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A game plan for climate change
Date:2/27/2013

Researchers have successfully piloted a process that enables natural resource managers to take action to conserve particular wildlife, plants and ecosystems as climate changes.

The Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework is a practical approach to assessing how future changes in air and water temperatures, precipitation, stream flows, snowpack, and other environmental conditions might affect natural resources. ACT enables scientists and managers to work hand-in-hand to consider how management actions may need to be adjusted to address those impacts.

"As acceptance of the importance of climate change in influencing conservation and natural resource management increases, ACT can help practitioners connect the dots and integrate climate change into their decisions," said WCS Conservation Scientist, Dr. Molly Cross. "Most importantly, the ACT process allows practitioners to move beyond just talking about impacts to address the 'What do we do about it?' question."

The ACT framework was tested during a series of workshops at four southwestern United States landscapes (see map) that brought together 109 natural resource managers, scientists, and conservation practitioners from 44 local, state, tribal and federal agencies and organizations. The workshops were organized by the Southwest Climate Change Initiative, representing The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), the Western Water Assessment, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

One example comes from the Bear River basin in Utah, where workshop participants looked at how warmer air and water temperatures and decreased summer stream flow might affect native Bonneville cutthroat trout habitat and populations. The group strategized that restoring the ability of fish to move between the main stem of the Bear River and cooler tributaries, protecting cold-water
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Contact: Scott Smith
ssmith@wcs.org
718-220-3698
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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