Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior's eight regional Climate Science Centers are awarding nearly $7 million to universities and other partners for research as part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, move our economy toward clean energy sources and begin to prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change.
The 50-plus studies, conducted with Fiscal Year 2013 funding, will focus on how climate change will affect natural resources as well as management actions that can be taken to help offset such impacts. The research will help guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources to plan how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change. A full list of the projects is available here.
"Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country," said Secretary Jewell. "These new studies, and others that are ongoing, will help provide valuable, unbiased science that land managers and others need to identify tools and strategies to foster resilience in resources across landscapes in the face of climate change."
Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers (CSCs) worked with states, tribes, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), universities supporting the CSCs, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.
The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists, including individuals from the universities that comprise each CSC, from Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and from other partners such as the states, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service, Indian tribes, and the LCCs in each region.
"The Climate Science Center projects exemplify the research needed to safeguard our country's natural and economic resources as the climate changes," said Suzette Kimball, acting director of USGS. "The selected projects grew from many conversations about the kinds of answers resource managers need to effectively respond to climate change, combined with the wellspring of expertise from USGS and university scientists that provides access to the best science to respond to these needs."
Research projects funded through today's announcement include: determining species, habitats and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change and ways to make them more resilient; projecting climate change effects on stream flow and fish in different parts of the country; building science-based models to help land managers in different regions better focus their efforts where they are most needed; informing coastal conservation and restoration in the northern Gulf of Mexico; and studying issues such as fire and climate change, sea-level rise, coastal change, and effects of drought on fish and wildlife. Several studies address the potential effects on resources of concern to Native Americans, some by using traditional ecological knowledge to advance adaptation planning.
Last week USGS announced that, for the first time, maps and summaries of historical and projected temperature and precipitation changes for the 21st century for the continental U.S. are accessible at a county-by-county level on a website developed by the USGS in collaboration with Oregon State University.
The eight Interior Climate Science Centers form a national network and are coordinated through the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of USGS. CSCs and LCCs have been created under Interior's strategy to address the impacts of climate change on America's waters, land, and other natural and cultural resources. Together, Interior's CSCs and LCCs are assessing 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.