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The Southeastern U.S. spans broad ranges of physiographic settings and contains a wide variety of aquatic systems that provide habitat for hundreds of endemic aquatic species that pose interesting challenges and opportunities for managers of aquatic resources, particularly in the face of climate change. For example, the Southeast contains the southernmost populations of the eastern brook trout and other cold-water dependent species. Climate change is predicted to increase temperatures in the South and is likely to have a substantial effect on extant populations of cold-water biota. Thus, aquatic managers are tasked with developing strategies for preserving cold-water dependent biota, such as eastern brook trout,...
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Determining which species, habitats, or ecosystems are most vulnerable to climate change enables resource managers to better set priorities for conservation action. To address the need for information on vulnerability, this research project will leverage the expertise of university partners to inform the North Central Climate Science Center on how to best assess the vulnerability of elements of biodiversity to climate and land use change in order to inform the development and implementation of management options. Outcomes from this activity will include 1) a framework for modeling vegetation type and species response to climate and land use change, 2) an evaluation of existing alternative vegetation and species...
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Covering 120 million acres across 14 western states and 3 Canadian provinces, sagebrush provides critical habitat for species such as pronghorn, mule deer, and sage-grouse – a species of conservation concern. The future of these and other species is closely tied to the future of sagebrush. Yet this important ecosystem has already been affected by fire, invasive species, land use conversion, and now, climate change. In the western U.S., temperatures are rising and precipitation patterns are changing. However, there is currently a limited ability to anticipate the impacts of climate change on sagebrush. Current methods suffer from a range of weakness that limits the reliability of results. In fact, the current uncertainty...
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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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The Gulf of Alaska is one of the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth, supporting salmon fisheries that alone provide nearly $1 billion per year in economic benefits to Southeast Alaska. Glaciers are central to many of the area’s natural processes and economic activities, but the rates of glacier loss in Alaska are among the highest on Earth, with a 26-36 percent reduction in total volume expected by the end of the century. This project brought together scientists and managers at a workshop to synthesize the impacts of glacier change on the region’s coastal ecosystems and to determine related research and monitoring needs. Collected knowledge shows that melting glaciers are expected to have cascading effects...
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In Alaska, recent research has identified particular areas of the state where both a lack of soil moisture and warming temperatures increase the likelihood of wildfire. While this is an important finding, this previous research did not take into account the important role that melting snow, ice, and frozen ground (permafrost) play in replenshing soil moisture in the spring and summer months. This project will address this gap in the characterization of fire risk using the newly developed monthly water balance model (MWBM). The MWBM takes into account rain, snow, snowmelt, glacier ice melt, and the permafrost layer to better calculate soil moisture replenishment and the amount of moisture that is lost to the atmosphere...
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Maintaining the native prairie lands of the Northern Great Plains (NGP), which provide an important habitat for declining grassland species, requires anticipating the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and climate change on the region’s vegetation. Specifically, climate change threatens NGP grasslands by increasing the potential encroachment of native woody species into areas where they were previously only present in minor numbers. This project used a dynamic vegetation model to simulate vegetation type (grassland, shrubland, woodland, and forest) for the NGP for a range of projected future climates and relevant management scenarios. Comparing results of these simulations illustrates...
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With joint funding from the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) and NASA's Earth Science Applied Sciences Program, the NC CSC supports resource managers and their decision process through its Resource for Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation and Mitigation Planning (ReVAMP), a collaborative research/planning effort supported by high performance computing and modeling resources. The NC CSC focuses primarily on climate data as input to the ReVAMP. In this project the NASA DEVELOP program was used to evaluate how remote sensing data sets can contribute to the ecological response models that are implemented in the ReVAMP system. This work demonstrates the utility of remote sensing in vulnerability assessment...
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Coastal wetlands and the many beneficial services they provide (e.g., purifying water, buffering storm surge, providing habitat) are changing and disappearing as a result of sea-level rise brought about by climate change. Scientists have developed a wealth of information and resources to predict and aid decision-making related to sea-level rise. However, while some of these resources are easily accessible by coastal managers, many others require more expert knowledge to understand or utilize. The goal of this project was to collate science and models pertaining to the effects of sea-level on coastal wetlands into a format that would be accessible and useful to resource managers. Researchers conducted training sessions...
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The Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula rivers in the Arctic are heavily glaciated waterways that are important for fish and wildlife as well as human activities including the provision of food, recreation, and, potentially, resource extraction on the coastal plain. If current glacial melting trends continue, most of the ice in these rivers will disappear in the next 50-100 years. Because of their importance to human and natural communities, it is critical to understand how these rivers and their surrounding environments will be affected by climate change and glacier loss. The overarching goal of this project is to research (1) the amount of river water, sediment, nutrients, and organic matter in the Jago, Okpilak, and...
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A limited amount of valid scientific information about global climate change and its detrimental impacts has reached the public and exerted a positive impact on the public policy process or future planning for adaptation and mitigation. This project was designed to address this limitation by bringing together expertise in the social and communication sciences from targeted academic institutions affiliated with the Department of the Interior’s Climate Science Centers (CSCs) through a workshop. The project team brought together expertise in the social and communication sciences from targeted academic institutions, particularly experts and scholars who are affiliated with the nation’s CSCs, by means of an invited...
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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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Water scarcity is a growing concern in Texas, where surface water is derived almost entirely from rainfall. Changes in air temperature and precipitation patterns associated with global climate change are anticipated to regionally affect the quality and quantity of inland surface waters and consequently their suitability as habitat for freshwater life. In addition to directly affecting resident organisms and populations, these changes in physicochemical traits of aquatic habitats may favor the establishment of harmful invasive species. As conflicts over the use of water resources grow in intensity, this information will become important for fish and wildlife managers to anticipate impacts of climate change on trust...
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Federal land managers need an adaptive management framework to accommodate changing conditions and that allows them to effectively link the appropriate science to natural resource management decision-making across jurisdictional boundaries. FRAME-SIMPPLLE is a collaborative modeling process designed to accomplish this goal by coupling the adaptive capabilities of the SIMPPLLE modeling system with accepted principles of collaboration. The two essential components of the process are FRAME (Framing Research in support of the Adaptive Management of Ecosystems), which creates a collaborative problem-solving environment, and SIMPPLLE (SIMulating Patterns and Processes at Landscape Scales), which is a vegetation dynamics...
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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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Global climate change and sea-level rise will have profound effects on estuarine fish, shellfish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Our ability to manage sustainable fish, shellfish and other wildlife populations in the future will be seriously compromised unless we have a basic understanding of the coming changes and use this to develop mitigation and adaptation measures. The overall objective of this multi-agency research is to develop the baseline climatic and biological data, models, and tools to predict the cumulative impact of climate change on habitats and ecosystem services in a series of coastal estuaries of the Pacific Northwest. In collaboration with other federal, state, and non-governmental...


map background search result map search result map Predicting Climate Change Threats to Key Estuarine Habitats and Ecosystem Services in the Pacific Northwest Modeling and Projecting the Influence of Climate Change on Texas Surface Waters and their Aquatic Biotic Communities Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Using a Collaborative Modeling Approach to Explore Climate and Landscape Change in the Northern Rockies and Inform Adaptive Management USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions Regional Short- and Long-term Climate Impacts on Northern Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Ecosystems Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic From Icefield to Ocean: Glacier Change Impacts to Alaska’s Coastal Ecosystems Assessing the Vulnerability of Vegetation to Future Climate in the North Central U.S. Creating a detailed vegetation classification and digital vegetation map for Loess Bluffs NWR “Common Ground” Landcover Classification: Oklahoma Ecological Systems Mapping Forecasting Future Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Creating a detailed vegetation classification and digital vegetation map for Loess Bluffs NWR Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges Predicting Climate Change Threats to Key Estuarine Habitats and Ecosystem Services in the Pacific Northwest Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin The Impacts of Glacier Change on the Jago, Okpilak, and Hulahula Rivers in the Arctic “Common Ground” Landcover Classification: Oklahoma Ecological Systems Mapping Modeling and Projecting the Influence of Climate Change on Texas Surface Waters and their Aquatic Biotic Communities Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions Forecasting Future Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections Using a Collaborative Modeling Approach to Explore Climate and Landscape Change in the Northern Rockies and Inform Adaptive Management Regional Short- and Long-term Climate Impacts on Northern Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Ecosystems From Icefield to Ocean: Glacier Change Impacts to Alaska’s Coastal Ecosystems A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models Assessing the Vulnerability of Vegetation to Future Climate in the North Central U.S. Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska