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Recreational angling in the U.S. represents a large group of people that catch and harvest fish for a variety of reasons, including for relaxation, adventure, social motivations, and consumption. Collectively, recreational anglers can exert pressures on both economies and fishery resources. Fish removals by anglers represent an important source of mortality data when trying to understand fish populations, and this information is even more important when the fishery is dominated by recreational and subsistence fishing. Currently, the magnitude of recreational angling is measured at local scales (for example, at a specific lake or stream) and the process to collect information from anglers varies widely by state...
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Invasive species establish outside of their native range, spread, and negatively impact ecosystems and economies. As temperatures rise, many invasive plants can spread into regions that were previously too cold for their survival. For example, kudzu, ‘the vine that ate the south’, was previously limited to mid-Atlantic states, but has recently started spreading in New Jersey and is expected to become invasive farther north. While scientists know of many of the invasive species expanding into the northeastern U.S., they do not know where those species are likely to become abundant and how they will impact vulnerable native ecosystems due to climate change. There are also currently no strategies to manage emerging...
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Climate change is causing an increase in the amount of forested area burned by wildfires in the western U.S. The warm, dry post-fire conditions of the region may limit tree regeneration in some areas, potentially causing a shift to non-forest vegetation. Managers are increasingly challenged by the combined impacts of greater wildfire activity, the significant uncertainty about whether forests will recover, and limited resources for reforestation efforts. Simultaneously, there has been an increased focus on post-fire reforestation efforts as tree planting has become a popular climate change mitigation strategy across the nation. Therefore, with increased interest and need, it is crucial to identify where varying...
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Natural and cultural resource managers across the country have begun to use a tool known as "scenario planning" to help prepare for climate change effects that may unfold in the future. In this process, scientific projections are used to identify different plausible, relevant, and divergent climate conditions for a particular area, and then through a participatory process, scientists and resource managers develop "scenarios" which describe the implications of these different conditions for resources and management. The North Central CASC has been working with the National Park Service (NPS) Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) to encourage and support national parks in incorporating climate science and scenario...
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We are working to incorporate environmental DNA (eDNA) data into the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database, which houses over 570,000 records of nonindigenous species nationally, and already is used by a broad user-base of managers and researchers regularly for invasive species monitoring. eDNA studies have allowed for the identification and biosurveillance of numerous invasive and threatened species in managed ecosystems. Managers need such information for their decision-making efforts, and therefore require that such data be produced and reported in a standardized fashion to improve confidence in the results. As we work to gain community consensus on such standards, we are finalizing the process for submitting...
The purpose of this study is to understand how the USGS is using decision support, learning from successes and pitfalls in order to help streamline the design and development process across all levels of USGS scientific tool creation and outreach. What should researchers consider before diving into tool design and development? Our goal is to provide a synthesis of lessons learned and best practices across the spectrum of USGS decision support efforts to a) provide guidance to future efforts and b) identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for knowledge transfer and integration. Principal Investigator : Amanda E Cravens Co-Investigator : Nicole M Herman-Mercer, Amanda Stoltz
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Wildfires affect streams and rivers when they burn vegetation and scorch the ground. This makes floods more likely to happen and reduces water quality. Public managers, first responders, fire scientists, and hydrologists need timely information before and after a fire to plan for floods and water treatment. This project will create a method to combine national fire databases with the StreamStats water web mapping application to help stakeholders make informed decisions. When the project is finished, people will be able to use StreamStats to estimate post-wildfire peak flows in streams and rivers for most of the United States (where data is available). There will also be tools that allow users to trace upstream and...
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Small lakes are important to local economies as sources of water supply and places of recreation. Commonly, lakes are considered more desirable for recreation if they are free of the thick weedy vegetation, often comprised of invasive species, that grows around the lake edge. This vegetation makes it difficult to launch boats and swim. In order to reduce this vegetation, a common technique in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. is a ‘winter drawdown’ . In a winter drawdown, the lake level is artificially lowered (via controls in a dam) during the winter to expose shoreline vegetation to freezing conditions, thereby killing them and preserving recreational value of the lake. However, this practice can impact both water...
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Alaska’s high-latitude, arctic landscape places it at the front lines of environmental change. Factors such as rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and associated shifts in growing degree days, summer season length, extreme heat, and the timing of spring thaw and autumn frost are rapidly changing Alaska’s ecosystems and associated human systems. The ability of Alaska’s land managers and communities to predict these changes will profoundly affect their ability to adapt. The State of Alaska recognizes the scope and magnitude of these changes and has made it a priority to ensure anticipated change is incorporated into local and regional planning. This project will involve collaboration with agency...
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Natural resource managers consistently identify invasive species as one of the biggest challenges for ecological adaptation to climate change. Yet climate change is often not considered during their management decision making. Given the many ways that invasive species and climate change will interact, such as changing fire regimes and facilitating the migration of high priority species, it is more critical than ever to integrate climate adaptation science and natural resource management. The coupling of climate adaptation and invasive species management remains limited by a lack of information, personnel, and funding. Those working on ecological adaptation to climate change have reported that information is not...
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As the National Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) develops a strategic effort around fire science, there is a critical need to develop a national-scale synthesis effort that identifies key regional CASC activities previously conducted, as well as major science gaps that may be addressed by a coordinated CASC network approach. The North Central CASC postdoctoral fellow will play a leadership role in the National CASC Climate Adaptation Postdoctoral (CAP) Fellows Future of Fire cohort to help identify the common efforts and leveraging points to shape the national-scale synthesis. Currently there is limited North Central CASC supported fire science available for the North Central region. To meet this need,...
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Frequent, low-intensity wildfires were once widespread across the Southeast US, which led to a reduction in unchecked vegetation growth that provided fuel for high-intensity fires. Both intentional and unintentional fire suppression and land-use changes have reduced many of these wildfires and the fire-adapted habitats in the region over time. This loss of frequent low-intensity wildfires on the landscape also increases the severity of wildfires due to fuel buildup and the encroachment of woody species. The remaining habitats and their native species (many of which are of conservation concern) are now almost completely dependent on prescribed burns for their persistence and survival. Successful application of fire...
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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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As a low-lying coastal nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands is at the forefront of exposure to climate change impacts. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has a strong dependence on natural resources and biodiversity not only for food and income but also for culture and livelihood. However, these resources are threatened by rising sea levels and associated coastal hazards (storm surges, saltwater intrusion, erosion, etc.). High-quality data for atoll ‘ridge to reef’ (land and ocean) areas are needed to provide remote communities with the tools and strategies to make adaptation efforts before disasters occur. Although the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ National Strategic Plans recognize the need to...
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Drought and wildfire pose enormous threats to the integrity of natural resources that land managers are charged with protecting. Recent observations and modeling forecasts indicate that these stressors will likely produce catastrophic ecosystem transformations, or abrupt changes in the condition of plants, wildlife, and their habitats, in regions across the country in coming decades. In this project, researchers will bring together land managers who have experienced various degrees of ecosystem transformation (from not yet experiencing any changes to seeing large changes across the lands they manage) to share their perspectives on how to mitigate large-scale changes in land condition. The team will conduct surveys...
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Tribal resource managers in the southwest U.S. are facing a host of challenges related to environmental change, including increasing temperatures, longer periods of drought, and invasive species. These threats are exacerbating the existing challenges of managing complex ecosystems. In a rapidly changing environment, resource managers need powerful tools and the most complete information to make the most effective decisions possible. Traditional Ecological Knowledge has enabled Indigenous peoples to adaptively manage and thrive in diverse environments for thousands of years, yet it is generally underutilized and undervalued, particularly in the context of western scientific approaches. Traditional Ecological...
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American Samoa is vulnerable to sea-level rise in part due to the steep terrain of its islands. This terrain requires the majority of the islands’ villages and infrastructure to be located along thin strips of coastal land. The situation is worsened by the recently recognized rapid sinking of the islands, which was triggered by the 2009 Samoa earthquake and is predicted to last for decades. This subsidence is estimated to lead to roughly twice as much sea-level rise by 2060 as what is already predicted from climate change alone. As a result, the timeline of coastal impacts in American Samoa will be decades ahead of similar island communities in the Pacific. Despite this urgency, decision-makers in the region lack...
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Freshwater is a critical driver for island ecosystems. In Hawaiʻi, though rainfall intensity has increased, total rainfall has been on the decline for the last two decades and, as a result, streamflow has also been reduced. The changes in dynamic patterns of streamflow could result in impacts to river, estuarine, and coastal habitats. In turn, these changes also affect the nine native Hawaiian aquatic species found in these habitats at different stages of their amphidromous life cycle (in which they migrate from fresh to salt water or vice versa). To examine how changes in streamflow regime have impacted habitat quality for native migratory aquatic species, an ongoing project has been examining statewide long-term...
The ACF basin, from headwaters in north Georgia, to the Apalachicola Bay and estuary, is a focal geography in the Southeast and provides habitat to a diversity of species, including over 30 federally-listed T&E species, and over 30 species proposed for ESA listing, cross-taxa. Allocation of water for multiple uses in the ACF basin has been contentious for decades (e.g., FL v. GA, SCOTUS ruling issued 27 June 2018. A 4.5 day structured decision making (SDM) workshop with experienced SDM coaches is a necessary component to further ongoing adaptive management (AM) processes in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin.
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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...


map background search result map search result map One from Many: Combining State Creel Data to Estimate Regional Harvest Exploring the Past to Plan for the Future: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Paleoperspectives to Inform Climate Change Adaptation Science to Inform Post-fire Conifer Regeneration and Reforestation Strategies Under Changing Climate Conditions Creating a North Central Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (NC RISCC) Management Network Identifying Vulnerable Ecosystems and Supporting Climate-Smart Strategies to Address Invasive Species Under Climate Change Rethinking Lake Management for Invasive Plants Under Future Climate: Sensitivity of Lake Ecosystems to Winter Water Level Drawdowns Learning From the Past and Planning for the Future: Experience-Driven Insight Into Managing for Ecosystem Transformations Induced by Drought and Wildfire Climate Extension Services for the South Central U.S. Enhancing Stakeholder Capacity for Coastal Inundation Assessments in the Marshall Islands Sea-Level Rise Viewer for American Samoa: A Co-Developed Visualization and Planning Tool Connecting Ecosystems from Mountains to the Sea in a Changing Climate Supporting the National Park Service in Climate Adaptation Planning Future of Fire in the North Central: Towards a National Synthesis for Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate Future of Fire in the South Central: Towards a National Synthesis of Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate Development of an Early Warning System to Identify Changing Prescribed Burn Opportunities Across Southeast US Fire-Adapted Habitats Applying Climate Change Modeling to Selected Key Factors in Ecosystem Health and Adaptation in Alaska Sea-Level Rise Viewer for American Samoa: A Co-Developed Visualization and Planning Tool Enhancing Stakeholder Capacity for Coastal Inundation Assessments in the Marshall Islands Exploring the Past to Plan for the Future: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Paleoperspectives to Inform Climate Change Adaptation Learning From the Past and Planning for the Future: Experience-Driven Insight Into Managing for Ecosystem Transformations Induced by Drought and Wildfire Science to Inform Post-fire Conifer Regeneration and Reforestation Strategies Under Changing Climate Conditions 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. One from Many: Combining State Creel Data to Estimate Regional Harvest Identifying Vulnerable Ecosystems and Supporting Climate-Smart Strategies to Address Invasive Species Under Climate Change Rethinking Lake Management for Invasive Plants Under Future Climate: Sensitivity of Lake Ecosystems to Winter Water Level Drawdowns Creating a North Central Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (NC RISCC) Management Network Supporting the National Park Service in Climate Adaptation Planning Future of Fire in the North Central: Towards a National Synthesis for Wildland Fire Under a Changing Climate Development of an Early Warning System to Identify Changing Prescribed Burn Opportunities Across Southeast US Fire-Adapted Habitats Applying Climate Change Modeling to Selected Key Factors in Ecosystem Health and Adaptation in Alaska Connecting Ecosystems from Mountains to the Sea in a Changing Climate