State agencies

Also collaborating on these NE CSC projects

Brook Floater Conservation

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:

1. We will develop standardized surveys that will be conducted throughout partnering states to estimate abundances and predict occupancy of Brook Floater.

Regional Effort on Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management

Invasive species and climate change represent two of the five major global change threats to ecosystems.  An emerging initiative of the Northeast Climate Science Center aims to develop management-relevant research to improve invasive species management in the face of climate change.  Through working groups, information sharing and targeted research, this project addresses the information needs of invasive species managers in the context of climate change.

Coupled physical-chemical-biological models to predict losses of cold-water fish from inland lakes under climate warming

Cold-water fish are disappearing from many Midwestern lakes as they warm. This loss is due to a combination of de-oxygenation of the deep waters with heating of the surface waters. Together, these climate-driven changes squeeze the depth distribution of fish that require cold, well-oxygenated water, sometimes eliminating their habitat entirely. We will investigate where this combination of factors has likely caused extirpation of cold-water fishes, and where future warming is most likely to eliminate more populations. In addition to hydrodynamic modeling, we are partnering with genomics exp

WICCI: Second report on Climate Change Impacts in Wisconsin

WICCI is a grassroots effort to consolidate information about climate change impacts in Wisconsin.  Its first report, released in 2010, has played a critical role in elevating climate change within dialogue about environmental management across the state, and serves as the go-to resource for agencies, NGOs, and the public.  We are now working to update that document, focusing on new research in aquatic and other ecosystems, as well as case studies of impacts on Wisconsin's ecosystem services.

Assessing potential impacts of climate change on carnivore occupancy and snowshoe hare demography along elevational and latitudinal gradients in the Northeastern U.S.

This project is evaluating the relative influence of climate, habitat, and competition on predator-prey dynamics with a focus on Canada lynx, American marten, and snowshoe hares.  Snowshoe hares are a keystone species in the boreal forest and vulnerable to climate change.

Predicting the fate and impact of watershed nutrient loads as Lake Michigan's hydrodynamics shift under climate change

Climate change is shifting the hydrodynamics and temperature of both the Great Lakes and their tributary rivers.  Both hydrology and temperature may play potent roles in mediating the magnitude of watershed nutrient load and their fate upon reaching the lake.  Tributary hydrology reflects the source of water (groundwater vs surface runoff) and seasonal timing of discharge, while tributary temperature determines the density difference between river and lake water.  Similarly, mixing patterns in these massive lakes strongly influence whether tributary loads remain near the shore or become dil

Does Variation in Life History and Evolutionary Response Affect Species Vulnerability to Climate Change? Implications for Management

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 by one of two ways. First, they can undergo adaptive evolutionary change. Second, they can adjust their phenotype via non-evolutionary pathways.

An Integrated Assessment of Lake and Stream Thermal Habitat Under Climate Change

Water temperatures are warming in lakes and streams, resulting in the loss of many native fish. Given clear passage, coldwater stream fishes can take refuge upstream when larger streams become too warm. Likewise, many Midwestern lakes “thermally stratify” resulting in warmer waters on top of deeper, cooler waters. Many of these lakes are connected to threatened streams. To date, assessments of the effects of climate change on fish have mostly ignored lakes, and focused instead on streams.

Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Climate Action Tool

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:

Long-term record of Atmospheric N deposition interact with climate to influence estuarine impacts

Atmospheric depostion can be an important contribution to nitrogen loading in coastal regions. Atmospheric loading is suggested to have declined due to pollution control efforts, however the degree and impact of this has not been quantified on Cape Cod. Additionally, it is predicted that climate change, especially with respect to rain events and durations, may interact with atmospheric conditions to affect estaurine productivity.  This project will analyze a long-time series of atmpsheric N deposition and climate to determine trends and the associated impacts to estaurine systems. 

Using agent-based models to identify conservation solutions to large scale environmental variation and climate change

Effective migratory bird management and conservation requires an integrate approach at multiple spatial and temporal scales.  We are developing a spatially explicit agent-based model for dabbling ducks during spring migration. We are modeling foraging and resting behavior at prominent spring migration stopover sites throughout the midcontinent region.  Emergent properties of the working model include spring migration stopover duration, movement distances and survival.

Integrating Climate Change into the State Wildlife Action Plans

Fish and Wildlife agencies across the United States are currently revising their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs). These documents are important planning documents over 10 year timescales.  SWAP Coordinators have been challenged to incorporate climate change impacts and species responses as part of their strategic approaches to managing vulnerable fish and wildlife resources.

Ecological and management implications of climate change induced shifts in phenology of coastal fish and wildlife species in the Northeast CSC region

Climate change is causing species to shift their phenology, or the timing of recurring life events such as migration and reproduction, in variable and complex ways. This can potentially result in mismatches or asynchronies in food and habitat resources that negatively impact individual fitness, population dynamics, and ecosystem function. Numerous studies have evaluated phenological shifts in terrestrial species, particularly birds and plants, yet far fewer evaluations have been conducted for marine animals.

Science to Inform Management of Floodplain Conservation Lands under Non-Stationary Conditions

Recent extreme floods on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers (1993, 1995, 1997, 2007, 2010, and 2011) have motivated expansion of floodplain conservation lands. Within the state of Missouri, for example, there are more than 85,000 acres of State and Federally owned conservation lands in large-river floodplains. Floodplain lands are highly dynamic and challenging to manage. Variable exchanges of water, sediment, nutrients, and carbon between the river and the floodplain result in a diverse, productive, and ever-changing mosaics of habitat patches.

Development of Dynamically-Based 21st Century Projections of Snow, Lake Ice, and Winter Severity for the Great Lakes Basin to Guide Wildlife-Based Adaptation Planning, with Emphasis on Deer and Waterfowl

Our project focuses on anticipated effects of 21st century climate change on winter severity, snowpack, and lake ice across the Great Lakes Basin and the response of wildlife populations, namely white-tailed deer and dabbling ducks. Winter conditions have changed substantially since the mid-20th century, with rising temperatures, declining lake ice cover, and increased lake-effect snowfall. Nonetheless, due coarse resolution, poor lake representation, and insufficient treatment of lake-effect processes in global climate models, basinwide climate change projections remain uncertain.

Impact of red squirrel distributional shifts on resiliency of birds in the face of climate change

Little is known about how shifting small mammal populations in response to climate change will affect the bird species that they predate.  This project is relying on historical sampling and 2014 field surveys and trapping to examine how red squirrel populations have shifted in the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire and how birds may be affected by these shifts.

Effects of small impoundments on stream temperature regimes in the context of a changing climate

Small dams and impoundments are ubiquitous in stream networks in the northeastern and north central US.  Concerns about their effects on stream fish population connectivity and their risks to human infrastructure and safety have prompted efforts to remove many of these dams.  Dams also have  potentially significant impacts on stream thermal regimes, and as a consequence their removal may either ameliorate or exacerbate effects of increasing air temperatures.  Also, given their ubiquity, temperature modeling and monitoring efforts need to account for the effects of small impoundments for ass

Great Lakes Silviculture Prescription Library

This project is developing an on-line platform to enable rapid sharing and cataloging of silviculture case studies documenting adaptive forest management approaches across MI, MN, Ontario, and WI.  The goal of this project is to create a clearinghouse of information for forest managers across the region to disseminate ideas on addressing emerging issues and tracking effectiveness of a given approach.  The Prescription Library will serve as the basis for regional continuing education offerings for natural resource professionals throughout Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, and Wisconsin.

Developing historically-consistent and broadly-applicable monitoring, reporting, and verification system for quantifying forest change

Given the increasing impacts of climate change and natural disturbances on forest ecosystems across the US, there is a need for monitoring systems that allow for accurate and rapid detection of historic and future changes in forest area and carbon stocks.  This collaborative project between UMN, USFS, and NASA is piloting a Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) accounting system that could be used within the context of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory baseline reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Fitting the Climate Lens to Grassland Bird Conservation: Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability Using Demographically-Informed Species Distribution Models

To develop the framework to identify demographic sensitivities and assess the vulnerability of grassland bird species to future climate change. Objectives are to (1) Develop a strong partnership among managers and researchers to understand how climate change could be accounted for in conservation and management planning for grassland birds throughout the NE CSC region. (2) Develop spatially-explicit and temporally dynamic species distribution models for a select group of grassland birds.

Ecological and hydrological impacts of the emerald ash borer on black ash forests

This project examines the ecological and hydrological impacts of emerald ash borer on black ash-dominated wetlands throughout the Lake States using large-scale experimental studies documenting impacts of black ash mortality on ecosystem processes, wildlife communities, and evaluating potential mitigation and adaptation strategies under future climate and invasion scenarios.

Modeling effects of climate change on spruce-fir forest ecosystems and associated priority bird populations

Eastern spruce-fir forest ecosystems are among the most vulnerable to climate change within the continuous US. The goal of this project was to develop tools to identify refugia sites most likely to support spruce-fir forest and its associated high-priority obligate spruce-fir bird species over the long-term under projected climate change scenarios.

Distributional changes in spruce-fir forests and forest-dependent wildlife: effects of climate variability and climate change

Spruce-fir forests reach their southern limit in New England and the Upper Midwest, and are predicted by coarse climate envelope models to be greatly reduced or extirpated by climate change in the next century.  However, complex climatology, involving orographic effects and consequent changes in temperature and precip, along with substantial spatial variability, make it imperative that we understand where the most resilient stands are likely to be, and what the effects of these changes mean for spruce-fir associated species.  In this project, we take advantage of long-term surveys at multip

Evaluating trends in streamflow extremes in the Northeast USA

The goal of this project is to identify statistical trends in observed and simulated maximum, minimum and base (mostly groundwater contribution during low flow months) flows in the Northeast Climate Science Center domain during the 20th and 21st century, assess the temporal (annual and seasonal) and spatial distribution of the trends, and evaluate the impact of warmer climates on the statistical properties of streamflows (mean and variance).

Impacts of sea level rise on ecosystems

A reconnaissance study distinguishes coastal areas of the northeastern U.S. (approx. Virginia to Maine) that will experience an inundation-dominated response to sea-level rise from those that will respond dynamically due to physical and bio-physical sedimentation and erosion processes. Areas that will be dominated by inundation include urban regions of intense development and/or coastal engineering, as well as bedrock coasts. Areas that will respond dynamically include beaches, unconsolidated cliffs, barrier islands, and wetlands.

Assessing climate change projections over the Northeast

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.

The role of freshwater input in determining the contributions of different primary production sources to estuarine food webs in a tidal river

The hydrologic and biological dynamics of the oligohaline transitional zone, where nutrients and organic matter from the upper water shed first enter an estuary, can significantly impact the biogeochemical cycling and productivity of the entire estuarine ecosystem. We observed a strong influence of freshwater residency time on the contribution of benthic and pelagic production sources in the food web in the upper Parker River. By using long term data we are able to infer how changes in flow may alter the source of production and community composition in the oligohaline transitional zone.

Effects of moderate eutrophication on saltmarsh food webs

We examine the impacts of moderate nutrient enrichment on the production mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus, as part of a 10-year whole ecosystem experiment in a Plum Island Sound saltmarsh. In the initial stages of nutrient enrichment we observed a classic bottom up stimulation response in fish production. However, after the first six years fish production declined rapidly. The mechanism for the decline is not known but we hypothesize indirect interactions with other saltmarsh consumers may play an important role, as well a habitat alteration.

Ecology of coastal migratory striped bass (Morone saxatalis)

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.

Stream temperatures in the Driftless Area

The Driftless Region is blessed with an exceptional coldwater fishery (native brook trout and non-native brown trout).  Based on statistical modeling, it has been predicted that over the next 50 years brook trout will virtually disappear from the region and areal extent of brown trout will decrease significantly.  However, these predictions do not account for potentially significant increases in groundwater recharge and hence in baseflow as a result of likely increases in fall through spring precipitation and potential decreases in winter frost.  Nor do they account for the fact that basefl

Climate and disturbance factors affecting shifts between grassland and forest biomes over the past century within the upper Midwest

This project aims to quantify the range in variability in forest dynamics and climate responses for range-margin populations of Pinus banksiana and Picea mariana so as to generate management guidelines for conserving these forests on the landscape in an uncertain climatic future.  These species are the cornerstone for several upland and lowland habitat types on the western edge of the Northeast CSC and are particularly vulnerable to future changes in climate and disturbance regimes.

Effects of climate, disturbance, and management on the growth and dynamics of temperate and sub-boreal forest ecosystems within the Lake States and New England

This project is using tree-ring patterns and long-term data collections from natural and managed forests across the Lake States, New England, Intermountain West, and Black Hills to identify forest management strategies and forest conditions that have conferred the greatest levels of resistance and resilience to past stressors and their relevance in addressing future environmental change.

Evaluating the impacts of climate change in the Connecticut River Basin

For the past four years, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have funded a study at UMass to evaluate the impacts of climate change on the biological resources in river and to investigate how the negative impacts of reservoir regulation could be ameliorated in the face of climate change.  It is fortuitous that this study provides an excellent basis for future “watershed” type studies that may be performed by the NECSC.

Evaluating the impacts of climate change on regional hydrology

There are a number of fundamental questions that remain unanswered in the Northeast concerning the likely changes to climate and their impacts on hydrology. We are focusing our efforts on formulating and answering those questions that are likely to be of most interested to our stakeholders, including: How will precipitation intensities change in the 21st century? Is there going to be a change in seasonality with summer convective storms encroaching into spring and fall? Will the frequency of 1-day or multi-day extreme rainfall events change?

Effects of hydrologic change and variability on upstream limits of stream fish distribution

Coldwater stream fishes are widely predicted to move upstream in response to warming downstream river temperatures.  However, in the process they may encounter upstream limits, which are likely to be exacerbated by increased hydrologic variability if upstream locations draining small basins switch from perennial to ephemeral flow, with important but currently unknown implications for coldwater habitat and stream fish populations.  In this project, we will look at the current determinants of upstream limitation for Eastern Brook Trout in several (8-10 large watersheds) throughout their nativ

A Stream Temperature Inventory Network and Decision Support Metadata Mapper - Evaluating the Resources to Understanding Climate Change Effects on Streams in New England and the Great Lakes States

Stream data for the northeastern U.S. are needed to enable managers to understand baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections of the impacts of climate change on stream temperature and flow, and in turn on aquatic species in freshwater ecosystems. This project developed a coordinated, multi-agency regional stream temperature framework and database for New England (ME, VT, NH, CT, RI, MA) and the Great Lakes States (MN, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, PA, NY) by building a community around the efforts of this study.

Developing Fish Trophic Interaction Indicators of Climate Change for the Great Lakes

This project addressed regional climate change effects on aquatic food webs in the Great Lakes. Project scientists examined Lake Erie as a representative system with a high level of human impact, varying levels of food availability, seasonal hypoxia (low oxygen levels), and spatial overlap of cold- and cool-water fish guilds. In Lake Erie and in large embayments throughout the Great Lakes basin, this situation is a concern for fishery managers, as climate change may worsen oxygen levels and reduce habitat for some species.

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