Conservation in a Changing Climate
Office of External Affairs


Archived Updates

March 2016
December 2015
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.

June 2016 Issue

Coming Together to Explore Transformational Challenges

1st Service Climate Change Practitioners' Forum Coming in June

The upcoming Forum, scheduled for June 7-10 at NCTC, will bring together staff from across the agency for a dialogue about meeting the Service's mission in the face of the transformational challenge of climate change. 

Participants will hear from both FWS practitioners and external speakers, and come together to address "core questions" regarding climate change adaptation and implications for the Service. 

The desired outcome of the Forum is to develop and recommend a path forward for how our agency can continue to show climate leadership, including specific recommendations to guide action to better prepare our agency for current and future climatic changes. 

For more information, contact Kate Freund or Kurt Johnson.   

Some Forum sessions will be live-streamed and broadcast for remote participants.

View the remote participation schedule and links.

Paris Climate Change Agreement Signed

Highlights and Implications for the Service

At the end of last year, almost 200 nations came together to establish an ambitious and historic agreement to address climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions, now known as the Paris Agreement. The Agreement is widely viewed as an unprecedented step of global collaboration on climate change (read the full text here). The U.S. became one of the first signatories to this historic agreement on Earth Day, 2016.

The National Climate Team (NCT) has prepared a short summary of the Paris Agreement and implications for the Service to help staff step down what this means for our agency. 

The Service can support the Agreement by showing the leadership, commitment, and organizational change needed to meet the challenges of a changing climate. This includes continuing to plan for change, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, promoting carbon sequestration and conserving carbon "sinks," investing in climate-smart adaptation efforts, and ensuring staff have the education and training needed.

For more information, contact Mike Hudson or your NCT member.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from FWS Operations

Sustainability Bulletin Summarizes Service's Performance

In 2009, the Service made a commitment to become carbon neutral in addition to achieving the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and efficiency goals set by legislation, Executive Order and the U.S. Department of the Interior (see our Strategic Plan).  

The Service is on track to achieve, or has already achieved, these GHG reduction goals. Since 2008, the Service has reduced GHG emissions as follows: 

  • 30% reduction in emissions from sources the Service owns or controls such as the fleet and some energy sources ("scope 1 & 2"). The target is 20% reduction by FY 2020.
  • 27% reduction in emissions from sources the Service does not own or cannot directly control, such as employee commuting ("scope 3").  The target is 9% reduction by FY 2020.   

This Sustainability Bulletin provides an overview of the Service's performance in reducing GHG emissions since 2008, and identifies some planned activities for FY 2016.

For more information, contact Andrea McLaughlin.

Consequences of Projected Climate Changes for Puerto Rico

Study Projects Increasing Energy Demands, Drought and Shifts in Ecological Life Zones

A Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) research team recently published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology a  study that explores the implications of various climate change projections and presents maps of potential future temperature and rainfall scenarios for Puerto Rico.

The implications vary depending on which climate models and emission scenarios are used, but all show significant increases in temperatures and decreasing rainfall by the end of the century.  Based on the assumptions of the study and underlying climate models, the results show temperatures increasing from 4.6 °C to 9 °C (8 °F to 16 °F), and rainfall decreasing up to 50% by the end of the century.

The study details how these changes interact with the topography of the island and shows trends of increasing cooling degree days, increasing annual number of days without rain, and shifting ecological life zones as temperature and rainfall patterns change over the next century.

View and download the full publication, data, maps and spatial layers using the CLCC Interactive Map.

Coastal Resiliency in Alaska

At the Edge of North America, a New Model for Climate Adaptation

Throughout Alaska, residents in remote coastal communities are experiencing significant impacts from climate change, including damage to homes and other infrastructure. In addition, changes in fish and wildlife abundance, distribution, migration patterns, and environmental conditions have impacted how and when people can hunt and gather the foods upon which they depend.

Resource managers are challenged to accomplish their missions under the increasingly dynamic conditions and can benefit from the first-hand experiences and knowledge of those living in this changing environment. The shared challenges united a diverse group of a dozen agencies and 16 Alaska Native Tribes the week of May 16th in Nome, Alaska as they collaborated to come up with integrated solutions.

The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands, Arctic, and Western Alaska LCCs, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, and other local partners hosted the first of four workshops to share knowledge, and build local and regional coastal resilience and adaptation strategies.  

Read more about the Alaska Coastal Resiliency Workshop.

Stay up to date on the latest news and announcements from the five LCCs within Alaska and Northern Canada and the Alaska Climate Science Center at their new, joint website Northern Latitudes.

Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy

Sharing the Vision and Telling the Story

The dramatic changes sweeping the Southeastern U.S. - such as urbanization, competition for water resources, extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and climate change - pose unprecedented challenges for sustaining natural and cultural resources. 

However, they also offer a clear opportunity to unite the conservation community around a shared, long-term vision for the future. The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is that vision.

The new SECAS website created by six LCCs, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, and the Service is now live. Visit the site to learn about the SECAS Blueprint for the Southeast and Caribbean, find out how you can get involved in the planning process, and explore a story map of landscape conservation in action.

Visit the SECAS site.

Connecting the Connecticut

Partners Create Science-based Blueprint for Conserving New England's Largest River System

Using the best available science and information from the North Atlantic LCC, a team of more than 20 partners representing state and federal agencies, academic institutions, and private organizations spent more than a year creating a conservation "design" for the Connecticut River watershed. Outlining a network of core areas, or intact, connected and resilient places within the watershed, the design serves as a roadmap for conservation.

The effort featured an innovative modeling approach developed by the Designing Sustainable Landscapes Project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and it also includes a variety of datasets and tools individuals and communities can use to make informed decisions about conservation, planning, and development in the watershed. 

These resources can help address questions related to land use and management, such as: where will climate change and sea level rise place the most stress on the landscape and where is development most likely to occur in the coming decades.

Visit the Connect the Connecticut website.


Setting Temperature Records

April was the 12th consecutive month breaking a global temperature record, which is the longest such streak in NOAA's 137-year climate record. During the first third of 2016, January-April, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 4.0°F above the 20th-century average, making this period the second warmest on record.

Check out a visually compelling graphic illustrating global temperature change from January 1850 to March 2016.

Training Opportunities:

Upcoming NCTC Climate Change Courses - Register Now

Climate-Smart Conservation with Scenario Planning (ALC3187) - July 11-15, 2016

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (ALC3184) - Aug. 23-25, 2016

Climate Academy ONLINE (ALC3193) - Jan.-May 2017 / registration closes Oct. 28, 2016 

Decision Analysis in a Changing Climate ONLINE (ALC3192) - Jan.-March 2017 

Reports & Announcements:

National Wetlands Inventory Mapper 2.0

The Service rolled out a greatly improved National Wetlands Inventory mapper on May 26, which will allow the public and diverse partners from industry; state, federal and local governments; and conservation groups to better understand and sustainably manage the nation's wetlands.

The upgrade represents a dramatic improvement in the Service's ability to measure potential impacts to wetlands, track contaminants, and identify wildlife habitats and corridors. The latter is key to addressing wildlife impacts of climate change.

View the NWI 2.0 dataset.

Check out the new Wetlands Mapper.

Navigating Sea-level Rise Models

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative has released Keeping Pace: A short guide to navigating SLR models, a quick guide that walks decision-makers, community planners, resource managers through the importance of model selection and some "need to know" concepts.

White House Plan for Long-term Drought Resilience

In March 2016, President Obama issued a Memorandum and a Federal Action Plan on building national capabilities for long-term drought resilience. Currently, much of the West is facing severe to exceptional drought.

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: June 21, 2016

Contact Us

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page | Department of the Interior  |  | About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  | Accessibility  | Privacy  | Notices  | Disclaimer  | FOIA | DOI Inspector General