Climate Change
Southeast Region

We are taking action --


The US Fish and Wildlife Service's latest action to address Climate Change --

Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

Rising to the Challenge -- Strategic Plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate Change

ATLANTA, Ga. -- On coastal North Carolina's federal wildlife refuges, shorelines are receding and barrier islands are narrowing.

In the Florida Keys, the sooty tern, a sea bird, is showing up to breed four to six months earlier than usual.

Inland, invasive plants such as Alligator Weed are crowding out more desireable food for ducks and geese on refuges in Tennessee and northern Alabama.

These signs, and many others, are consistent with the science on global warming. And the climate models predict far worse, including the extinction of 20 to 30 percent of the world's species by the end of this century.

As part of the Interior Department’s commitment to building a coordinated strategy to respond to the impacts of accelerating climate change on the nation’s natural resources and safeguard the nation’s fish and wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is today releasing a draft strategic plan that will guide its efforts to respond to the unprecedented threat posed by global warming. Learn more . . .



The Service's carbon sequestration program and an opportunity for conservationists --

In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a new partnership with The Conservation Fund and its Go ZeroSM initiative that gives individuals and organizations a way to offset carbon emissions by working with the Service to plant native trees on refuges. It’s a voluntary, non-regulatory program to reduce carbon emissions. To learn more about this program, you can visit and calculate your carbon footprint.

The Go ZeroSM partnership is the latest development in the Service’s growing carbon sequestration effort. Over the past 10 years, the Service has worked with more than two dozen utility companies and energy partnerships to restore native habitat mostly in the Lower Mississippi Valley though this effort is expanding across the country on the Service's national widlife refuge lands. In the process, the agreements have led to the addition of 40,000 acres of land to the refuge system and the restoration of a total of roughly 80,000 acres of restored native habitat. So far, more than 22 million trees have been planted and they are expected to sequester more than 33 million tons of carbon over the life of the agreements – typically 99 years. In most cases, these companies donate the land to the Service working with conservation land trusts and the companies reserve the right to report those carbon values. To learn more about these partnerships to restore vital native wildlife habitat, read on.


On-going Sea-level Rise Analysis

Our National Wildlife Refuge System is conducting SLAMM analyses at each of its 67 coastal refuges over the next three years.

Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge Report -- 2008

Data Report on SLAMM Model Results for Ten National Wildlife Refuges in South Carolina and Georgia: Wassaw NWR, Georgia -- February 2008

Data Report on SLAMM Model Results for Ten National Wildlife Refuges in South Carolina and Georgia: Wolf Island NWR, Georgia -- February 2008


Check out the Service's latest Podcast on its carbon work --

The Service's Southeast Region more than a decade ago launched an innovative carbon sequestration program working with energy companies. The agency's biologists were looking for creative ways to restore native wildlife habitats across the Lower Mississippi Valley, which once was home to nearly 25 million acres of bottomland hardwood and now holds roughly five million acres. Today, working with our partners we've added 40,000 acres of land to our National Wildlife Refuge System, restored a total of 80,000 acres. We get the wildlife habitat and our partners reserve the carbon credits. It's a win-win and Pete Jerome is among our leaders on this issue and one of several working to expand this work and these partnerships across the country.

Refuge Supervisor, Audio iconPete Jerome, talks about Carbon Sequestration in the southeast, the 80,000 acres of trees that have been planted and 40,000 acres of land that has been acquired as part of this innovative, effective conservation tool. Interview by Tom MacKenzie and Elsie Davis, USFWS, 10 minutes.

Last updated: April 14, 2010