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.
In the South Central United States, climate changes are already impacting natural and cultural resources, from increased maximum summer temperatures and extended droughts across the region to the effects of sea-level rise and coastal erosion. Spatial and temporal changes in the south central's climate are linked to changes in biodiversity; key wildlife feeding, breeding, and nesting habitats; water quantity and quality; wetland quality and extent; coastal erosion and inundation; stream sedimentation and flow; range and density of heritage and invasive species; cultural and natural landscapes; pathogen outbreaks; and health of ecosystem services.
The SC CSC has compiled a list of the 10 most frequently recognized science priorities or issues for South Central CSC conservation partners that will drive the CSC's regional science program (while the SC CSC research agenda is not limited to only these items, the list of priorities provides a framework for the center's annual planning process):
1. Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, Resiliency, and Vulnerability Assessments
2. Climate Change Effects on Ecosystems
3. Hydrologic Response to Climate Change
4. Climate Change Effect on Human Populations, Socioeconomics, Urbanization, Cultural Resources, and Agricultural Issues
5. Improved Monitoring Networks for Resources Affected by Climate Change and Management Actions
6. Improved Management and Sharing of Climate Change and Geospatial Data
7. Imperiled and Rare Communities and Invasive Species
8. Coastal Response to Sea-Level Rise and Changing Geomorphology
9. Biological Response to Climate Change and Disturbance, Conservation Design and Delivery
10. Land-Use and Land-Cover Change
The research direction taken by the South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) is guided by theSC CSC Strategic Science Plan for 2013-2018. This document describes the role and interactions of the SC CSC among its partners and stakeholders, clarifies the responsibilities of the Center to its partners, defines a context for climate impacts in the SC CSC region, and establishes the science priorities that the Center will address through research.
In developing the Strategic Science Plan, the SC CSC received advice and guidance from its Stakeholder Advisory Committee that is composed of senior-level Federal and State executives, and tribal leaders from the region. The SC CSC also periodically receives guidance from a panel of technical reviewers that assists with independent scientific review of projects comprising the NE CSC research program.