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Scaling climate change adaptation in the northern Great Plains through regional climate summaries and local qualitative-quantitative scenario planning workshops

Principal Investigator(s): 
Amy Symstad, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center; asymstad@usgs.gov. (Project Contact: Stephanie Manz, Administrative Officer, smanz@usgs.gov)
Co-Investigator(s): 
Brian Miller [Colorado State University North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC)], Nicholas Fisichelli [National Park Service (NPS)], Gregor Schuurman (NPS), Melinda Koslow (NPS), Andrea Ray [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], Jonathan Friedman (USGS), Erika Rowland [Wildlife Conservation Society]. Cooperator: Marian Talbert (USGS, NC CSC), Partners: Milton Haar (NPS), Mike McNeill [U.S. Forest Service (USFS)], Wendy Ross (NPS), Cami Dixon [U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)], Neil Shook (FWS).

Climate change is expressed in both regional climatic shifts (e.g., temperature and precipitation changes) and local resource impacts. Resource management in a changing climate is challenging because future climate change and resource responses cannot be precisely predicted. Scenario planning is a tool to assess the range of plausible future conditions. However, selecting, acquiring, synthesizing, and scaling climate information for scenario planning requires significant time and skills. This project has three goals: 1) synthesize climate data into 3-5 distinctly different but plausible climate summaries for the northern Great Plains region; 2) craft summaries of these climate futures that are relevant to local land management units; and 3) apply these local summaries to further develop quantitative climate-resource-management scenarios through participatory workshops and simulation models. We are engaging multiple stakeholders in two focal areas within the region: southwestern South Dakota in the vicinity of Badlands National Park, and central North Dakota in the vicinity of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. This effort increases climate change planning efficiency in the region; promotes collaborations across jurisdictions; and develops a prototype for a novel, efficient, and replicable form of scenario planning that could serve additional management units.