Conservation in a Changing Climate
Office of External Affairs


Archived Updates

September 2015
July 2015
May 2015
March 2015
January 2015
October 2014
September 2014
July 2014
May 2014

March 2014
January 2014


Tools and Resources

NCTC climate change resources: NCTC is consolidating climate change related training opportunities for FWS staff. The NCTC Climate Change Resource Library also provides selected citations to journal articles, documents, reports, and websites.

Updated digital maps are now available that show changes to Coastal Barrier Resource System in five states.

New Interactive Mapping Tool: The Service recently announced the completion of the National Wetlands Database and interactive mapping tool, that integrates digital map data with other resource information to produce timely and relevant management and decision support tools.

USGS National Climate Change Viewer (NCCV): This Viewer includes the historical and future climate projections from 30 downscaled models for two of the recent emission scenarios used by the IPCC.



Climate Change Update

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Climate Change Update newsletter allows our staff to share success stories, identify key resources, and stay up-to-date about our agency's climate change response.

The National Climate Team and scientists from across the Service are working together to develop this newsletter, and we welcome your input. Please contact Kate Freund to help provide content for future editions. You can explore past issues through the links at left.

December 2015 Issue

Climate Change in the News

International Climate Change Talks in Paris Continue

International climate change negotiations began on November 30 in Paris. A strong deal has the potential to transform the global energy economy and help avert the worst effects of climate change on communities and natural resources.

Read President Obama's remarks calling for a "long-term strategy that gives the world confidence in a low-carbon future."

Read Director Dan Ashe's recent message on the Paris talks, and the Service's ongoing climate change response.

A Landscape Approach to Conservation

National Academy of Sciences releases LCC review

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its Review of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives on December 3, 2015, which concludes that a landscape approach is needed to meet the nation's conservation challenge and that the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) provide a framework for addressing that need. The report was conducted at the request of Congress. 

Several climate-related projects were recognized in the NAS report including the Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment and the Southwest Climate Summit. The LCC Network looks forward to conducting a deeper analysis of the Academy's review to continue to advance the LCCs and LCC Network and demonstrate benefits to stakeholders and the nation. Contact Laura MacLean for more information. 

Enhancing Conservation across the Gulf

New Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment released

Released on November 12, a new vulnerability assessment of the U.S. portion of the Gulf of Mexico will help enhance conservation and restoration planning by providing a better understanding of the effects that climate change, sea level rise and urbanization will have on four key ecosystems-mangroves, tidal emergent marshes, oyster reefs and barrier islands-and 11 species that depend on them. The tidal emergent marsh system and Kemp's Ridley sea turtle were found to be most vulnerable. 

The GCVA was initiated by the four LCCs that span the Gulf of Mexico with support from the Service, NOAA, USGS, the Northern Gulf Institute, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Learn more about the Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment or contact Cynthia Edwards, Gulf Coast Prairie LCC, for more information.

Seeking Carbon Neutrality One Building at Time

FWS buildings win prestigious sustainability awards

In October, two FWS teams were honored as winners of 2015 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards for deploying cutting-edge practices that significantly cut carbon pollution, protect the environment, reduce energy costs and implement innovative practices and technologies. The winning teams rehabilitated the Northeast Regional Office Building in Hadley, Massachusetts, in conjunction with the GSA and the building owner, and designed and constructed the Corn Creek Administrative Office and Visitor Center at Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The LEED gold-rated Region 5 building includes a 108 kW solar PV system --the largest renewable energy system on a building fully occupied by the Service -- as well as two pollinator gardens, innovative HVAC systems, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow fixtures, superinsulation and low-emitting materials.  The new high-performance LEED Platinum-certified Visitor Center at the Corn Creek Field Station is net-zero energy use with a 91.5 kW solar PV power system and state-of-the-art sustainable design techniques and technologies. For more information, please contact David Guthrie.

Visualizing Threats to Rare Hawaiian Birds

Climate change could make current habitat unlivable

A new study suggests that rare Hawaiian forest birds, long threatened by disease and habitat loss, are being further threatened by climate change. Rising temperatures are allowing mosquitoes to carry deadly avian malaria into high elevation habitats, threatening large-scale range collapse.

Scientists from the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey provided detailed range projections for the remaining native forest bird species in Hawai?i. Results indicate that many species may lose 75% or more of their current livable habitat this century.

These findings suggest what may happen if we do nothing to address the primary drivers of decline: disease spreading uphill into the few remaining refuges. Authors argue that ongoing conservation and restoration actions must be paired with new methods to deal with avian malaria and the spread of mosquitos. For more information, contact Adam Vorsino.

Exploring Local Adaptation Approaches in MA

New fish and wildlife climate action tool released

How will climate change impact fish, wildlife, and habitats in Massachusetts? What measures can be taken today to protect these natural resources into the future? Designed to help decision makers in Massachusetts act strategically in the face of climate change, a new Climate Action tool provides adaptation information that can be applied broadly to other geographies and offers a model for empowering diverse stakeholders to take part in responding to climate threats.

Developed by a team of experts from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Northeast Climate Science Center, and the USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, thetool incorporates the best available information on the vulnerability of natural resources to climate change, including science sponsored by the North Atlantic and Appalachian LCCs. To learn more, contact Bridget Macdonald.

Refuge Coastal Planning with SLAMM

Applications of the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model

The high value of coastal refuges along with their geographic and topographic vulnerability calls for planning for sea-level rise on the Refuge System. A new article entitled Coastal Planning on the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System with the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) explores what the Refuge System has done thus far with regard to sea-level rise planning. 

Due to its prominence in wildlife-oriented sea-level rise planning, the focus is on the Refuge System's use of SLAMM and includes historical and technical overviews of SLAMM; its application to comprehensive conservation planning, land acquisition and landscape conservation design; and limitations and suggestions for improving the model. Contact Brian Czech for more information.

New Resources and Announcements:

Climate Adaptation Leadership Award Open

In partnership with an interagency group of federal, state and tribal agencies, the Service recently announceda new  Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources to recognize outstanding leadership to advance the resilience of living natural resources in a changing climate.

Nominations will be accepted until January 8, 2016 - please help us highlight adaptation leaders. For more information, contact Kate Freund.

FWS Climate Academy

The six-month online Climate Academy covers the fundamentals of climate science, provide tools and resources for climate adaptation, and increase climate literacy and communication. The course is open to Service staff and scheduled to begin in January 2016. Registration closes on December 11. 

New LCC Conservation Science Plan Released

The LCC Network released its new Conservation Science Plan 1.0. The plan is the result of a collaborative process that identified common science and technical priorities and practices that transcend individual LCC geographies.

The Plan is organized around seven key themes, including safeguarding natural and cultural resources in a changing climate. For more information, contact Ben Thatcher

National Climate Team Accomplishments

The FWS National Climate Team (NCT) recently completed a FY2014-15 Accomplishments Report, reflecting the many varied tasks the team undertook over the past two years to help advance the Service's response to climate change impacts on trust resources.

Administration's Climate Change Progress Report

The Obama Administration recently released a Progress Report on Climate Change and the Land Sector, highlighting interagency work to better measure emissions and enhance climate mitigation and resilience of natural resources.

Climate Resilient Toolkit

The recently announced Tribal Nations topic of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit highlights tools and case studies of Tribal Nations taking action to improve climate resilience.

October Breaks Records

October 2015 was the warmest on record by a large margin, continuing to put 2015 on track to be the warmest ever recorded. A strong El Niño will also be heavily influencing winter weather.

About this newsletter

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Climate Change Update newsletter allows our staff to share success stories, identify key resources, and stay up-to-date about our agency's climate change response.

Provide Content

The National Climate Team and scientists from across the Service are working together to develop this newsletter, and we welcome your input. Please contact Kate Freund to help provide content for future editions.  

Explore Past Issues 

Past issues of this newsletter are available on the Service's climate change webpage.

Get Additional Help

Do you know who to contact regarding climate change issues? The Service's National Climate Team helps to coordinate the agency's climate change response and serves as a technical resource regarding climate change science and policy. 


Last updated: January 4, 2016

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