On May 8, 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the new Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science (ACCCNRS). ACCCNRS will advise on national direction for the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC), which operates Interior’s eight regional Climate Science Centers (CSCs).
The CSCs are federal-academic partnerships with regional stakeholder bodies. ACCCNRS does not replace these regional relationships, but provides a forum for input on operations of the network as a whole, and on national contributions that complement and build on regional activities.
Selection and Representation. ACCCNRS has 25 members from DOI, other Federal agencies, states and local governments, tribal nations and partners, the nongovernmental community, academia, and the private sector. Given the strong partnership orientation and the boundary-spanning nature of its role, the NCCWSC-CSC enterprise has a relatively large number of partners – obviously more than 25.
We received more than 140 nominations for ACCCNRS through the Federal Register (and were required to select from this list of nominees only). Selection rationales are briefly described below. (Terms for members have been set at either two or three years, to avid mass turnover. Thus, any references to rotating of seats should be assumed to occur on the 2- or 3-year schedule.)
· Interior Department bureaus will initially be represented by USGS, FWS and NPS. USGS will retain a permanent seat, as the committee provides input to a USGS program, but other DOI “slots” will be rotated among involved DOI bureaus.
· Other Federal agencies initially include USDA, NOAA, EPA, and the Army Corps. As with DOI, these seats will be rotated among interested members of the US Global Change Research Program (which has 13 participating agencies).
· State members were asked to represent not only their own state but their larger “region” – using the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency regions as our guidelines. We thank members for this assistance.
· For nongovernmental and tribal partners – we sought individuals and institutions with significant visibility within their own community (e.g. within the tribal/ climate community) and/or significant involvement with climate science / adaptation etc. at the national level.
· We have engaged both forest management and energy industries, key climate partners facing adaptation challenges.
In addition, the charter for ACCCNRS provides for a “science subcommittee”. The charter and terms for this committee are not yet complete, but this committee will provide another, less formal opportunity for both membership and dialogue about our science-management efforts.
We are convinced that our breadth of membership provides an excellent window into the considerations, concerns, and needs of our many partners.
Meeting Participation. As I noted, no committee can hold all the partners for NCCWSC and the CSCs. We strongly encourage those who are interested – but not formal members of ACCCNRS — to participate actively in this process. All ACCCNRS meetings will be open to the public, and we will encourage engagement by partners. Thus
· Entities and individuals who are not members may attend and will be provided an opportunity to participate.
· Member agencies may bring staff or representatives from “sister” agencies or programs to advise the member (e.g. the Bureau of Land Management is not currently a member, but is encouraged to participate)
The selection of a limited number of members was a practical one, not a vote on whose voices need to be involved in this effort.
I hope these considerations provide useful context for the recent announcement. Please contact me if you have remaining questions.
Policy and Partnership Coordinator
National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
US Geological Survey, Mail Stop 400
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192