Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Southeast CSC is awarding more than $800,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide resource managers in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.
The seven funded studies, plus one that will be conducted jointly with the Northeast CSC, will focus on how climate change will affect natural resources, and management actions that can be taken to help offset such change. They include:
- In a joint project with the Northeast CSC, researchers will examine a complex local-scale conservation problem: helping resource managers effectively address the impacts associated with sea-level rise and coastal flooding on migratory waterbirds and their habitats. Aiding multiple state, federal and local stakeholders with making effective decisions that optimize the protection, conservation and sustainability of barrier islands and their habitats.
- Helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Florida by providing the scientific information they need to prioritize land acquisition for a new wildlife refuge that will protect many vulnerable species in the face of projected coastal land changes and sea-level rise. This work will aid the new Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge in identifying and acquiring the most critical land for high-priority species.
- Working with partners to develop a suite of scientific climate models for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Caribbean region, an area where climate-related impacts on ecosystems and water resources are most likely to result from changes in the timing, pattern and availability of moisture. Developing state-of-the-art climate and meteorological scenarios for the southeastern United States to predict factors of interest for understanding ecological responses to climate change, with a particular focus on the Appalachian region.
- Examining the effects of pest, urbanization and climate-related threats to southeastern forests, especially the possibility of regional extinction of certain tree species. This information is needed by forest managers to identify species and areas most vulnerable to climate change effects and therefore most in need of management decisions to help offset those effects.
- Developing a decision support system for a keystone southeastern species, the gopher tortoise, that will help managers conserve tortoise populations and the important ecological communities associated with and often dependent upon this species and its burrows.