Center's Consortium Includes Other Universities, the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the selection of the University of Oklahoma to host the Department of the Interior's South Central Climate Science Center, joined by CSC consortium partners Texas Tech University, Louisiana State University, the Chickasaw Nation, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.
He also announced other locations to complete the national network of eight CSCs that will provide land managers in federal, state and local agencies access to the best science available regarding climate change and other landscape-scale stressors.
“The South Central center and other Climate Science Centers will provide the scientific talent and commitment necessary for understanding how climate change and other landscape stressors will change the face of the United States, and how the Department of the Interior, as our nation's chief steward of natural and cultural resources, can prepare and respond,” said Salazar.
The South Central CSC Consortium has broad expertise in the physical, biological, natural, and social sciences to address impacts of climate change on land, water, fish and wildlife, ocean, coastal, and cultural resources, including 30 departments within the four universities. Salazar noted that the CSCs will expand climate science capabilities without building new facilities or duplicating existing capabilities.
With 39 federally recognized American Indian tribes in Oklahoma, engaging tribal communities with the CSC is doubly important. The South Central CSC Consortium includes the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma as part of its consortium.. The two nations will collaborate on the selection of a “tribal sustainability officer” to be located at the CSC, but with significant responsibilities to foster two-way communication between tribes in the region and their members and the CSC and associated scientists. This communication will include assisting the CSC in understanding the tribes' needs related to the management of their substantial natural resource assets, as well as communication of scientific results to tribal managers.
The CSCs will serve as regional hubs of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, located at the headquarters of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey. 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.
A list of the eight regional Climate Science Centers is available at http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Secretary-Salazar-Names-Three-Universities-to-Host-Regional-Climate-Science-Centers.cfm