The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Also collaborating on these NE CSC projects

Slowing the Flow for Climate Resilience (SFCR): Reducing Vulnerability to Extreme Flows and Providing Multiple Ecological Benefits in a Non-Stationary Climate

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.

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.

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

Reconnecting Floodplains and Restoring Green Space as a Management Strategy to Minimize Risk and Increase Resilience in the Context of Climate and Landscape Change

This research seeks to identify opportunities to manage flows, connections, and landscapes in a way that increases the resilience of human communities and ecosystems. Our research will identify dynamic and adaptive solutions to managing river flows that allow continued provision of valuable infrastructure services such as flood control, hydropower, and water supply, while also supporting thriving river ecosystems - both today and into the future.

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.

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

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).

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?

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

Decision-support for headwater stream habitats

Coldwater stream habitats are at risk from climate change, but management actions, such as removing barriers to passage and restoring riparian forest canopies, can in some cases help to ameliorate negative impacts.  Our overall goal is to devise and implement decision-support tools to help managers make climate-appropriate management choices.  We are currently working on several different approaches to this problem.

Designing Sustainable Landscapes (DSL)

This project is focused on assessing the capability of current and potential future landscapes within the extent of the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC) to provide integral ecosystems and suitable habitat for a suite of representative species, and provide guidance for strategic habitat conservation. To meet this goal, we are developing a Landscape Change, Assessment and Design (LCAD) model for the NALCC.Two regional Landscape Conservation Designs  have been coproduced with regional stakeholders. Connect the Connecticut and Nature's Network.

A Research and Decision Support Framework to Evaluate Sea-level Rise Impacts in the Northeastern U.S.

Previous approaches to quantify coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise have had major shortcomings, including the possibility that their underlying assumptions are not uniformly valid. This project conducted a study to distinguish the differing ways that coastal areas of the northeastern U.S. will respond to sea-level rise. This information will be used to develop a scientific research and decision-support program that addresses the cross-cutting and unique problems in these areas related to climate change and sea-level rise.

Extending the Northeast Terrestrial Habitat Map to Atlantic Canada

Consistent and accurate landscape datasets are important foundational products for ecological analyses and for understanding and anticipating the effects of climate change on forested, agricultural, and freshwater systems across the U.S. and Canada. The objective of this project was to extend an existing terrestrial habitat map of the north Atlantic U.S. to Atlantic Canada and southern Quebec, using and modeling field-collected data combined with national and provincial datasets.

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