Integrating Climate Change into the State Wildlife Action Plans

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 3:30pm
Eastern Daylight Time
Michelle Staudinger, Toni Lyn Morelli, and Alex Bryan, NE CSC
Webinar Location: 
134 Morrill Science Center Conference Room

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. The Northeast Climate Science Center led the development of a report intended to assist the Northeast and Midwestern States meet this charge by synthesizing information on: 1) regional and state-specific climate change projections for a range of climate variables (e.g., air temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, sea level rise); 2) existing regional Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments (CCVAs); 3) biological responses to climate impacts with a focus on Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN); and 4) a range of adaptation strategies and actions available to natural resource agencies to conserve wildlife and ecosystems over the short and long term.

This webinar will outline the process used to co-produce the report with States and state partners through a collaborative approach that involved multiple federal agencies, academics, and NGOs. We will also highlight our primary findings, and share lessons learned that can be used to inform regional adaptation efforts in the Northeast and Midwest region of the United States.

Additional background information and the full report can be found at:

Dr. Michelle Staudinger received her PhD in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has held subsequent positions at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. Currently, she serves as the Science Coordinator of the DOI Northeast Climate Science Center and is an Ecologist with UGSS; she also holds an Adjunct Faculty position in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst.  Michelle's research addresses a broad range of questions related to the ecology and conservation of natural resources, including trophic interactions in marine communities, climate change impacts on biodiversity, and the use of vulnerability assessments as tools for climate change adaptation. 

Toni Lyn Morelli was educated at Michigan State University and Stony Brook University in New York. She has worked for the U.S. Forest Service and with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives since their inception. In addition to Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Environmental Conservation, she is now USGS Research Ecologist with the NE CSC. Toni Lyn uses historical data, ecological modeling, geospatial analysis, genetic analysis, and decision science to facilitate natural resource management and conservation in the face of climate and land use change.

Alex Bryan earned his B.S. in meteorology from Valparaiso University and Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Michigan, and now serves as a climate scientist with the NE CSC. Alex provides localized climate information to help managers adapt our wildlife and landscapes to changing climate. Currently, Alex is working with tribal communities in Michigan to aid the development of adaptation plans to protect their natural and cultural values. In addition, he has partnered with the National Park Service to help managers at Acadia National Park adapt their infrastructure and ecosystems to rising sea levels and extreme events.