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There is growing evidence that headwater stream ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changing climate and land use, but managers are challenged by the need to address these threats at a landscape scale, often through coordination with multiple management agencies and landowners. This project sought to provide an example of cooperative landscape decision-making by addressing the conservation of headwater stream ecosystems in the face of climate change at the watershed scale. Predictive models were built for critical resources to examine the effects of the potential alternative actions on the objectives, taking account of climate effects and examining whether there are key uncertainties that impede decision making....
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The goal of this project is to inform implementation of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) Whitebark Pine (WBP) subcommittee’s “WBP Strategy” based on climate science and ecological forecasting. Project objectives are to: 1. Forecast ecosystem processes and WBP habitat suitability across the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) under alternative IPCC future scenarios; 2. Improve understanding of possible response to future climate by analyzing WBP/climate relationships in past millennia; 3. Develop WBP management alternatives; 4. Evaluate the alternatives under IPCC future scenarios in terms of WBP goals, ecosystem services, and costs of implementation; and 5. Draw recommendations for implementation...
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Contributing to a core component of the Nature’s Network, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy conducted an analysis on species-habitat associations data to develop a measure of overall species importance, summarized across all species, for each habitat class in the Northeast. This project extended the Habitat Associations project, in which the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative partnered with NatureServe to produce a tabular dataset linking set of terrestrial and aquatic habitat layers with NatureServe element occurrence data for over 600 species of greatest conservation concern identified by states in FWS Region 5. Results data from the analysis were delivered in tabular format and joined to the...
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Changing climate conditions such as increasing droughts, floods, and wildfires, hotter temperatures, declining snowpacks, and changes in the timing of seasonal events are already having an impact on wildlife and their habitats. In order to make forward-looking management decisions that consider ongoing and future projected changes in climate, managers require access to climate information that can be easily integrated into the planning process. Co-production, a process whereby scientists work closely with managers to identify and fill knowledge gaps, is an effective means of ensuring that science results will be directly useful to managers. Through a multi-phase project, researchers are implementing co-production...
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The beaches of the Hawaiian Islands attract nearly 9 million visitors each year, who inject around $15.6 billion into the state’s economy and support almost 200,000 jobs. Beyond their economic importance, Hawaiian beaches are also culturally and ecologically valuable. However, climate change driven sea-level rise is causing many beaches to disappear, endangering property, infrastructure, and critical habitats. The goal of this project was to develop a method for forecasting erosion-vulnerable beach areas that could be used in coastal management planning. Researchers focused on the island of Kauaʻi, modeling beach response to rising sea level over the next century and producing maps that provide information about...
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As the impacts of climate change amplify, understanding the consequences for wetlands will be critical for their sustainable management and conservation, particularly in arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau. The depressional wetlands in this region (wetlands located in topographic depressions where water can accumulate) are an important source of surface water during the summer months. However, their health depends directly on precipitation and evaporation, making them susceptible to changes in temperature and precipitation. Yet few tools for monitoring water movement patterns (hydrology) in and out of these landscapes currently exist, hindering efforts to model how they are changing. This project provided...
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The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey have made it a priority to train the next generation of scientists and resource managers. The DOI Climate Science Centers (CSCs) are working to contribute to this initiative by building and supporting a network of students across the country who are interested in understanding climate impacts and adaptation. This project will support the development of a national communications and networking resource for early career scientists, managers, and conservation practitioners. The goal of this project is to facilitate and increase information sharing across the eight regional CSCs and consortium institutions. This will be achieved by working with and expanding...
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Appropriate ecological indicators of climate change can be used to measure concurrent changes in ecological systems, inform management decisions, and potentially to project the consequences of climate change. However, many of the available indicators for North American birds do not account for imperfect observation. We propose to use correlated-detection occupancy models to develop indicators from the North American Breeding Bird Survey data. The indicators will be used to test hypotheses regarding changes in range and distribution of breeding birds. The results will support the Northeast Climate Science Center’s Science Agenda, including the science priority: researching ecological vulnerability and species response...
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Concerns about the influence of climate change on biota have emerged over the past decade, and responses in species populations and distribution patterns have already been documented (Parmesan 1996, Thomas and Lennon 1999). Current climates and communities will not simply migrate, but rather will re-form in novel ways over time (Fox 2007; Hunter et al. 1988; Williams and Jackson 2007). Due to the uncertainty of future climatic patterns and species responses, enduring features of the landscape (geophysical settings) are appropriate targets of assessment, planning, and conservation (Anderson and Ferree 2010, Beier and Brost 2010, Brost and Beier 2012; Hunter et al. 1988). Only recently have enduring features been...
We propose to support the revision and implementation of the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Conservation Blueprint by integrating its Ecosystem Indicators into a structured decision support system that makes explicit how the Indicators are interrelated and how these will respond to management and policy interventions aimed at improving the conservation status of the South Atlantic region. Our specific objectives are to (1) develop ecological production functions that predict theecological impacts of selected conservation actions relative to current conditions, and to propagate these impacts through other affected systems or functions; (2) codify protocols for updating and curating geospatial...
We will develop SMART-SLEUTH, an advanced spatially explicit modeling framework designed to augment the current SLEUTH model with sophisticated smart-growth capabilities. Based on the latest version of SLEUTH, we will create an open-source GIS-enabled software package that will implement SMART-SLEUTH with advanced modules and tools for evaluating, predicting, and visualizing smart growth scenarios and outcomes. In this software package, a more user friendly Graphic User Interface (GUI), a multi-level automatic calibration approach built on machine learning algorithms, and new spatial landscape metrics for quantifying land change patterns will provide enhanced support for complex model configuration, calibration,...
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) recently completed an unprecedented assessment of almost 14,000 dams in the Northeastern United States. The Northeast Aquatic Connectivity (NAC) project allows fisheries managers and other interested parties to assess dams at multiple scales based on their potential to benefit anadromous and resident fish species if removed or bypassed. This work has continued, with support from NOAA and USFWS, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where data refinements and further analysis have produced a web map and tool that allow users to interactively prioritize dams for mitigation at multiple scales and with varying criteria.The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) has recently completed...
Version 2.0 Data Viewer for the South Atlantic Create a Version 2.0 Simple Viewer for the South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint that includes updates, additional data (category priorities, actions, justifications, ownership, and partner data), and dynamic charting of indicators and presentation of ecosystem and analysis unit aggregate indicator scores. Continue to refine and improve the South Atlantic Conservation Planning Atlas (salcc.databasin.org) Provide technical guidance and recommendations about how to structure data and future Viewer platforms to achieve specific functions for future versions of the Blueprint hosted within an interactive viewer and the South Atlantic Conservation Planning Atlas.
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Information on the nature and distribution of permafrost is critical to assessing the response of Arctic ecosystems to climate change, because thawing permafrost under a warming climate will cause thaw settlement and affect micro-topography, surface water redistribution and groundwater movement, soil carbon balance, trace gas emissions, vegetation changes, and habitat use. While a small-scale regional permafrost map is available, as well as information from numerous site-specific large-scale mapping projects, landscape-level mapping of permafrost characteristics is needed for regional modeling and climate impact assessments. The project addresses this need by: (1) compiling existing soil/permafrost data from available...
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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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Streamflow in the Colorado River is heavily influenced by high-elevation snowpack. Warming temperatures in spring can reduce snow-fed flows, with serious implications for the water supplies that support communities and wildlife. While it is already well-known that precipitation has a significant influence on river flow, recent observations suggest that temperature and the amount of water in soil may also influence streamflow. In the face of a changing climate, it is important that resource managers understand how factors such as changing temperatures and precipitation will affect this vital water source. To address this need, researchers are examining records of streamflow, temperature, soil moisture, and precipitation...
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The threat of droughts and their associated impacts on the landscape and human communities has long been recognized in the United States, especially in high risk areas such as the South Central region. There is ample literature on the effects of long-term climate change and short-term climate variability on the occurrence of droughts. However, it is unclear whether this information meets the needs of relevant stakeholders and actually contributes to reducing the vulnerability or increasing the resilience of communities to droughts. For example, are the methods used to characterize the severity of drought – known as drought indices – effective tools for predicting the actual damage felt by communities? As droughts...


map background search result map search result map Science and Forecasting to Inform Implementation of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee’s Whitebark Pine Management Strategy Community Resilience to Drought Hazard: An Analysis of Drought Exposure, Impacts, and Adaptation in the South Central U.S. Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Forecasting Beach Loss from Sea-Level Rise on the Island of Kauaʻi Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Avian Indicators of Climate Change Based on the North American Breeding Bird Survey Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology in the Columbia Plateau Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Models of ecological uplift from conservation activities in the SALCC Summary and Initial Evaluation of Enduring Features Information for the Conterminous USA, with Evaluation of Potential Use for Ecoregion Assessment Version 2.0 Data Viewer for the South Atlantic Analysis of Habitat Importance for Imperiled Species in Nature's Network Permafrost Database Development, Characterization, and Mapping for Northern Alaska Enabling Climate-Informed Planning and Decisions about Species of Conservation Concern in the North Central Region: Phase 2 Forecasting Beach Loss from Sea-Level Rise on the Island of Kauaʻi Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology in the Columbia Plateau Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Models of ecological uplift from conservation activities in the SALCC Version 2.0 Data Viewer for the South Atlantic Permafrost Database Development, Characterization, and Mapping for Northern Alaska Community Resilience to Drought Hazard: An Analysis of Drought Exposure, Impacts, and Adaptation in the South Central U.S. Enabling Climate-Informed Planning and Decisions about Species of Conservation Concern in the North Central Region: Phase 2 Analysis of Habitat Importance for Imperiled Species in Nature's Network Science and Forecasting to Inform Implementation of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee’s Whitebark Pine Management Strategy Summary and Initial Evaluation of Enduring Features Information for the Conterminous USA, with Evaluation of Potential Use for Ecoregion Assessment Avian Indicators of Climate Change Based on the North American Breeding Bird Survey