Federal government seeking applicants for regional climate change research centers
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — While a fringe element still debates climate change and its causes, major U.S. Government agencies are starting to take global warming very seriously, as the reality of what’s at stake starts to sink in.
The potential for widespread Dust Bowl conditions, dwindling water supplies in arid western states and impacts to agriculture and food supplies have spurred the Department of Interior to establish four regional climate centers.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called for the eight Climate Science Centers in a Secretarial Order signed Sept. 14, 2009. With this order, he put into action the Interior Department’s first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources.
“These centers will be part of a dynamic new network of eight geographically dispersed centers providing science about climate change impacts, helping land managers adapt to the impacts, and engaging the public through education initiatives,” Salazar said in a press release. “In short, Climate Science Centers will better connect our scientists with land managers and the public.”
The Department of the Interior is now accepting proposals from universities and scientific organizations to host four of the Department of the Interior regional Climate Science Centers planned throughout the nation—those in the Northwest, Southeast, Southwest and North Central regions.
The program announcement is posted here and is open for a 45-day period. Candidates should be institutions of higher learning or other organizations that have suitable facilities, partnerships, and science capabilities. Successful applicants are expected to be chosen by mid-August 2010.
Salazar named the University of Alaska as the first center on March 4, 2010. The Northwest and Southeast centers called for in today’s program announcement will be established in 2010. Those in the Southwest and North Central will be selected via this competition announcement but their formal establishment will be subject to available funding. The remaining three regions will be open for competition under a second program announcement that is planned for release in 2012.
The sites for these centers will be at the successful applicants’ locations, not at the Interior Department or its bureaus’ facilities. U.S. Geological Survey scientists and staff from other Interior bureaus will be hosted in the selected locations.
Applicants wishing to host a Climate Science Center must be able to contribute climate science capabilities that complement and enhance U.S. Geological Survey and Department of the Interior scientific and computational capacity, and those of other science partners.
Desirable background for host institutions includes experience with science collaborations and with regional land, water, fish and wildlife, and cultural resource partnerships and communities. Hosts will be eligible for federal funds for collaborative research projects with U.S. Geological Survey and other scientists.
The Department of the Interior is establishing not only the regional “Climate Science Centers” but also a network of “Landscape Conservation Cooperatives” that will interact with the science centers. The cooperatives will engage federal agencies, local and state partners, and the public in crafting practical, landscape-level strategies for managing climate change impacts within the eight regions.
Within their respective regions, these cooperatives will focus on impacts that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit—such as the effects of climate change on wildlife migration patterns, wildfire risk, drought, or invasive species.
To learn more about this climate change strategy, visit our new climate change strategy web page. This site features interactive maps of Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, as well as additional details on the services they will provide.
Filed under: Environment, federal government, global warming, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | climate change, global warming, regional climate change centers, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, U.S. Department of Interior