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The Pacific Ocean is home to a number of low-lying, coastal national parks and wildlife refuges. These public lands are situated on coral reef-lined islands that are susceptible to inundation from sea-level rise and flooding during storms. Because of their low-lying nature and limited availability of space, ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on these islands are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Sea-level rise will further exacerbate the impact of storms on island parks and refuges by increasing wave-driven coastal flooding, with consequences for ecological and human communities alike. However, most assessments of future conditions at coastal national parks and refuges consider only permanent...
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Modeling interactions between human and ecological systems is needed to identify pathways to meet multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Particularly important is the relationship between biodiversity, ecological processes, and ecosystem services. However, current models tend to ignore impacts of biodiversity on ecological processes. Existing models capture impacts of socio-economic activities on biodiversity or ecosystem services, but critically, links between biodiversity and ecosystem services are only weakly incorporated in most projections and hence in policy design. Knowledge of these relationships has improved, but is scattered across the literature, as are models addressing each component....
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FAIR is an international set of principles for improving the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability of research data and other digital products. The PIs for this CDI project planned and hosted a workshop of USGS data stakeholders, data professionals, and managers of USGS data systems from across the Bureau’s Mission Areas. Workshop participants shared case studies that fostered collaborative discussions, resulting in recommended actions and goals to make USGS research data more FAIR. Project PIs are using the workshop results to produce a roadmap for adopting FAIR principles in USGS. The FAIR Roadmap will be foundational to FY2021 CDI activities to ensure the persistence and usability of...
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Grasslands in the northern Great Plains are important ecosystems that support local economies, tribal communities, livestock grazing, diverse plant and animal communities, and large-scale migrations of big game ungulates, grassland birds, and waterfowl. Climate change and variability impact how people and animals live on and interact with grasslands, and can bring more frequent droughts, fires, or new plant species that make managing these landscapes challenging. Understanding how climate change and variability will impact grassland ecosystems and their management in the 21st century first requires a synthesis of what is known across all of these scales and a gap analysis to identify key areas of focus for future...
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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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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...
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Climate change is already affecting ecosystems, and will likely trigger significant and permanent changes in both ecological and human communities. Such transformations are already occurring in the Arctic region of Alaska, where temperatures are warming at twice the global average and causing some ecosystems to transition to new states. Arctic warming has led to coastal erosion that has forced human communities to relocate and a loss of sea ice that has forced marine mammals, such as polar bears and walrus, to adapt to a more terrestrial mode of living. Meanwhile, in the Great Plains of the U.S., past interactions between land and water use during the Dust Bowl and recent high rates of depletion of the Ogallala...
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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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Scientific information about the risks of climate change to important natural and cultural resources is crucial for developing and implementing climate adaptation plans and management actions. Tools that incorporate both science and expert knowledge on adaptation actions can greatly benefit municipal, regional, and other decision makers, as they develop and implement their adaptation plans. In 2018, EcoAdapt created the Climate Change Adaptation Certification Tool, which was designed to support the implementation of climate adaptation plans. Discussions with the Washington State Interagency Climate Adaptation Network have confirmed that this tool was ideal for supporting decision making in the natural and cultural...
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A rapidly changing climate and expanding human footprint is driving increased rates of landscape change in the Pacific Northwest. This makes it challenging for managers to know if and to what extent recovery goals and conservation plans for at-risk species need to be modified to account for changing habitat conditions. Addressing this challenge requires accurate, up-to-date information about landscape change and how it affects the habitat and viability of at-risk species. In addition, managers need to be alerted when trends in habitat conditions approach key ecological thresholds, in order to determine if management goals and plans need to be modified in response to these changes. The goal of this project is to...
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The decline in the monarch butterfly has led to it being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Declines in managed and native bees have also been documented, leading to increased concerns about bee populations and communities, as well as the availability of pollination services for crops and native plants. Similar factors have been identified in the decline of monarchs, native bees, and other pollinators, including habitat fragmentation, loss, and degradation (including milkweed loss for monarchs), and disease/predation, as well as climate change, weather extremes, invasive species, and pesticides (e.g., Potts et al. 2010). The southern Great Plains has been identified as critical for conservation...
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Within the Yurok Tribe’s territory in northwest California, tribal, public, and private land managers share the overlapping goal of promoting forests that are more resilient to climate-related disturbances through the implementation of forest treatments that are based on traditional tribal knowledge. Managers seek to understand how restoration strategies such as prescribed burning, tree harvesting, and fuel reduction can promote more resilient forests and increase the capacity of forests and human communities to adapt to extreme weather events, drought, fire, and pests and diseases. Very few existing studies of forest vulnerability and resilience have incorporated indigenous or tribal knowledge. In order to promote...
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The loss or decline of culturally significant plants is a major concern for many tribal managers. Culturally significant plants are essential to many aspects of life for tribal members, including medicine, ceremonial practices, and traditional food dishes. In many parts of the U.S., droughts, floods, and changes in the timing of frost events are stressing these plants and in some cases have led to decreases in their areas of suitable habitat or a reduction in their resistance to disease. The goal of this project is to hold a research symposium that will bring together tribal resource managers and scientists from a range of disciplines in the South Central region to identify which culturally significant species...
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Healthy forests in the western United States provide multiple benefits to society, including harvestable timber, soil stabilization, and habitat for wildlife. On the Navajo Nation, over 5 million acres of forest provide wood that heats 50% of homes, building materials, summer forage for livestock, and drinking water. However, warming temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns can increase forests’ vulnerability to insect outbreaks and catastrophic wildfire. Forest managers, particularly those associated with tribal communities that depend on forests to maintain a subsistence lifestyle, need knowledge-based tools in order to reduce the impacts of climate change on forests. This project aims to study approximately...
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Many animal species have unique characteristics that allow them to survive during winter. For example, the snowshoe hare changes its fur color from brown to white to camouflage better in winter months, and the ruffed grouse roosts under the snow to stay warm and hidden in winter. These winter-adapted species, however, are facing new challenges as climate change is resulting in shorter winters and rapid declines in snowpack. Shorter winters pose a significant threat to winter-adapted species that are used to living in, under, or on top of a protective blanket of snow. Wildlife managers are tasked with conserving these species, yet studies understanding how specific management actions can enhance species' ability...
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Coastal marshes are vital habitats that protect and support our coastal communities and economies by providing protection from storm surge, filtering pollutants, and providing recreational opportunities. Rising sea levels threaten marshes and jeopardize the benefits they provide to human communities and ecosystems. To preserve these benefits, coastal resource managers need to understand how marshes will change in the short- and long-term in response to rising sea levels. Scientific models provide resource managers with an effective way to visualize and understand these changes, but the numerous choices of marsh models currently available can be overwhelming to coastal managers. The similarities and differences...
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Advances in information technology now provide large volume, high-frequency data collection which may improve real-time biosurveillance and forecasting. But, big data streams present challenges for data management and timely analysis. As a first step in creating a data science pipeline for translating large datasets into meaningful interpretations, we created a cloud-hosted PostgreSQL database that collates climate data served from PRISM (https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data) and water-quality data from the National Water Quality Portal (https://www.waterqualitydata.us/) and NWIS (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis; fig 1). Using Python-based code, these data streams are queried and updated every 24 hours,...
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The sagebrush ecosystem is home to diverse wildlife, including big-game and Greater sage-grouse. Historic and contemporary land-uses, large wildfires, exotic plant invasion, and woodland expansion all represent threats to this multiple-use landscape. Efforts of federal and state agencies and private landowners across the landscape are focused on restoration and maintenance of conditions that support wildlife, livestock, energy development, and many other uses. However, this semi-arid landscape presents challenges for management due to highly variable patterns in growing conditions that lead to differences in plant composition, fuel accumulation, and vegetation recovery. Much of this variability is created by soil...


map background search result map search result map Monarch-pollinator monitoring, tracking and evaluation of grassland habitat and management practices in the southern Great Plains Understanding Local Resistance and Resilience to Future Habitat Change in the Sagebrush Ecosystem Synthesis of Climate Impacts and Adaptation on Grassland Ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains Adaptation Strategies in the Face of Climate-Driven Ecological Transformation: Case Studies from Arctic Alaska and the U.S. Great Plains 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 Research Symposium: Culturally Significant Plants and Climate Change Forest Monitoring and Tree Ring Data to Inform Forest Management on the Navajo Nation Improving the Usability of Modeling Tools for Predicting Coastal Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise Managing and Promoting the Resiliency of Winter-Adapted Species to Climate Change An Alert System for Managing At-Risk Species in Cascadia under Climate Change Promoting Resilience and Adaptive Capacity of Forests and Tribal Communities in Northern California The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands The Missing Link: Incorporating the Role of Biological Diversity into Projections of Ecosystem Services Developing a Climate Adaptation Checklist to Inform Natural Resource Management Promoting Resilience and Adaptive Capacity of Forests and Tribal Communities in Northern California Forest Monitoring and Tree Ring Data to Inform Forest Management on the Navajo Nation Understanding New Paradigms for “Environmental Flows” and Water Allocation in the Middle Rio Grande River Basin in a Changing Climate Monarch-pollinator monitoring, tracking and evaluation of grassland habitat and management practices in the southern Great Plains Managing and Promoting the Resiliency of Winter-Adapted Species to Climate Change Assessing the Impacts of Rapid Rainfall Shifts (“Whiplashes” and “Boomerangs”) on Freshwater Mussels in Central Texas Developing a Climate Adaptation Checklist to Inform Natural Resource Management Improving the Usability of Modeling Tools for Predicting Coastal Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise Research Symposium: Culturally Significant Plants and Climate Change Synthesis of Climate Impacts and Adaptation on Grassland Ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains Organizing and Synthesizing Ogallala Aquifer Data to Facilitate Research and Resource Management An Alert System for Managing At-Risk Species in Cascadia under Climate Change Understanding Local Resistance and Resilience to Future Habitat Change in the Sagebrush Ecosystem Strategies for Reducing the Vulnerability of Grassland Birds to Climate Change within the Central Flyway Adaptation Strategies in the Face of Climate-Driven Ecological Transformation: Case Studies from Arctic Alaska and the U.S. Great Plains The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands The Missing Link: Incorporating the Role of Biological Diversity into Projections of Ecosystem Services