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In the northern Gulf of Mexico, mangrove forests have been expanding their northern range limits in parts of Texas, Louisiana, and north Florida since 1989. In response to warming winter temperatures, mangroves, which are dominant in warmer climates, are expected to continue migrating northward at the expense of salt marshes, which fare better in cooler climates. The ecological implications and timing of mangrove expansion is not well understood, and coastal wetland managers need information and tools that will enable them to identify and forecast the ecological impacts of this shift from salt marsh to mangrove-dominated coastal ecosystems. To address this need, researchers will host workshops and leverage existing...
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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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Sport fisheries of lakes are embedded in complex system of ecological and social interactions. The multiple drivers that affect lake sport fisheries, along with the complex interactions within lakes, make it difficult to forecast changes in sport fisheries and plan adaptive responses to build resilience of these important resources. Resilience involves managing with an eye toward critical thresholds for behavior of ecosystems. Project researchers are working to develop quantitative tools for assessment of thresholds in sport fisheries that can be used by management agencies to evaluate potential impacts of climate change mediated through species and habitat interactions. Several outputs of the project will be adaptable...
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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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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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Changes in stream temperature can have significant impacts on water quality and the health and survival of aquatic fish and wildlife. Water managers, planners, and decision makers are in need of scientific data to help them prepare for and adapt to changes and conserve important resources. Scientists are tasked with ensuring that this data is produced in useful formats and is accessible to these stakeholders. In October 2015, project researchers hosted and facilitated a 1.5 day workshop, “Data Storage, Dissemination and Harvesting”, that brought together over 50 stakeholders from state and federal agencies, tribal governments, universities, and non-profit organizations interested in monitoring stream temperature...
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Throughout Alaska, land managers and rural communities are faced with developing climate adaptation strategies to prepare for changes in landscapes, ecosystems and terrestrial habitats and their associated resources and services. One of the greatest challenges for land use managers and stakeholders in Alaska is the discovery and accessibility of relevant scientific information and data. The effective dissemination and communication of science relies on improving access for stakeholders to discover research, management plans, and data within their geographic area of interest. To respond to this need, the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NWBLCC) has launched the Northwest Boreal Science and Management...
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The 2017 fire season in California was highly unusual with its late seasonal timing, the areal extent it burned, and its devastation to communities. These fires were associated with extreme winds and were potentially also influenced by unusually dry conditions during several years leading up to the 2017 events. This fire season brought additional attention and emphasized the vital need for managers in the western U.S. to have access to scientific information on when and where to expect dangerous fire events. Understanding the multiple factors that cause extreme wildfire events is critical to short and long-term forecasting and planning. Seasonal climate measures such as temperature and precipitation are commonly...
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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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Throughout its native range in the Eastern U.S., the brook trout is a culturally and economically important species that is sensitive to warming stream temperatures and habitat degradation. The purpose of this assessment was to determine the impacts that projected future land use and climate changes might have on the condition of stream habitat to support self-sustaining brook trout populations. The study region encompassed the historic native range of brook trout, which includes the northeastern states and follows the Appalachian Mountains south to Georgia, where the distribution is limited to higher elevation streams with suitable water temperatures. Relationships between recent observations of brook trout and...
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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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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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Inland fish populations are a crucial resource to humans and communities around the world. Recreational fishing throughout the United States, for example, provides important revenue to local and state economies; globally, inland fisheries are a vital food source for billions of people. Warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, however, are already causing significant changes to fish communities worldwide. Since the mid-1980s, scientists have projected the effects of climate change on inland fish, and in more recent years, documentation of impacts has increased. However, the number of documented impacts of climate change on inland fish remains low. A comprehensive understanding of how climate change...
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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...
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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 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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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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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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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 Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) and consortium institutions are working to contribute to this initiative by building and supporting a network of students across the country who are interested in the climate sciences and climate adaptation. The purpose of this project was to support the development of a national early career communication platform to facilitate and increase information sharing and networking across the CASCs and consortium institutions. This was accomplished by working with the Early Career Climate Forum (ECCF), a CASC-supported science...
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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...


map background search result map search result map 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 Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners Projected Vulnerability of Brook Trout to Climate and Land Use Changes in the Eastern U.S. (Regional Assessment) 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 Climate Change and Resilience of Sport Fisheries in Lakes Development of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): A Searchable, Public Online Tool for Understanding Species and Habitat Vulnerability Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Supporting Early Career Climate Communications and Networking Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology in the Columbia Plateau Global Analysis of Trends in Projected and Documented Effects of Climate Change on Inland Fish Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Prioritizing Stream Temperature Data Collection to Meet Stakeholder Needs and Inform Regional Analyses Northwest Boreal Science and Management Research Tool Preventing Extreme Fire Events by Learning from History: The Effects of Wind, Temperature, and Drought Extremes on Fire Activity Identifying the Ecological and Management Implications of Mangrove Migration in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Using Genetic Information to Understand Drought Tolerance and Bark Beetle Resistance in Whitebark Pine Forests Changing Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Can We Conserve Wetlands Under a Changing Climate? Mapping Wetland Hydrology in the Columbia Plateau Climate Change and Resilience of Sport Fisheries in Lakes Examining the Influence of Temperature and Precipitation on Colorado River Water Resources: Reconstructing the Past to Understand the Future Integrated Scenarios Tools: Improving the Accessibility of the Integrated Scenarios Data Preventing Extreme Fire Events by Learning from History: The Effects of Wind, Temperature, and Drought Extremes on Fire Activity Building Capacity within the CSC Network to Effectively Deliver and Communicate Science to Resource Managers and Planners Community Resilience to Drought Hazard: An Analysis of Drought Exposure, Impacts, and Adaptation in the South Central U.S. Projected Vulnerability of Brook Trout to Climate and Land Use Changes in the Eastern U.S. (Regional Assessment) 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 Identifying the Ecological and Management Implications of Mangrove Migration in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Northwest Boreal Science and Management Research Tool Improving Characterizations of Future Wildfire Risk in Alaska Prioritizing Stream Temperature Data Collection to Meet Stakeholder Needs and Inform Regional Analyses Development of the Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability (CRAVe): A Searchable, Public Online Tool for Understanding Species and Habitat Vulnerability Supporting Early Career Climate Communications and Networking Global Analysis of Trends in Projected and Documented Effects of Climate Change on Inland Fish