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

Project

Current and future hydrologic variability is a major driver underlying large-scale management and modification of inland waters and river systems. In a climate-altered future, identifying and implementing management actions that mitigate anticipated flow regime extremes will be an important component of climate adaptation strategies. These concerns will be particularly focused on extreme flows (floods and droughts) that have ecological, social, and economic importance, and whose impacts are inversely proportion to their frequency. Climate warming is expected to increase the frequency of extreme precipitation. It is critical for natural resources conservation that responses to these risks incorporate ‘green’ infrastructure which potentially benefit both ecosystems and human infrastructure

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Slow the Flow _schematic2.jpg
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

We improved downscaling of general circulation model (GCM) data for climate change impacts assessments in the Lake Champlain Basin as part of the VT Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).  This effort investigated the potential for using high-resolution topographic data to further downscale existing bias-corrected and statistically downscaled GCM simulations of temperature and precipitation. We found large changes in several impact variables of relevance to the region, including hot days, cold days, maple syrup production, and cooling degree days. This project evaluated local projected changes in climate across, as well as drives high-resolution hydrologic and ecological models for, the Lake Champlain Basin

Project

Using Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and CMIP3 data, we are developing a range of projections for the Eastern U.S.  We are also developing extreme event projections for stakeholder-relevant metrics (e.g., days over 90 °F, days below 32 °F, and days with over 1 inch of precipitation) based on CMIP5 models and North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) dynamical downscaling.  We are also evaluating the performance of these models over historical time periods. Current research thrusts include emphasis on extreme heat stress (heat plus humidity) events and the relationship between extreme minimum temperatures and Southern Pine Beetle range expansion in the Northeast U.S.   We are finding that small changes in average conditions are associate with large changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme events

Project

Maple syrup is produced from the sap of sugar maple trees collected in the late winter and early spring. Native American tribes have collected and boiled down sap for centuries, and the tapping of maple trees is a cultural touchstone for many people in the northeast and Midwest. Because the tapping season is dependent on weather conditions, there is concern about the sustainability of maple sugaring as climate changes throughout the region. In spite of this, maple syrup production is increasing rapidly, with demand rising as more people appreciate this natural sweetener.    This project addressed the impact of climate on the production of maple syrup. Informed by the needs of state and federal resource managers, tribal groups, and other maple syrup producers, the research team examined sugar maple’s sap yields coupled with the sugar and biochemical composition of sap throughout the geographic range of sugar maple

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Sugar Maple - Credit: Alan Cressler
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