Digest Highlights

How-to Guide for Coproduction of Actionable Science
Resource managers often need scientific information to match their decisions (typically short-term and local) to complex, long-term, large-scale challenges such as adaptation to climate change. In such situations, the most reliable route to actionable science is coproduction, whereby managers, policy makers, scientists, and other stakeholders first identify specific decisions to be informed by science, and then jointly define the scope and context of the problem, research questions, methods, and outputs, make scientific inferences, and develop strategies for the appropriate use of science.

This new paper, co-authored by NPLCC committee member, Lynn Helbrecht of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, presents seven recommended practices intended to help scientists, managers, funders and other stakeholders carry out a coproduction project, one recommended practice to ensure that partners learn from attempts at coproduction, and two practices to promote coproduction at a programmatic level.
Read The full publication.

In This Issue:
Learning Opportunities
Tribes & First Nations Resources
Coastal & Marine Ecosystems, Ocean Acidification/Sea Level Rise
Freshwater Aquatic Resources & Ecosystems, Water Resources, Hydrology
Biodiversity/ Species and Ecosystem Response
Taking Action
Climate, Weather Reports & Services
List Servers
Other Resources & Tools

New NPLCC project reports available
Three new project reports from NPLCC-funded projects in 2015/2-16 are now available:

Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society & American Water Resources Annual Meeting: This Alaskan LCC-sponsored meeting will take place in Fairbanks, AK on March 19-23. Abstract submission for presentations and posters for the March 2017 Alaska Chapter - American Fisheries Society (AFS) and American Water Resources Association joint meeting is now open.  Interested presenters may submit their information online. Abstracts will be due by February 10th. Stay tuned to the Alaska Chapter-AFS website for more information on the meeting and registration. 

Between Two Worlds: Frank Lake heals the land using modern science and traditional ecological knowledge: NPLCC Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge subcommittee member, Frank Lake, of U.S. Forest Services Pacific Southwest Research Station recently published a feature blog for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Blog. The blog focuses on Frank's experience working with both traditional ecological knowledge and science. Read more.

Sign Up for the Northwest Climate Hub Newsletter
The USDA Northwest Climate Hub encompasses Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The purpose of the Hub is to deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and Native American tribes that will help them to adapt to climate change. Sign up for the NW Climate Hub mailing list to stay informed on current and upcoming work.

Learning Opportunities

*All times are Pacific time zone unless otherwise noted

1/26-1/27 - Conference, Portland, OR. ScienceTalk Northwest 
2/6-2/10 – Conference, Anchorage, AK. Alaska Forum on the Environment
2/7-2/8 – Workshop, Sacramento, CA, Climate Change Adaptation Workshop

2/14-2/16 – Summit, Atlanta, GA. 2017 Climate and Health Summit (contact ClimateHealthSummit2017@cdc.gov)
2/21-2/23 – Training, Anchorage, AK. Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals Tribal Climate Change Training.
3/7-3/9 - Training, Spokane, WA. Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals Tribal Climate Change Training.
5/9-5/11 – Forum, St. Paul, MN.
National Adaptation Forum
The NPLCC works with Tribes and First Nations from California to Alaska, learn more about this work here.  Photo Tribal canoe journey in Bella Bella, BC, by Kris Krug, Creative Commons

Tribe & First Nation Resources

Arctic communities perceive climate impacts on access as a critical challenge to availability of subsistence resources: Amplified climate change in the Arctic has altered interactions between rural communities and local wild resources. Shifting interactions warrant analysis because they can influence cultural practices and food security of northern societies. Researchers collaborated with four indigenous communities in Alaska and conducted semi-directed interviews with 71 experienced harvesters to identify local perceptions of climate-driven trends in the environment, and describe the effects of those trends on the availability (i.e., abundance, distribution, accessibility) of subsistence resources.

Save the date for two upcoming Tribal Climate Change Trainings: The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) offers training to tribal environmental professionals to build their capacity to address climate change issues. The courses are taught by instructional teams that include staff from ITEP, federal agencies, universities, and/or organizations, and most importantly, the tribes themselves, who share their expertise and experience.
  • Feb 21-23, Anchorage, AK
  • Mar 7-9, Spokane, WA
In case you missed it: A report from the treaty tribes in western Washington: In November 2016, the treaty tribes in western Washington released a comprehensive report outlining the ways in which the tribes and their natural resources are impacted by climate change. The report emphasizes every treaty-protected resource that is under threat, including fish and shellfish abundance, migration of wild game, loss of culturally significant sites due to flooding, landslides, or infrastructure damage, and declines in human health due to poor air quality, heat stress, and the spread of diseases. The report also discusses current climate science and the ways in which the tribes are taking action to prevent worse harm from climate change. 
Engaging tribes in sustainable water resources topics and management: A paper released in the journal Water discussed the topic of tribal engagement in sustainable water resource topics and management. Authored by researchers from the University of Arizona and Michigan State University, the paper outlined the context of current indigenous water management issues, synthesized various approaches to engage indigenous persons, communities and governments, and compared the successes of five engagement examples that highlight methods for collaboration. The paper was based on data from Southwestern U.S. tribes, however can be applied to other regions of the United States.
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe builds logjams for salmon habitat: Salmon habitat in the Gray Wolf River was degraded by wood removal projects in the 1960s and has never recovered. That is why the Jamestown K’Klallam Tribe has taken it upon themselves to reform the river into an environment conducive for laying eggs by building logjams out of rocks and logs with rootwads. Delivered by helicopter, the logs were part of an engineering design based off of the natural log-jamming mechanism of the river. The $495,000 project was funded by the tribe with support from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Upcoming Pacific Northwest Tribal Climate Change Network Conference Call Dates.
  • January 18, 2017
  • February 15, 2017
  • March 15, 2017
  • April 19, 2017
  • May 17, 2017
  • June 21, 2017
The PNW Tribal Change Network hosts monthly calls to foster communication between tribes, agencies, and other entities about climate change policies, programs, and research needs pertaining to tribes and climate change. To join the network e-mail list and receive call information, please contact Kathy Lynn. For more information on the network, including previous meeting materials visit here.
Many LCC partners and regional practitioners gathered in Alaska to discuss ocean acidification

Coastal/Marine Ecosystems/Ocean Acidification/Sea Level Rise

Alaska Ocean Acidification ‘State of the Science’ workshop delivers latest findings: The Alaska Ocean Acidification Network hosted a workshop in Anchorage on Nov 30-Dec 1, inviting a broad audience across the state interested in ocean acidification issues. Around 250 people joined in person or remotely. Satellite viewing sites were located in Cordova, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kodiak, Nome, Seward, Sitka, and Unalaska. The South High science bowl team and a class from Palmer High also attended.

Ocean acidification study offers warnings for marine life, habitats: An international team of scientists, including UW professor Terrie Klinger, recently published a comprehensive study of the effects of ocean acidification on the structure and complexity of living habitats such as coral reefs, kelp forests and seagrasses. This study is unique in that it reports on the effects to habitats as a whole rather than individual species. Analysis from this multidimensional report predict declines in the biodiversity of species in coral reefs, mussel beds and kelp forests however an increase in the biodiversity of species from seagrass habitats. Predictions of decreased biodiversity were supported by available in situ data, however lacked evidence for the predicted enhancement of seagrasses biodiversity.
Analysis of the quahog clam reveals how the oceans affected the climate over the past 1,000 years: A collaborative team of researchers have used growth rings in the shells of the longest-living animal, the quahog clam, to obtain an absolutely dated marine δ18O archive for the past 1000 years. Obtained from the North Icelandic shelf, the record lengthens our historical knowledge of the planet’s climate system by nearly a magnitude of ten. The record shows that before the industrial period (1000-1800), the North Atlantic ocean was a dominant driver in modulating the planet’s climate in response to solar and volcanic forcing. However, this observed relationship ceased during the industrial period and the onset of human-induced climate change. 
Kelp beats the heat: Scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara recently released their study examining the effect of extreme warming on kelp forests. The researchers collected a decade of oceanographic and ecological data along an 80km stretch of the Santa Barbara Channel and were able to capture the recent extreme warming event along the western coast of North America. Using this temporal record, the team assessed the kelp forest’s resilience throughout the warming event and, surprisingly, found that habitat to exhibit little sensitivity. This study is significant because it contradicts the sentinel status given to kelp forests, as they are commonly understood to be sensitive to temperature change.

Freshwater Aquatic Resources and Ecosystems,Water Resources, Hydrology

Federal Water Resources and Climate Change Workgroup Releases an update to its National Action Plan: The Federal Water Resources and Climate Change Workgroup has updated its National Action Plan. Titled “Looking Forward: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources in a Changing Climate,” the report discusses three areas of action (research, management, and outreach) and offers updated recommendations for each. Recommendations span data collection and monitoring networks to increased training and support for communities and resource managers. Learn more about the report and the specific ways that all federal agencies involved in water resource management are making efforts to incorporate climate change into their mission here:
Scientists collaborated with Google to map long-term global surface water occurrence: Scientists from the European Commission, Joint Research Centre, partnered with Google to produce the Global Surface Water Explorer, an interactive map of surface water change from 1984-2015. The tool was created by processing over three million Landsat satellite images and quantifying the data into a 30-meter resolution map. Findings from this dataset were published in Nature and include measured and evident impacts of climate change and climate oscillations on surface water occurrence. Among these findings, the authors emphasize that all continental regions except Oceania show a net increase in permanent surface water, and that areas of water loss are more geographically concentrated around mainly the Middle East and Central Asia. The Global Surface Water Explorer is now free and open to the public.
Mixed populations and annual flood frequency estimates in the western US: the role of atmospheric rivers: Researchers from the University of Iowa recently published their study examining the spatial and fractional contribution of atmospheric rivers in annual peak flow data. The study used 30 years of data from 1375 streamgage sites to identify regions in which flooding was impacted by atmospheric rivers through the western United States. Findings showed the Pacific Northwest and the coast of northern California to have, on average, the highest fraction (~80-100%) of peak flows induced by atmospheric rivers. Localized regions, such as the Columbia River Basin, tended to experience a wider range of impact. In contrast to the Pacific Northwest and the northern California coast, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico exhibited no impact from atmospheric rivers.
Flood risk growing in the northern U.S., declining in the South: University of Iowa scientists recently published a study mapping current flood threats across the United States. The study compared stream height data in 2042 streams and rivers from 1985 to 2015 and categorized the results using National Weather Service flood level categories. Findings showed very apparent trends across the country. Northern regions generally exhibited a growing flood risk with increased groundwater volume, while the opposite was seen in most southern regions. The largest decline in stored water was seen in central California, Texas, and New Mexico.

Back to top

Biodiversity/Species & Ecosystem Response

Despite evolutionary inexperience, northern sockeye manage heat stress: Oregon State University biologist Jonathan Armstrong led a recent study examining the thermoregulatory abilities of sockeye salmon from the poleward extent of the species’ migratory range. Armstrong and colleagues analyzed the behavior of northern sockeye during a natural heat event in the Wood River watershed, a river system that feeds into Bristol Bay off the coast of Alaska. The researchers tagged adult sockeye with temperature trackers as they made their way back to freshwater to spawn. The researchers found that the northern sockeye managed to thermoregulate under heat stress as effectively as southern sockeye exposed to a much wider range of annual temperatures. Specifically, the study showed that fish moved to cooler waters (thermoregulated) when the surrounding water exceeded 12℃. 
Climate change is already causing widespread local extinction in plant and animal species: Scientist John Wiens from the University of Arizona recently published a comprehensive report on local species extinction that is already occurring due to climate change. Wiens used an array of range-shift studies to comply a synthesis of existing localized extinction and extinction frequencies. Out of the 976 species studied, Wiens found 47% exhibited local extinction. The highest extinction frequencies were found in tropical species, animals (compared to plants), and freshwater habitats relative to terrestrial and marine habitats.


New study finds surprising culprit drives forest fire behavior: Researchers across the United States collaborated to better understand the forces acting upon fire activity. Led by Alan Taylor from Pennsylvania State, the researchers combined tree-ring-based records of Sierra Nevada fire history with a 20th Century fire record based on annual area burned to develop a 415 year-long archive of fire activity. The study found that human activity, as opposed to climate change, has the greatest impact on forest fire behavior. The findings suggest that land managers and landowners can affect fire behavior through methods that make forest more resilient. The authors conclude that by changing land use, we can buffer some of the effects of climate change in forest fires.
Influence of fire disturbance and biophysical heterogeneity on pre-settlement ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests: Researchers from Oregon State University studied the relative influence of fire frequency, climate, soils, and topography on forests in Oregon’s southern Blue Mountains. Recently published in the journal Ecosphere, the study displays relative influence on site-scale forests spanning a broad range of productivity. The researchers found that topographic position and vapor pressure deficit were stronger forces acting upon site-scale forest structure and composition than fire frequency. Within sites, however, soil water was the most important influence. Finally, the study concluded that frequent fire had a uniform influence across all forest dynamics, suggesting that management plans to reduce fuel and restore frequent fires is appropriate across all sites in the southern Blue Mountains.
U.S. federal fire and forest policy: emphasizing resilience in dry forests: A new report released in the journal Ecosphere proposes a revision to federal forest fire policy. Authored by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and Northern Arizona University, the report makes recommendations geared toward improving the management of forest restoration and wildland fire. The proposal includes giving forest restoration equal priority to other fields of land management, rewriting federal planning documents to disincentivize fire suppression and incentivize managed wildland fire, new federal partnerships with States and local governments, and efforts to manage for long-term forest resilience in addition to short-term fire suppression.

Back to top


Will changes in phenology track climate change? A study of growth initiation timing in coast Douglas-fir: Under climate change, the reduction of frost risk, onset of warm temperatures and depletion of soil moisture are all likely to occur earlier in the year in many temperate regions. The resilience of tree species will depend on their ability to track these changes in climate with shifts in phenology that lead to earlier growth initiation in the spring. Exposure to warm temperatures (‘forcing’) typically triggers growth initiation, but many trees also require exposure to cool temperatures (‘chilling’) while dormant to readily initiate growth in the spring. If warming increases forcing and decreases chilling, climate change could maintain, advance or delay growth initiation phenology relative to the onset of favorable conditions.

Warming could slow upslope migration of trees: A new study published in Global Change Biology has found evidence against the common assumption of tree migration due to climate change. The two species, Engelmann spruce and limber pine, may be too affected by warming during germination to keep pace with tree migration. The scientists conducted an empirical study by planting seed gardens at three different elevations and manipulating their local climate through infrared heaters. They found that under warming conditions, seedlings survival was reduced at all elevations, rather than only at lower elevations. These empirical insights could help improve models that project species range migration under climate change.
Changing disturbance regimes, ecological memory, and forest resilience: A collaborative team of researchers from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand recently published a report examining the impact of ecological memory on forest resilience during disturbance regimes. Ecological memory is defined as the physiological and material traits imprinted within an ecosystem from a past disturbance event. These "legacies" of disturbance can act as a form of resilience when future disturbance characteristics support or maintain the legacies. Conversely, if the environmental conditions change and future disturbance is unprecedented, ecosystems can fall into a "resilience debt." The report published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment outlines a new ecosystem resilience framework that includes the identification of legacies that support resilience in vulnerable ecosystems.
Competition alters tree growth responses to climate at individual and stand scales: A large team of scientists examined how competition affects tree growth and alters their response to climate change in a study recently published in the General Technical Reports of the United States Forest Service. The team used 32 years of forest monitoring data from mature and old-growth stands of forests in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington to characterize the joint effects of climate and competition on diameter growth. Overall, individual growth was sensitive to climate under low competition but was not sensitive under high competition. From these results, the authors predicted that individual growth in less dense (lower competition) stands will increase with warming. On the stand-scale, the authors predicted that growth responses to climate change will be worse at low density, implying that higher density (higher competition) stands will experience increased growth on the stand-level. 

Taking Action

Tulalips, scientists push for local efforts on climate issues: The Tulalip Indian Reservation held a workshop in December 2016 focusing on the coupled effects of rising seas and altered precipitation patterns being felt by coastal communities and ecosystems (called the “coastal squeeze”). This was the third in a series of workshops aimed to build connections between government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in order to take constructive, local action to meet Puget Sound Partnership climate goals for 2020. 

2015 NPLCC-funded project recently published a coastal change project database for Western Alaska, Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska. Learn more about the project results here. Photo: Bryan Wilkins, Creative Commons

Climate and Weather Reports and Services

British Columbia on track to set new temperature record in 2016: The very strong El Nino of 2014-2016 helped to deliver a record-warm 2015 in British Columbia last year. Here researchers analyze the temperature data to see if ongoing climate change along with continued tropical warming was sufficient to set a new record for 2016. Compared with 2015’s fires and scorching summer heat waves, 2016 appeared moderate. Dry conditions and low snow packs lead to an early start to the fire season with Alberta’s Fort McMurray fires capturing the world’s attention in spring but then the fire season quieted, copious summer rains fell, and record heat became less noticeable. By early December, British Columbia was locked in the grips of an arctic air mass the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the province for several years. Yet, an analysis of temperature measurements shows that 2016 is on course to be at least the second and possibly the warmest year on record for British Columbia.

Soil carbon released into air might equal US emissions, triggering runaway climate change: A study led by scientists from Yale University examined the source to sink relationship of of soil carbon in order to quantify its role with future warming. The team of researchers analyzed data from 49 field experiments located at various latitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The higher latitudes exhibited the most significant losses of soil carbon storage. This result, when combined with future warming projections, indicates a significant positive feedback and further planetary warming. The authors concluded that, despite the uncertainty in their data, soil carbon consistently acted as a source for atmospheric carbon.
Climate change will drive stronger, smaller storms in U.S., new modeling approach forecasts: A new approach for modeling storm behavior has been developed by researchers from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. The new framework, published in the Journal of Climate, uses new statistical methods to identify the properties of individual storms which allows researchers to track changes in storm frequency, size and duration. Due to the finer resolution of this new approach, the researchers detected changes in storm features that explained former contradictory results. Stronger storms that have been predicted with future climate change, for example, are not projected to be accompanied by an increase in overall rainfall. Using the new approach, the authors were able to explain this puzzling phenomenon: individual storms exhibited a decrease in land area covered during the summer.

Other Resources and Tools


Landscape Conservation Cooperatives: Natural systems and landscapes are impacted by increasing land use pressures and widespread resource threats amplified by a rapidly changing climate. These changes are occurring at an unprecedented pace and scale. By leveraging resources and strategically targeting science to inform conservation decisions and actions, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are a network of partnerships working in unison to ensure the sustainability of America's land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources. To learn more about our neighboring LCCs please visit the Great Northern LCC, Great Basin LCC, Northwest Boreal LCC, Western Alaska LCC, Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC, and Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative. For even further information on LCCs please visit the LCC Network page. 

Climate Science Centers: The Climate Science Centers (CSCs) provide actionable scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, and cultural resource managers and other interested parties can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change impacts. The NPLCC works closely with the Northwest CSC, Alaska CSC, and Southwest CSC.

Northwest Climate Hub: The Northwest Climate Hub encompasses Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The purpose of the Hub is to deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and Native American tribes that will help them to adapt to climate change. Learn more and sign up for the newsletter here.

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC): The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) is a regional climate service centre at the University of Victoria that provides practical information on the physical impacts of climate variability and change in the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada.

University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group: The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary research group studying the impacts of natural climate variability and global climate change ("global warming").

Oregon Climate Change Research Institute: The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI), based at Oregon State University (OSU), is a network of over 150 researchers at OSU, the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, and affiliated federal and state labs. 

University of Oregon's Tribal Climate Change Project: The Tribal Climate Change Project is a collaborative project between the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program and the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. The project focuses on understanding needs and opportunities for tribes in addressing climate change, examining the government-to-government relationship in a climate context and exploring the role of traditional knowledge in climate change studies, assessments and plans.

The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals: The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals provides training, assistance and educational resources to tribes on climate change issues.

PNW Tribal Climate Change Network: The PNW Tribal Climate Change Network fosters communication between tribes, agencies, and other entities about climate change policies, programs, and research needs pertaining to tribes and climate change. 

National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy: The National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy will provide a unified approach—reflecting shared principles and science-based practices—for reducing the negative impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants, habitats and associated ecological processes across geographic scales. Learn more

Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the National Park Service and with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed a kit for use when talking with the public about how climate change is affecting our nation's wildlife and public lands. Learn more .   

Climate Change Resource Center from the USDA Forest Service:  A national resource that connects land managers and decision makers with useable science to address climate change in planning and application. Learn more.

FWS Climate Change Response: How do partnership efforts such as Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy fit into the Service's overall  response to accelerating climate change? How is our agency reducing its carbon footprint? What is our agency doing now to reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife and plants? Learn more

FWS Climate Change Information Toolkit: A key part of the Service's climate change strategy is to inform FWS staff about the impacts of accelerating climate change and to engage partners and others in seeking collaborative solutions. Through shared knowledge and communication, we can work together to reduce the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats.  Here are some resources   that can help. 

Safeguarding Wildlife from Climate Change Web Conference Series: The FWS and National Wildlife Federation have developed a series of web conferences to increase communication and transfer of technical information between conservation professionals regarding the growing challenges of climate change. Learn more

List Servers


The North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative is pleased to provide this issue of our Conservation Digest as a service to our partners.  This monthly e-digest highlights emerging information about the conservation of natural and cultural resources, upcoming events, and training opportunities throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 
Much of the information contained in this digest is compiled in partnership between the NPLCC and the 
Northwest Climate Science Center. The contents of the Climate Digest are solely the responsibility of the cited authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NPLCC or the Northwest Climate Science Center.

If you have information you would like to see highlighted in future issues, questions or comments, e-mail John Mankowski or Meghan Kearney 
Forward to Friend
John Mankowski - NPLCC Coordinator
Mary Mahaffy - NPLCC Science Coordinator
Tom Miewald - Data & Information Coordinator
Meghan Kearney - Communication Specialist
Visit us often at www.northpacificlcc.org

If you choose to unsubscribe, you will no longer receive any mailings from the NPLCC. 
unsubscribe from this list   |   update subscription preferences