Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Rick Kearney Appointed as New Assistant Regional Director for Climate Change and Science Applications

Feb 08, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  Contacts: Scott Flaherty, 916-978-6156
February 8, 2010

Pacific Southwest Region Appoints Rick Kearny as New Assistant Regional Director for Climate Change and Science Application

SACRAMENTO--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region today announced the appointment of Rick Kearney as the Region’s Assistant Regional Director for Climate Change and Science Application. 

“Appointing Rick to this new science position reinforces the Service’s commitment to excellence in applying science to all aspects of our conservation programs,” said Regional Director Ren Lohoefener.  “Rick will lead our implementation of climate change initiatives which involves innovative partnerships with federal, state and local governments, universities, tribes, conservation groups and private partners in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin.” 

 The new science position reinforces the role of science in the Service’s conservation programs and is part of Service’s commitment to develop conservation strategies for wildlife resources in response to climate change. 

In September 2009, the Secretary of the Interior announced a new policy that calls for a greater role for science in Department activities related to climate change and closer coordination among Department bureaus and other federal, state, tribal, and non-governmental partners to address climate change impacts on natural and cultural resources.  That same month, the Service unveiled its draft Climate Change Strategic Plan that outlines measures intended to help fish and wildlife populations adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions.  

Among the first steps is the formation of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) that will engage partners to develop adaptation efforts on a landscape scale. Kearney will oversee the development and management of four LCCs in the Pacific Southwest Region: the California LCC, the Great Basin LCC, and the North Pacific LCC and Desert LCC, which will be managed cooperatively with the Service’s Southwest and Pacific Regions.  The LCCs will inform resource management decisions to address stressors—including habitat fragmentation, genetic isolation, spread of invasive species, and water scarcity—all of which are accelerated by climate change. 

Prior to joining the Fish and Wildlife Service, Rick served as the national coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Wildlife Resources program where he provided leadership for wildlife research and technical assistance activities involving more than 250 scientists at USGS science centers and cooperative research units nationwide.  He personally led the USGS-USFWS Science Support Partnership (SSP), Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, and USGS-USFWS Radar Ornithology working group. Rick was instrumental in forming and leading the joint federal-state wild bird avian influenza surveillance program and establishing the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.

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