Skip to main content

Secretary Jewell Announces New Wildlife and Climate Studies at the NE CSC

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Photo credit: Indiana DNR

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) is awarding nearly $700,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

"These climate studies are designed to help address regional concerns associated with climate change, providing a pathway to enhancing resilience and supporting local community needs," said Secretary Jewell. "The impacts of climate change are vast and complex, so studies like these are critical to help ensure that our nation's responses are rooted in sound science."

The six funded studies will focus on how climate change will affect natural resources and management actions that can be taken to help offset such change. They include:

  • Projected changes in winter severity, snowpack and lake ice in the Great Lakes Basin over the coming 21st century and anticipated consequences for wildlife populations (view project page);
  • Increased understanding of information needs for management of floodplain conservation lands, so the right information is available at the right time for the Mississippi and Missouri rivers (view project page);
  • Development of a spatial decision support system to assist Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and partner resource management agencies across the Mississippi River Basin in addressing conservation challenges related to nutrient runoff, a major contributor to Gulf hypoxia and declines in wildlife populations (view project page);
  • Development of distribution models for North American breeding birds that show dynamic responses to climate change, and that will help resource managers identify species or regions most vulnerable to climate change (view project page);
  • Evaluation of how U.S. Atlantic coastal fish and wildlife populations are responding to climate change through shifts in phenology, or the timing of recurring life events such as migration and breeding (view project page); and
  • Development of a communication, collaboration and networking platform to link early career scientists interested in the climate sciences and climate adaptation across the Climate Science Centers (view project page).

“Natural resource managers in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States are faced with enormously complex challenges in dealing with the effects of climate change on habitats, species and ecosystems,” said Mary Ratnaswamy, Director of Interior’s Northeast Climate Science Center.  “These and other ongoing studies are designed for managers and policy makers working to sustain communities and landscapes while adapting to climate change.  Our collaborative work with partners is developing and sharing information, giving context to uncertainty, evaluating impacts of climate change across multiple scales, and building capacity including support for early career scientists.”

Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers (CSCs) worked with states, tribes, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), universities supporting the CSCs, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.

The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists from the universities, colleges and research labs that comprise the Northeast CSC, from USGS science centers and Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, and from other partners such as the states, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service, Indian tribes, state fish and wildlife agencies, other DOI Bureaus, and the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in each region.

The eight DOI Climate Science Centers form a national network, and are coordinated by the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. CSCs and LCCs have been created under Interior's strategy to address the impacts of climate change on America’s waters, land, and other natural and cultural resources. Together, Interior's CSCs and LCCs will assess the impacts of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit and will identify strategies to ensure that resources across landscapes are resilient in the face of climate change.

The Northeast Climate Science Center is hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The NE CSC consortium is comprised of the College of Menominee Nation, Columbia University, the Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri – Columbia, and University of Wisconsin – Madison. The NE CSC conducts climate change science for Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.

--> Department of Interior press release

--> Northeast CSC projects

--> DOI Northeast CSC Homepage

--> Full list of funded projects for all eight DOI Climate Science Centers

Photo credit: Indiana DNR