NCCASC Projects

Year Title status
2018 How and Why Upper Colorado River Basin Land, Water, and Fire Managers Choose to Use Drought Tools

Preparing for and responding to drought requires integrating scientific information into complex decision making processes. In recognition of this challenge, regional drought early warning systems (DEWS) and related drought-information tools have…

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2018 Refining Guidance for Incorporating Climate Science and Scenario Planning into National Park Service Resource Stewardship Strategies

One of the biggest challenges facing resource managers today is not knowing exactly when, where, or how climate change effects will unfold. To help federal land managers address this need, the North Central CASC has been working with the National…

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2018 Synthesizing Climate Change Impacts on Wildlife Health and Identifying Adaptation Strategies

Changing climate conditions could have significant impacts on wildlife health. Shifts in temperature and precipitation may directly affect the occurrence of disease in fish and wildlife by altering their interactions with pathogens (such as the…

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2018 Understanding Historical and Predicting Future Lake Temperatures in North and South Dakota

Lakes, reservoirs, and ponds are central and integral features of the North Central U.S. These water bodies provide aesthetic, cultural, and ecosystem services to surrounding wildlife and human communities. External impacts – such as climate…

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2018 Characterizing Historic Streamflow to Support Drought Planning in the Upper Missouri River Basin

The Missouri River system is the life-blood of the American Midwest, providing critical water resources that drive the region’s agriculture, industry, hydroelectric power generation, and ecosystems. The basin has a long history of development and…

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2018 Identifying Characteristics of Actionable Science for Drought Planning and Adaptation

Changing climate conditions can make water management planning and drought preparedness decisions more complicated than ever before. Resource managers can no longer rely solely on historical data and trends to base their actions, and are in need…

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2018 Supporting the National Park Service Midwest Region Bison Management Plan

The bison, which has long served as the symbol of the Department of the Interior, became the official national mammal of the United States in 2016. Bison played a key role in shaping the grasslands of the Great Plains for millennia, but today…

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2018 Enabling Climate-Informed Planning and Decisions about Species of Conservation Concern in the North Central Region: Phase 2

Changing climate conditions such as increasing droughts, floods, and wildfires, hotter temperatures, declining snowpacks, and changes in the timing of seasonal events are already having an impact on wildlife and their habitats. In order to make…

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2018 Predicting Future Forage Conditions for Elk and Mule Deer in Montana and Wyoming

Improving the quality of habitat for western big-game species, such as elk and mule deer, was identified as a priority by the Department of the Interior in 2018. Maintaining healthy herds not only supports the ecosystems where these species are…

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2018 Climate-Driven Shifts in Prairie Pothole Wetlands: Assessing Future Impacts to Critical Waterfowl Habitats

The North American Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is an expansive region that covers parts of five Midwestern states and three Canadian provinces. This region contains millions of wetlands in which waterfowl breed and from which 50-80% of the…

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2018 Improving the Success of Post-Fire Adaptive Management Strategies in Sagebrush Steppe

Sagebrush steppe is one of the most widely distributed ecosystems in North America. Found in eleven western states, this important yet fragile ecosystem is dominated by sagebrush, but also contains a diversity of native shrubs, grasses, and…

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2018 Big Sagebrush Response to Wildfire and Invasive Grasses in the 21st Century

Big sagebrush plant communities are important and widespread in western North America and are crucial for meeting long-term conservation goals for greater sage-grouse and other wildlife of conservation concern. Yet wildfire is increasing in the…

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2018 Improving Projections of Wildlife and Landscapes for Natural Resource Managers

Managing natural resources is fraught with uncertainties around how complex social-ecological systems will respond to management actions and other forces, such as climate. Modeling tools have emerged to help grapple with different aspects of this…

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2017 Ecology and Management of Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands: State of the Science

Pinyon-juniper woodlands are a major part of western landscapes and are valued for recreational use, cultural resources, watershed protection, and wildlife habitats. These woodlands have been identified by several stakeholders, including natural…

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2017 Foundational Science Area: Maximizing Stakeholder Engagement to Support Climate Adaptation in the North Central U.S.

In the North Central U.S., the rate and extent of changing climate conditions has been increasing in recent decades. These changes include shifting precipitation patterns, warming temperatures, and more frequent extreme events, such as droughts…

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2017 Foundational Science Area: Ecological Drought, Climate Extremes, and the Water Cycle in the North Central U.S.

In the North Central U.S., drought is a dominant driver of ecological, economic, and social stress. Drought conditions have occurred in the region due to lower precipitation, extended periods of high temperatures and evaporative demand, or a…

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2017 Informing Climate Change Adaptation Planning in National Parks

One of the biggest challenges facing resource managers today is not knowing exactly when, where, or how climate change effects will unfold. In order to plan for this uncertain future, managers have begun to use a tool known as scenario planning,…

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2017 Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in Southwestern Colorado: Phase 2

In southwestern Colorado, land managers anticipate the impacts of climate change to include higher temperatures, more frequent and prolonged drought, accelerated snowmelt, larger and more intense fires, more extreme storms, and the spread of…

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2017 Enabling Climate-Informed Planning and Decisions about Species of Conservation Concern in the North Central Region: Phase 1

The goal of this project is to identify climate-related scientific information needs in the North Central region that will support the management of key species and help avoid species declines. Researchers will work closely with state fish and…

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2017 Foundational Science Area: Climate Adaptation Strategies for Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S.

Researchers with the North Central Climate Science Center have made substantial progress in assessing the impacts of climate and land use change on wildlife and ecosystems across the region. Building on this progress, researchers will work with…

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2017 Building Collaboration between the North Central CSC and Regional Partners Through Liaison Teams

The North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) is committed to bringing the best possible climate science to bear in order to inform decisions made by Department of the Interior (DOI) planners and other land and resource managers across the…

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2015 Continued Capacity Building in the North-Central U.S.: Tribal Engagement and PhenoCam Analysis

Climate change is poised to alter natural systems, the frequency of extreme weather, and human health and livelihoods. In order to effectively prepare for and respond to these challenges in the north-central region of the U.S., people must have…

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2015 The Wind River Indian Reservation’s Vulnerability to the Impacts of Drought and the Development of Decision Tools to Support Drought Preparedness

The Wind River Indian Reservation in west-central Wyoming is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, who reside near and depend on water from the streams that feed into the Wind River. In recent years, however, the region has…

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2015 Model-Based Scenario Planning to Inform Climate Change Adaptation in the Northern Great Plains

One of the biggest challenges facing resource managers today is not knowing exactly when, where, and how climate change effects will unfold. While models can be used to predict the types of impacts that climate change might have on a landscape,…

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2015 Forecasting Future Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance

Covering 120 million acres across 14 western states and 3 Canadian provinces, sagebrush provides critical habitat for species such as pronghorn, mule deer, and sage-grouse – a species of conservation concern. The future of these and other species…

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2015 Informing Adaptation Strategies for Maintaining Landscape Connectivity for Northern Rockies Wildlife

The U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains support a large number of native wildlife species, and survival of these populations depends on connected landscapes to support current migration and dispersal, as well as future shifts in species’ ranges.…

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2015 Informing the Identification of Economically Effective Targets for Grassland Conservation in the Dakotas

The conversion of grassland to cropland in the Dakotas could imperil wildlife such as nesting waterfowl and contribute to the degradation of water quality in the Mississippi River watershed. However, high crop prices in recent years have…

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2014 Foundational Science Area: Developing Climate Change Understanding and Resources for Adaptation in the North Central U.S.

In the North Central U.S., drought is a dominant driver of ecological, economic, and social stress. Drought conditions have occurred in the region due to lower precipitation, extended periods of high temperatures and evaporative demand, or a…

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2014 Foundational Science Area: Assessing Climate Change Impacts to Wildlife and Habitats in the North Central U.S.

In the North Central U.S., temperatures are rising and precipitation patterns are changing, with consequences ranging from more frequent and severe wildfires to prolonged drought to widespread forest pest outbreaks. As a result, land managers are…

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2014 Foundational Science Area: Helping People and Nature Adapt to Climate Change in the North Central U.S.

The north-central region of the U.S. has experienced a series of extreme droughts in recent years, with impacts felt across a range of sectors. For example, the impacts of a 2002 drought are estimated to have resulted in a $3 billion loss to the…

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2013 Building Social and Ecological Resilience to Climate Change in southwestern Colorado: Phase 1

Southwestern Colorado is already experiencing the effects of climate change in the form of larger and more severe wildfires, prolonged drought, and earlier snowmelt. Climate scientists expect the region to experience more summer heat waves,…

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2013 Foundational Science Area Activities (FY2013)

Through its Foundational Science Area (FSA) activities, the North Central Climate Science Center (CSC) aims to provide relevant and usable climate information to decision-makers and natural resource managers, so that they can better manage their…

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2013 Capacity Building in the North-Central U.S.: Tribal Engagement, Climate Training, and PhenoCam Deployment

Climate change is poised to alter natural systems, the frequency of extreme weather, and human health and livelihoods. In order to effectively prepare for and respond to these challenges in the north-central region of the U.S., people must have…

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2013 Developing a VisTrails Platform for Modeling Streamflow Hydrology and Projecting Climate Change Effects on Streamflow

Hydrologic models are used throughout the world to forecast and simulate streamflow, inform water management, municipal planning, and ecosystem conservation, and investigate potential effects of climate and land-use change on hydrology. The USGS…

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2013 Science and Forecasting to Inform Implementation of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee’s Whitebark Pine Management Strategy

The goal of this project is to inform implementation of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) Whitebark Pine (WBP) subcommittee’s “WBP Strategy” based on climate science and ecological forecasting. Project objectives are to: 1.…

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2012 Science to Support an Assessment of Future Climate Impacts on Wildlife in Wyoming

In response to the potential impacts of climate and land use change to the Nation’s ecosystems, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) launched a series of Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) in 2010. The REAs are focused on improving our…

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2013 Evaluating Data Needs and Capacity in the North Central Region and Coordinating an Assessment of Regional Climate Impacts

A central goal of the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) is to bring together the latest data, tools, and knowledge on the impacts of climate change to the hands of the region’s natural and cultural resource managers. To meet this goal…

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2012 Understanding Extreme Climate Events in the North Central U.S.

The climate of the North Central U.S. is driven by a combination of factors, including atmospheric circulation patterns, the region’s complex topography which extends from the High Rockies to the Great Plains, and variations in hydrology.…

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2012 Assessing the Vulnerability of Vegetation to Future Climate in the North Central U.S.

Determining which species, habitats, or ecosystems are most vulnerable to climate change enables resource managers to better set priorities for conservation action. To address the need for information on vulnerability, this research project will…

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2012 Incorporating Adaptive Capacity into Decision-Making in the North Central U.S.

Managers already face uncertainty when making decisions about how to best manage natural resources. Now, climate change is adding an additional level of complexity to resource management decisions. Understanding the ability of human and…

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2012 Integrating Climate and Biological Data into Management Decisions for the Greater Sage-­Grouse and their Habitats

Climate affects both the demographics of the Greater sage-grouse bird and the condition and long-term viability of their habitats, including sage-steppe communities. This project builds on collaboration among federal land managers, state wildlife…

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2012 Bringing Together Scientists and Resource Managers to Assess Science Needs and Address Questions Related to Conservation in a Changing Climate

Climate scientists need more and better information about the needs of decision-makers and managers, while decision-makers need better information about how a changing climate may affect their management and conservation objectives. The goal of…

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2012 Regional Short- and Long-term Climate Impacts on Northern Rocky Mountain and Great Plains Ecosystems

With joint funding from the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) and NASA's Earth Science Applied Sciences Program, the NC CSC supports resource managers and their decision process through its Resource for Vulnerability…

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2012 Potential Climate Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in the Great Plains

In the Great Plains, climate change is expected to result in more frequent and intense droughts, severe rainfall events, and heat waves. Adapting to changing conditions will require coordination in the research and observation capabilities of…

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2012 Projecting the Future Encroachment of Woody Vegetation into Grasslands of the Northern Great Plains by Simulating Climate Conditions and Possible Management Actions

Maintaining the native prairie lands of the Northern Great Plains (NGP), which provide an important habitat for declining grassland species, requires anticipating the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and…

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2012 Projecting Future Climate Effects on Cottonwood and Willow Seed Dispersal and Tree Regeneration in Western Riparian Forests

Throughout western North America, warming associated with climate change is leading to both earlier spring peak streamflows and earlier seed dispersal, potentially reducing seedling establishment and in turn reducing the quality of riparian (near…

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2012 Using a Collaborative Modeling Approach to Explore Climate and Landscape Change in the Northern Rockies and Inform Adaptive Management

Federal land managers need an adaptive management framework to accommodate changing conditions and that allows them to effectively link the appropriate science to natural resource management decision-making across jurisdictional boundaries.&…

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2012 Assessment of Data Integration Capacity

The North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC) involved federal, state, tribal, and university partners to implement a pilot study aimed at developing data and information exchange protocols and identifying analytical needs across a broad…

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2012 Data Integration for Landscape Conservation Workshop

Colorado State University organized and hosted a workshop aimed at developing an information technology framework for data integration related to climate change impacts on ecosystems and landscape conservation. The workshop included key federal…

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2018 Mapping the Risk of Ecological Transformation Across Pinyon Woodlands and the U.S. West

Pinyon pine woodlands are among the most widespread and iconic vegetation types in the western United States and support recreation, resource extraction, grazing, and cultural enrichment. However, severe drought conditions have recently…

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