Plans for the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) continue to take shape. The Center was established at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2008 with funds appropriated by Congress. In 2008, the agency formed an interim steering committee to develop guidelines and identify priorities for the Center. In fiscal year 2009, Congress provided a total of $10 million to support the development of NCCWSC.
Following a series of national and regional workshops held since December 2008, the Center completed a draft 5-year strategy document on 13 July 2009. This document outlines the Center’s history, mission, goals, science priorities, operations, and governance, and details how both the national office and regional hubs will work closely with science and resource partners and partner advisory groups. As described, the NCCWSC will be comprised of a small national office supporting a network of regional hubs across the country. The primary functions of the national office will be to provide leadership and direction for the Center’s science, information management, and communication efforts, coordinate with USGS and national partners, support the advisory board, develop minimum guidance and national standards, facilitate and fund research on national-level information on the effects of climate change on wildlife and aquatic resources, promote collaboration between hubs, and synthesize and deliver results to the conservation community.
The hubs will work to create models and tools that link physical factors with biological and ecological response variables, to develop response models and projections for priority species and habitats, to help partners define ecological outcomes and endpoints for their adaptation activities, and to facilitate and fund research on the effects of climate change on wildlife and aquatic resources. These hubs will be located at non-USGS institutions, such as universities, and will be selected based upon the interests of hosts and partners. Current resources for the NCCWSC are sufficient to support the establishment of three to four hubs.
The Center also announced that the internal Request for Proposals to conduct integrated, multi-scale research was strong, with over 150 proposals submitted. These proposals ranged from comprehensive, collaborative, multi-scale projects to population assessment and analysis at regional and local scales. Proposal funding decisions were announced on 21 August 2009.
For more information on the NCCWSC and the proposal awards, go to http://nccw.usgs.gov/.
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