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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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

Project Leader:
Project Investigators:
Karen Terwilliger
Ambarish Karmalkar
Anthony D'Amato
Toni Lyn Morelli
Research Partners:
Tracy Rice TCI Consulting
Kevin Burgio ORISE Fellow
Alice Lubeck ORISE Fellow
Hanusia Higgins ORISE Fellow
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
New York
New Jersey
District of Columbia
West Virginia
+11 more


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.