tool for completing vulnerability assessments.