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A regional synthesis of climate data to inform the 2025 State Wildlife Action Plans in the Northeast U.S.

Project Leader:
Project Investigators:
Anthony D'Amato
Ambarish Karmalkar
Michelle Staudinger
Karen Terwilliger
Research Partners:
Tracy Rice TCI Consulting
Kevin Burgio ORISE Fellow
Alice Lubeck ORISE Fellow
Hanusia Higgins ORISE Fellow
States:
Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Connecticut
New York
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
Delaware
Maryland
District of Columbia
Virginia
West Virginia
+11 more

Overview

The State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) are proactive planning documents, known as “comprehensive wildlife conservation strategies.” SWAPs assess the health of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify current management and conservation challenges, and outline needed actions to conserve natural resources over the long term. SWAPs are revised every 10 years, with the last revision in 2015 and the next revision anticipated in 2025. While state managers have a long history of managing for threats such as land-use change, pollution, and harvest, they have expressed a lack of expertise and capacity to keep pace with the rapid advances in climate science. This makes the prospect of integrating climate information into SWAPs a daunting task.  

This project addresses the direct needs of states in the Northeast U.S. by developing a regional synthesis across four key areas of climate science and focused to address the unique threats to Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN). This project will summarize current data and information on regional climate changes, species responses to climate change, climate vulnerabilities and risks, and scale-appropriate adaptation strategies and actions. Case studies of successful climate adaptation efforts and climate threat-to-action narratives will provide illustrative examples of how climate change data has been integrated into decision-making processes.. Lists of recent climate resources and partner projects will also be synthesized to help SWAP writing teams connect with existing regional efforts. The delivery of final products is anticipated in 2023, just prior to when states actively begin preparing and writing their individual plans. 

Resources

Moose
Final Report

This report directly addresses SWAP climate science data needs through a Northeast regional synthesis across four areas: 1) observed and projected climate changes, 2) species responses to climate change, 3) climate vulnerabilities and risks, and 4) scale-specific adaptation strategies and actions. In addition, case studies of climate adaptation efforts illustrate how climate change frameworks and tools are being used in decision-making related to Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need and their habitats.

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Salamander
Webinar

In this presentation, "Integrating Climate Change into State Wildlife Action Plans", Hanusia Higgins (ORISE Fellow, NE CASC and PhD Student, University of Georgia) and Ambarish Karmalkar (Assistant Professor of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island) outline the main findings from the NE CASC-led regional synthesis of climate data that will be used to inform the 2025 state wildlife action plans in the Northeast.  The speakers also discuss lessons learned when working with state partners to develop an actionable resource. 

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Right Whale
Final Report: Appendix

This dataset details individual species and natural habitat vulnerability rankings, including contextual, study-specific information. It was developed using original publications found through a literature search. The information it contains is cumulative: It includes climate change vulnerability assessment (CCVA) results summarized in the initial regional climate data synthesis NE CASC produced in 2015 as well as additional results published after completion of the original data synthesis through December 2023. 

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