Two awards were presented to NE CSC staff and researchers at this month’s National Adaptation Forum in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Olivia LeDee, Deputy Director of the NE CSC, received an award for climate adaptation in the individual category. Olivia was recognized for "helping to develop one of the most progressive fish and wildlife climate adaptation programs in the country and for helping to foster adaptation policy considerations among other state and federal agencies. She serves as a terrific role model for many others who work in state and federal agencies to protect, preserve and sustain our natural resources in the context of a changing climate." (quotes from award letter) Olivia provided consistent and innovative leadership on climate adaptation for the state of Minnesota including developing and helping to operationalize the DNR's Climate Adaptation and Mitigation in Natural Resource Management policy. This policy encourages the department to implement climate adaptation strategies as well as manage lands so that vegetation can sequester more carbon. She also led the development of guidance, resources, and training for agency staff to be able to implement the policy. Olivia has also represented state agencies on the national scale with the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy, Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Researchers and contributors from the NE CSC-funded Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool Partnership are the recipient of the climate adaptation leadership award for natural resources. The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool inspires action to protect natural resources and help them adapt in a changing climate. With this tool, you can access information on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities of fish, wildlife, and habitats; and explore adaptation actions to promote resilient natural communities, such as culvert replacement, restoration of coastal buffers, or municipal plan development. This tool was developed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Massachusetts Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Department of the Interior's Northeast Climate Science Center. It was created for decision-makers, conservation practitioners, and managers. While designed for Massachusetts, it offers broadly relevant information and could serve as a model for other regions.
Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool Wins National Award: UMass Amherst conservation researchers and colleagues show 'exemplary leadership'
From UMass News and Media Relations
May 9, 2017
Contact: Janet Lathrop 413/545-0444
AMHERST, Mass. – The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy working group announced May 8 that it has selected the Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool to receive its 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources in the “broad partnership” category. It recognizes the partners for “demonstrating exemplary leadership in reducing climate-related threats and promoting adaptation of the nation’s natural resources.”
The honor is one of eight national awards announced yesterday at the National Adaptation Forum in St. Paul, Minn. In its citation, the working group noted that the Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool “inspires action to protect natural resources and help them adapt in a changing climate.”
Though designed for Massachusetts, the tool launched in 2015 offers “broadly relevant information and could serve as a model” for many other states, the working group noted. It is intended to help decision-makers, conservation groups and managers find information on climate change impacts and the vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife species and their habitats.
The team that developed the online climate action tool included extension associate professor of environmental conservation Scott Jackson, Michelle Staudinger, adjunct professor of environmental conservation and science coordinator of the Northeast Climate Science Center, and project manager Melissa Ocana, all at UMass Amherst, and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife biologist John O’Leary.
Staudinger says, “There are actions we can take now to adapt to climate change and protect fish, wildlife and their habitats, as well as help human communities increase their resilience to better cope with these changes. This tool is designed to inform and inspire local action to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources including species of greatest conservation need.”
Tool users can explore adaptation strategies and actions to maintain healthy, resilient natural communities in the face of climate change. The tool synthesizes the best available science, providing information on climate change impacts with projections for over 30 variables, vulnerability assessments for fish and wildlife species and habitats, information about non-climate stressors such as development and loss of landscape connectivity that must be accounted for, and on-the-ground actions including forestry practices, land protection and restoring wildlife movement corridors through landscape connectivity.
The tool highlights challenges for such iconic species as brook trout that are affected by warming stream temperatures and fragmented habitat, marbled salamanders affected by changing rainfall patterns, piping plover and other coastal shorebirds susceptible to sea-level rise and storm events and beech-birch-maple forests where warming temperatures affect sugar maples and other northern trees.
Melissa Ocana, project manager in the department of environmental conservation at UMass Amherst, says “We’ve built a dynamic platform where we can showcase the best available science and case studies of adaptation action from partners across Massachusetts. Now, partners and experts can help us continue to populate the tool with new information and success stories as they develop.”
The climate action tool was developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, UMass Amherst’s Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment and its Department of Interior Northeast Climate Science Center, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. In addition to the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy working group, the award is sponsored by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S.D.A. Forest Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
- Science Magazine Massachusetts ‘Wildlife Climate Action Tool’ wins national award May 9, 2017
- Gazette Net Massachusetts ‘Wildlife Climate Action Tool’ wins national award May 10, 2017