USGS Climate Change and Wildlife Program Receives Award for Leadership in Climate Adaptation

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The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers have been awarded honorable mention for the inaugural Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources for their outstanding work in raising awareness and addressing the impacts of climate change on the nation’s valuable natural resources.

RESTON, Va. — The USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers have been awarded honorable mention for the inaugural Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources for their outstanding work in raising awareness and addressing the impacts of climate change on the nation’s valuable natural resources.

“Usable, relevant data and scientifically based information about our future are crucial components of effective decision-making when it comes to ensuring our society and natural resources can adapt to climate change,” said Doug Beard, chief of NCCWSC. “A foundational part of our work at Interior’s Climate Science Centers is ensuring that our scientific findings are usable and directly relevant to natural and cultural resource managers.”

Climate Change and Elk Herds
Climate change may cause elk herds to shift their migration patterns in order to find food. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Armstrong, Oregon State University

The NCCWSC and CSCs collaborate with universities, resource management organizations, tribes and other partners to provide unbiased scientific data and tools that contribute to an understanding of the widespread impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, ecosystems and people. Their science directly addresses on-the-ground, real-time needs of natural and cultural resource managers and human communities, enhancing their capacity for adaptive management in a changing climate.

The eight CSCs, managed by NCCWSC, form a national network and are regionally distributed to best address the local needs of resource managers and decision makers. CSC research projects cover a wide array of climate change-related impacts, including sea-level rise, extreme storms, increased wildfire patterns, invasive species, glacier loss and drought.

Of 47 nominations for the award, seven recipients and seven honorable mentions were recognized for their outstanding leadership in advancing adaptation of the nation’s valuable fish, wildlife and plant resources in a changing climate. The North Central CSC, with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Colorado’s Natural Heritage Program, also won an honorable mention award for their collaborative effort to incorporate an assessment of how key habitat types could be impacted by a changing climate in Colorado’s 2016 State Wildlife Action Plan. In addition, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community won an award for their efforts to address climate risks and, through a Northwest CSC-supported project, examine the potential climate change impacts to important natural and cultural resources and evaluate the associated impacts to community health.

The Climate Adaptation Leadership Award was established as part of the Obama Administration's Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources, which identifies key actions across the federal government to support resilience of America’s vital natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them.

The award is sponsored by the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy’s Joint Implementation Working Group in partnership with the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Resource Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Main photo: Trees killed by drought in California. Photo by Nathan Stephenson, USGS