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Delivering science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate

NW CASC Connections is designed to help keep you -- a member of the community working to advance climate adaptation in and beyond the Northwest -- in the loop by connecting you to the latest NW CASC science, tools, opportunities and events from across our region. 

Science Spotlight
Recurring, Large-Scale Drought Patterns Shape Forest Recovery After Wildfires

Until now, little has been known about the extent to which patterns of large-scale drought affect forest recovery after fire. New NW CASC research, led by former NW CASC Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Caitlin Littlefield, with NW CASC Researcher Dr. Solomon Dobrowski and colleagues from the University of Montana, found that in the western US, a drought pattern that alternates between the Northern Rockies and Southwest every few years plays an important role in setting the pace for forest recovery after fire. These results highlight a critical window of opportunity for forest recovery within the first few years after fire.

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Events & Opportunities
  • Do you have experience in invasive species management and climate change adaptation? The NW CASC invites scientists, resource managers, conservation practitioners, field crew personnel, fire managers, agency leads, agricultural specialists and others working at the intersection of invasive species and climate change to participate in the following survey about invasive species in a changing climate. Your input will be used to help shape the strategic agenda and action plan for the Northwest Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (NW RISCC) Network, a community of practice dedicated to helping practitioners address the intersection of climate change and invasive species, including plants, animals and pathogens. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Your responses will be summarized (without names) and shared with respondents. This survey closes on December 21, 2020.

  • The University of Montana (UM), in partnership with the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (NW CASC), will be releasing an announcement early in 2021 seeking a postdoctoral researcher as part of the National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Center’s Postdoctoral Climate Adaptation Scholars (CAS) Program. The CAS postdoctoral researcher will be based at the University of Montana with co-mentoring from the NW CASC at the University of Washington. The researcher will: (1) lead regionally focused research projects related to climate-fire dynamics; (2) collaborate with a national cohort of CAS postdocs on national-scale research and synthesis on climate-fire issues; and (3) participate in regular training and professional development opportunities, including training on translational ecology and the co-production of actionable science with natural resource decision-makers, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration across academic disciplines. The full position description will be posted on the NW CASC website as soon as it is finalized. The Climate Adaptation Scholars program is designed to support management-relevant research and scientific synthesis of emerging research needs related to climate impacts on fish, wildlife and ecosystems. The objective of the CAS Program is to provide regional-to-national syntheses of climate change impacts on fire regimes, fire management and fire response; explore resulting impacts on fish, wildlife and ecosystems; and provide the scientific research necessary to help managers adapt to these changes.

  • Oklahoma State University, part of the consortium of the South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, is also hiring a new postdoctoral fellow position focused on the nexus of climate change and prescribed fire risk analysis, tolerance and communication. This position will be located in Stillwater, OK. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Learn more and apply.

  • Did you miss the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group’s first anniversary lecture, From Cliffs to Coasts: Stories of Climate Resilience? Not to worry, you can find the recording here. You can also register for the next lecture, Building Climate Resilience During COVID-19 Recovery, coming up on January 27, 2021 at 5 PM (PT). Hear experts on climate impacts science and policy discuss how we can leverage the period of economic and social recovery following COVID-19 to build resilience to climate change.
Faces of Adaptation: Mike Hudson

Mike Hudson is both a Regional Climate Change Coordinator and a Fish Biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and has served on the NW CASC’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee since 2018. In his role as Regional Climate Change Coordinator, Mike works across Fish & Wildlife Service programs to better integrate climate science into the agency’s work. As a Fish Biologist, Mike is part of the Integrated Conservation Science Program at the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. 

In both of his roles, Mike builds partnerships by working across multiple USFWS programs in the region and by working closely with Federal, Tribal, state, private and non-profit partners. Says Mike, “I started working in this field because of my love and passion for natural resources, particularly fish and wildlife, and for the sense of service the work provides me. I found that I am not alone in this thinking. My favorite thing about my work is that I get to work with like-minded people every day toward making a difference.”


Learn More About Mike

Actionable Science Resources
As climate change continues to affect water resources, how can researchers collaborate more effectively with Tribes on water resources research and management? In an open-access paper Engaging Southwestern Tribes in Sustainable Water Resources Topics and Management, authors Karletta Chief, Alison Meadow and Kyle Whyte provide a grounding in current Indigenous water management issues and offer approaches for engaging Indigenous communities and governments on water resources topics in ways that respect Indigenous cultural contexts, histories and the current socio-economic and political situations in which Indigenous peoples are embedded.

Read the Paper
Uniquely Northwest: Mulford's Milkvetch

In the cold-desert regions of the Snake River Plain in southeastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho grows the rare plant Mulford’s Milkvetch (Astragalus mulfordiae). Scattered on sandy soils amongst sagebrush and bunchgrasses, this slender and unassuming perennial grows in small populations and flowers in the late spring. Threatened by habitat loss from urban development, recreation, grazing and competition with invasive grasses, which is intensifying under climate change, the Mulford’s Milketch has been of high conservation concern in Oregon and Idaho for many years. 

NW CASC-funded research, led by NW CASC Fellow Clara Buchholtz, seeks to understand how trail management techniques can be adapted to protect Mulford’s Milkvetch. Clara is collecting data about the locations and extent of off-road motorized trails in southwestern Idaho to understand how their expansion in recent decades has affected the Mulford’s Milkvetch. This data is necessary to adapt trail management to reduce the spread of invasive annual grasses and protect the special Mulford’s Milkvetch that calls the Northwest home.
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Volume 2: Issue 2
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