Announcing the Latest Stakeholder-Driven Research Projects

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Photo: Andy Castillo

The Northeast Climate Science Center has awarded nearly $700,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

The seven NE CSC-funded studies will focus on how climate change is expected to affect natural and cultural resources as well as related management decisions and actions that can be taken to help offset such change.   These projects focus on three of the NE CSC’s science priroties:  
1) Effects of Climate Change on Hydrologic Regimes, Ecological Flows, and Aquatic Connectivity (NE CSC Science Theme 3).  
2) Species Intrinsic Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change (NE CSC Science Theme 5).
3)  Effects of climate change on the sustainability of cultural resources, including approaches that utilize Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), human dimensions, and adaptation strategies (NE CSC Science Theme 6)
The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists from the universities, colleges and research institutions that comprise the Northeast CSC, from USGS Science Centers and Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, and from other partners such as state fish and wildlife agencies, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, Tribal Governments, and the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) in each region.  The projects range in scope from Maine to Minnesota, and include such approaches as:  using drones to map and assess vulnerability for coastal Massachusetts; understanding the impacts climate change will have for maple syrup-producing states; making advances on species vulnerability assessments and the adaptive capacity of ecosystems; managing natural resources to build resilience in river systems; and building Tribal capacity in adaptation to climate change.  
The newly funded projects are:
An Integrated Assessment of Lake and Stream Thermal Habitat under Climate Change (view project page);
Characterizing Local and Rangewide Variation in Demography and Adaptive Capacity of a Forest Indicator Species (view project page);
Climate Effects on the Culture and Ecology of Sugar Maple  (view project page);
Does Variation in Life History and Evolutionary Response Affect Species Vulnerability to Climate Change? Implications for Management (view project page);
Pilot Study to Evaluate Coastal Change Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) (view project page)
Reconnecting Floodplains and Restoring Green Space as a Management Strategy to Minimize Risk and Increase Resilience in the Context of Climate and Landscape Change (view project page).
Supporting Cooperation between Tribes and Climate Science in the Northeast Region to Address Climate Change Impacts (view project page).
“Our stakeholders in the Northeast and Midwest are entrusted with managing natural and cultural resources in the midst of climate change impacts on those significant species, ecosystems and landscapes,” said Mary Ratnaswamy, Federal Director of the Northeast Climate Science Center.  “Their need for information and tools to address and adapt to climate change is significant, and our ongoing collaborative studies are developed in order to help provide the science needed for those decisions.  We are working together with our partners to frame projects around those questions with the explicit goal of producing robust studies that can be implemented to help those managers achieve their goals.”
Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers (CSCs) form a national network, and are coordinated by the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey.  The CSCs work with states, tribes, federal agencies, LCCs, universities, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.  Together, these partners will assess the impacts of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit and will identify strategies to ensure that resources across landscapes are resilient in the face of climate change.
Top photo: Andy Castillo, NE CSC Communicaitons Intern