Project

Across the United States, millions of small dams fragment the landscape and alter stream ecosystems. Dam removal is increasingly used as a strategy to remove obsolete structures and to mitigate negative impacts to humans and ecosystems. The northeast and northcentral US have the highest density of small dams, along with the most active removal programs. The increasing pace and scope of dam removal projects, coupled with uncertainties surrounding climate change impacts on rivers, suggest that management agencies will be faced with decisions about the prioritization and funding of restoration projects in the context of a changing climate. Climate change is expected to alter flow regimes, shifting peak flows to earlier in the water year and increasing the magnitude and frequency of storm events, while also contributing to seasonal droughts. Stream temperatures are expected to increase with climate change, and heat-sensitive taxa, such as brook trout, may be at risk of local extirpation

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Understanding the coupled dynamics of the ocean and freshwater ecosystems through the migration of anadromous fish is a critical need to build resilient ecosystems and populations.  This project uses passive induced transponder tagging of migrating river herring in the Coonamessett River to help identify areas to target restoration and to evaluate the success of the restoration

Project

Global mean sea level rise of ~3 mm/year during the last decade was likely the highest rate since 1900, and continues to accelerate. It is therefore critical that coastal communities begin to develop adaptive responses to changing shorelines. We will update local sea level rise projections along the Northeast US coastline using a probabilistic model of future sea level distribution, combined with analysis of local trends and extreme sea level events from tide gauge records, to create regionally-appropriate projections. A similar approach has already been successfully implemented for the state of Massachusetts. This project builds on previous work to improve the scale and continuity of the ice-sheet analysis, and spatially extending the framework to assess the vulnerability of the entire Northeast coastline

Project

The Massachusetts Climate Change Projections - Statewide and for Major Drainage Basins:  Temperature, Precipitation, and Sea Level Rise Projections project was developed by NE CASC with funding by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In Sept. 2016 Governor Baker signed a Comprehensive Executive Order committing the administration to work across the state to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The goal of this project was to develop down scaled projections for changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has provided support for these projections to enable municipalities, industry, organizations, state government and others to utilize a standard, peer-reviewed set of climate change projections that show how the climate is likely to change in Massachusetts through the end of this century

Project

The Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) is a stream-dwelling freshwater mussel native to the Atlantic Slope of the United States and Canada that has experienced large population declines over the last 50 years and is at high risk of extinction. This project will focus on strategies for achieving conservation for Brook Floater through multiple objectives: We will develop standardized surveys that will be conducted throughout partnering states to estimate abundances and predict occupancy of Brook Floater. We will develop species distribution models from the results of surveys from partnering states to inform future surveys and understand the habitat needs of Brook Floater.   We will develop propagation methods and build capacity for Brook Floater propagation throughout the range to aid in for population restoration. We will use structured decision making to focus monitoring design at the state and regional scale

Project

Connecting people, nature, and science is at the core of the mission of the US Department of the Interior. The National Park Service is playing a leading role in that mission in 2016 by hosting a national BioBlitz on May 20-21 that will have people nationwide recording observations of plants and animals in over 100 national parks. This two-day Citizen Science event will provide outreach and education opportunities for new and previous park visitors to document biodiversity, along with NPS staff and other partners. Furthermore for the first time in BioBlitz history, participants will enter species observations including digital photos into iNaturalist, making observations instantly viewable and organized into a single, geo-referenced database. This event thus provides an unprecedented look at the intersection of biodiversity and people in parks across the country during the same time period

Project

Climate change poses a variety of threats to biodiversity. Most efforts to assess the likely impacts of climate change on biodiversity try to rank species based on their vulnerability under changed environmental conditions. These efforts have generally not considered the ability of organisms to adjust their phenotype to the changing environment. Organisms can do this one of two ways. First, they can adjust their phenotype via non-evolutionary pathways. Second, they can undergo adaptive evolutionary change. We used two interconnected approaches to evaluate thermal adaptation capacity in a cold-water fish species. 1) Using tagging data, we estimated thermal performance curves for wild fish. The curves indicate how fish body growth will respond to changing temperatures. 2) Using genomic approaches, we developed a unified single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panel for use across the species’ range to examine adaptive capacity

Project

Striped bass are a priority species for the Northeast LCC.  Subadult and small adult (375–475 mm total length) striped bass Morone saxatilis are abundant in northern estuaries during the spring through late fall.  However, little is known about how this important marine fish migrate among estuaries and use salt marshes as foraging areas.  This project assesses the migratory pathways of striped bass and is developing a quantitative understanding of diet and habitat use. Both of these aspects are critical for managing this valuable marine fishery resource.Young striped bass were captured in July - Sept. in primary tidal creek channels, tagged weighed, and measured.  Stomach contents indicated they were feeding predomanately on marsh dependednt prey (shrimp, mummichogs).  Tissue samples were preserved for RNA estaimtes of growth rates.   We have shown that striped bass show hot spots of abundance in estuarine areas

Project

Marbled Salamander reproductive failure is tightly linked to vernal pool hydrology and there are concerns that changes in precipitation patterns predicted due to climate change (drier summers and wetter winters with precipitation being more episodic), along with increased summer temperatures (increased evaporation and evapotranspiration) will significantly change current vernal pool hydrology and possibly lead to more frequent incidents of Marbled Salamander reproductive failure. Genetic distance data is being used on marbled salamanders collected from 28 vernal pools in western Massachusetts to investigate the landscape resistance of different land cover types and surfaces derived from digital elevation.  This analysis will allow us to infer what surfaces best describe the overall genetic pattern and movement of individuals across the landscape

Project

The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool is designed to inform and inspire local action to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources in a changing climate. This Tool focuses on providing information for a range of local decision-makers, including conservation practitioners, landowners, municipal agencies, and community leaders, seeking to conduct on-the-ground climate change adaptation efforts. With this tool, users can: Access information on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife species and associated habitats; Explore adaptation strategies and actions to help maintain healthy, resilient natural communities based on location and area of interest; and Find additional resources to help guide decision-making and actions

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