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Small lakes are important to local economies as sources of water supply and places of recreation. Commonly, lakes are considered more desirable for recreation if they are free of the thick weedy vegetation, often comprised of invasive species, that grows around the lake edge. This vegetation makes it difficult to launch boats and swim. In order to reduce this vegetation, a common technique in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. is a ‘winter drawdown’ . In a winter drawdown, the lake level is artificially lowered (via controls in a dam) during the winter to expose shoreline vegetation to freezing conditions, thereby killing them and preserving recreational value of the lake. However, this practice can impact both water...
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Invasive species establish outside of their native range, spread, and negatively impact ecosystems and economies. As temperatures rise, many invasive plants can spread into regions that were previously too cold for their survival. For example, kudzu, ‘the vine that ate the south’, was previously limited to mid-Atlantic states, but has recently started spreading in New Jersey and is expected to become invasive farther north. While scientists know of many of the invasive species expanding into the northeastern U.S., they do not know where those species are likely to become abundant and how they will impact vulnerable native ecosystems due to climate change. There are also currently no strategies to manage emerging...
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The fast pace of change in coastal zones, the trillions of dollars of investment in human communities in coastal areas, and the myriad of ecosystem services natural coastal environments provide makes managing climate-related risks along coasts a massive challenge for all of the U.S. coastal states and territories. Answering questions about both the costs and the benefits of alternative adaptation strategies in the near term is critical to taxpayers, decision-makers, and to the biodiversity of the planet. There is significant public and private interest in using ecosystem based adaptation approaches to conserve critical significant ecosystems in coastal watersheds, estuaries and intertidal zones and to protect man-made...
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Cold-water adapted Brook Trout were historically widely distributed – ranging from northern Quebec to Georgia, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Manitoba in the north, and along the Appalachian ridge in the south. However, studies show that due to factors associated with climate change, such as increased stream temperature and changing water flow, the number of streams containing Brook Trout is declining. Although efforts have been made to protect and restore this cold-water fish at local levels, the extent that temperature increases will vary within and across different streams and the ability of Brook Trout to seek cold-water refugia or adapt to these increasing stream temperatures currently remains unclear. The...
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Floods and droughts are forecasted to occur with greater frequency and to be more extreme because of climate change. These changes will increase stresses on both cities and natural systems. Increased flooding can harm infrastructure designed to support human needs and natural systems that support fish and wildlife. Increased drought can have direct impacts on fish and wildlife by increasing river and lake temperatures and stranding species in water-short systems. This project will develop a decision support system that helps resource managers in New England estimate the recurrence of future extreme floods and droughts while directly incorporating the impacts of future climate change. The decision support system...
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Residents living along the coast of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River have experienced two record-setting floods, one in 2017 and another in 2019. These floods caused tremendous property damage and disruptions to the regional economy. The water levels on Lake Ontario are influenced by the operations of the Moses Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River. These operations are determined by the International Joint Commission and are required to balance several competing objectives (e.g., navigation, flood control, recreational boating, hydropower). Recently, the International Joint Commission altered the operational plan to help restore coastal wetlands. The floods of 2017 and 2019 followed soon after, and...
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The ability to effectively manage wildlife in North America is founded in an understanding of how human actions and the environment influence wildlife populations. Current management practices are informed by population monitoring data from the past to determine key ecological relationships and make predictions about future population status. In most cases, including the regulation of waterfowl hunting in North America, these forecasts assume that the relationships we observed in the past will remain the same in the future. However, climate change is influencing wildlife populations in many dynamic and uncertain ways, leading to a situation in which our observations of the past are poor predictors of the future....
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Actionable science and stakeholder engagement are essential pillars in the science agenda of the nine regional USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) and their national headquarters. Collaboration with and product delivery to the Department of the Interior and other resource agencies have been central to the Centers’ mission. The effective engagement of stakeholders in defining science needs, designing research projects, interpreting project results, and communicating these results to the public have contributed to the unique successes of the Centers in developing actionable science. However, there is still significant opportunity to improve the engagement of stakeholders in climate adaptation science...
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The Northeast U.S. coast is experiencing some of the fastest rates of sea level rise in the world. The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is particularly at risk from sea level rise and coastal storm impacts. Erosion and storm impacts have already led to the degradation of shoreline habitats and protective structures (e.g., sea walls), as well as direct impacts to historic landmarks on some islands. The need to establish reliable methods for inventory and monitoring of marine nearshore habitats has emerged out of an effort to use the Boston Harbor Islands as study sites to understand how experimental manipulation of the coastline (e.g., the installation of in-water reefs) might reduce wave energy and...
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Loss of saltmarsh habitat is one of the biggest threats to coastal sustainability in the Northeast. Salt marsh has been identified as an essential fish and wildlife habitat, and loss of saltmarsh corresponds with precipitous declines in marsh-dependent wildlife. For example, the global population of Saltmarsh Sparrow is predicted to collapse within the next 50 years after experiencing a 9% annual decline across the northeastern U.S. Resource managers require tools to help restore salt marsh habitat for wildlife by adapting marshes to climate change-driven sea level rise. However, adaptation approaches need to be tested and evaluated before widespread application. Researchers are testing a rapidly emerging sea...
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The northeastern U.S. is home to a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, leading to a variety of interactions occurring between species and climate on multiple scales. Therefore, the most effective strategy to produce and deliver scientific climate information to resource managers is to align the scales of climate projections with the scales of resource management actions. While available downscaled climate data provides information at very fine resolutions (4-6 km), its usability in helping management decisions and its reliability in capturing various regional weather and climate metrics remain unclear. The goal of this project is for researchers to collaborate with State Wildlife Action Plan coordinators...


    map background search result map search result map Identifying Vulnerable Ecosystems and Supporting Climate-Smart Strategies to Address Invasive Species Under Climate Change Mapping Salt Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise and Evaluating 'Runneling' as an Adaptation Technique to Inform Wildlife Habitat Management in New England Understanding Brook Trout Persistence in Warming Streams A Decision Support System for Estimating Changes in Extreme Floods and Droughts in the Northeast U.S. Rethinking Lake Management for Invasive Plants Under Future Climate: Sensitivity of Lake Ecosystems to Winter Water Level Drawdowns Informing Management of Waterfowl Harvest in a Changing Climate Dynamic Climate Adaptation for Wetland Restoration and Coastal Communities on Lake Ontario Enhancing the Reliability and Usability of Climate Change Information for Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeastern United States Developing Strategies for Stakeholder Engagement and Climate Extension Services in the CASC Network: A Case Study in the Northeast CASC Evaluating Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Options for Coastal Resilience A Novel Monitoring Framework to Assess Intertidal Biodiversity in Mixed Coarse Substrate Habitats Across the Boston Harbor Islands A Novel Monitoring Framework to Assess Intertidal Biodiversity in Mixed Coarse Substrate Habitats Across the Boston Harbor Islands Mapping Salt Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise and Evaluating 'Runneling' as an Adaptation Technique to Inform Wildlife Habitat Management in New England Understanding Brook Trout Persistence in Warming Streams Dynamic Climate Adaptation for Wetland Restoration and Coastal Communities on Lake Ontario A Decision Support System for Estimating Changes in Extreme Floods and Droughts in the Northeast U.S. Developing Strategies for Stakeholder Engagement and Climate Extension Services in the CASC Network: A Case Study in the Northeast CASC Identifying Vulnerable Ecosystems and Supporting Climate-Smart Strategies to Address Invasive Species Under Climate Change Enhancing the Reliability and Usability of Climate Change Information for Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeastern United States Rethinking Lake Management for Invasive Plants Under Future Climate: Sensitivity of Lake Ecosystems to Winter Water Level Drawdowns Informing Management of Waterfowl Harvest in a Changing Climate Evaluating Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Options for Coastal Resilience