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Interior’s Secretary Jewell Announces New Wildlife and Climate Studies for the South Central Climate Science Center
Helping Ecosystems, Plants, Animals, and Fish Cope with Climate Change
Released: 12/19/2013 11:00:00 AM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192
Kim Winton 1-click interview
Phone: 405-325-1272

Marisa Lubeck 1-click interview
Phone: 303-526-6694

Reporters: Descriptions of the funded projects for the South Central CSC are available here.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s South Central Climate Science Center is awarding about $1.2 million to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

"Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country," said Secretary Jewell. "These new studies, and others that are ongoing, will help provide valuable, unbiased science that land managers and others need to identify tools and strategies to foster resilience in resources across landscapes in the face of climate change."

The eight funded studies focus on how climate change will affect natural resources and management actions that can be taken to help offset such change. They include: 

  • Providing information for effective management of the Red River Basin in light of climate-driven changes to flows. A Chickasaw Nation scientist leads this project. In addition, another project led by USGS will provide resource managers with the information they need to understand the nexus among climate change effects on stream flow, water, quality and stream ecology for watersheds in the Arkansas-Red River Basin.  Both projects will help managers strengthen strategies that support restoration, conservation and management goals.
  • Assessing future water availability (distribution, quantity and demand) in the south-central region in response to the area’s already changing climate.
  • Evaluating the ecological implications and the drivers of climate change in coastal wetlands of the northern Gulf of Mexico, an area of huge economic and ecological importance.
  • Working with other partners to better understand the impacts of extreme climatic events (e.g., tornadoes) and other climate drivers on agriculture, water availability and quality, cultural resources and fish and wildlife. This information will be invaluable for public and private sector managers and decision makers facing climate adaptation challenges.

"It is a privilege for me to work with the many tribes, state and federal agencies to build these multi-discipline research teams to develop the science needed for them to generate adaptation and mitigation strategies to protect cultural and natural resources,” said Kim Winton, director of the South Central Climate Science Center. “There are many physical, biological and social science components to climate change, and the South Central Climate Science Center is the forum that brings together these sciences and scientists."

Each of the Department of the Interior's eight Climate Science Centers worked with states, tribes, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, universities supporting the CSCs, and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.

The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists from the universities that comprise the South Central 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.

The eight DOI Climate Science Centers form a national network and are coordinated by 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 strategy to address the impacts of climate change on America’s waters, land, and other natural and cultural resources. 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 in the face of climate change.

The South Central Climate Science Center is hosted by University of Oklahoma.  The consortium is comprised of Texas Tech University; Louisiana State University; The Chickasaw Nation; The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Oklahoma State University; NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.  It conducts climate science for the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and the fringes of the surrounding states.

Useful links:
South Central CSC Projects
South Central CSC Homepage
University Consortium Webpage
Full list of funded projects for all eight DOI Climate Science Centers

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