FWS National Practitioners' Forum on Climate Change Adaption

The FWS Climate Change Practitioners’ Forum at NCTC brought together staff from across the agency for a dialogue about meeting our mission in the face of the transformational challenge of climate change. The desired outcome of the Forum were a set of recommendations to guide priority agency actions while considering a changing climate and its interactions with other stressors on trust resources. While participation in the Forum at NCTC was limited, several but not all of the Forum sessions were live streamed for remote participants to view from their office computer – see schedule below.


(Day 1) – Tuesday 6/7/16

8:30am – 10:15am EDT: Addressing Climate Change: Commitment & Challenges for the Service

  • Background/expectations – Paul Souza, Assistant Director, Science Applications, USFWS
  • Agency philosophy and commitment to addressing climate change – Dan Ashe, Director, USFWS
  • Keynote: “The future of conservation in a changing climate” – Lynn Scarlett, Managing Director 
    for Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy

10:45am-12:00pm EDT: What are the likely climate change effects ahead? – Dr. Virginia Burkett, Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change, US Geological Survey

  • Large scale trends in projections relevant to the Service - for mid and late century, non-stationarity of conditions; and projected socio-economic trends that will influence conservation.
  • Climate Change 301 – What Service employees should understand about CC impacts

1:00pm – 3:00pm EDT: Panel Presentation: Service Case Studies – Climate Change Challenges

  • Case Study #1 -- Habitat shifts and managing ecological transformations
    • Dr. John Morton -- Supervisory Fish & Wildlife Biologist (R7): Ecological transformation on the Kenai Peninsula: a case for trajectory intervention
    • Dr. Dawn Magness -- Landscape Ecologist (R7): Large landscape connectivity
  • Case Study #2 -- Drought and implications of long-term precipitation changes in the West
    • Paul Tashjian – Hydrologist, NWRS (R2): Protecting water resources on Refuges in the SW
  • Case Study #3 -- Extreme weather and coastal resilience
    • Dr. Rick Bennett – Regional Scientist (R5): Hurricane Sandy recovery and Prime Hook NWR
    • Dr. John Tirpak -- Science Coordinator, Gulf Restoration Program (R4): Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment
  • Case Study #4 -- Invasive species in a changing climate
    • Dr. Todd Hopkins -- Science Coordinator (R8): Cheatgrass/Fire/CC interactions in Great Basin
    • David Tessler -- Deputy Field Supervisor for Geographic Operations (R1): Hawaiian forest birds and avian malaria
  • Case Study #5 -- Impacts of climate change on migratory species
    • Mike Hudson -- Fish Biologist/Climate Change Coordinator (R1): Impacts of climate change on migratory fish
    • Dr. Patricia Heglund – Chief, Division of Biological Resources and Regional Refuge Biologist (R3): Impact of climate change (extreme weather) on NA migratory birds

(Day 3) – Thursday 6/9/16 

8:00am – 10:00am EDT: Panel: Climate Change Adaptation; Analyses and Planning Approaches Presentations will be focused on how specific processes inform adaptation; with real world applications.

  • Climate Smart Conservation - Adaptation planning (including vulnerability assessment) for Resource Managers – Dr. Bruce Stein, Associate Vice President, Conservation Science and Climate Adaptation, National Wildlife Federation
  • Scenario Planning – Dr. Erika Rowland, Climate Change Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Species Distribution Modeling – Dr. Kyle Barrett, Assistant Professor, Clemson University
  • Landscape Conservation Design and the iCASS Platform: An Adaptation Pathway to Transformability – Rob Campellone, Landscape Conservation Design Policy Advisor, USFWS
  • Q&A and open discussion with panel

3:00pm – 4:15pm EDT: Panel: Service Case Studies – Climate change responses and integrating climate change considerations into our work

  • Nancy Green -- Climate Change Scientist, Ecological Services (HQ): Integrating climate change 
    considerations into HCPs and other implications for the ESA
  • Andy Yuen -- Project Leader, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex (R8): SLR Response - Sediment augmentation in coastal Refuge
  • Jason Miller -- Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Branch of Conservation Planning Assistance 
    : Incorporating climate change considerations into Service’s Mitigation Policy
  • Dean Granholm -- Planner, NWRS (R3): Climate change and Refuge Planning
  • Sara Ward -- Ecologist, Ecological Services (R4): Carbon sequestration as a tool for climate change mitigation & adaptation
  • Mike Hudson -- Fish Biologist/Climate Change Coordinator (R1): Assisted Range Shifts of Bull 

(Day 4) – Friday 6/10/16

11:00am – 11:45am EDT: Wrap-up and Closing Summary– Paul Souza and Stephen Zylstra

  • What are the key “take-homes” from this Forum? What have we accomplished?
  • Final speaker – Dr. John Morton, Supervisory Fish & Wildlife Biologist, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge - 15 min
  • Closing -- Appreciation for time and effort -- Paul Souza, Assistant Director, Science Applications, USFWS - 10 min

PDF Agenda