Climate Adaptation Science Centers

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From the expansion of invasive species to wildfire, from drought to sea-level rise, changes in climate have created new and evolving challenges for our nation’s resource managers and communities. Our science helps managers of fish, wildlife, and ecosystems understand these impacts and strategically adapt to changing conditions. Click on Science to see where we work and the topics we study.

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The CASCs develop data and tools that address the informational needs of natural and cultural resource managers. Projects cover topics that address the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, ecosystems, & the communities they support.

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Our Climate Adaptation Insights Newsletter shares our latest news on webinars, events, publications, funding opportunities, and other items of interest from the National and Regional CASCs. Updates are sent out every two weeks.

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Date published: March 20, 2019

Planning for Wildfire: Jeremy Littell and the Alaska CASC Highlight Solutions in Two New Publications

Two new publications, funded by U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska CASC, highlight the importance of understanding wildfire, what causes it as well as its effects on ecosystems. Solutions include modeling to create predictions of wildfire events.

Date published: March 6, 2019

Wildfire risk in California no longer coupled to winter precipitation

Recent large fires in California may be harbingers of things to come.

Our research looks at how intense droughts, sea-level rise, extreme storms, and other consequences of climate change are affecting wildlife, ecosystems, and human communities that depend on these resources. We strive to develop data and tools that are usable and that directly address the informational needs of natural & cultural resource managers.

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Filter Total Items: 50
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Climate Change Adaptation for Coastal National Wildlife Refuges

National Wildlife Refuges provide habitat for important fish and wildlife species and services that benefit coastal communities, like storm-surge protection. USGS scientists are helping coastal refuges plan for and adapt to sea-level rise. 

Date published: December 14, 2018
Status: Active

Regional CASC Education & Training Opportunities

The National and Regional CASCs are committed to supporting young and early-career scientists and managers. Read on to see a list of education and training opportunities offered by the regional CASCs. 

Date published: December 14, 2018
Status: Active

National CASC Student Interns & Volunteers

The National CASC provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in our program through paid internships and volunteer positions. Students work on everything from supporting NCASC research projects to communications and program operations. Read about some of our students and the work they're doing below!

Date published: December 11, 2018
Status: Active

Ecological Drought Across the Country

Droughts of the future will be hotter, longer-lasting, and larger than droughts of the past.

Drought can lead to increases in wildfire and insect outbreaks, local species extinctions, forest diebacks, and altered rates of carbon, nutrient, and water cycling – all of which can have real consequences for ecosystems and human communities alike.

Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Landscapes

Landscapes throughout the U.S. are being impacted in different ways by changing temperature and precipitation patterns. CASC scientists are studying topics such as how vegetation may change in the future on Federal lands in the Great Basin, how Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plains landscapes are being impacted by thawing permafrost, and much more.

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Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Drought, Fire and Extreme Weather

CASC supported scientists throughout the country are working to understand how drought, fire and extreme weather are changing and how they are impacting important natural and cultural resources. Projects include examining how sagebrush ecosystems respond to wildfire, how water availability will be effected by more extreme droughts, and much more.

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Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Wildlife and Plants

Wildlife and plants face threats from a changing climate such as increased competition from invasive species and a loss of access to freshwater and suitable habitat. CASC supported scientists are examining how coldwater fish will fare in a warming climate, how conifers and other trees will be impacted by more extreme fires, and much more.  

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Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Water, Coasts and Ice

CASC-supported scientists are examining how water, coasts and ice across the United States are being impacted by changes in our climate. Projects include studying how shifts in wetlands will effect critical waterfowl habitats, how sea level rise might impact coastal National Parks across the country, how glacier melt might change coastal ecosystems in Alaska, and much more.

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Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Northeast CASC

Scientists supported by the Northeast CASC are conducting projects on a range of topics throughout the region, including how climate change may impact wildlife health, projected changes in the quality and quantity of water in the Upper Mississippi watershed, how managers may be able to increase the resilience of vulnerable plants and animals, and much more. 

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Contacts: Olivia LeDee, Ph.D., Richard Palmer
Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Native Communities

Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and other indigenous peoples and communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The CASCs are working with tribes and indigenous communities to better understand their specific vulnerabilities to climate change and to help them adapt to these impacts. 

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Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Pacific Islands CASC

Pacific Islands CASC scientists are working to understand how sea level rise, runoff, and erosion may impact Hawai'i's National Parks, how freshwater flow through Hawaiian forests may change in the future, the effects of drought on soil moisture and water resources in the region, and much more.

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Contacts: Janet A Cushing, Darren Lerner
Date published: December 1, 2018
Status: Active

Science Tools for Managers

Through our funded science projects, the CASCs strive to conduct science that is directly useful to resource managers and informs adaptation decision making. CASC supported scientists are developing scientific tools to help managers understand how wildlife might adapt to changing climate, where culturally significant vegetation might be located in the future, and much more.

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Filter Total Items: 32
Date published: June 11, 2018

West Portrillo Mountains Scaled Quail Adult Survival 2014-2015

Grassland birds are among the most imperiled bird guilds in North America. Scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) are a semi-arid grassland bird whose populations have declined over the past half century. We monitored scaled quail in New Mexico to study the effects of habitat, temperature and precipitation on survival of scaled quail adults, nests, and broods.

Date published: June 11, 2018

West Portrillo Mountains Scaled Quail Nest Survival 2014-2015

Grassland birds are among the most imperiled bird guilds in North America. Scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) are a semi-arid grassland bird whose populations have declined over the past half century. We monitored scaled quail in New Mexico to study the effects of habitat, temperature and precipitation on survival of scaled quail adults, nests, and broods.

Date published: June 11, 2018

West Portrillo Mountains Scaled Quail Brood Survival 2014-2015

Grassland birds are among the most imperiled bird guilds in North America. Scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) are a semi-arid grassland bird whose populations have declined over the past half century. We monitored scaled quail in New Mexico to study the effects of habitat, temperature and precipitation on survival of scaled quail adults, nests, and broods.

Date published: February 1, 2018

Impact of Drought on Southwestern Pronghorn Population Trends and Predicted Trajectories in the Southwest in the Face of Climate Change_Predictor

Climate often drives ungulate population dynamics, and as climates change, some areas may become unsuitable for species persistence. Unraveling the relationships between climate and population dynamics, and projecting them across time, advances ecological understanding that informs and steers sustainable conservation for species. Using pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) as an ecological model,...

Date published: February 1, 2018

Impact of Drought on Southwestern Pronghorn Population Trends and Predicted Trajectories in the Southwest in the Face of Climate Change

Climate often drives ungulate population dynamics, and as climates change, some areas may become unsuitable for species persistence. Unraveling the relationships between climate and population dynamics, and projecting them across time, advances ecological understanding that informs and steers sustainable conservation for species. Using pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) as an ecological model,...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Effects of Climate on Scaled Quail Reproduction and Survival

Grassland birds are among the most imperiled bird guilds in North America. Scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) are a semi-arid grassland bird whose populations have declined over the past half century. We monitored scaled quail in New Mexico to study the effects of habitat, temperature and precipitation on survival of scaled quail adults, nests, and broods. Seasonal nest survival (39.4%) had a...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Supporting data for two MWBMglacier applications to the Copper River basin in Alaska

These data can be used to replicate the application of MWBMglacier as described in two journal articles: 1) Enhancement of a parsimonious water balance model to simulate surface hydrology in a glacierized watershed (in review), and 2) Hydrologic regime changes in a high-latitude glacierized watershed under future climate conditions (doi:10.3390/w10020128). These simulations provide results...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Data for Plant production responses to precipitation differ along an elevation gradient and are enhanced under extremes (Northern Arizona, 1991-2016)

This dataset is from a precipitation manipulation experiment conducted at five grassland sites along an elevation gradient near Flagstaff, AZ. The data consist of pre- (1991 - 2015) and post-experimental (2016) treatment plant production and precipitation measurements. The plant production measurements were taken from satellite and hand-held spectroradiometer, in addition to plot-based...

Date published: May 31, 2017

Seed biomass from shallow coastal water areas along a salinity gradient in Barataria Bay, Louisiana (2015)

This dataset provides bi-monthly data on seed biomass collected in shallow water habitats across the fresh to saline gradient at coastal sites in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.

Date published: May 31, 2017

Seed biomass from shallow coastal water areas from Texas through Alabama, 2013-2015

This projects primary goal was to provide data on biomass of potential seed resources located within shallow water coastal areas within fresh to saline coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The data set provides biomass of seeds, by species or lowest practical taxon from 2013, 2014 and 2015 across 384 randomly selected sites located in shallow water coastal areas. The data were...

Date published: May 1, 2017

Potential climate change impacts on grassland connectivity in the U.S. Northern Rockies

Establishing connections among natural landscapes is the most frequently recommended strategy for adapting management of natural resources in response to climate change. The U.S. Northern Rockies still support a full suite of native wildlife, and survival of these populations depends on connected landscapes. Connected landscapes support current migration and dispersal as well as future shifts...

Date published: May 1, 2017

Potential climate change impacts on mountain goat connectivity in the U.S. Northern Rockies

Establishing connections among natural landscapes is the most frequently recommended strategy for adapting management of natural resources in response to climate change. The U.S. Northern Rockies still support a full suite of native wildlife, and survival of these populations depends on connected landscapes. Connected landscapes support current migration and dispersal as well as future shifts...

Filter Total Items: 1
Date published: October 22, 2018

CASC Network & Region Maps

The CASC network covers the entire continental U.S., Alaska, Hawai'i, the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, and the U.S. Caribbean. View or download maps for each of the eight Climate Adaptation Science Center regions and for the National CASC.

Filter Total Items: 69
Year Published: 2019

Climate change effects on deer and moose in the midwest

Climate change is an increasing concern for wildlife managers across the United States and Canada. Because climate change may alter populations and harvest dynamics of key species in the region, midwestern states have identified the effects of climate change on ungulates as a priority research area. We conducted a literature review of projected...

Weiskopf, Sarah R.; LeDee, Olivia E. ; Thompson, Laura M.

Year Published: 2019

Practical tips to establish an actionable science portfolio for climate adaptation

The delivery of climate adaptation science products and services to inform resource management decisions—otherwise known as actionable climate adaptation science—is the primary driver and intended outcome of the science portfolios administered within the Department of the Interior's Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) network in the USA. This...

Bisbal, Gustavo A.

Year Published: 2019

Trophic implications of a phenological paradigm shift: Bald eagles and salmon in a changing climate

Climate change influences apex predators in complex ways, due to their important trophic position, capacity for resource plasticity, and sensitivity to numerous anthropogenic stressors. Bald eagles, an ecologically and culturally significant apex predator, congregate seasonally in high densities on salmon spawning rivers across the Pacific...

Rubenstein, Madeleine A.; Christophersen, Roger; Ransom, Jason I.

Year Published: 2019

Hypotheses from recent assessments of climate impacts to biodiversity and ecosystems in the United States

Climate change poses multiple threats to biodiversity, and has already caused demonstrable impacts. We summarize key results from a recent national assessment of observed climate change impacts to terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems in the United States, and place results in the context of commonly articulated hypotheses about ecosystem...

Filho, Walter Leal; Barbir, Jelena; Preziosi, Richard; Carter, Shawn L.; Lynch, Abigail J.; Myers, Bonnie; Rubenstein, Madeleine A.; Thompson, Laura M.

Year Published: 2018

Habitat overlap between Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus and red panda Ailurus fulgens in Himalaya

Studying habitat overlap between sympatric species is one of the best ways to identify interspecies relationships and to direct conservation efforts so that multiple species can benefit. However, studies exploring interspecies relationships are very limited in Nepal, making it difficult for the government of Nepal and conservation partners to...

Bista, Manjit; Panthi, Saroj; Weiskopf, Sarah R.
Bista M, Panthi S, Weiskopf SR (2018) Habitat overlap between Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus and red panda Ailurus fulgens in Himalaya. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0203697. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203697

Year Published: 2018

U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2017

IntroductionThe year 2017 was a year of review and renewal for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC). The Southeast, Northwest, Alaska, Southwest, and North Central CSCs’ 5-year summary review reports were released in...

Varela Minder, Elda
Varela Minder, Elda, 2018, U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2017: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1049, 14 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181049.

Year Published: 2017

Early-career experts essential for planetary sustainability

Early-career experts can play a fundamental role in achieving planetary sustainability by bridging generational divides and developing novel solutions to complex problems. We argue that intergenerational partnerships and interdisciplinary collaboration among early-career experts will enable emerging sustainability leaders to contribute fully to a...

Lim, Michelle; Lynch, Abigail J.; Fernández-Llamazares, Alvaro; Balint, Lenke; Basher, Zeenatul; Chan, Ivis; Jaureguiberry, Pedro; Mohamed, A.A.A.; Mwampamba, Tuyeni H.; Palomo, Ignacio; Pliscoff, Patricio; Salimov, R.A.; Samakov, Aibek; Selomane, Odirilwe; Shrestha, Uttam B.; Sidorovich, Anna A.
Lim, M., A.J. Lynch, Á. Fernández-Llamazares, L. Balint, Z. Basher, I. Chan, P. Jaureguiberry, A.A.A. Mohamed, T.H. Mwampamba, I. Palomo, P. Pliscoff, R.A. Salimov, A. Samakov, O. Selomane, U.B. Shrestha, A.A. Sidorovich. 2018. Early-career experts essential for planetary sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 29:151-157. IP-085650.

Year Published: 2017

The nexus of fun and nutrition: Recreational fishing is also about food

Recreational fishing is a popular activity in aquatic ecosystems around the globe using a variety of gears including rod and line and to a lesser extent handlines, spears, bow and arrow, traps and nets. Similar to the propensity to engage in voluntary catch-and-release, the propensity to harvest fishes strongly varies among cultures, locations,...

Cooke, Steven J.; Twardek, William M.; Lennox, Robert J.; Zolderdo, Aaron J.; Bower, Shannon D.; Gutowsky, Lee F. G.; Danylchuk, Andy J.; Arlinghaus, Robert; Beard, Douglas
Cooke SJ, Twardek WM, Lennox RJ, et al. The nexus of fun and nutrition: Recreational fishing is also about food. Fish Fish. 2017;00:1–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12246

Year Published: 2017

Defining ecological drought for the 21st century

No abstract available.

Crausbay, Shelley D.; Ramirez, Aaron R.; Carter, Shawn L.; Cross, Molly S.; Hall, Kimberly R.; Bathke, Deborah J.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Colt, Steve; Cravens, Amanda E.; Dalton, Melinda S.; Dunham, Jason B.; Hay, Lauren E.; Hayes, Michael J.; McEvoy, Jamie; McNutt, Chad A.; Moritz, Max A.; Nislow, Keith H.; Raheem, Nejem; Sanford, Todd
Crausbay, S.D., A.R. Ramirez, S.L. Carter, M.S. Cross, K.R. Hall, D.J. Bathke, J.L. Betancourt, S. Colt, A.E. Cravens, M.S. Dalton, J.B. Dunham, L.E. Hay, M.J. Hayes, J. McEvoy, C.A. McNutt, M.A. Moritz, K.H. Nislow, N. Raheem, and T. Sanford, 0: Defining ecological drought for the 21st century. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 0, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0292.1

Year Published: 2017

Snow and ice: Chapter 3

Temperature and precipitation are key determinants of snowpack levels. Therefore, climate change is likely to affect the role of snow and ice in the landscapes and hydrology of the Chugach National Forest region.Downscaled climate projections developed by Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP) are useful for examining projected...

Hayward, Gregory D.; Colt, Steve; McTeague, Monica L.; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Littell, Jeremy; McAfee, Stephanie A.; O'Neel, Shad; Sass, Louis C.; Burgess, Evan; Colt, Steve; Clark, Paul
Littell, JS, S McAfee, S O'Neel, L Sass, E Burgess, S Colt, and P Clark. 2017. Chapter 3: Snow and Ice. In Hayward, GD, S Colt, ML McTeague, and TN Hollingsowrth, eds. 2017. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai Peninsula. US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station General Technical Report PNW-GTR-950

Year Published: 2017

Global synthesis of the documented and projected effects of climate change on inland fishes

Although climate change is an important factor affecting inland fishes globally, a comprehensive review of how climate change has impacted and will continue to impact inland fishes worldwide does not currently exist. We conducted an extensive, systematic primary literature review to identify English-language, peer-reviewed journal publications...

Myers, Bonnie; Lynch, Abigail; Bunnell, David B.; Chu, Cindy ; Falke, Jeffrey A.; Kovach, Ryan; Krabbenhoft, Trevor J. ; Kwak, Thomas J.; Paukert, Craig P.
Myers, B.J.E., Lynch, A.J., Bunnell, D.B. et al. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries (2017) 27: 339. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-017-9476-z

Year Published: 2017

U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2016

Introduction2016 was an exciting year for the Department of the Interior (DOI) Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC). In recognition of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and provide the scientific data and tools needed to address the impacts of climate...

Weiskopf, Sarah R.; Varela Minder, Elda; Padgett, Holly A.
Weiskopf, S.R., Varela Minder, Elda, and Padgett, H.A., 2017, U.S. Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers and U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center—Annual report for 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1033, 12 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171033.

The images below show examples of the types of wildlife, habitats, and landscapes our researchers are studying. Our projects help resource managers and decision-makers protect these important animals and places. Learn more about our work and the ways that climate change will impact wildife and ecosystems by browsing through our website or checking out our library of webinar recordings.

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Filter Total Items: 103
View of snow covered mountains in Alaska
December 31, 2019

View South from Wolverine Glacier

View South from Wolverine Glacier

A photo of Chattanooga River in North Carolina.
December 31, 2018

Chattanooga River in North Carolina

A photo of Chattanooga River in North Carolina

Lauren Flynn measures a trout.
December 31, 2018

Lauren Flynn

Lauren Flynn measures a trout.

View of Glacier capped mountains - Nellie Juan Glacier
December 31, 2018

View of Nellie Juan Glacier from Wolverine Glacier

View of Nellie Juan Glacier from Wolverine Glacier

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

USGS researcher Erich Peitzsch holds a tree cross section to look for irregular rings.

View of glacier capped mountains taken from a helicopter
December 31, 2018

View from Wolverine Glacier from Helicopter

View from Wolverine Glacier from Helicopter

UAS undergraduate student Mckenzie Wilson examines a cross section.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

UAS undergraduate student Mckenzie Wilson examines a cross section.

A windblown stand of hemlock trees at the Wolverine Glacier field site
December 31, 2018

A windblown stand of hemlock trees at the Wolverine Glacier field site

A windblown stand of hemlock trees at the Wolverine Glacier field site

AK CASC and USGS researchers select a field site.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

AK CASC and USGS researchers select a field site.

View of lake west of Wolverine Glacier
December 31, 2018

View West from Wolverine Glacier

View West from Wolverine Glacier

Researchers examine tree rings for anomalies.
December 31, 2018

Tree ring research in Alaska

Researchers examine tree rings for anomalies.

A patch of mountain hemlock in an alpine meadow
December 31, 2018

Mountain Hemlock in Alaska

Mountain Hemlock in Alaska

Check out our news and announcements to stay up-to-date on webinars, events, publications, funding opportunities, and other items of interest.

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Filter Total Items: 206
Date published: March 20, 2019

Planning for Wildfire: Jeremy Littell and the Alaska CASC Highlight Solutions in Two New Publications

Two new publications, funded by U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska CASC, highlight the importance of understanding wildfire, what causes it as well as its effects on ecosystems. Solutions include modeling to create predictions of wildfire events.

Date published: March 6, 2019

Wildfire risk in California no longer coupled to winter precipitation

Recent large fires in California may be harbingers of things to come.

Date published: February 11, 2019

New Scale to Characterize Strength and Impacts of Atmospheric River Storms

A team of researchers has created a scale to characterize the strength and impacts of “atmospheric rivers,” long narrow bands of atmospheric water vapor pushed along by strong winds.

Date published: February 8, 2019

New Research Examines Possible Refugia from Drought and Insects in the Northwest

Northwest forests are plagued by drought and insects. However, refugia from these stresses were discovered in Oregon and new NCASC funded research discusses how these locations resist such disturbances.

Date published: January 28, 2019

Apply for the 2019 Science to Action Fellowship!

The National Climate Adaptation Science Center will be accepting Statements of Interest for the 2019 Science to Action Fellowship through February 8, 2019.

Date published: December 21, 2018

Upcoming Webinar: Evaluating Playa Wetland Vulnerability in Future Climates

Climate change threatens playa ecosystems. Research was conducted to evaluate responses of playa plant communities and soil processes to changing precipitation and temperature. Some factors may not be affected but social perceptions may limit adaptability.

Date published: December 11, 2018

Four Questions: How Ecologists Transform Research Into Change

Inspired by the impact of biomedical research on clinical outcomes, ecologists are strengthening ties with stakeholders to inform environmental management and policy decisions.

Date published: November 28, 2018

Climate Change Adaptation for Wildlife Managers: A Hands-on Workbook Process

The Northeast CASC and partners collaborated on a Climate Change Adaptation for Wildlife Managers workshop for January 2019. Here, wildlife managers will learn about adaptation action development for effects of climate change on wildlife in the Midwest.

Date published: November 26, 2018

Practitioners Gather to Build Integrated Climate Adaptation Network in the Southwest

Adaptation and assessment practitioners gathered at the inaugural Southwest Adaptation Forum (SWAF) in October 2018, to identify shared challenges, lessons learned, and opportunities for future collaboration.

Learn more about our research projects and initiatives by contacting us or checking out our various social media pages! 

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