I’ve been with the NPS and South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) for about two months now and I am so excited about the work we’re doing. For those of you who may not know, my position is funded by the NPS and I am part of the Climate Change Response Program, I am also the direct liaison and collaborator to and with the SALCC. My office is located with the SALCC in Raleigh NC. One of the most exciting things I have discovered is that as we look at the landscape as a whole and plan for the future here in the LCC, the benefits to the Parks and other federal, state, and local partners become obvious. Right now, I’m working on an idea to develop vulnerability assessments for the SALCC, partners, and parks within it by bringing together expertise from our partners with data products that the SALCC has partly funded through the Climate Science Center to conduct a workshop designed to produce the assessments. At the workshop, experts (from the parks and SALCC partners) would examine future predictions of temperature, precipitation, sea level, and urbanization to identify the exposure and sensitivity of habitats, species, and cultural resources to future change across the SALCC. The product of the workshop would be vulnerability assessments for various participants.
Developing vulnerability assessments at this juncture is timely for a couple of reasons, 1. The Climate Science Center will be producing data about possible future conditions on the landscape, 2. The SALCC will have produced a web-based interface to easily visualize the data. These are inputs that we will need to conduct a workshop focused on vulnerability.
Once the workshop has been completed, there are several key pieces that parks and our partners will find far more valuable if a vulnerability assessment is completed. The first is a product of the NPS. The NPS (Rebecca Beavers) is working to identify a suite of potential adaptation strategies that, if we know our vulnerabilities, coastal parks and partners can then tap into. The second is a project funded by the SALCC. It’s called the optimal conservation strategy and is a scenario planning tool that partners can use to explore how potential adaptation strategies will impact the landscape.
Of course, I have some other projects in the works, I’m developing economic and demographic statistics for the SALCC, developing screening analyses of Sea Level Rise for the Virgin Islands, assisting in the analysis of light pollution in eastern NC, and assisting in the analysis of the economic costs and benefits of re-forestation for the Gulf Coast & Plains LCC. I’m not certain exactly what I’ll be working on 3-6 months from now or even a year from now. I think that’s one of the interesting things about my position, I’m not locked in to a specific task, but I do have some big-picture objectives for the position to guide me. One thing you can be certain of however, is that I will be staying abreast of the research on Climate Change, looking for ways to utilize the latest Climate Science Center data to the benefit of the NPS and the SALCC, and looking for persuasive socioeconomic stories that make transparent the fact that investing in our natural and cultural resources pays dividends in the future.