Climate Change Update
Climate Change Update is distributed bimonthly to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and partners to provide information and news related to the Service's strategic response to accelerating climate change. Please send related stories and announcements to Ann_Froschauer@fws.gov David_Eisenhauer@fws.gov
Building for the Future
In the face of a changing climate and other landscape-scale stressors, Refuge Manager Bill Radke knows the future is now for threatened habitats in the Southwest. Learn more.
Collaborative Project Helps Address Climate Change Effects on T&E Species
Climate envelope models are an important tool used in vulnerability assessments to help resource managers understand how plants and animals may respond to a changing climate. A collaborative project among the University of Florida, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Park Service incorporates habitat data and other kinds of information into the models to refine projections for future distributions of threatened and endangered species. Learn more. For additional information, click here.
FWS Proposes ESA Protections for Wolverines
Extensive climate modeling indicates that the wolverine’s snowpack habitat will be greatly reduced and fragmented in the coming years due to climate warming, thereby threatening the species with extinction. Learn more.
FWS Polar Bear ESA-Listing Decision Upheld
On March 1, a federal court rejected a challenge to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2008 decision to classify polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, a decision based largely on actual and projected effects of declining Arctic sea ice on polar bear populations. Learn more.
Coral Reefs As We Know Them May Disappear Within 50-70 Years
Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative-funded research by Dr. Ruben van Hooidonk and co-workers, published in Nature Climate Change, uses state-of-the-art climate models to project that ocean temperatures will soon be too warm to sustain coral reefs as we know them today. Learn more.
NCTC Offers Course on Scenario Planning Toward Climate Change Adaptation
The National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) will offer the pilot class July 15-19, 2013. Scenario planning is a valuable decision support method for integrating irreducible and uncontrollable uncertainties into climate change adaptation and other natural resource management planning. Learn more.
NCTC Offers a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Course
NCTC is offering a course August 27-29, 2013 that will guide conservation and resource management practitioners through vulnerability assessments—a critical tool in undertaking any climate change planning or implementation. An additional class is being offered in Wells, Maine for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, September 10-12, 2013. Learn more.
California LCC Highlighted in February 2013 Issue of Estuary News
The publication looks at ways the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, one of 22 such partnerships that comprise the LCC network, is helping scientists and resource managers prepare for and address climate change and other landscape-scale stressors in the region. Learn more.
Conserving Species at Landscape Scales
To ensure sustainable populations of fish and wildlife in the face of climate change and other pressures and uncertainties, the Service has developed draft technical guidance to help employees and partners achieve measurable species and conservation goals at broad scales using the Strategic Habitat Conservation framework. The guidance describes a standard process and criteria for defining these goals using a surrogate species approach, reducing the burden of addressing the requirements of many species individually. Learn more and comment on the draft guidance (comment deadline March 29, 2013).
OTHER FEDERAL AGENCY NEWS
DOI Releases First Climate Change Adaptation Plan
The Department of the Interior has released its 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan. For the first time, this plan also includes the Department's Climate Change Adaptation Plan for FY 2013, which outlines initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of Interior’s programs, assets, and investments to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise or more frequent or severe extreme weather. Learn more and submit comments by April 12, 2013 at email@example.com
Climate Change Set to Batter U.S. Agriculture, Forests
Climate change is likely to transform U.S. agriculture by mid-century, reducing yields of many staple crops and the productivity of livestock operations, according to a new analysis by the Agriculture Department. Learn more.
U.S. Forest Service Releases Analysis of Watershed Vulnerability
A report detailing innovative approaches to assessing the relative vulnerability of water resources to climate change on National Forests is now available. Learn more.
NOAA Issues Regional Climate Trends and Scenarios Report
This report consists of a series of regional climate descriptions designed to provide input that can be used in the development of the National Climate Assessment (NCA). There are nine reports, one each for eight regions defined by the NCA and one for the contiguous U.S., that describe regional historical climate conditions in the region, and projections of possible future climate conditions based on IPCC scenarios. Learn more.
National Wildlife Federation Issues Report on Wildlife in a Warming World
This report summarizes the effects of climate change to wildlife with case studies from the continental U.S. and the Arctic. Learn more.
Polar Bear Researchers Urge Action to Save Species
A University of Alberta polar bear researcher and 11 international co-authors are urging governments to start planning for rapid Arctic ecosystem change to deal with a climate change catastrophe for the animals. Learn more.
Survey: More Americans 'Alarmed' About Climate Change
The latest Global Warming's Six Americas report shows the "alarmed" category has increased from 10 percent of the American adult population in 2010 to 16 percent in 2012. At the same time, the "dismissive" category has decreased in size, from 16 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2012. Learn more.
Ending the Silence on Climate Change
Remember climate change? Journalist Bill Moyers and Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, discuss the challenge of getting people to talk about climate change (Jan. 7, 2013). View the video.
Climate Change Threatens Iconic Plant in Hawaii.
While the iconic Haleakalā silversword plant made a strong recovery from early 20th-century threats, it has now entered a period of substantial climate-related decline. New research funded and facilitated by the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warns that global warming may have severe consequences for the silversword in its native habitat. Learn more.
Climate Change Effect on Plant Communities Is Buffered by Large Herbivores
Maintaining healthy wildlife populations could be important to keeping Arctic plant communities stable in changing climate. Learn more.
Are Hybrid Species Being Created Because of Climate Change?
Pushed north by a warming climate, southern species mate with northern cousins, muddying gene pools and conservation efforts. Learn more.
How Do Corals Survive in the Hottest Reefs on the Planet?
Coral reefs are predicted to decline under the pressure of global warming. However, a number of coral species can survive at seawater temperatures even higher than predicted. Learn more.
Bird Fidelity May Be another Casualty of Climate Change
Researchers are finding that climate change may cause birds that were strictly monogamous to be unfaithful. Learn more.
A Blind Spot in Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments
This paper outlines several areas for improvement in future climate change vulnerability assessments to make them more robust in their accounting for migratory species. Learn more.
Migratory Species Hit Hard By Climate Change
Conservation professionals are working hard to understand how climate change will influence species and to develop strategies to manage the risks, but migratory species pose a particular challenge. Learn more.
RESOURCES AND TOOLS
FWS Climate Change Response
How do partnership efforts such as Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy fit into the Service's overall response to accelerating climate change? How is our agency reducing its carbon footprint? What is our agency doing now to reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife and plants? Learn more .
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
Natural systems and landscapes are impacted by increasing land use pressures and widespread resource threats amplified by a rapidly changing climate. These changes are occurring at an unprecedented pace and scale. By leveraging resources and strategically targeting science to inform conservation decisions and actions, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are a network of partnerships working in unison to ensure the sustainability of America’s land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources. Learn more .
National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy
The National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy will provide a unified approach—reflecting shared principles and science-based practices—for reducing the negative impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants, habitats and associated ecological processes across geographic scales. Learn more .
FWS Climate Change Information Toolkit
A key part of the Service's climate change strategy is to inform FWS staff about the impacts of accelerating climate change and to engage partners and others in seeking collaborative solutions. Through shared knowledge and communication, we can work together to reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. Here are some resources that can help.
Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the National Park Service and with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a kit for use when talking with the public about how climate change is affecting our nation's wildlife and public lands. Learn more .
Safeguarding Wildlife from Climate Change Web Conference Series
The FWS and National Wildlife Federation have developed a series of web conferences to increase communication and transfer of technical information between conservation professionals regarding the growing challenges of climate change. Learn more .
NCTC Climate Change Resource Library
The NCTC Climate Change Resource Library provides selected citations to peer-reviewed journal articles, documents, books, theses, presentations, and Websites on the effect of climate change on North American fish, wildlife and habitats. FWS employees can access the library from InsideFWS.
For more information on how the Service is working with others to conserve the nature of America in a changing climate, visit http://www.fws.gov/home/climatechange/.