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In the Western U.S., approximately 65% of the water supply comes from forested regions with most of the water that feeds local rivers coming from snowmelt that originates in mountain forests. The Rio Grande headwaters (I.e. the primary water generating region of the Rio Grande river) is experiencing large changes to the landscape primarily from forest fires and bark beetle infestations. Already, 85% of the coniferous forests in this region have been affected by the bark beetle, and projections indicate greater changes will occur as temperatures increase. In this area, most of the precipitation falls as snow in the winter, reaches a maximum depth in the late spring, and melts away due to warmer temperatures by early...
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For the past few years, “king tides,” or the highest tides of the year, have been occurring more frequently and significantly affecting coastal environments across Hawaiʻi. Now, disappearing beaches and waves crashing over roadways are seemingly the “new normal.” In response, the state of Hawaiʻi is implementing adaptation strategies to combat tidal flooding in coastal areas. While flood management strategies are being implemented in urban areas, less is known about how tidal flooding, and associated inundation into surface and groundwater, might influence watershed dynamics and the native animals that depend on estuarine environments where freshwater meets the sea. Efforts for biocultural restoration of ecosystem...
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Pollinator restoration requires information about what species to plant and when to plant them to ensure food sources are available throughout the periods when pollinators are active. Changes in climate, including earlier spring warming and warmer fall temperatures, may cause flowering to become out of sync with pollinator activity. When restoring land to support pollinators, managers are challenged to select a mix of species that support pollinators of concern throughout their periods of activity. Existing planting tools have several disadvantages such as, their usability is location specific, they are virtually non-existent for the South Central region, and they do not often account for future changes in plant...
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Climate Change threatens efforts to restore and protect the natural and cultural resources vital to the traditional ways of life of Northern California Tribes. The state has indicated the need to include Tribal science priorities and Tribal management objectives into regional planning and policy. Moreover, Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order N-82-20 aims to combat the biodiversity and climate change crises in California using nature-based solutions. Tribes, however, are at different phases of developing climate adaptation/ resiliency plans and, in many cases, have yet to have the opportunity to align these plans with neighboring Tribes or to include Tribal science in regional and statewide plans. As a result,...
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Ecosystem services – the benefits that nature provides to people – are a natural link between ecosystem functions and economic and social impacts. However, climate change is already impacting and altering ecosystem services. Research focused on all aspects of ecosystem services falls within the mission of the Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs). While knowledge of ecosystem services supply is strong, analyses of service delivery and value currently fall outside the research agenda and capacity of the CASCs This project will draw on existing literature and expertise and experiences of CASC leadership and staff to identify the types of ecosystem services and the value of information of CASC research that are...
The Total Water Level and Coastal Change Forecast delivers 6-day forecasts of hourly water levels and the probability of waves impacting dunes along 5000 km of sandy coasts along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and will soon expand to the Pacific. These forecasts provide needed information to local governments and federal partners and are used by the USGS to place sensors before a storm. The forecast data are presented in a publicly accessible web tool and stored in a database. Currently, model data are only accessible to project staff. A growing user community is requesting direct access to the data, to conduct scientific analyses and share forecasts on other platforms. To address this need, we will develop an...
Detailed information about past fire history is critical for understanding fire impacts and risk, as well as prioritizing conservation and fire management actions. Yet, fire history information is neither consistently nor routinely tracked by many agencies and states, especially on private lands in the Southeast. Remote sensing data products offer opportunities to do so but require additional processing to condense and facilitate their use by land managers. Here, we propose to generate fire history metrics from the Landsat Burned Area Products for the southeastern US. We will develop code for a processing pipeline that utilizes USGS high-performance computing resources, evaluate Amazon cloud computing services,...
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The Hawaiian Islands have an extremely diverse number of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Changes brought about by the arrival of humans and the introduction of non-native predators, weeds, and diseases has led to the extinction of hundreds of Hawaiian species – far more than any other U.S. state. To help the State of Hawaiʻi prevent additional species from becoming extinct and to restore at-risk species to secure population sizes, the State, along with federal, private, and scientific partners, is currently developing and implementing a comprehensive conservation plan to protect and manage over 300 declining and endangered native plants and animals on the islands of Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi. This...
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The combined effects of climate change (e.g. increased freshwater supply, sea level rise, etc.), leveeing of the Mississippi River, and the gradual settling of soil have led to a land loss crisis in coastal Louisiana. Coastal wetlands provide various ecosystem services to local coastal communities, such as storm protection, flood control, and habitat for economically and ecologically important plants and animals. The loss of such valuable wetlands has become concerning to these communities as well as natural resource managers. Creating new coastal wetlands and reconnecting the Mississippi River to adjacent wetlands are two common strategies to mitigate coastal land loss and protect vulnerable coastal communities,...
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Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples across California have maintained a relationship with fire to protect and care for the land. Utilizing burning practices passed down across generations fire was intentionally implemented to steward the landscape, cultivate food, fiber, and medicine, and reduce fuel loads that can set the stage for extreme fire events. Suppressive western fire management practices, the removal of indigenous stewards, and the exacerbating threat of climate change is culminating in more extreme, frequent, and destructive fire events. Though climate change poses new and unique challenges in the form of extreme fire, heat, drought, and storms that put people and communities at risk, Indigenous...
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As the climate continues to change, vulnerable wildlife species will need specific management strategies to help them adapt to these changes. One specific management strategy is based on the idea that some locations that species inhabit today will remain suitable over time and should be protected. The climate conditions at those locations will continue to be good enough for species to survive and breed successfully and are referred to as climate refugia. Another management strategy is based on the idea that species will need to shift across the landscape to track suitable conditions and reach climate refugia locations as climate and land uses change over time. The more opportunities we can give species to safely...
Fighting wildfires and reducing their negative effects on natural resources costs billions of dollars annually in the U.S. We will develop the Wildfire Trends Tool (WTT), a data visualization and analysis tool that will calculate and display wildfire trends and patterns for the western U.S. based on user-defined regions of interest, time periods, and ecosystem types. The WTT will be publicly available via a web application that will retrieve fire data and generate graphically compelling maps and charts of fire activity. For an area of interest, users will be able ask questions such as: Is the area burned by wildfire each year increasing or decreasing over time? Are wildfires becoming larger? Are fire seasons becoming...
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The Pueblo de San Ildefonso is facing increased wildfire risk under climate change. Recent fires have not only burned culturally significant sites, but they have also resulted in a loss of watershed runoff retention, which has increased erosion and the transport of contaminated sediments and soils on Pueblo lands from the adjacent Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). A priority for the Pueblo is to ensure that wildfires are managed appropriately and, when large fires do occur, that effective measures are taken to control the aftermath of increased flooding and erosion. This project will build on the knowledge of elders and the community to develop a study plan (or study method) to evaluate different landscape...
Wildfires are increasing across the western U.S., causing damage to ecosystems and communities. Addressing the fire problem requires understanding the trends and drivers of fire, yet most fire data is limited only to recent decades. Tree-ring fire scars provide fire records spanning 300-500 years, yet these data are largely inaccessible to potential users. Our project will deliver the newly compiled North American Fire Scar Network — 2,592 sites, 35,602 trees, and > 300,000 fire records — to fire scientists, managers and the public through an online application that will provide tools to explore, visualize, and analyze fire history data. The app will provide raw and derived data products, graphics, statistical summaries,...
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Increasing water usage and demands, combined with potentially less source water as a result of climate change impacts, are causing water resource managers to evaluate and implement alternative solutions for reducing water shortages, maximizing water availability, and reducing costs. The capture and reuse of wastewater is a promising strategy for increasing available water, but the costs and benefits of wastewater reuse are poorly quantified. In many locations, wastewater forms a significant component of stream flows for downstream beneficial uses. While wastewater reuse can boost local water availability, it also may reduce downstream flows and have negative impacts on downstream ecosystems. Therefore, assessing...
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One of the most visible signs of climate change is less mountain snow. In the Western U.S., deep snow has historically been a cornerstone of life for many plants and animals. For example, snow can provide denning shelter for certain species like the wolverine, and snowmelt provides dependable water to mountain streams that are home to fish like the bull trout. Yet snow losses driven by warming temperatures are already causing land and water managers to rethink whether certain species can thrive in the future. A recently completed study by this research team helped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigate whether wolverines will have enough snow to survive in two areas of the Rocky Mountains. In June 2020,...
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State wildlife agencies and their partners use State Wildlife Action Plans to coordinate and guide management activities aimed at protecting species. To do so, they must identify factors putting species and their habitats at risk. Current and future climate change is one such factor. To succeed, management actions need to account for impacts of climate change on species today and in the future as climate change accelerates in coming decades. Researchers use modeling approaches to simulate and understand how future climate change will impact species. In contrast, natural resource managers involved in wildlife action plans tend to favor index-based scoring approaches to understand the risks to and vulnerability...
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Healthy shellfish beds provide important ecosystem services, support local economies, and promote human well-being and sense of place. For Coast Salish Tribes, including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC), clams are a highly valued traditional food, playing a key role in Coast Salish worldviews. Clam harvests also provide: opportunities for tribal members to exercise their treaty rights; access to a local source of protein; and educational opportunities where elders can share teachings with youth that honor and reinforce community values like stewardship and reciprocity. However, clams and clam habitats are threatened by climate change and ocean acidification. Recent research reports a decline in native...
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Moloka‘i has great wetland restoration potential in Hawaiʻi, but most remaining sites are highly degraded. The future of several endangered waterbirds and insects relies on restoring coastal wetland habitat that is resilient under sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Currently, managers lack background data on Molokaʻi to prioritize sites for restoration. In this project, Researchers will develop a comprehensive dataset and create a prioritization plan for coastal wetland restoration. The team will work closely with project partners and stakeholders to develop a well-vetted plan to support endangered species and meeting community needs. Existing maps and spatial data about the Molokaʻi landscape will be compiled...
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Stretching almost 1,900 miles from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, The Rio Grande supplies drinking water for more than 6 million people and irrigation for about 2 million acres of cropland. In addition to the ecosystem services it provides, the river supports habitat for many native species, such as trout, and the endangered silvery minnow and southwestern willow flycatcher. In 2010, a joint stakeholder committee, comprised of stakeholders in the South Central CASC and the USDA Southwest Climate Hub, focused on developing an improved understanding of changes in water availability and implications for natural resources and their management. Since then, the committee has identified the need for a forum to discuss...


map background search result map search result map Evaluating the Impacts of Potential Wastewater Reuse on Streams in the Red River Basin of Oklahoma Estimating the Future Effects of Forest Disturbance on Snow Water Resources in a Changing Environment Estimating Future High-Mountain Snowpack to Inform Terrestrial and Aquatic Species Status Assessments, Recovery Plans, and Monitoring Time to Restore: Using a Community Based Approach to Identify Key Plant Species for Pollinator Restoration Planning for a Fresher Future: Implications of River Management Practices on Salt Marsh Restoration Projects in Coastal Louisiana Field Surveys for Vanishing Species: Closing Data Gaps to Understand Climate Change Impacts on Hawaiian Land Snails and Preserve Biodiversity Effect of Extreme Tidal Events on Future Sea-Level Rise Scenarios for He‘eia Fish Communities undergoing Ahupua‘a Restoration A Prioritization Plan for Coastal Wetland Restoration on Moloka‘i Mapping Connections across Ecosystems in the Northeast to Inform Climate Refugia Networks Accounting for Ecological Impacts of Climate Change in State Wildlife Action Plans: A comparison of Model-Based and Index-Based Vulnerability Assessments Landscape Management Practices on the Pueblo de San Ildefonso Northern California Tribal Climate Adaptation and Science Integration Research Project The Fire Within Us Synthesizing Management Outcomes and Information on Climate Change Impacts on Surface Water Flows in the Rio Grande Basin (Phase 1) Clam Gardens: An Indigenous Community-Driven Climate Adaptation Strategy to Manage Aquatic Species and Habitats in the Pacific Northwest An ecosystem services approach to climate adaptation research Landscape Management Practices on the Pueblo de San Ildefonso A Prioritization Plan for Coastal Wetland Restoration on Moloka‘i The Fire Within Us Synthesizing Management Outcomes and Information on Climate Change Impacts on Surface Water Flows in the Rio Grande Basin (Phase 1) Northern California Tribal Climate Adaptation and Science Integration Research Project Planning for a Fresher Future: Implications of River Management Practices on Salt Marsh Restoration Projects in Coastal Louisiana Evaluating the Impacts of Potential Wastewater Reuse on Streams in the Red River Basin of Oklahoma Accounting for Ecological Impacts of Climate Change in State Wildlife Action Plans: A comparison of Model-Based and Index-Based Vulnerability Assessments Mapping Connections across Ecosystems in the Northeast to Inform Climate Refugia Networks Estimating Future High-Mountain Snowpack to Inform Terrestrial and Aquatic Species Status Assessments, Recovery Plans, and Monitoring Field Surveys for Vanishing Species: Closing Data Gaps to Understand Climate Change Impacts on Hawaiian Land Snails and Preserve Biodiversity Effect of Extreme Tidal Events on Future Sea-Level Rise Scenarios for He‘eia Fish Communities undergoing Ahupua‘a Restoration Time to Restore: Using a Community Based Approach to Identify Key Plant Species for Pollinator Restoration An ecosystem services approach to climate adaptation research