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Although scientists have identified many ways to reduce the negative effects of climate change on wildlife, this information is not readily available to natural resource managers. For successful wildlife adaptation to climate change, natural resource managers should have current, peerreviewed information to guide their decisions. We conducted a review of over 1300 publications for recommendations to manage wildlife in the face of climate change. We then summarized the findings as the wildlife adaptation menu, a tool to inform planning and decision-making in an accessible format.
America’s remaining grassland in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is at risk of being lost to crop production. When crop prices are high, like the historically high corn prices that the U.S. experienced between 2008 and 2014, the risk of grassland conversion is even higher. Changing climate will add uncertainties to any efforts toward conservation of grassland in the PPR. Grassland conversion to cropland in the region would imperil nesting waterfowl among other species and further impair water quality in the Mississippi watershed. In this project, we sought to contribute to the understanding of land conversion in the PPR with the aim to better target the use of public and private funds allocated toward incentivizing...
A cocktail of land-based sources of pollution threatens coral reef ecosystems, and addressing these has become a key management and policy challenge in the State of Hawaii, other US territories, and globally. In West Maui, Hawai'i, nearly one quarter of all living corals were lost between 1995 and 2008. Onsite disposal systems (OSDS) for sewage leak contaminants into drinking water sources and nearshore waters. In recognition of this risk, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is prioritizing areas for cesspool upgrades. Independently, we applied a decision analysis process to identify priority areas to address sewage pollution from OSDS in West Maui, with the objective of reducing nearshore coral reef exposure...
Abstract (from http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-13-00202.1): Traditional long-term (decadal) and large-scale (hundreds of kilometers) shoreline change modeling techniques, known as single transect, or ST, often overfit the data because they calculate shoreline statistics at closely spaced intervals along the shore. To reduce overfitting, recent work has used spatial basis functions such as polynomials, B splines, and principal components. Here, we explore an alternative to such basis functions by using regularization to reduce the dimension of the ST model space. In our regularized-ST method, traditional ST is an end member of a continuous spectrum of models. We use an evidence information criterion...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.10964/abstract): While the effects of land use change in urban areas have been widely examined, the combined effects of climate and land use change on the quality of urban and urbanizing streams have received much less attention. We describe a modelling framework that is applicable to the evaluation of potential changes in urban water quality and associated hydrologic changes in response to ongoing climate and landscape alteration. The grid-based spatially distributed model, Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model-Water Quality (DHSVM-WQ), is an outgrowth of DHSVM that incorporates modules for assessing hydrology and water quality in urbanized watersheds...
Climate change is already affecting species in many ways. Because individual species respond to climate change differently, some will be adversely affected by climate change whereas others may benefit. Successfully managing species in a changing climate will require an understanding of which species will be most and least impacted by climate change. Although several approaches have been proposed for assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change, it is unclear whether these approaches are likely to produce similar results. In this study, we compared the relative vulnerabilities to climate change of 76 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and trees based on three different approaches to assessing vulnerability....
Berry Risk Mapping and Modeling of Native and exotic defoliators in Alaska is a jointly funded project between the Alaska Climate Science Center and the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Our objective was to quantitatively characterize the landscape of climate-relevant resource decisions in the southwestern United States. We worked with stakeholders to determine actual uses of climate-relevant information used in natural resource decisions. We used content analysis of federal register records of decisions and stakeholder consultative groups to develop a survey of decision makers querying the use of climate information in decisions. We sought to create a classification of decisions attributes, information needs, and decision processes that rely on climate science. We sought to engage stakeholder consultative groups to define mechanisms for best filtering, delivering and interpreting what has become...
(Abstract from Springer): There is increasing interest among scholars in producing information that is useful and usable to land and natural resource managers in a changing climate. This interest has prompted transitions from scientist- to stakeholder-driven or collaborative approaches to climate science. A common indicator of successful collaboration is whether stakeholders use the information resulting from the projects in which they are engaged. However, detailed examples of how stakeholders use climate information are relatively scarce in the literature, leading to a challenge in understanding what researchers can and should expect and plan for in terms of stakeholder use of research findings. Drawing on theoretical,...
With leadership and coordination provided by the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), which collectively span the geographic extent of the Mississippi River Basin (MRB), have identified high nutrient runoff (a major contributor to Gulf of Mexico hypoxia), and declines in wildlife populations (especially grassland and riparian bird species), as major conservation challenges requiring collaborative action. This project focused on development and application of spatial decision support systems (DSSs), coupled with surveys of agricultural producers, to assist the LCC community and partner resource management...
This study set out to answer the question: “What data and modeling frameworks are needed to provide scientists reliable, climate-informed, water temperature estimates for freshwater ecosystems that can assist watershed management decision making?” To accomplish this, researchers gathered existing stream temperature data, identified data gaps, deployed stream temperature monitoring devices, and developed and tested a stream temperature model that could be regionalized across the Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) domain. Polebitski and colleagues partnered with another NE CSC funded project team, NorEaST-Stream Temperature Web Portal Demonstration and Application, led by Jana Stewart (USGS Wisconsin Water...
There is growing evidence that headwater stream ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changing climate and land use, but their conservation is challenged by the need to address the threats at a landscape scale, often through coordination with multiple management agencies and landowners. This project seeks to fill a gap, providing an example of cooperative landscape decision-making to address the conservation of headwater stream ecosystems in the face of climate change.
Abstract: To design effective marine reserves and support fisheries, more information on fishing patterns and impacts for targeted species is needed, as well as better understanding of their key habitats. However, fishing impacts vary geographically and are difficult to disentangle from other factors that influence targeted fish distributions. We developed a set of fishing effort and habitat layers at high resolution and employed machine learning techniques to create regional‐scale seascape models and predictive maps of biomass and body length of targeted reef fishes for the main Hawaiian Islands. Spatial patterns of fishing effort were shown to be highly variable and seascape models indicated a low threshold beyond...
Changes in the Earth’s climate are expected to impact freshwater habitats around the world by altering water temperatures, water levels, and streamflow. These changes will have consequences for inland fish – those found within lakes, rivers, streams, canals, reservoirs, and other landlocked waters – which are important for food, commerce, and recreation around the world. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2011, 33.1 million people fished and spent $41.8 billion in the United States alone. Yet to date, little comprehensive research has been conducted to investigate the effects of climate change on inland fisheries at a large scale. The aim of this project was to summarize the current state of knowledge,...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hyp.11144/full): The extensive forests that cover the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, USA, modify snow processes and therefore affect snow water storage as well as snow disappearance timing. However, forest influences on snow accumulation and ablation vary with climate, topography, and land cover and are therefore subject to substantial temporal and spatial variability. We utilize multiple years of snow observations from across the region to assess forest-snow interactions in the relatively warm winter conditions characteristic of the maritime and maritime-continental climates. We (1) quantify the difference in snow magnitude and disappearance timing...
Abstract (from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015WR017873/abstract): Spatially distributed snow depth and snow duration data were collected over two to four snow seasons during water years 2011–2014 in experimental forest plots within the Cedar River Municipal Watershed, 50 km east of Seattle, Washington, USA. These 40 × 40 m forest plots, situated on the western slope of the Cascade Range, include unthinned second-growth coniferous forests, variable density thinned forests, forest gaps in which a 20 m diameter (approximately equivalent to one tree height) gap was cut in the middle of each plot, and old-growth forest. Together, this publicly available data set includes snow depth and density observations...
Streams are classified as perennial (flowing uninterrupted, year-round) or intermittent (flowing part of the year) or ephemeral (flowing only during rainfall events). The classifications of “streamflow permanence” were primarily established in the middle 20th century and are often outdated and inaccurate today if they were not adjusted for changes in land use, wildfires, or climate. Understanding where streams are perennial is important for a variety of reasons. For example, perennial streams receive special regulatory protections under a variety of statutes, and provide important habitat for fish, wildlife, and other species. To predict the likelihood that streams are perennial, we compiled nearly 25,000 observations...
Abstract: Restoration of degraded wet meadows found on upland valley floors has been proposed to achieve a range of ecological benefits, including augmenting late‐season streamflow. There are, however, few field and modelling studies documenting hydrologic changes following restoration that can be used to validate this expectation, and published changes in groundwater levels and streamflow following restoration are inconclusive. Here, we assess the streamflow benefit that can be obtained by wet‐meadow restoration using a physically based quantitative analysis. This framework employs a 1‐dimensional linearized Boussinesq equation with a superimposed solution for changes in storage due to groundwater upwelling and...
Native Americans in the Southwest United States are thought to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Tribal resiliency to climate change can be affected by multiple climate-related threats and by tribal communities’ close reliance on natural resources for sustenance, economic development, and maintenance of cultural traditions. A scientifically rigorous assessment of such threats to Native Americans is a pressing need across southwestern landscapes. This project examined factors affecting Native American tribes, including water rights for fish and wildlife, protection of wetlands, and enhancement and recovery of the Pyramid Lake, Nevada fishery, and protection of important fish species. This project aimed...