Climate change affects every corner of the American continent. It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe.
The glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park are melting so quickly, they"re expected to disappear in the next two decades. Rising seas are consuming the world's first wildlife refuge – Florida's Pelican Island – which President Teddy Roosevelt set aside in 1903.
At the U.S. Department of the Interior, we manage one-fifth of the land in the country, 35,000 miles of coastline, and 1.76 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. We also uphold the federal government's trust responsibilities to 562 Indian tribes; conserve fish, wildlife and their habitats; manage water supplies for more than 30 million people; and protect the icons of our national heritage.
The impacts of climate change are forcing us to change how we manage these resources. Climate change may dramatically affect water supplies in certain watersheds, impact coastal wetlands and barrier islands, cause relocation of and stress on wildlife, increase wildland fires, further spread invasive species, and more.
We at Interior are taking the lead in protecting our nation"s resources from these impacts and in managing our public lands to mitigate the effects of climate change. On Sept. 14, 2009, then-Secretary Salazar launched our first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America's land, water, wildlife, cultural-heritage and tribal resources. Secretary Jewell has made climate change a priority.
The framework through which our bureaus coordinate climate-change science and resource-management strategies includes:
CSCs are regional entities that extend from the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), located at USGS headquarters. The NCCWSC was established by Congress in 2008 to help deliver scientific and technical information to help resource managers cope with a changing climate. Working in partnership with resource managers and scientists at national, regional, and landscape levels, the NCCWSC: