The Northeastern and Midwestern United States is generally considered a well-watered region, yet droughts have happened in the past due to large-scale changes in atmospheric circulation. As recently as the 1960s and 1980s, widespread drought was experienced in this Northeast region. It is predicted that drought conditions in the region will become more prevalent as climate change influences temperature and precipitation patterns throughout the region. In collaboration with the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and their managing organization, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey, Ecological Drought has emerged as a research focus area for the CSCs. In May, 2016, a group of 26 climate and ecological experts explored what ecological drought would look like in the northeastern United States. This was part of a series of meetings at each of the nation’s eight CSCs aimed at collating our existing knowledge of the ecological impacts, resistance, and recovery from drought. The eight CSCs provide a fantastic opportunity to compare the ecological effects of drought, related research activities, and management options at different regions, spatial scales, and biomes.
Keith Nislow is the Fish and Wildlife Habitat Relationships Team Leader and Research Fisheries Biologist of USDA-Forest Service Northern Research Station, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. He is a principal investigator in the Northeast Climate Science Center. Dr. Nislow conducts research on the relationship between land use, aquatic habitat, and the distribution, abundance of fish and aquatic invertebrates. Specializing in establishing explicit, mechanistic links between environmental variation with the behavior, growth, and survival of stream salmonid fishes, Dr. Nislow is particularly interested in using basic science to assist restoration, conservation, and management. Dr. Nislow currently serves as a technical adviser to the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission, and the Green and White Mountain National Forests, and as an Associate Editor of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.