Interior Appoints New Climate Change Advisory Committee

Members to Provide Guidance on Adaptation Science Initiatives

Last edited 09/05/2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the members of a newly created federal advisory committee who will provide guidance about the Interior Department's climate change adaptation science initiatives.

The Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science will advise the Secretary of the Interior about the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers, which are managed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Responding to climate change and its effects on our natural and cultural resources is an important priority for the nation,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “This committee embodies our commitment to working closely with our partners to strengthen our efforts to develop sound science that will help inform policymakers, land managers and the public in making important resource management decisions.”

Twenty-five committee members were selected from more than 100 nominations received by the Interior Department. Members represent Interior and other federal agencies; tribal, state, and local governments; nongovernmental organizations; academic institutions; and the private sector.

Matthew Larsen, USGS associate director for climate and land-use change, and David Behar, climate program director for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, will co-chair the committee. Members were appointed to two- or three-year terms. The first meeting of the committee is expected to take place this summer. The committee members will provide guidance about the operations of the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the eight regional Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers.

“The national center and the eight new regional centers are the hub and spokes of an important Obama Administration initiative to help land managers and others adapt to climate change. Science centers are working hand in glove with landscape conservation cooperatives and delivering information on climate change impacts on water, wildlife and other natural resources to local resource managers,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes. “The Climate Change Advisory Committee will play an important role in the department's climate adaptation strategy by providing advice on critical issues such as science priorities, relations with key partners, ensuring scientific excellence and coordinating with other climate adaptation initiatives.”

The newly appointed members are listed below (alternate members attend when a principal member is unavailable):

  • Gabriela Chavarria, science advisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alternate: David Patte, senior advisor, Pacific region, FWS
  • Herbert C. Frost, associate director, natural resource stewardship and science, National Park Service. Alternate: Leigh Welling, director, Climate Change Program, NPS
  • Matthew Larsen (co-chair), associate director, climate and land use change, U.S. Geological Survey. Alternate, Sarah Ryker, deputy associate director, USGS
  • William Hohenstein, director, Climate Change Program Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Alternate: David Cleaves, Climate Change advisor to the chief, U.S. Forest Service, USDA
  • Jeffrey Peterson, senior advisor, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Richard Merrick, chief science advisor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fisheries. Alternate: Adam Parris, Regional Integrated Science and Assessments (RISA) program manager, NOAA
  • Robert Pietrowski, director, Water Resources Institute, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Alternates: Jeffrey Arnold, senior climate scientist, USACE, and Paul Wagner, senior environmental scientist, USACE
  • John O'Leary, coordinator, state Wildlife Action Plan, State of Massachusetts and the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies NE AFWA). Alternate, Karen Bennett, landscape conservation coordinator, Delawre Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Lynn Helbrecht, climate change coordinator, Department of Fish and Wildlife, State of Washington and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Ed Carter, director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • John Sullivan, director, Science Services, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Alternate, Karl Martin, chief, Wildlife and Forestry Research Section, Wisconsin DNR
  • David Behar (co-chair), climate program director, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission/Water Utilities Climate Alliance
  • Noah Matson, vice-president for climate change and natural resources adaptation, Defenders of Wildlife. Alternate: Natalie Dubois, Defenders of Wildlife
  • Bruce Stein, director, climate adaptation,, National Wildlife Federation. Alternate: Douglas Inkley, National Wildlife Federation
  • Clifford Duke, director of science programs, Ecological Society of America
  • Kimberly Hall, Great Lakes climate change ecologist, The Nature Conservancy
  • Paul Beier, president, Society for Conservation Biology
  • Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Lara Hansen, founder, chief scientist and executive director, EcoAdapt
  • Gary Morishima, technical advisor to the chairman, Quinault Nation
  • Ann Marie Chischilly, executive director, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
  • Larry Irwin, research fellow, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. Alternate, Ben Wigley, manager, sustainable forest research, NCASI
  • Jeffrey Williams, manager, Climate Consulting, Entergy, Inc.
  • Berrien Moore, vice-president, weather and climate, and director, National Weather Center, University of Oklahoma. Alternate, Paul Risser, chair and chief operating officer, University Research Cabinet, University of Oklahoma
  • Bradley Udall, director of the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment, University of Colorado. Alternate, Richard Palmer, professor and chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts

For more information about the DOI Climate Science Centers, visit

For more information about the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center visit:


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