In fiscal year (FY) 2008 appropriations legislation, Congress included $1.5 million for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a new national climate change research center, the purpose of which would be to improve the science capacities of federal agencies when responding to global warming and wildlife management issues. In late 2008, the USGS, the Ecological Society of America, and the Wildlife Society convened a workshop that brought together nearly 200 representatives from government agencies, tribal organizations, academia, and non-governmental organizations to identify research priorities, devise strategic partnerships, and begin to design an operational structure for the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC).

The workshop summary report was released on 25 February 2009 and is available at http://nccw.usgs.gov/. Some specific objectives discussed in the report included how to build science capacity, how to develop management tools, and how to organize the Center. Opinions differed, but some general themes emerged in the report include: The center should have a small core staff that was well-connected and prepared for rapid response; the overall goal for the center should be to develop protocols and facilitate communication between scientists at different agencies; and the research of the center should be bio-focused and concentrate on ecosystems, rather than individual species.

Overall, workshop organizers noted that because so many organizations from the fish and wildlife community participated in designing the center, the USGS gained a much deeper understanding about the needs of resource managers when responding to natural communities affected by climate change.

 


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