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Pollinator restoration requires information about what species to plant and when to plant them to ensure food sources are available throughout the periods when pollinators are active. Changes in climate, including earlier spring warming and warmer fall temperatures, may cause flowering to become out of sync with pollinator activity. When restoring land to support pollinators, managers are challenged to select a mix of species that support pollinators of concern throughout their periods of activity. Existing planting tools have several disadvantages such as, their usability is location specific, they are virtually non-existent for the South Central region, and they do not often account for future changes in plant...
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Climate projections for the southern Great Plains, and elsewhere in the U.S., indicate that a hotter future with changes in precipitation amount and seasonality is to be expected. As plants become stressed from these changes, wildfire risk increases. One of the most valuable approaches to reducing the impacts of wildfires is fuel reduction through prescribed burns. Fuel reduction helps minimize the destruction of ecological communities, threats of future flooding, and extensive damages by lessening the intensity of future wildfires. Although safe burning practices can largely minimize the risks, prescribed burns may bring some degree of concern among practitioners. The real and perceived risks may include bodily...
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In the Western U.S., approximately 65% of the water supply comes from forested regions with most of the water that feeds local rivers coming from snowmelt that originates in mountain forests. The Rio Grande headwaters (I.e. the primary water generating region of the Rio Grande river) is experiencing large changes to the landscape primarily from forest fires and bark beetle infestations. Already, 85% of the coniferous forests in this region have been affected by the bark beetle, and projections indicate greater changes will occur as temperatures increase. In this area, most of the precipitation falls as snow in the winter, reaches a maximum depth in the late spring, and melts away due to warmer temperatures by early...
Future climate projections illuminate our understanding of the climate system and generate data products often used in climate impact assessments. Statistical downscaling (SD) is commonly used to address biases in global climate models (GCM) and to translate large‐scale projected changes to the higher spatial resolutions desired for regional and local scale studies. However, downscaled climate projections are sensitive to method configuration and input data source choices made during the downscaling process that can affect a projection's ultimate suitability for particular impact assessments. Quantifying how changes in inputs or parameters affect SD‐generated projections of precipitation is critical for improving...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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The South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) has worked diligently to build new partnerships between scientists and resource managers to help address the science needs and questions of their stakeholders through actionable science. However, the growth of their stakeholder base and the loss of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives has led to unmet demand for climate “extension services” from stakeholders. This project plans to establish a new scientist position at the South Central CASC focused on climate extension services and research coordination to help discover needed science solutions and to facilitate connections between the researcher and practitioner communities. The Climate Extension...
Advancements in wildfire danger modeling may increase wildfire preparedness, and therefore decrease loss of life, property, and habitat due to wildfire. Recent work by our team has shown wildfire danger models may be improved by incorporating soil moisture information. Still, soil moisture—an important determinant of wildfire risk—is not currently used for wildfire danger assessments because adequate soil moisture information has historically been unavailable. Our project addressed this gap by developing and disseminating improved soil moisture estimates and demonstrating their relevance to wildfire danger assessments. Our objectives were to (1) develop an effective model of soil moisture for the Red River and Rio...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Developing novel solutions to complex problems demands innovative approaches that are inclusive of diverse perspectives from both scientific experts and stakeholders. Across networked communities, like the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC), it can sometimes be challenging to identify and build collaborations among researchers from different disciplines. Particularly at times like the present, during a global pandemic and recovery from its impact, a means to support a diverse, integrated and engaged network is essential for producing innovative outcomes for complex problems relevant to our changing climate. One method to foster more engaged networks is through the use of Exaptive’s Cognitive...
Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA) are fundamental components of carbonate systems that control pH and buffering capacity of a water body. Three coastal marshes with contrasting salinities in Barataria Basin, Louisiana, USA, were sampled five times between December 2018 and October 2019 to understand seasonal changes in porewater carbonate chemistry and its impact on surrounding water bodies. Porewater DIC and TA increased with depth irrespective of marsh type and ranged from 4.47 to 31.61 mmol/kg and from 1.78 to 28.56 mmol/kg, respectively. The salt marsh had higher porewater DIC and TA compared to the lower salinity intermediate and brackish marshes, probably due to sulfate reduction in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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The Rio Grande cutthroat trout is New Mexico’s state fish; but habitat loss and non-native trout invasions threaten the persistence of this fish throughout the remaining 12% of its historic range. Stakeholders, including state agencies, federal agencies, Tribal nations, Pueblos, and private groups are particularly concerned about the impact that non-native brown trout have on native cutthroat trout. This project will be the first to demonstrate how non-native brown trout negatively affect Rio Grande cutthroat trout populations. The project has two primary objectives: 1) compare the health and characteristics of native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout in areas both with and without invasive brown trout in cold and warm...
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The fast pace of change in coastal zones, the trillions of dollars of investment in human communities in coastal areas, and the myriad of ecosystem services natural coastal environments provide makes managing climate-related risks along coasts a massive challenge for all of the U.S. coastal states and territories. Answering questions about both the costs and the benefits of alternative adaptation strategies in the near term is critical to taxpayers, decision-makers, and to the biodiversity of the planet. There is significant public and private interest in using ecosystem based adaptation approaches to conserve critical significant ecosystems in coastal watersheds, estuaries and intertidal zones and to protect man-made...
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Prairies were once widespread across North America, but are now one of the most endangered and least protected ecosystems in the world. Agriculture and residential development have reduced once extensive prairies into a patchwork of remnant prairies and “surrogate” grasslands (e.g., hayfields, planted pastures). Grassland ecosystems and many grassland-dependent birds are also particularly vulnerable to rapid shifts in climate and associated changes in drought and extreme weather. The Central Flyway is a vast bird migration route that comprises more than half of the continental U.S., and extends from Central America to Canada, and harbors the greatest diversity of grassland birds in North America. Throughout this...
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The Ogallala Aquifer lies beneath 111 million acres of land in Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. The aquifer provides water for approximately 1.9 million people and has been instrumental in the development of the robust agriculture economy of the Great Plains region. It is also vitally important to the ecology of the region, serving as a critical source of groundwater and sustaining creeks and streams that would otherwise run dry during periods of water scarcity. However, the various social, economic, and ecological challenges of managing this aquifer are expected to increase with climate change as hotter, drier summers exacerbate already unsustainable water demands....
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Coastal wetlands are some of the most productive and valuable habitats in the world. Louisiana contains 40% of the coastal wetlands in the United States, which provide critical habitat for waterfowl and fisheries, as well as many other benefits, such as storm surge protection for coastal communities. In terms of ecosystem services, biological resource production, and infrastructure investments, the value of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands exceeds $100 billion. Thus, stakeholders are gravely concerned about sea-level rise which is causing coastal marsh habitat to convert to open water and resulting in the highest rates of wetland loss in the world, with nearly 1.2 million acres lost since the 1930s. This concern has...
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Water management in the middle portion of the Rio Grande Basin (between Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico and Presidio, Texas) is challenging because water demand has continued to increase over time despite limited river water and dropping groundwater levels. While urban and agricultural users can cope with frequent droughts by using a combination of river water and pumping groundwater, little to no water reaches living river ecosystems in this region. Improving this situation requires a good understanding of river water and groundwater availability, now and in the future, as well as advantages and disadvantages of water management options to sustain these ecosystems. In particular, there is a need to determine...
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Freshwater mussels are an important component of freshwater ecosystems. They can filter a large amount of water, affecting both water clarity and water chemistry. Their shells provide physical habitat for other organisms, they re-direct necessary nutrients to the bottom of the water column, and their excreted material can enhance the growth of algae and macroinvertebrates. However, dramatic declines of freshwater mussels have occurred due to habitat loss, destruction and modification, pollution, and invasive species. One mussel species in Texas (Texas Hornshell) has been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and several other species are candidates for listing. Changes in precipitation patterns...
Soil moisture is a fundamental determinant of plant growth, but soil moisture measurements are rarely assimilated into grassland productivity models, in part because methods of incorporating such data into statistical and mechanistic yield models have not been adequately investigated. Therefore, our objectives were to (a) quantify statistical relationships between in situ soil moisture measurements and biomass yield on grasslands in Oklahoma and (b) develop a simple, mechanistic biomass-yield model for grasslands capable of assimilating in situ soil moisture data. Soil moisture measurements (as fraction of available water capacity, FAW) explained 60% of the variability in county-level wild hay yield reported by...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
Abstract (from Natural Hazards): Drought indices are useful for quantifying drought severity and have shown mixed success as an indicator of drought damage and biophysical dryness. While spatial downscaling of drought indicators from the climate divisional level to the county level has been conducted successfully in previous work, little research to date has attempted to “upscale” remotely sensed biophysical indicators to match the downscaled drought indices. This upscaling is important because drought damage and indices are often reported at a coarser scale than the biophysical indicators provide. This research upscales National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer sensor-acquired...
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The combined effects of climate change (e.g. increased freshwater supply, sea level rise, etc.), leveeing of the Mississippi River, and the gradual settling of soil have led to a land loss crisis in coastal Louisiana. Coastal wetlands provide various ecosystem services to local coastal communities, such as storm protection, flood control, and habitat for economically and ecologically important plants and animals. The loss of such valuable wetlands has become concerning to these communities as well as natural resource managers. Creating new coastal wetlands and reconnecting the Mississippi River to adjacent wetlands are two common strategies to mitigate coastal land loss and protect vulnerable coastal communities,...
Coral Ba/Ca is a proxy for seawater barium concentration that varies with upwelling, terrigenous input, and marine productivity whereas coral Sr/Ca varies with temperature. We examine monthly coral Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca before and during offshore oil exploration in a Siderastrea siderea coral from West Flower Garden Bank located on the continental shelf edge in the Gulf of Mexico. Coral Ba/Ca variations lack pulses driven by upwelling or river outflow and are not in sync with coral Sr/Ca that exhibit a different seasonal pattern. Seasonal variations in chlorophyll-a concentration negatively correlate with coral Ba/Ca explaining 25% of that variability. A significant increase in mean coral Ba/Ca of 1.76 μmol/mol between...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
The Rio Grande is a vital water source for the southwestern States of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas and for northern Mexico. The river serves as the primary source of water for irrigation in the region, has many environmental and recreational uses, and is used by more than 13 million people including those in the Cities of Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico; El Paso, Texas; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. However, concern is growing over the increasing gap between water supply and demand in the Upper Rio Grande Basin. As populations increase and agricultural crop patterns change, demands for water are increasing, at the same time the region is undergoing a decrease in supply due to drought and climate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation


map background search result map search result map Susceptibility of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout to Displacement by Non-Native Brown Trout and Implications for Future Management Assessing the Impacts of Rapid Rainfall Shifts (“Whiplashes” and “Boomerangs”) on Freshwater Mussels in Central Texas Strategies for Reducing the Vulnerability of Grassland Birds to Climate Change within the Central Flyway Understanding New Paradigms for “Environmental Flows” and Water Allocation in the Middle Rio Grande River Basin in a Changing Climate Organizing and Synthesizing Ogallala Aquifer Data to Facilitate Research and Resource Management Evaluating Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Options for Coastal Resilience Climate Extension Services for the South Central U.S. Optimizing Data and Discovery Knowledge Transfer Across Researchers and Stakeholders Using Innovative Technology (“Cognitive Cities”) Understanding Impacts of Sea-Level Rise and Land Management on Critical Coastal Marsh Habitat Estimating the Future Effects of Forest Disturbance on Snow Water Resources in a Changing Environment Time to Restore: Using a Community Based Approach to Identify Key Plant Species for Pollinator Restoration Planning for a Fresher Future: Implications of River Management Practices on Salt Marsh Restoration Projects in Coastal Louisiana Future of Fire in the South Central: Towards a National Synthesis of Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate Understanding Impacts of Sea-Level Rise and Land Management on Critical Coastal Marsh Habitat Planning for a Fresher Future: Implications of River Management Practices on Salt Marsh Restoration Projects in Coastal Louisiana Understanding New Paradigms for “Environmental Flows” and Water Allocation in the Middle Rio Grande River Basin in a Changing Climate Assessing the Impacts of Rapid Rainfall Shifts (“Whiplashes” and “Boomerangs”) on Freshwater Mussels in Central Texas Susceptibility of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout to Displacement by Non-Native Brown Trout and Implications for Future Management Future of Fire in the South Central: Towards a National Synthesis of Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate Climate Extension Services for the South Central U.S. Optimizing Data and Discovery Knowledge Transfer Across Researchers and Stakeholders Using Innovative Technology (“Cognitive Cities”) Time to Restore: Using a Community Based Approach to Identify Key Plant Species for Pollinator Restoration Organizing and Synthesizing Ogallala Aquifer Data to Facilitate Research and Resource Management Strategies for Reducing the Vulnerability of Grassland Birds to Climate Change within the Central Flyway Evaluating Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Options for Coastal Resilience