Conservation in a Changing Climate
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Archived Updates

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.

March 2015 Issue

Federal Agency Adaptation

New CRS report surveys climate change plans

A new report from the Congressional Research Service entitled Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies was released in February 2015, describing government agency plans to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The report surveys the range of agency responses, including those of the Service and the Department of the Interior, and identifies common approaches among agencies, examples of specific actions, wide-ranging vulnerabilities, and notable barriers to adaptation.

Organizations in a Changing Climate

Are they configured for effective adaptation?

"Conservation organizations must adapt to respond to the ecological impacts of global change." Thus begins a newFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment paper that suggests public agencies such as the Fish and Wildlife Service and other conservation organizations need to examine whether changes in organizational structure are necessary to adapt to changing environmental conditions.  The paper includes new hypotheses and examples of how the configuration of different organizations can enable them to protect particular conservation targets and manage for biophysical changes. The paper also includes a discussion resource to help organizations assess their capacity to adapt. For more information contact Nancy Green.

SW Alaska Glaciers Rapidly Disappearing

Over a 50-year period, 50 percent of their area was lost

Researchers from the Service and Northern Arizona University recently reported that 10 of 109 glaciers of the Ahklun Mountains originally mapped by USGS in the 1970s have completely disappeared. Aerial photographs and satellite images from 1957, 1984 and 2009 showed that the glaciers have lost about 50 percent of their area.

Glaciers respond sensitively to climate and often provide the most striking and irrefutable evidence of climatic change. At this rate of melting all of the glaciers in the Ahklun Mountains will be gone by the end of this century. For more information read the full Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management article or contact Patrick Walsh.

Examining Climate Change Effects on Contaminants, Nutrients

New study looks at interactive effects of climate change

Rising temperatures, more intense storms, droughts, and sea level rise are changing the way contaminants and nutrients interact with the environment, exacerbating existing stressors and leading to serious consequences for ecosystems and organisms. A collaborative new study supported by the North Atlantic LCC examined the interactive effects of climate change on eutrophication, freshwater acidification, and mercury contamination, focusing on threats to freshwater mussels, amphibians, and birds. 

By combining the known impacts from contaminants and nutrients with documented and predicted changes in climate, the scientists identified imminent risks and research needs in the Northeast region. For more information read the fullIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management articleor contact Fred Pinkney.  

Planning for a Changing Appalachia

Assessing implications of potential energy development

As wind, natural gas and oil expands along with coal development in the Appalachian region, there is an increasing need for research on how to meet energy needs while sustaining healthy natural systems and the communities that depend on them. The Appalachian LCC recently funded a grant to assess current and future energy development potential across the region and inform regional and local landscape planning decisions.

The assessment modeled data on wind, natural gas, and coal development trends and identifies where these may intersect with important natural resources and services, such as intact forests, vital watersheds, and biodiversity. Results have been integrated into a web-based map tool to help decision makers and industry effectively avoid, minimize, and offset impacts from energy development. For more information, contact Cal Dubrock at

  • An upcoming webinar (March 23, 3:00 pm Eastern) will present key findings and the applicability of the online mapping tool for conservation planning.

Visualizing Alternative Futures for Florida

Climate change incorporated into statewide scenarios

The State of Florida faces complex conservation challenges with far-reaching implications including urbanization, rapid population growth, sea level rise, and habitat fragmentation, degradation or destruction. From 2008-2011, the Service worked closely with USGS, GeoAdaptive Inc., and GeoDesign Inc. and developed scenarios for the southern half of Florida.  From 2012-2014, the Peninsular Florida LCCmodified those scenarios and developed the Statewide Conservation Scenarios Project, in order to illustrate interactions between climate change, human population change, and conservation strategies and resources.

The scenarios generated help managers visualize land cover conditions of three alternative futures for the state in 2020, 2040 and 2060. Simulations were integrated into a spatial decision support system, allowing interested stakeholders to evaluate conservation strategies at landscape to local scales. The scenarios are currently informing a statewide impact assessment and the development of a landscape conservation design for Florida. For more information contact Steve Traxler.

New Opportunities:

Upcoming Webinar

Vulnerability of Pteropods in the California Current
Presented by Dr. Nina Bednarsek, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

When: March 19, 2015
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Learn more & register here

Upcoming Webinar

The President's Priority Agenda on Climate Change
Hear from the Service's Climate Change Policy Advisor Mark Shaffer and CEQ

When: March 25, 2015
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT

Learn more & register here

New Data Portal:

BLM's REAs online

The BLM has announced the new REA Data Portal, making available all of the data, models and other products used in creating the Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs). The Data Portal provides a wealth of geospatially referenced information on conditions, conservation targets and change agents in the western United States.

Climate Resilience Toolkit:

The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens, communities, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government.

Climate Change Classes:

Earlier this month, the Climate-Smart Conservation and Scenario Planning Toward Climate Change Adaptation courses were combined into a one-week delivery in Honolulu, Hawai'i. Classes were sponsored by the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative. 

Contact Dave Lemarie about hosting a similar combined course in your Region.

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.




Last updated: April 10, 2015

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