AFS Urges Congress to Support DOI’s Climate Science Centers

AFS recently signed-on to a letter urging congressional appropriators to fund the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) in concert with a number of conservation organizations.  The President’s FY18 budget proposes a 34% decrease in overall funding from FY17 levels for this program and the cuts would result in elimination of half of the eight regional science centers.

Congress authorized the program in 2008 and a network of eight regional Climate Science Centers was created in the ensuing years. These centers are partnerships between USGS and leading research universities and whose mission is to synthesize and integrate climate change impact data and develop tools that resource managers can use to manage our nation’s land, water, fish, wildlife and cultural heritage resources in the face of a changing climate.

AFS considers this program critically important to ensuring the health of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources, for promoting responsible and forward-looking stewardship of public and private lands, and for ensuring the continued vitality of the nation’s outdoor economy.

The challenges of managing our nation’s resources have only grown more acute as managers face increasing climate-related threats, such as long-term droughts, massive wildfires, extreme precipitation and flooding events, spreading invasive species, and rising sea levels. The CASCs respond to these challenges by conducting rigorous, peer-reviewed science on the impacts and risks a changing environment poses to fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.  Importantly, this research is done in close cooperation with on-the-ground resource managers to ensure that the resulting science directly helps fish and wildlife managers, federal and state land management agencies, tribal and indigenous communities, and others develop and execute climate-resilient management strategies.

Contact Drue Winters at dwinters@fisheries.org to learn how you can show your support for this important program.