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21-30. Guiding Federal agency prioritization for implementation of nature-based climate solutions

 

Closing Date: November 1, 2022

This Research Opportunity will be filled depending on the availability of funds. All application materials must be submitted through USAJobs by 11:59 pm, US Eastern Standard Time, on the closing date.

Please communicate with individual Research Advisor(s) on the right to discuss project ideas and answer specific questions about the Research Opportunity.

How to Apply

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There is now broad consensus that targets for limiting climate change during the 21st century cannot be achieved through fossil fuel emissions reductions alone (IPCC AR6). Rapid, large scale deployment of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) (NASEM 2019, 2021), is now seen as essential to meeting climate change mitigation targets. Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) are approaches to CDR and greenhouse gas emissions reduction that involve improved management of ecosystems to protect carbon stocks, increase carbon sinks, and reduce emissions due to ecosystem degradation and destruction (Fargione et al. 2018). These approaches are critical because there is the potential to implement them rapidly, relative to the time required to develop and deploy engineering approaches, and further NCS implementation can have substantial benefit in terms of hazards mitigation and climate change adaptation.  

Coastal blue carbon is considered an important NCS, and refers to conservation, restoration, and improved management of vegetated tidal wetlands, including tidal marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses. These ecosystems have exceptionally high rates of carbon storage in soil and/or biomass (Windham-Myers et al. 2018). Of major importance is the finding that their rate of carbon storage does not decrease with ecosystem maturity, rather the rate increases with increasing rate of sea level rise (Gonneea et al. 2019). Blue carbon systems contain substantial, vulnerable, and “irrecoverable” carbon stocks, and, when poorly managed, stocks can be eroded, or lost as intense emissions of carbon dioxide or methane (Kroeger et al. 2017). With approximately 1 million hectares of potential tidal wetland degraded due to managed hydrology, climate change mitigation potential is substantial (Kroeger et al. 2017, Crooks et al. 2018). 

In response to administration priorities and directives to achieve climate change mitigation on federal lands, as described in the America the Beautiful Initiative, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Executive Order 14008, Department of Interior land management bureaus are developing Nature-based/Natural Climate Solutions programs, and seek USGS guidance to quantify the climate impacts of management actions and the opportunities that will provide greatest benefit.  

This Research Opportunity is broad in scope and will build on and collaborate with a suite of ongoing USGS, DOI, and academic research, and lead toward development of new guidance on carbon and wetland management at a national scale. The work might enhance or make use of projects that are developing: unique remote sensing and map products that indicate wetland condition, productivity, and greenhouse gas management potential; comprehensive field observations of greenhouse gas exchanges, soil processes, and aquatic lateral fluxes of carbon, in response to global change and management actions; modify or develop new models that enable site-scale scenario analysis, or bridge between site-scale field data and national-scale geospatial data.  

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisor(s) early in the application process to discuss project ideas. 

References:  

Fargione, JE, Bassett, S, Boucher, T, Bridgham, S, et al. (Kroeger, KD), 2018. Natural Climate Solutions for the United States. Science Advances, 4 (11), eaat1869. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1869 

Gonneea, M.E., C.M. Maio, K.D. Kroeger, A.D. Hawkes, J. Mora, R. Sullivan, S. Madsen, R.M. Buzard, N. Cahill, J.P. Donnelly. 2019. Salt marsh ecosystem restructuring enhances elevation resilience and carbon storage during accelerating sea-level rise. Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science. 217, 56-68, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2018.11.003

IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/ 

Kroeger, KD, Crooks, S, Moseman-Valtierra, S, Tang, J. 2017. Restoring tides to reduce methane emissions as a new and potent Blue Carbon intervention. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 11914, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-12138-4, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12138-4 

Research Strategy for Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. A Research Strategy for Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26278

Developing a Research Agenda for Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/developing-a-research-agenda-for-carbon-dioxide-removal-and-reliable-sequestration

Windham-Myers, L., 2018. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 596-648, https://doi.org/10.7930/SOCCR2.2018.Ch15

Proposed Duty Station(s): Woods Hole, Massachusetts 

Areas of PhD: Biogeochemistry, chemistry, environmental science, geography, geology, remote sensing, modeling or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered). 

Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Chemist, Research Cartographer, Research Ecologist, Research Physical Scientist, Research Geologist.  

(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above.  However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.) 

Human Resources Office Contact: Jes Welsh, 703-648-7414, jwelsh@usgs.gov

Apply Here