Seattle City Light Wildlife Research Grants for North Cascades – Pre-proposals due January 12

The City of Seattle, through its City Light Department, is soliciting research project applications for its Wildlife Research Program (WRP).  The WRP is a grant program that supports research on wildlife species and habitats in the greater North Cascades ecosystem.  It was established by Seattle City Light as part of the federal license for the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project.  Since 2001, the WRP has awarded more than 40 grants, totaling more than $1.5 million on a wide range of wildlife species and habitats in the region.

The next deadline for pre-proposals is January 12, 2017.

For complete information and application submittal requirements, please visit our website at http://www.seattle.gov/light/environment/wildlifegrant/.

NW Climate Science Conference – November 14-16

The 7th Annual Northwest Climate Conference will be held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA.  The conference will run from the evening of Monday, November 14th through 4pm on Wednesday November 16th, with a mix of plenary and concurrent sessions. The poster session will be the evening of Tuesday, November 15th.

Learn more information at http://pnwclimateconference.org/

CEQ Releases Final Guidance on Considering Climate Change in Environmental Reviews

This week, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final guidance for Federal agencies on how to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. Following years of engagement and after receiving public comments and other feedback from members of Congress, State agencies, tribes, corporations, trade associations, and other stakeholders, the final guidance is another step to consider how all types of federal actions will impact climate change and identify opportunities to build climate resilience. In addition to providing agencies with a suggested approach as to how to describe climate change impacts of an action, the guidance:

  • Advises agencies to quantify projected greenhouse gas emissions of proposed federal actions whenever the necessary tools, methodologies, and data inputs are available;
  • Encourages agencies to draw on their experience and expertise to determine the appropriate level (broad, programmatic or project- or site-specific) and the extent of quantitative or qualitative analysis required to comply with NEPA;
  • Counsels agencies to consider alternatives that would make the action and affected communities more resilient to the effects of a changing climate; and
  • Reminds agencies to use existing information and science when assessing proposed actions.

In Cascadia, this new guidance will play out on all actions that undergo federal review from highway projects to restoration projects on national forests.  It is an opportunity to utilize the large amount of quality climate science our region has to inform actions and clearly communicate the impacts of those actions to the public.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Wins Climate Adaptation Leadership Award

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Climate Change Project has been awarded the National Climate Adaptation Leadership Award. The Swinomish Tribe is a community of Coast Salish peoples descended from groups and bands originating from the Skagit and Samish River valleys, coastal areas surrounding nearby bays and waters, and numerous islands including Fidalgo, Camano, Whidbey and the San Juan Islands residing today in Cascadia’s Puget Sound region.

The new award recognizes the outstanding leadership by organizations and individuals who develop innovative approaches to prevent changes that are affecting valuable wildlife and natural resources.  The award was established as part of the Obama Administration’s Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources, which identifies key actions across the federal government to support resilience of America’s vital natural resources and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. The award is sponsored by the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Climate Adaptation Strategy’s Joint Implementation Working Group in partnership with the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Resource Conservation Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Forest Service, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our natural resources and the communities that depend on them,” said Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “These recipients are using innovative tools right now to combat this global threat. Their leadership advances smart conservation and resource management approaches that will increase the resilience of our natural resources for our communities and economies.”

The recipients’ projects were selected from 47 nominations based on a criteria of effectiveness, innovative approach, high potential for replication, promotion of preparation and response, and collaboration. More information about the Swinomish Tribe’s project is available in a 2015 article from NW Climate Science Magazine.

 

Judge tells USFWS to reconsider wolverine listing in light of climate threats

Wolverine captured by citizen wildlife monitors in the North Cascades in 2012.

Wolverine captured on camera by citizen wildlife monitors in the North Cascades in 2012.

Describing the wolverine as a “snow-dependent species standing squarely in the path of global climate change,” a federal judge today overturned an August 2014 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deciding not to provide protection for this species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Judge Christensen released an 85-page ruling.  He stated, “It is (my) view that if there is one thing required of the Service under the (Endangered Species Act), it is to take action at the earliest possible, defensible point in time to protect against the loss of biodiversity within our reach as a nation. For the wolverine, that time is now.”

Cascadia is home to a recovering population of wolverines that our partner forum recognized early on as a priority issue for transboundary collaboration and coordination.  Our population benefits from strong research and monitoring efforts that will inform the next steps by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as they consider a listing in light of climate science.

New short video on the grizzly bears and recovery efforts in the North Cascades

New 7-minute film "Wanted? Grizzly Bears?".  Click to watch.

New 7-minute film “Wanted? Grizzly Bears?”. Click to watch.

Curious about grizzly bears? A new 7 minute film entitled “Wanted?  Grizzly Bears” about the elusive North Cascades grizzly bear narrated by ecologist and film maker Chris Morgan, and including appearances by many Washington State residents who share their opinions of bears, and help bust some myths. The film includes beautiful footage of the North Cascades, and bears in Alaska where Morgan has hosted several films for PBS Nature, the BBC, and others.

The Cascadia Partner Forum has identified grizzly bears as a priority issue for our network due to the cultural and ecological importance of this species to our transboundary ecosystem.  Learn more on our page dedicated to grizzly bears in Cascadia.

Enjoy the new video, and make sure to stay engaged as this important dialogue about this species future is underway in Cascadia.

Beavers may be part of answer to climate change

An article in the Methow Valley news in north Central Washington starts by asking “Can a rodent species native to the Methow Valley help solve problems created by climate change? Absolutely, according to a local biologist who leads the Methow Beaver Project.”

Read about this impressive effort climate adaptation effort in the Cascades, and the monitoring that displays just how much water the project is helping store in the upper portions of watersheds.

New Voices of Cascadia video opens WildLinks 2015 meeting

Voices of Cascadia: The Next Generation - a video that opened up our 2015 WildLinks conference. Click to play.

Voices of Cascadia: The Next Generation – a video that opened up our 2015 WildLinks conference. Click to play.

Our partner forum hosted our annual WildLinks gathering October 28-30, 2015 at Manning Park Resort to bring together the diverse pool of practitioners working throughout Cascadia to create a more resilient landscape for species and ecosystems today and into the future.  Nearly 90 attendees from state, federal, and provincial governments, tribes, First Nations, NGO’s, universities, and scientific organizations gathered for a productive event.

This year the conference opened with a new video in our Voices of Cascadia Project that specifically brought forward the voices of the next generation telling conference attendees why Cascadia is important to them and what they want the older generation to know.  Watch the video now and enjoy their inspiring messages.

Learn more about the WildLinks 2015 conference on our event page.

British Columbia Releases Protected Areas Framework for South Okanagan With an Invitation for Public Feedback

Chopka grasslands, South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia. Photo Graham Osborne, South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN)

Chopka grasslands, South Okanagan-Similkameen, British Columbia. Photo Graham Osborne, South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network (SOSNPN)

In Cascadia, British Columbia’s South Okanagan region is an ecologically, socially, and culturally important place. As a result of discussions with stakeholders, community interests, and the Okanagan Nation, the provincial government has developed a proposed land protection framework for the South Okanagan that it hopes will address these interests both today and into the future.  Public comment is being sought on this proposal through October 12, 2015.

The South Okanagan region of British Columbia contains significant diversity and uniqueness of plants and animals, and is home to 30% of B.C.’s red-listed wildlife species and 46% of blue-listed species. Situated at the northernmost tip of the Great Basin Desert and representing a dry arid landscape that is not only unique to British Columbia, but to Canada, it is aptly named the “pocket desert.” This area is important to First Nations and contains sacred cultural and traditional use sites such as Spotted Lake and the White Lake basin and many other significant cultural, recreational and ecological sites. It is also an area that is facing intense development pressure and increasing population.

This region is included in an ongoing scientific and community stakeholders habitat connectivity collaboration between Washington and British Columbia, and has been identified as important in numerous discussions in the Cascadia Partner Forum as we consider our priority issues and contribution to the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative’s Science Plan.  Learn more and comment through October 12, 2015 on the Protected Areas Framework website for this proposal.

Great Northern LCC 2015 funding brings resources to Cascadia

The Great Northern LCC announced the commitment of $700,000 to landscape science, information management, and capacity support for the fiscal year 2015 including several projects covering the Cascadia landscape.

The Great Northern LCC continued its support for the work of our partner forum with $15,000 to track and foster implementation and update to conservation design for four Great Northern LCC conservation targets underway towards completion currently (see the priority issues we are currently working on) while initiating conservation design on two new conservation targets (Canada lynx and bull trout) to contribute to Cascadia-wide climate adaptation strategies and provide input and integration to the courser scale GNLCC-wide Science Plan’s established objectives, threats, metrics, and conservation actions for each target. Additionally we propose to continue our work to create a transboundary network of practitioners coordinating to increase the adaptive capacity of the ecosystems and species of Cascadia, while facilitating a Cascadia-wide discussion and identification of spatial priority landscapes that contribute to our resilient landscape vision.

Additionally, the Great Northern LCC is contributing:

  • $10,000 to the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources towards developing a department-wide Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP). YN staff will be integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge with current science findings to better prepare their natural resource programs to address future climate conditions. Funding through this grant will facilitate sharing of key strategies between the CAP and the GNLCC Conservation Framework.
  • $75,000 towards wolverine metapopulation monitoring and connectivity in the U.S. Rocky Mountains and North Cascades that is intended to advance wolverine conservation across the Rocky Mountains and North Cascades in the contiguous United States. It will include maintaining landscape connectivity among occupied wolverine habitats, assessing the feasibility to assist wolverine distribution expansion with translocation, developing andimplementing a collaborative multi-state monitoring plan to assess distribution and genetic characteristics of the metapopulation, and engaging key partners at multiple levels to
    prioritize habitat conservation, population connectivity, and management activities.  Wolverine was an early priority conservation target of the Cascadia Partner Forum.
  • $38,000 to researchers in British Columbia towards developing an interagency stream temperature database and model for BC and northern half of GNLCC.  Stream temperature data will be compiled from federal and provincial government agencies, as well as other data holders in British Columbia which will be housed in an interagency database. Spatial statistical models for river networks like those used for NorWeST will be used with these data to develop a consistent set of high-resolution predictions for all streams and reaches within streams for a pilot area within the Cascadia ecotypic area of the GNLCC (i.e., middle Fraser River and Okanagan River basins). The pilot area work would entail development of technical protocols so that future efforts could be scaled broadly across BC and the northern half of the GNLCC to ultimately provide a consistentset of international stream temperature scenarios for planning and vulnerability assessments for aquatic species.

Other projects within the list range from site specific efforts elsewhere in the GNLCC to landscape wide efforts that will include input from Cascadia.  Click here to view the full list of FY15 Funding Allocation projects funded by the Great Northern LCC.