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The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), as part of the work of the Interagency Land Management Adaptation Group (ILMAG), initiated a project in 2013 to develop plans for a searchable, public registry on climate change vulnerability assessments. Member agencies from the USGCRP Adaptation Science Work Group, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and several NGO’s also contributed. Vulnerability assessments are important for identifying resources that are most likely to be affected by climate change and providing insights on why certain resources are vulnerable. Consequently, they provide valuable information for informing climate change adaptation planning. CRAVe allows...
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Social scientists funded through the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) and the Climate Science Centers (CSCs) have an obligation to provide access to their climate science related research data. We suspect, as with other data types, that tools for creating and editing social science metadata specific to the climate science domain and linking the metadata to the actual data either do not exist or are non-intuitive for scientists. Through our research we sought to verify whether any definitive metadata tool for social scientists working in the climate science domain exists. We also sought to determine whether a commonly agreed upon social science metadata standard exists. We suspect that...
This project consisted of two principal components: (1) A climatological analysis of burn conditions (2) A forum to discuss fire risk and management practices The climatological study included seasonality and inter-annual variability and potential changes due to increasing temperatures. The regional forum engaged stakeholders in a discussion of the use of prescribed fire in a safe and effective manner.
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The distribution and abundance of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass native to Eurasia, has increased substantially across the Intermountain West, including the Great Basin. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and as it has expanded, the extent and frequency of fire in the Great Basin has increased by as much as 200%. These changes in fire regimes are associated with loss of the native sagebrush, grasses, and herbaceous flowering plants that provide habitat for many native animals, including Greater Sage-Grouse. Changes in vegetation and fire management have been suggested with the intent of conserving Greater Sage-Grouse. However, the potential responses of other sensitive-status birds to these changes in management...
The deserts of the Southwest are under increasing pressure from growing human populations for land development - for cities, agriculture, livestock grazing, transportation and utility corridors, power plants, military activities, mining, and recreation. While some anthropogenic activities were initiated in the mid-1800s and have continued to present day, others are relatively new. The cumulative effects of historic and recent anthropogenic activities on natural resources have been both local and regional in scope. In addition, natural processes, such as local weather and global climate change, exert important influences on the landscape.
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National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) along the East Coast of the United States protect habitat for a host of wildlife species, while also offering storm surge protection, improving water quality, supporting nurseries for commercially important fish and shellfish, and providing recreation opportunities for coastal communities. Yet in the last century, coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development activities as well as sea-level rise and more frequent extreme events related to climate change. These influences threaten the ability of NWRs to protect our nation’s natural resources and to sustain their many beneficial services. Through this project, researchers are collaborating with...
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Scientists, planners, policy makers and other decision-makers in the South Central U.S. want to understand the potential impacts of changes in climate, precipitation, and land-use patterns on natural and cultural resources. Though the potential impacts of climate change can be modeled to help decision-makers plan for future conditions, these models rarely incorporate changes in land-use that may occur. Climate change and land-use change are often linked, as shifts in precipitation and temperature can alter patterns in human land-use activities, such as agriculture. This project seeks to address this gap by developing new software tools that enable stakeholders to quickly develop custom, climate-sensitive land-use...
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The rugged landscapes of northern Idaho and western Montana support biodiverse ecosystems, and provide a variety of natural resources and services for human communities. However, the benefits provided by these ecosystems may be at risk as changing climate magnifies existing stressors and allows new stressors to emerge. Preparation for and response to these potential changes can be most effectively addressed through multi-stakeholder partnerships, evaluating vulnerability of important resources to climate change, and developing response and preparation strategies for managing key natural resources in a changing world. This project will support climate-smart conservation and management across forests of northern Idaho...
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The Northwest Climate Conference (formerly called the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference) is the premier climate science event for the region, providing a forum for researchers and practitioners to share scientific results and discuss challenges and solutions related to the impacts of climate change on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Northwest. Conference participants include policy- and decision-makers, resource managers, and scientists from academia, public agencies, sovereign tribal nations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. More information can be found at the conference website: http://pnwclimateconference.org. The Seventh Annual Northwest Climate Conference...
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In southwestern Colorado, land managers anticipate the impacts of climate change to include higher temperatures, more frequent and prolonged drought, accelerated snowmelt, larger and more intense fires, more extreme storms, and the spread of invasive species. These changes put livelihoods, ecosystems, and species at risk. Focusing on communities in southwestern Colorado’s San Juan and Gunnison river basins, this project will expand opportunities for scientists, land managers, and affected residents to identify actions that can support resilience and adaptation in the face of changing climate conditions. This project builds on the project “Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in southwestern...
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Researchers with the North Central Climate Science Center have made substantial progress in assessing the impacts of climate and land use change on wildlife and ecosystems across the region. Building on this progress, researchers will work with stakeholders to identify adaptation strategies and inform resource management in the areas that will be most affected by changing conditions. There are several components of this project. First, researchers will use the Department of Interior “resource briefs” as a mechanism to communicate information to resource managers on climate and land use change and their impacts to resources. These briefs will support coordinated management of ecosystems that contain public, private,...
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The Integrated Scenarios of the Future Northwest Environment project (an FY2012 NW CSC funded project), resulted in several datasets describing projected changes in climate, hydrology and vegetation for the 21st century over the Northwestern US. The raw data is available in netCDF format, which is a standard data file format for weather forecasting/climate change/GIS applications. However, the sheer size of these datasets and the specific file format (netCDF) for data access pose significant barriers to data access for many users. This is a particular challenge for many natural/cultural resource managers and others working on conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest. The goal of this project was to increase...
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Hawaiʻi is considered a worldwide biodiversity hotspot, with nearly 90 percent of its native plants found nowhere else in the world. However, about half of these native plants are imperiled by threats including human development, non-native species, and climate change. Through this project, scientists modeled the relative vulnerability of over 1,000 native plant species to the effects of climate change. A panel of experts in Hawaiian plant species assisted with the development of the model and verified its results. From the model, researchers were able to develop a vulnerability score for each plant species and identify categories of species with high, medium, and low vulnerability to climate change. This information...
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Wildlife is an essential recreational, commercial, and cultural resource to communities worldwide, while also being vital to ecosystem health and function. For our purposes, the term wildlife encompasses mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds. As climate change and other anthropogenic activities continue to threaten wildlife at a global scale, continued research and increased understanding of the effects of climate change on organisms is imperative for future wildlife management and conservation. Researchers have been studying and speculating on the effects of climate change on wildlife for decades; thus, there is a large body of climate change and wildlife literature available. Traditional search engines...
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Hawaiian shorelines and near-shore waters have long been used for cultural activities, food gathering and fishing, and recreation. As seascapes are physically altered by changing climate, the ways in which people experience these environments will likely change as well. Local perspectives of how seascapes are changing over time can help managers better understand and manage these areas for both natural persistence and human use. For this project, researchers conducted interviews and surveys of surfers and other ocean users to gather observations and perceptions of change over time at Hilo Bay, Hawaiʻi. They combined these results with historical data on public beach use and biophysical data from monitoring buoys...
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Forests are of tremendous ecological and economic importance. They provide natural places for recreation, clean drinking water, and important habitats for fish and wildlife. However, the warmer temperatures and harsher droughts in the west that are related to climate change are causing die-offs of many trees. Outbreaks of insects, like the mountain pine beetle, that kill trees are also more likely in warmer, drier conditions. To maintain healthy and functioning forest ecosystems, one action forest managers can take is to make management decisions that will help forests adapt to future climate change. However, adaptation is a process based on genetic change and few tools are currently available for managers to use...
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Cheatgrass began invading the Great Basin about 100 years ago, changing large parts of the landscape from a rich, diverse ecosystem to one where a single invasive species dominates. Cheatgrass dominated areas experience more fires that burn more land than in native ecosystems, resulting in economic and resource losses. Therefore, the reduced production, or absence, of cheatgrass in previously invaded areas during years of adequate precipitation could be seen as a windfall. However, this cheatgrass dieoff phenomenon creates other problems for land managers like accelerated soil erosion, loss of early spring food supply for livestock and wildlife, and unknown recovery pathways. We used satellite data and scientific...
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As the impacts of climate change amplify, understanding the consequences for wetland dynamics will be critical for their sustainable management and conservation, particularly in arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau ecoregion. However, the data to model climate impacts to wetland ecosystems has been hampered by the lack of accurate maps showing their spatial distribution and data on their historical hydrological dynamics. Though these data may exist for particular wetlands, there are no wall-to-wall consistent datasets of wetland location and long-term hydrological dynamics. Climate change has emphasized the growing need to plan conservation actions across large landscapes and at longer-term time scales. As...
The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of native species that have been subject to numerous threats including development of habitat for human use, predation by introduced herbivores, and competition with invasive plant species. In addition to these threats global climate change is expected to increase temperature and alter patterns of precipitation in Hawaii. This project models the relative vulnerability of native plant species to the effects of climate change, in order to assist resource managers in effectively allocating limited resources to efficiently preserve and protect current and future habitat for native plants. We modeled vulnerability by creating an expert system – a network model linking biological...


map background search result map search result map Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Development of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): A Searchable, Public Online Tool for Understanding Species and Habitat Vulnerability Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Supporting Social Scientists working with the CSCs in Data Sharing Efforts Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology Across an Ecoregion and Developing Climate Adaptation Recommendations Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Support for the Seventh Annual Northwest Climate Conference Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in Southwestern Colorado: Phase 2 Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S. Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in Southwestern Colorado: Phase 2 Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Establishing Climate Change Vulnerability Rankings for Hawaiian Native Plants Moving from Awareness to Action: Informing Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Planning for Idaho and Montana National Forests Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology Across an Ecoregion and Developing Climate Adaptation Recommendations Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Support for the Seventh Annual Northwest Climate Conference Building a Decision-Support Tool for Assessing the Impacts of Climate and Land Use  Change on Ecological Processes Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S. Development of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): A Searchable, Public Online Tool for Understanding Species and Habitat Vulnerability Supporting Social Scientists working with the CSCs in Data Sharing Efforts