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NE CASC Organizes Two Symposia at 79th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference

Friday, May 24, 2024

A large contingent of NE CASC team members recently joined approximately 500 natural resource managers, researchers and NGO staff for the 79th Annual Northeast Fish & Wildlife Conference, which was held from April 21st-24th in Hyannis, MA. A key event for the regional climate adaptation science community, the conference offered a variety of skill-building workshops, networking events, and more than 20 symposia or technical sessions featuring roughly 250 speakers.  NE CASC highlights at the conference included two symposia that featured our research on two important climate adaptation topics: state wildlife action plans and coastal ecosystems.

Former NE CASC Fellow Kevin Burgio organized the symposium, “Climate Change Information for Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeastern United States”. This session reflected on a four-year partnership between NE CASC, the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (NEAFWA), and twenty State Wildlife Action Plan Coordinators. Formed to enhance natural resource management and help preserve biodiversity across the Northeast,  the collaboration recently culminated in the release of a landmark 400-page report. Authored by a team of NE CASC researchers in consultation with their state agency partners, the document fulfills management climate science needs in four key areas: observed and projected climate changes, species and ecosystem response to climate change, climate vulnerabilities and risks, and scale-specific adaptation strategies and actions. The completion of the report was timed to coincide with the beginning of the revision period for the region’s State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs), comprehensive conservation strategies that are updated every ten years and assess the health of wildlife and habitats, identify resource management challenges, and outline actions needed to conserve natural resources over the long term. Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., will use the report to guide the integration of climate change science into their decadal SWAP revisions, ensuring that it will play a critical role in helping state agencies advance climate adaptation for hundreds of wildlife species that have been prioritized for conservation. Slides from each of the presentations have been uploaded to the NE CASC website and are available for viewing. They included: 

Organized by NE CASC team members Caroline Gleason and Toni Lyn Morelli, a second symposium examined  “Climate Adaptation for Northeastern Coastal Ecosystems”. This session was framed by the recognition that while climate adaptation science has advanced significantly in the last decade, the stress that climate change is placing on coastal ecosystems has grown even faster. Responding to this context, the session illustrated how climate adaptation professionals are bringing together innovations in the social sciences, biological sciences, business, and other areas to address these growing risks and anticipate future threats. While much of the session focused on current NE CASC research or the work of the center's partners, speakers also discussed innovative coastal adaptation projects taking place outside the NE CASC portfolio. Presentations included:

  • Climate Adaptation for Northeastern Coastal Ecosystems, Caroline Gleason (NE CASC)
  • An Assessment of Salt Marsh Vulnerability & Restoration Potential in the Northeastern United States Using Physical and Ecological Indicators, Erin Peck & Julie Walker (NE CASC, UMass Amherst)
  • Application of structured decision making to salt marsh management in northeast USA National Park Service lands, Neil Ganju (USGS)
  • Approaching Coastal Resilience through Collaborative Conservation of Tidal Marsh Birds, Maureen Correll (USFWS)
  • Organizing Coastal Ecology and Adaptation in the Northeast – Current and Future Directions of NE CASC, Jamie Adkins (NE CASC, UMass Amherst)
  • Evidence for Climate Adaptation and Habitat Restoration Benefits from Restoration of Commercial Cranberry Bogs in Southeastern Massachusetts Coastal Watersheds, Chris Neill (NE CASC, Woodwell Climate Research Center)
  • Climate-Adaptive Population Supplementation: Harnessing Strain Diversity for Stocking and Planting Practices, Amy Teffer (NE CASC, UMass Amherst) 
  • Incorporating Ecological Data into the Design of a Wetland Restoration Project to Enhance Rare Species Habitat at Windswept Bog, Nantucket Island, MA, Karen Beattie (Nantucket Conservation Foundation) 
  • Oyster Castle Reefs Improve Salt Marsh Health, Coastal Resilience, and Response to Sea Level Rise, Jennifer Karberg (Nantucket Conservation Foundation)