A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
DOINews: Interior Announces New 2013 Research Projects at the North Central Climate Science Center
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the North Central CSC is awarding just over $1 million to universities and other partners for research to guide resource managers in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.
The funded projects include one project building on the foundational science areas of the center, three decision-based studies and one providing capacity building support in the region; all will focus on how climate change will affect natural resources and how management actions can be taken to help offset such change.
The NC CSC's foundational science areas include physical climate, ecological impacts, and adaptation and mitigation strategies. Collectively they providing information needed by regional resource managers to better understand potential impacts and adaptation strategies for a broad range of natural, cultural, energy and other resource-management activities.
The three decision-base projects include:
Identifying actions that can be taken to reduce the negative impacts of climate change in southwestern Colorado, an area where climate change is causing higher temperatures, more frequent and longer droughts, early snowmelt, more intense and larger fires and storms, and spreading invasive species. The study will focus especially on social and economic factors involved in responding to climate change.
Informing implementation of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee's Whitebark Pine Strategy. Whitebark pine is a declining keystone species in the Rocky Mountains, providing food and cover or nesting habitat for many birds and mammals. This project will use climate science and ecological modeling to forecast whitebark habitat suitability across the Great Yellowstone area under different climate scenarios and to provide recommendations for management actions. This research will be applicable to other tree species in the region undergoing climate change-related die-offs.
Understanding the effects of climate change on bird species in the Prairie Pothole region, which contains millions of wetlands that provide habitat for breeding and migrating birds. The study will also examine how climate change is likely to affect land-use patterns and agricultural conversion risk, and use this information to identify areas where waterfowl and other wetland bird species will likely have suitable habitat in the future.
The capacity building funding will support a tribal workshop on the nexus between climate change and renewable energy, a major development focus for several tribes in the region. It will also support observations of changing phenology (timing of life-history events for plants and animals). This will include up to three tribal college interns observing and recording the phenology of culturally significant plants as well as the deployment of nine "phenocams" (as part of the larger national phenocam program). These phenocams will be deployed in conjunction with USGS's AmericaView program.