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Modeling the Effects of Climate Change on Wetlands in the Pacific Northwest

Extended Monitoring and Modeling of Climate Change Effects on Pacific Northwest Wetlands

Dates

Start Date
2012-09-21
End Date
2014-12-20
Release Date
2012

Summary

Wetlands provide critical services to natural and human communities alike, forming important wildlife habitat, storing and filtering water, sequestering carbon, and offering opportunities for recreation. Unfortunately, not only are these valuable ecosystems understudied compared to others, but they are also among the most sensitive to climate change. Climate change threatens wetlands by altering temperature and precipitation, which cause changes in water level and water temperature. Due to this threat, the international community and domestic agencies alike have highlighted the need to better understand wetlands in the face of climate change, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to the Ramsar Convention, to the National [...]

Child Items (4)

Contacts

Attached Files

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CranePrairieReservoir_Marshland_May2016_RuthJacobs_USGS.jpg
“Marshland - Credit: Ruth Jacobs, USGS”
thumbnail 1.37 MB

Purpose

Wetlands are widely recognized as important ecosystems that provide critical services for natural communities and human society, including nutrient cycling, wildlife habitat and provisioning, water storage and filtration, carbon sequestration, and agriculture and recreation. Wetlands challenge our current scientific capacity because of their sheer number, their wide range of sizes, and their dynamic nature. As a result, wetlands are understudied compared to other ecosystem types. However, wetlands are thought to be among the most sensitive ecosystems to climate change, so the lack of dedicated scientific resources has accelerating consequences going forward. Our goal in this project was to address the deficiency in wetland resources by developing new approaches and technical tools to better understand wetlands in general and to more effectively manage and conserve wetlands under a changing climate. By focusing our efforts on a range of wetland types, our goal was to better characterize landscape-scale climate change impacts to wetlands across the Pacific Northwest region in support of ongoing assessment and adaptation efforts. Our approach was designed in collaboration with natural resource managers, and involved three methodological advances. First, using remote sensing approaches, we developed new methods for mapping wetlands and reconstructing historical wetland hydrologic dynamics. Second, we used the Variable Infiltration Capacity model, a regional-scale hydrologic model, to hindcast historical wetland dynamics and project the future impacts of climate change on wetlands. Third, we linked these approaches with ecological data to evaluate the impacts and risk of climate change to several classes of wetlands across three ecoregions of Washington state. In the process we developed or collected multiple new datasets on wetland distributions, dynamics, and species occupancy. This work has broad societal value in deepening our understanding of wetland dynamics over time; creating new tools that enable better management and conservation of wetlands and the ecological services that they provide; and enriching conservation and climate adaptation planning efforts with resource and evidence-based decision power.

Project Extension

projectStatusCompleted

Budget Extension

annualBudgets
year2012
totalFunds136000.0
year2013
totalFunds142546.0
totalFunds278546.0

Additional Information

Expando Extension

object
agendas
themes
number1
nameClimate Science & Modeling
options
number2
nameResponse of Physical Systems to Climate Change
options
atrue
number3
nameResponse of Biological Systems to Climate Change
options
atrue
number4
nameVulnerability and Adaptation
options
atrue
number5
nameMonitoring and Observation Systems
options
number6
nameData, Infrastructure, Analysis, and Modeling
options
number7
nameCommunication of Science Findings
options
btrue
nameNorthwest CSC Agenda
urlhttp://www.doi.gov/csc/northwest/upload/NW-CSC-Science-Agenda-2012-2015.pdf

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