Project

Coastal National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) provide a myriad of beneficial services, including buffering storm surge, improving water quality, supporting commercial fisheries, and providing habitat for imperiled wildlife and plants. Yet in the last century, coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by human development activities as well as sea-level rise and more frequent extreme events related to climate change. These influences threaten the goods and services provided by NWRs and pose decision-making challenges for refuge managers. The purpose of this project was to explore how structured decision-making – a formal, systematic method for analyzing decisions – could help NWR staff make informed choices about planning for and adapting to sea-level rise and other climate change impacts

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St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge - Credit: Alan Cressler
Project

Historical and projected climate data point toward significant changes in the future for the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. These changes will include impacts to many species (like birds, fish, and mammals), ecosystems (like forests), and natural resources (like water) that humans appreciate and rely on.  In order to prepare for these changes, land and resource managers need to be able to predict how species will respond, what specific mechanisms are driving these changes, and what thresholds wildlife species may soon be pushed across. Crossing these thresholds could lead to rapid change or decline in the health of a wildlife population. In response to this need, a team of researchers is working to identify the primary drivers (climate change vs

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Mount Mansfield, Vermont - Credit: Alan Cressler
Project

Climate change-driven shifts in distribution and abundance are documented in many species. However, in order to better predict species responses, managers are seeking to understand the mechanisms that are driving these changes, including any thresholds that might soon be crossed. We leveraged the research that has already been supported by the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) and its partners and used the latest modeling techniques combined with robust field data to examine the impact of specific climate variables, land use change, and species interactions on the future distribution and abundance of species of conservation concern. Moreover, we documented biological thresholds related to climate variability and change for critical species in the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. Our objectives were to identify the primary drivers (e.g

Project

Previous approaches to quantify coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise have had major shortcomings, including the possibility that their underlying assumptions are not uniformly valid. This project conducted a study to distinguish the differing ways that coastal areas of the northeastern U.S. will respond to sea-level rise. This information will be used to develop a scientific research and decision-support program that addresses the cross-cutting and unique problems in these areas related to climate change and sea-level rise

Project

This project compiled, synthesized, and communicated tailored climate change information to NE CASC stakeholders, including Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC), state and federal agencies, and tribal communities. Our mission is to make climate science actionable by getting to know our stakeholders and the decisions they face, and delivering climate information that is directly relevant to their decisions and priorities. Our project team served as a resource to answer individual inquiries related to climate model projections in order to aid climate change adaptation. Additionally, our team contributed to the development of a synthesis document to help the Midwest and Northeast states prepare their threatened wildlife for climate change through their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs)

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Hemlock Forest; Public Domain
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