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March 26, 2024

This workshop brings together USGS researchers from different centers in the Rocky Mountain Region from April 9–11 in Denver, Colorado. Talks will focus on science relating to three major themes: Cutting Edge Science, Science for a Risk-Ready Region, and Lessons Learned from Stakeholder Engagement and Science Coproduction. FORT researchers will give the following talks.

Session: Cutting Edge Science, April 9


Assessing Current Consideration of Climate and Use of Climate Science in Decision Making on Federal Public Lands 

Sarah E. Whipple, Tait K. Rutherford, Ella M. Samuel, Samuel E. Jordan, Richard J. Lehrter, Christopher T. Domschke, Megan A. Gilbert, Karen M. Schanck, John C. Tull, David J.A. Wood, Sarah K. Carter 

Overview: Strengthening use of climate science in federal public lands decisions is a priority of the Department of the Interior and is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To identify opportunities to promote a stronger focus on climate, we need to understand how climate is currently considered and how climate science is currently used in public lands decisions. To build this baseline understanding, we analyzed recent environmental assessments (EAs) completed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for proposed livestock grazing and oil and gas development actions. We specifically assessed mentions of climate science and whether EAs considered 1) how the proposed action may affect climate, 2) how climate may affect the proposed action, and 3) how climate may affect resources of concern. Our findings suggest a need to work with public land managers to develop synthesis products that can facilitate greater use of climate science in decision making.


Perceived Constraints to Participating in Wildlife-Related Recreation 

Nicholas W. Cole, Emily J. Wilkins, Kaylin R. Clements, Rudy M. Schuster

Overview: Wildlife-related recreationists play an important role in conservation. Overcoming constraints to wildlife-related activities is critical for maintaining or increasing participation in activities like birdwatching and hunting. However, understanding the constraints to participation for those not already involved can be challenging and limits the recruitment of new and diverse participants. In recognition of this issue, we employed a mixed-methods design to determine self-populated constraints that are important to recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts for birdwatching and hunting. We found that the likelihood of experiencing unique constraints varied based on sociodemographic characteristics and strength of social ties, and differed between birdwatching and hunting. Our findings inform R3 efforts for wildlife-related recreation and provide direct results that organizations can apply in assisting Americans to negotiate constraints and diversify participation in wildlife-related recreation and conservation. Read the full publication


Session: Science for a Risk-Ready Region, April 10


Think Regionally, Act Locally: Lessons Learned During the Co-design of Spatial Conservation Prioritization Tools 

Nicholas J. Van Lanen, Jessica E. Shyvers, Bryan C. Tarbox, Adrian P. Monroe, Patrick J. Anderson, Daniel K. Jones, Katherine G. Dahm, Cameron L. Aldridge

Overview: Coproduction represents an inclusive approach for developing decision-support resources because it seeks to integrate scientific knowledge and end-user needs. Unfortunately, coproduction of spatial decision support systems (SDSS) has sometimes resulted in limited utility for end-users, partially due to scarce SDSS coproduction guidance. In partnership with the USGS Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology (ASIST) initiative, we held a series of three workshops to co-design a spatial conservation prioritization tool. This work builds upon an early application of our Prioritizing Restoration for Sagebrush Ecosystems Tool (PReSET), which is designed to guide sagebrush management. In this presentation, we’ll discuss resulting themes from workshop organizers and participants that may help guide future SDSS co-design efforts. 


Session: Lessons Learned from Stakeholder Engagement and Science Coproduction, April 11


Collaborative Outcomes from the 2023 Science Co-Design Workshop Series on Drought in the Colorado River Basin 

Patrick J. Anderson, Jeanne E. Godaire, William J. Andrews, Alicia A. Torregrosa, Daniel K. Jones, Joseph A. Hevesi, Meghan T. Bell, Molly Blakowski, Sharon L. Qi

Overview: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) leverages interdisciplinary science to address multiple cross-cutting scientific priorities associated with drought impacts on human and natural systems in the Colorado River Basin. During 2023, the USGS Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology (ASIST) team hosted a series of science co-design workshops to facilitate the development of interdisciplinary drought science and technology projects for the Colorado River Basin. This presentation provides an overview of the 2023 collaborative workshop series, synthesized outcomes from workshop materials and discussions, and describes products that emerged from the codesign effort that will continue to be refined through collaborative engagement. This presentation also highlights lessons learned and next steps to continue collaborative efforts to develop interdisciplinary seed project proposals, secure funding and implement science projects, and receive feedback and testing of the USGS collaborative science portal.


Coproducing BLM National Land Conservation System Science Plans: planning for land managers, scientists, and stakeholders 

Samuel E. Jordan, Sarah K. Carter, Alex L. Stoneburner, Sarah E. Whipple, Robin C. Lewis, Aaron Wilkerson, Geoffrey P. Walsh, Fritz Klasner

Overview: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Science Plans are meant to collect, organize, and highlight scientific information needs for lands managed under the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), which includes more than 37 million acres of lands designated to conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values. This talk will highlight recent efforts between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the BLM to coproduce Science Plans for individual units in the BLM’s NLCS, and discuss the strengths and pitfalls of working in a coproduction framework. We will also discuss challenges that are common across units when completing the Science Planning process, notably when identifying science information needs related to social and environmental drivers that extend beyond a unit’s boundaries, and how the Science Planning process might address these broad-reaching challenges while considering staffing and financial limitations. 


A Coproduction Toolkit for Scientists and Public Land Managers

Sarah K. Carter, Lea B. Selby, Ella M. Samuel, Patrick J. Anderson, Aparna Bamzai-Dodson, Travis S. Haby, Jeff E. Herrick, John C. Tull, David J.A. Wood

Overview: Agencies that manage federal public lands are required by law to use science in their decision-making. However, agency resources used to support external science have not always resulted in usable products. Coproduction, in which researchers, resource managers, and other stakeholders work together on science projects, can help ensure that science requested by resource management agencies will better meet their needs. We worked with scientists and resource managers from multiple agencies to develop a toolkit for conducting coproduction to support public land management. The tools describe coproduction roles and responsibilities, help partners decide on the right level of coproduction, provide practical guidance to get started, suggest specific communication products for supporting coproduction efforts, and provide a checklist to help partners proactively address common challenges. We believe the toolkit can help scientists and resource managers put coproduction into action, helping both to receive greater benefits from science projects. Coproduction Toolkit.

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