International Migratory Bird Day 2007

IMBD 2007 Art

Climate Change and the USFWS

Scientific understanding of global climate change is rapidly evolving and improving. Further understanding of changing climate and its role in shaping the distribution and abundance of wildlife will be a crucial element in successful wildlife conservation and management in the years ahead.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is beginning to take important steps to confront the alterations climate change may have on the habitats of many animals, including birds. In partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the USFWS is assessing future changes in water resources throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System so that we can identify and target conservation needs and position ourselves to provide the resources necessary to protect and manage key bird habitats in the face of changing climate. The USFWS expertise in wetlands mapping (National Wetlands Inventory) is being applied to understand how rising sea levels will affect coastal refuges, like J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, one of the world's premier birding destinations. Climate change is also being addressed at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, where sea level rise and coastal subsidence are literally drowning the wetlands that provide crucial habitat to waterfowl. At Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, refuge biologists are working with research scientists to understand the role of climate change in warming salmon streams, drying wetlands, and changing the ecology and frequency of fires. [Learn more about work in Alaska...]

We are also investigating the relationship between warming climate and the potential endangerment of species like the Polar bear which are dependent on sea ice habitat. [Learn more about the polar bear issue...] Together with other partners, such as NWF, The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and Defenders of Wildlife, the USWFS is developing strategies for dealing with the effects that climate change is expected to have on the wildlife and habitats it is entrusted to manage and conserve.

Links to Scientific Information on Climate Change:



For questions about this page, contact Joy Korones at IMBD@fws.gov

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Revised March 9, 2007