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).
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced funding of more than $10 million awarded by Interior's regional Climate Science Centers to universities or other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.
The 69 studies at eight climate science centers focus on how climate change will affect natural resources. For example, various projects identify how sea-level rise will affect coastal resources, how climate will affect vegetation, how these changes will affect valued species such as sage grouse, and how changes in water availability will affect both people and ecosystems—and ecosystem services such as fisheries. Several studies address the potential effects on resources of concern to Native Americans, some by using traditional ecological knowledge to advance adaptation planning.
Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers worked with the universities supporting the CSCs, states, tribes, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.
"Climate Science Centers are off and running to meet the needs of those who must safeguard our precious natural resources as the climate changes. These projects demonstrate the benefits of our national climate science strategy, which is focused on the needs of managers in each region," said Secretary Salazar.
The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists from the universities that comprise each CSC, from USGS science centers, and from other partners such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service, Indian tribes, and the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in each region.
"These projects demonstrate a powerful and growing partnership between USGS scientists and their academic and agency science colleagues," said Secretary Salazar. "By tapping this deep well of expertise, and linking it with USGS expertise, CSCs help direct the right science capacity to where it can do the most, and avoid duplication and waste."
DOI Climate Science Centers serve as the regional hubs of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. CSCs and LCCs have been created under Interior's national climate science strategy. USGS is taking the lead on establishing the CSCs and providing initial staffing. Together, Interior's CSCs and LCCs will assess the impacts of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit and will identify strategies to ensure that resources across landscapes are resilient.