Burkett presentation june 2013


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Virginia's Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

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  • This process born at the end of the Kaine administration – much state climate change planning.Held two one-day workshops to communicate with stakeholders. Workshop #1 – focused on defining problems and concerns. Workshop #2 – focused on actions we could take to begin addressing the problems and concerns. Identified a fundamental problem = lack of climate predictions suitable for management at a state scale.We started working on this project before the “ink was dry” on our strategy.
  • Initiated a 2-step project with the National Wildlife Federation and the Conservation Management Institute with most of the funding provided by the USFWS and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.Step 1 involved running our own climate models – trying to get past the “hype” and focus on management needs and concerns.Step 2 – working to understand how species and habitats could be impacted by these changing climatic conditions.
  • We produced our own models – tried to cut thru the “hype” and focus on the issues important for management purposes.Focused on most likely green house gas scenarios Focused on broad array of climate variables that could be modeled and might have relevance for management purposes. Developed maps at a finer scale than generated before.
  • This is the final list. Many of the original species that we hoped to model had to be abandoned – lack of distribution data and/or climate tolerances.We hoped to model vernal ponds as a specific habitat important to dozens of species but couldn’t make that happen – substituted two frogs.
  • We modeled responses for 10 tree species.Some species likely to do better under predicted conditions.Other species likely to fare worse under predicted conditions.We don’t know how quickly forest composition might change – could be years, could be centuriesThe more rapid the changes, the greater the impact.
  • If temperature rises and forests change, streams and aquatic wildlife will be impacted. Many species, like brook trout are temperature sensitive and could be extirpated.
  • 5 F inc in temp. see that va will be very hard hit- no trout habt left.
  • Climatic conditions could become even more favorable for gypsy moths.Could result in more years with high numbers of larvae surviving the winter.Additional impacts to oaks – which would already be responding to changing climatic conditions.
  • Climate predictions well within T. Rattlesnake’s tolerances.However, if the climate changes, humans are likely to respond. One response could be moving to more inland and upland areas and developing habitats occupied by species like the timber rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes don’t do well around human communities.
  • Burkett presentation june 2013

    1. 1. Virginia’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment: A lesson in Quiet Progress Chris Burkett VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries June 5, 2013
    2. 2. Why are we here?  Talk about the BIG PICTURE  Overview of our CC Plan  Brief background of our project  Display some results  Discuss emerging management concerns  Identify next steps
    3. 3. Fundamental Truth… Virginia is a politically conservative coal producing state and we have been for centuries
    4. 4. How I Feel Most Days: Working on Climate Change involves Political Peril And Stakeholders that want you to “Take a Stand”.
    5. 5. Climate Change Will Affect Management Climate change will have an impact on how we do our jobs. We work for organizations and agencies that were created to conserve and manage the nation’s resources. Like other threats, we need to incorporate climate information into our planning processes.
    6. 6. 2009 Climate Change Strategy  Climate Adaptation Strategy  DGIF, NWF, VCN  Multi-stakeholder effort  Completed Oct. 2009  Designed to be place to start One of the Most Important Needs: Develop a better understanding of how climate change might impact Virginia’s wildlife and habitats.
    7. 7. Side Boards Our plan does not:  Lay Blame  Take Sides  Make impossible recommendations  Go on, and on, and on…  Applicable to more than just climate change
    8. 8. Virginia’s Effort Partner With NWF and CMI for a 2-Step Project Determine: • the changes projected for Virginia’s climate and • what those changes might mean for Virginia’s wildlife and habitats
    9. 9. 9 Phase 1 – Climate Modeling  Virginia- Specific Climate Model  10km X 10km  Reports at 2060 and 2095  2 GHG scenarios (B1 and A1FI)  Consider suite of climate variables beyond avg. temp and avg. precipitation. We wanted to understand the extreme events that drive the changing averages.
    10. 10. Variable Name Topsoil Moisture Cold snap days Soil Moisture Days in March with > 1" snow Root soil moisture Mean spring growing degree days Days with >= 6 " of snow Mean minimum number of growing degree days in the spring Days with > 0.5" of rain Mean maximum number of growing degree days in the spring Days with > 1" of snow Mean number of heatwave days Days with > 1" runoff Minimum number of heatwave days Days with > 8" runoff Maximum number of heatwave days Heating degree days Mean soil moisture in July Cooling degree days Mean minimum soil moisture in July Foliage Damage Days Mean maximum soil moisture in July
    11. 11. 11
    12. 12. Top Soil Moisture (Dynamic Downscale)
    13. 13. Threats Assessment – Part 2  20 Species  Plants or Animals  Must be associated with the Action Plan (SGCN, habitat component, or threat)  Predictions based on current distributions and climatic tolerances
    14. 14. Species Name Scientific Name Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum Black Oak Quercus velutina Bobwhite Colinus virginianus Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis Cope's Gray Tree Frog Hyla chrysoscelis Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar James River Spiny Mussel Pleurobema collina Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra Oak Toad Anaxyrus quercicus Red Spruce Picea rubens Roanoke Logperch Percina rex Shortleaf Pine Pinus echinata Southern Red Oak Quercus falcata Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus White Oak Quercus alba White Pine Pinus strobus Wood Frog Lithobates sylvaticus Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis 14
    15. 15. Model Process  Presence data  Build CART model using current climate data  Plug in future climate data into model for probability of occurrence  Low (.01 - .40)  Medium (.41 - .70)  High (> .70)  Quantify results/patterns 15
    16. 16. Climate Impacts and Implications for Wildlife and Habitat
    17. 17. Climate Variable SRES A1Fi Mid 21st Late 21st Increase Decrease Increase Decrease Day .5” rain 74.1% 25.9% 66.9% 32.3% Day 1” snow 0.0% 86.5% 3.0% 83.5% Day 1” runoff 14.3% 58.3% 24.0% 50.0% Cold Snap Days 0.0% 99.6% 0.0% 99.6% MeanGrowing DegreeDays (GDD) 100.0% 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% MeanHeatWaveDay (HWD) 98.7% 1.3% 100.0% 0.0% Climate Projections from Modeling
    18. 18. Changing Forest Composition  Potential for changing forest composition.  Climate could be more favorable for some species (So. Red Oak and Bald Cypress)  Less favorable for others (Black Oak, White Oak, No. Red Oak)  Concerns about rate of transition.  Potential secondary impacts - habitat
    19. 19. Northern Red Oak 19
    20. 20. Flowering Dogwood 20
    21. 21. Bald Cypress 21
    22. 22.  Possible extirpations  Brook Trout  Loss of cold water habitats Possible Extirpations
    23. 23. Brook Trout 23
    24. 24.  Invasive Species – gypsy moth  Likely to do well under predicted conditions  Could impact others species  Oaks, adapting  Black bears responding to oaks Invasive Species
    25. 25. Gypsy Moth 25
    26. 26. Selection of Additional Species  Timber Rattlesnake  Oak Toad  Bobwhite Quail
    27. 27. Timber Rattlesnake 27
    28. 28. 28
    29. 29. 29
    30. 30. What have we learned?  Things are going to change  Not as simple as move upslope/upstream  Distributions will change, so will probability of occurrence  New combinations of species  Complex interactions  Gypsy moth and oak species  Changing plant community composition  Competition from new species interactions  Native species  Invasives 30
    31. 31. Management Implications  DGIF  Virginia Wildlife Action Plan  Wildlife Management Areas  Species specific management plans Other sectors: •CZM program •Department of Forestry •NEPA process •Local planning offices Climate is not the sole determining factor.
    32. 32. Next Steps…  What to do with the data  Summarize  Availability  Research  Conserved lands  Focus on Habitats  Collaborations
    33. 33. 33 Questions? Ideas? Chris Burkett Wildlife Action Plan Coordinator Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Chris.Burkett@dgif.virginia.gov Virginia’s Climate Strategy for Wildlife is Available at: http://www.bewildvirginia.org/climate-change/ Austin Kane Science and Policy Manager National Wildlife Federation kanea@nwf.org Scott Klopfer Director Conservation Management Institute sklopfer@vt.edu