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NRCS Conservation Practices and Materials

Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands

Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands

The northern bobwhite is often referred to and "edge" species, seeking habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures, and old fields. The desired outcomes of project practices is 1) improved cattle production for grazing operations, 2) restore native grasses to the agricultural landscape, and 3) improve soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat on farms.

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Good for Bobwhite, Good for Cattle

Good for Bobwhite, Good for Cattle

America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are continuing to show how wildlife and working lands can prosper together. Let NRCS develop a comprehensive, resource conservation plan for your grazing operation and the northern bobwhite.

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LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP PORTAL: A Guide to Workspace Collaboration and Communication Tools

LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP PORTAL: A Guide to Workspace Collaboration and Communication Tools

This guide is designed to provide suggested tools to help Partners: develop and deliver science to inform conservation actions at scales that make a lasting difference for people and wildlife; enhance our quality of life, help communities become resilient to environmental change and natural disasters, and sustain the natural and cultural resources we care about; bring together different organizations, expertise, science and sectors to tackle long-term conservation challenges.

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Logging Truck North Carolina

Logging Truck North Carolina

The Golden-winged warbler needs "young forest" habitat for nesting created by doing a selective harvest that can restore forest health and improve habitat for game species like white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey.

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Conservation Choices for Wildlife: Golden-winged Warbler and Other Forest-dependent Species

Conservation Choices for Wildlife: Golden-winged Warbler and Other Forest-dependent Species

This guide outlines seven key conservation practices recommended to forest landowners who want to sustainably manage forests to benefit wildlife and forest health. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and conservation partners work with forest landowners to plan and implement these practices that benefit a variety of species, including the golden-winged warbler. This assistance includes the development of a custom forest management plan as well as financial support to help cover part of the costs of implementing the practices. Technical and financial assistance are available through the Farm Bill, the largest source of federal funding for private lands conservation.

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Working Lands for Wildlife National Landowner Forum: Perspectives and Recommendations

Working Lands for Wildlife National Landowner Forum: Perspectives and Recommendations

In May 2016, 26 private landowners from across the country met in Denver, Colorado to talk with NRCS staff about what is working in the Working Lands for Wildlife partnership and what opportunities exist for improvement. Jointly coordinated by Partners for Conservation and NRCS, and including funding support from the Intermountain West Joint Venture, the 2-day meeting provided a forum to share stories of success and challenges in order to maximize outcomes with future opportunities.

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2016 Southeastern Forest Private Lands Partnership Forum

2016 Southeastern Forest Private Lands Partnership Forum

March 1, Pensacola, Florida Session Recommendations

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Field Day at Mountain Research Station

The Field Day at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC will be a great event for agricultural producers to get the latest updates on agricultural research and to see the latest and best available tools and equipment at the trade show. The NRCS Partner Biologists for the Hellbender Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative will be in attendance with information about the program. 

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Fence - CPS 382

This practice facilitates the accomplishment of conservation objectives by providing a means to control movement of animals and people, including vehicles.

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Riparian Forest Buffer

Buffers are applied on stable areas adjacent to permanent or intermittent streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and wetlands that flood or pond.

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Fence Job Sheet

NC Fence Job Sheet Installation Instructions

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Watering Facility - CPS 614

A watering facility is a means of providing drinking water to livestock or wildlife.

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Streambank and Shoreline Protection - CPS 580

Treatment(s) used to stabilize and protect banks of streams or constructed channels, and shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries.

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Stream Habitat Improvement and Management - CPS 395

Maintain, improve or restore physical, chemical and biological functions of a stream, and its associated riparian zone, necessary for meeting the life history requirements of desired aquatic species.

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Riparian Forest Buffer - CPS 391

An area predominantly trees and/or shrubs located adjacent to and up-gradient from watercourses or water bodies.

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Hellbender WLFW Poster

Hellbender WLFW Poster

The Eastern Hellbender Working Lands for Wildlife initiative expands the missions of the NRCS from "Helping People Help the Land" to go one step further and "Help People Help the Rivers".

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Herd Health and Stream Health

Herd Health and Stream Health

What is good for the health of the herd also helps the aquatic environment. By providing clean water through off-stream watering systems, we can improve herd health and enhance aquatic habitat.

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Working Lands for Eastern Hellbenders

Working Lands for Eastern Hellbenders

This document describes Eastern Hellbender life history, habitat, and the Working Lands for Wildlife initiative's approach and goals. It also lists some of the conservation practices being used to promote aquatic habitat enhancement and restoration.

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Good for Quail, Good for Cattle Operations

Good for Quail, Good for Cattle Operations

America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are continuing to show how wildlife and working lands can prosper together. Let NRCS develop a comprehensive, resource conservation plan for your grazing operation and the northern bobwhite.

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Economic and Production Performance of Native Grasses as Forage in the Fescue Belt

Economic and Production Performance of Native Grasses as Forage in the Fescue Belt

The primary purpose of developing this literature review and summary was to inform producers about the potential benefits from utilizing warm-season grasses in the Fescue Belt. Effectively, managing forages is not always straightforward for livestock producers. Summarizing the economic and production benefits from using warm-season grasses could help producers make more informed forage management decision and might encourage producers to consider adopting warm-season grasses. Furthermore, this literature review also gathered information about the potential benefits of using native grasslands as forage to the quail population in this region, which could likely result in an economic benefit to the producer from leasing farmland to hunters.

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Assessment of Native Grasses for Forage & Bobwhite Habitat

Assessment of Native Grasses for Forage & Bobwhite Habitat

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, through its Center for Native Grasslands Management will conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a working lands conservation model for enhancing northern bobwhite and other grasslands wildlife populations. Specifically, we will evaluate native grass forage production within fescue-belt landscapes to determine how effective this strategy is for improved survival and productivity of northern bobwhite and abundance of associated grassland bird species. The study will be conducted in cooperation with partner agencies within the fescue belt.

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Outcomes from Delivery of NRCS's WLFW-Bobwhite in Managed Pine Savannahs

Outcomes from Delivery of NRCS's WLFW-Bobwhite in Managed Pine Savannahs

In 2016, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Working Lands for Wildlife partnership began funding management activities designed to enhance, restore, and protect bobwhites habitat on private lands. Through the WLFW program, NRCS is able to assist landowners to voluntarily create and maintain bobwhite habitat in order to support the range-wide recovery of the species. In 2018, NRCS entered into an agreement with the University of Georgia to assess habitat outcomes and bobwhite population response to our conservation actions. n collaboration with the University of Georgia, NRCS is now looking to monitor some of these managed lands to help tease out habitat features that promote excellent bobwhite habitat. If possible, additional information (e.g., other forestry management actions employed) may also be collected through interviews with landowners and/or conservation partners.

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Southeastern Hellbender Conservation Initiative

Southeastern Hellbender Conservation Initiative

The Southeastern Hellbender Conservation Initiative (SEHCI), a collaboration between Defenders of Wildlife, NRCS and other conservation partners to support farmers using conservation practices on their lands that help restore hellbender habitat.

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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers

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2018 TRBN Annual Meeting Summary Report

Here you can access and download the Summary Report for 2018's Annual Meeting.

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Tennessee River Basin Report Card - Methods Document

Below you can access a document that covers the methodology used by UMCES to develop the TRB Report Card.

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City of Chattanooga Water Quality Program Materials

Dr. Mounir Minkara with the City of Chattanooga's Water Quality Program presented on the City's management and outreach efforts to preserve and enhance their city's physical environment. Below you can access an information packet on How to Construct a Rain Garden and My Tennessee Clean Water Initiative for Chattanooga TN homeowners.

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Session 5 - Resolution

A review and revision of the "Resolution" or "Statement of Commitment" the partners started in December Working Group. These are the Discussion Notes with a link to the working document (open to the partners to continue to add review comments, recommendations, and propose revisions.) For questions contact Bridgett Costanzo, NRCS.

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Final Agenda & Notes (links) - Partners Meeting - 2018-04-19

Greater Appalachian Conservation Partnership Meeting - April 19th at NCTC 10:00-4:00

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Integrating Visual and Cultural Resource Evaluation and Impact Assessment for Landscape Conservation Design and Planning

While there is an increased need for cultural resource conservation and management in North America, there are few approaches that provide robust integration and combined assessment of visual and cultural resources. Determining the scenic value of important views and identifying potential risk for loss of that view are core components needed to design protection preserving scenic quality and the cultural resources contributing to scenic value and overall sense of place.

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ARC Assessment of Natural Assets in the Appalachian Region - Forest Resources

Assessment of Natural Assets in the Appalachian Region-Forest Resources. Prepared for the ARC, 2014

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Recovery: Farm Bill Provides Hope for the Cerulean Warbler

Recovery: Farm Bill Provides Hope for the Cerulean Warbler

With funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) available from the Farm Bill’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture (a partnership of state and federal agencies and NGOs including The Nature Conservancy) is helping private land owners restore cerulean habitat. Check out the original article at the Nature Conservancy's Cool Green Science blog: https://blog.nature.org/science/2017/08/15/recovery-farm-bill-provides-hope-for-the-cerulean-warbler/

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Meeting Participants

Find here a PDF of meeting participants (name & affiliation).

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Workshop Participants

Find here the list of workshop participants.

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Blue Ridge PRISM Update

An update on the Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management and information on a series of sessions around our 10-county area, which partners are welcome to attend.

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Bringing Back Diversity in Eastern Forests for Landowners, Wildlife

Bringing Back Diversity in Eastern Forests for Landowners, Wildlife

What do biologists look for in a healthy forest? A diversity in the ages and composition of trees and occasional breaks in canopy to allow sunlight to reach understory plants.

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Partnership Seeking Input for Projects to Strengthen National Defense and Preserve Working Lands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joined the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to announce the Sentinel Landscapes Federal Coordinating Committee will now accept applications for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Sentinel Landscape designation process.

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Introduction and Opening Session Presentation

Given by Appalachian LCC Chair to open up the meeting.

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Survey - Programmatic and Operational

Survey 2 of 6 for Appalachian LCC Steering Committee Members.

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Steering Committee Member Profiles

Bios of all Steering Committee members and alternates in 2016.

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Forest Service Honored for Leadership in Promoting Climate Change Adaptation

For their outstanding work in raising awareness and addressing the impacts of climate change on the nation’s natural resources, the Forest Service was honored today as the first-ever recipients of the Climate Adaption Leadership Award for Natural Resources.

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A Stream Classification for the Appalachian LCC PDF

A Stream Classification for the Appalachian LCC PDF

A classification system and map was developed for stream and river systems in the Appalachian LCC region, encompassing parts of 17 states. The product is intended to complement state-based stream classifications by unifying them into a single consistent system that represents the region’s natural flowing-water aquatic habitats. The results can be used to understand ecological flow relationships and inform conservation planning for aquatic biodiversity in the region.

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Sustainable Development under Population Pressure: Lessons from Developed Land Consumption in the Conterminous U.S.

Population growth will result in a significant anthropogenic environmental change worldwide through increases in developed land (DL) consumption. DL consumption is an important environmental and socioeconomic process affecting humans and ecosystems. Attention has been given to DL modeling inside highly populated cities. However, modeling DL consump- tion should expand to non-metropolitan areas where arguably the environmental consequences are more significant. Here, we study all counties within the conterminous U.S. and based on satellite-derived product (National Land Cover Dataset 2001) we calculate the associated DL for each county. By using county population data from the 2000 census we present a comparative study on DL consumption and we propose a model linking population with expected DL consumption. Results indicate distinct geographic patterns of comparatively low and high consuming counties moving from east to west. We also demonstrate that the relationship of DL consumption with population is mostly linear, altering the notion that expected population growth will have lower DL consumption if added in counties with larger population. Added DL consumption is independent of a county’s starting population and only dependent on whether the county belongs to a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). In the overlapping MSA and non-MSA population range there is also a constant DL efficiency gain of approximately 20km2 for a given population for MSA counties which suggests that transitioning from rural to urban counties has significantly higher benefits in lower populations. In addition, we analyze the socioeconomic composition of counties with extremely high or low DL consumption. High DL consumption counties have statistically lower Black/ African American population, higher poverty rate and lower income per capita than average in both NMSA and MSA counties. Our analysis offers a baseline to investigate further land consumption strategies in anticipation of growing population pressures.

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Achievable future conditions as a framework for guiding forest conservation and management

We contend that traditional approaches to forest conservation and management will be inadequate given the predicted scale of social-economic and biophysical changes in the 21st century. New approaches, focused on anticipating and guiding ecological responses to change, are urgently needed to ensure the full value of forest ecosystem services for future generations. These approaches acknowledge that change is inevitable and sometimes irreversible, and that maintenance of ecosystem services depends in part on novel ecosystems, i.e., species combinations with no analog in the past. We propose that ecological responses be evaluated at landscape or regional scales using risk-based approaches to incorporate uncer- tainty into forest management efforts with subsequent goals for management based on Achievable Future Conditions (AFC). AFCs defined at a landscape or regional scale incorporate advancements in ecosystem management, including adaptive approaches, resilience, and desired future conditions into the context of the Anthropocene. Inherently forward looking, ACFs encompass mitigation and adaptation options to respond to scenarios of projected future biophysical, social-economic, and policy conditions which distribute risk and provide diversity of response to uncertainty. The engagement of science- management-public partnerships is critical to our risk-based approach for defining AFCs. Robust moni- toring programs of forest management actions are also crucial to address uncertainty regarding species distributions and ecosystem processes. Development of regional indicators of response will also be essen- tial to evaluate outcomes of management strategies. Our conceptual framework provides a starting point to move toward AFCs for forest management, illustrated with examples from fire and water management in the Southeastern United States. Our model is adaptive, incorporating evaluation and modification as new information becomes available and as social–ecological dynamics change. It expands on established principles of ecosystem management and best management practices (BMPs) and incorporates scenarios of future conditions. It also highlights the potential limits of existing institutional structures for defining AFCs and achieving them. In an uncertain future of rapid change and abrupt, unforeseen transitions, adjustments in management approaches will be necessary and some actions will fail. However, it is increasingly evident that the greatest risk is posed by continuing to implement strategies inconsistent with current understanding of our novel future.

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Desert grassland responses to climate and soil moisture suggest divergent vulnerabilities across the southwestern United States

Climate change predictions include warming and drying trends, which are expected to be particularly pronounced in the southwestern United States. In this region, grassland dynamics are tightly linked to available moisture, yet it has proven difficult to resolve what aspects of climate drive vegetation change. In part, this is because it is unclear how heterogeneity in soils affects plant responses to climate. Here, we combine climate and soil properties with a mecha- nistic soil water model to explain temporal fluctuations in perennial grass cover, quantify where and the degree to which incorporating soil water dynamics enhances our ability to understand temporal patterns, and explore the potential consequences of climate change by assessing future trajectories of important climate and soil water variables. Our analyses focused on long-term (20–56 years) perennial grass dynamics across the Colorado Plateau, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Desert regions. Our results suggest that climate variability has negative effects on grass cover, and that precipitation subsidies that extend growing seasons are beneficial. Soil water metrics, including the number of dry days and availability of water from deeper (>30 cm) soil layers, explained additional grass cover variability. While individual climate variables were ranked as more important in explaining grass cover, collectively soil water accounted for 40–60% of the total explained variance. Soil water conditions were more useful for understanding the responses of C3 than C4 grass species. Projections of water balance variables under climate change indicate that conditions that currently support perennial grasses will be less common in the future, and these altered conditions will be more pronounced in the Chihuahuan Desert and Colorado Plateau. We conclude that incorporating multiple aspects of climate and accounting for soil variability can improve our ability to understand patterns, identify areas of vulnerability, and predict the future of desert grasslands.

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From sink to source: Regional variation in U.S. forest carbon futures

The sequestration of atmospheric carbon (C) in forests has partially offset C emissions in the United States (US) and might reduce overall costs of achieving emission targets, especially while transportation and energy sectors are transitioning to lower-carbon technologies. Using detailed forest inventory data for the conterminous US, we estimate forests’ current net sequestration of atmospheric C to be 173 Tg yr−1, offsetting 9.7% of C emissions from transportation and energy sources. Accounting for multiple driving variables, we project a gradual decline in the forest C emission sink over the next 25 years (to 112Tg yr−1) with regional differences. Sequestration in eastern regions declines gradually while sequestration in the Rocky Mountain region declines rapidly and could become a source of atmospheric C due to disturbances such as fire and insect epidemics. C sequestration in the Pacific Coast region stabilizes as forests harvested in previous decades regrow. Scenarios simulating climate-induced productivity enhancement and afforestation policies increase sequestration rates, but would not fully offset declines from aging and forest disturbances. Separating C transfers associated with land use changes from sequestration clarifies forests’ role in reducing net emissions and demonstrates that retention of forest land is crucial for protecting or enhancing sink strength.

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Pedoecological Modeling to Guide Forest Restoration using Ecological Site Descriptions

the u.s. department of agriculture (usda)-natural resources conservation service (nrcs) uses an ecological site description (esd) framework to help incorporate interactions between local soil, climate, flora, fauna, and humans into schema for land management decision-making. we demonstrate esd and digital soil mapping tools to (i) estimate potential o horizon carbon (c) stock accumulation from restoring alternative ecological states in high-elevation forests of the central appalachian Mountains in west Virginia (wV), usa, and (ii) map areas in alternative ecological states that can be targeted for restoration. this region was extensively disturbed by clear-cut harvests and related fires during the 1880s through 1930s. we combined spodic soil property maps, recently linked to historic red spruce–eastern hemlock (Picea rubens–Tsuga canadensis) forest communities, with current forest inventories to provide guidance for restoration to a historic reference state. this allowed mapping of alternative hardwood states within areas of the spodic shale uplands conifer forest (scF) ecological site, which is mapped along the regional conifer-hardwood transition of the central appalachian Mountains. Plots examined in these areas suggest that many of the spruce-hemlock dominated stands in wV converted to a hardwood state by historic disturbance have lost at least 10 cm of o horizon thickness, and possibly much more. Based on this 10 cm estimate, we calculate that at least 3.74 to 6.62 tg of c were lost from areas above 880 m elevation in wV due to historic disturbance of o horizons, and that much of these stocks and related ecosystem functions could potentially be restored within 100 yr under focused management, but more practical scenarios would likely require closer to 200 yr.

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Pedoecological Modeling to Guide Forest Restoration using Ecological Site Descriptions

the u.s. department of agriculture (usda)-natural resources conservation service (nrcs) uses an ecological site description (esd) framework to help incorporate interactions between local soil, climate, flora, fauna, and humans into schema for land management decision-making. we demonstrate esd and digital soil mapping tools to (i) estimate potential o horizon carbon (c) stock accumulation from restoring alternative ecological states in high-elevation forests of the central appalachian Mountains in west Virginia (wV), usa, and (ii) map areas in alternative ecological states that can be targeted for restoration. this region was extensively disturbed by clear-cut harvests and related fires during the 1880s through 1930s. we combined spodic soil property maps, recently linked to historic red spruce–eastern hemlock (Picea rubens–Tsuga canadensis) forest communities, with current forest inventories to provide guidance for restoration to a historic reference state. this allowed mapping of alternative hardwood states within areas of the spodic shale uplands conifer forest (scF) ecological site, which is mapped along the regional conifer-hardwood transition of the central appalachian Mountains. Plots examined in these areas suggest that many of the spruce-hemlock dominated stands in wV converted to a hardwood state by historic disturbance have lost at least 10 cm of o horizon thickness, and possibly much more. Based on this 10 cm estimate, we calculate that at least 3.74 to 6.62 tg of c were lost from areas above 880 m elevation in wV due to historic disturbance of o horizons, and that much of these stocks and related ecosystem functions could potentially be restored within 100 yr under focused management, but more practical scenarios would likely require closer to 200 yr.

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Pedoecological Modeling to Guide Forest Restoration using Ecological Site Descriptions

the u.s. department of agriculture (usda)-natural resources conservation service (nrcs) uses an ecological site description (esd) framework to help incorporate interactions between local soil, climate, flora, fauna, and humans into schema for land management decision-making. we demonstrate esd and digital soil mapping tools to (i) estimate potential o horizon carbon (c) stock accumulation from restoring alternative ecological states in high-elevation forests of the central appalachian Mountains in west Virginia (wV), usa, and (ii) map areas in alternative ecological states that can be targeted for restoration. this region was extensively disturbed by clear-cut harvests and related fires during the 1880s through 1930s. we combined spodic soil property maps, recently linked to historic red spruce–eastern hemlock (Picea rubens–Tsuga canadensis) forest communities, with current forest inventories to provide guidance for restoration to a historic reference state. this allowed mapping of alternative hardwood states within areas of the spodic shale uplands conifer forest (scF) ecological site, which is mapped along the regional conifer-hardwood transition of the central appalachian Mountains. Plots examined in these areas suggest that many of the spruce-hemlock dominated stands in wV converted to a hardwood state by historic disturbance have lost at least 10 cm of o horizon thickness, and possibly much more. Based on this 10 cm estimate, we calculate that at least 3.74 to 6.62 tg of c were lost from areas above 880 m elevation in wV due to historic disturbance of o horizons, and that much of these stocks and related ecosystem functions could potentially be restored within 100 yr under focused management, but more practical scenarios would likely require closer to 200 yr.

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Downstream Warming and Headwater Acidity May Diminish Coldwater Habitat in Southern Appalachian Mountain Streams

Stream-dwelling species in the U.S. southern Appalachian Mountains region are particularly vulnerable to climate change and acidification. The objectives of this study were to quantify the spatial extent of contemporary suitable habitat for acid- and thermally sensitive aquatic species and to forecast future habitat loss resulting from expected temperature increases on national forest lands in the southern Appalachian Mountain region. The goal of this study was to help watershed managers identify and assess stream reaches that are potentially vulnerable to warming, acidification, or both. To our knowledge, these results represent the first regional assessment of aquatic habitat suitability with respect to the combined effects of stream water temperature and acid-base status in the United States. Statistical models were developed to predict July mean daily maximum water temperatures and air-water tem- perature relations to determine potential changes in future stream water temperatures. The length of stream considered suitable habitat for acid- and thermally sensitive species, based on temperature and acid neutralizing capacity thresholds of 20°C and 50 μeq/L, was variable throughout the national forests considered. Stream length displaying temperature above 20°C was generally more than five times greater than the length predicted to have acid neutralizing capacity below 50 μeq/L. It was uncommon for these two stressors to occur within the same stream segment. Results suggested that species’ distributional shifts to colder, higher elevation habitats under a warming climate can be constrained by acidification of headwater streams. The approach used in this study can be applied to evaluate climate change impacts to stream water resources in other regions.

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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Species of Concern in West Virginia

Elizabeth Byers and Sam Norris. 2011. Climate change vulnerability assessment of species of concern in West Virginia. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins, WV. This project assessed and ranked the relative climate change vulnerability of 185 animal and plant species in West Virginia.

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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Species of Concern in West Virginia

Elizabeth Byers and Sam Norris. 2011. Climate change vulnerability assessment of species of concern in West Virginia. West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins, WV. This project assessed and ranked the relative climate change vulnerability of 185 animal and plant species in West Virginia.

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Assessing the Potential Effects of Climate Change on Species in the Cumberland Piedmont Network of the National Park Service

Assessing the Potential Effects of Climate Change on Species in the Cumberland Piedmont Network of the National Park Service

In this study, we evaluate the climate change vulnerability of a subset of key species found in the Cumberland Piedmont Network (CUPN) of the National Park Service (NPS), an ecologically important and diverse region. We developed a list of species of conservation concern (globally and sub-nationally) within each of the fourteen NPS units in the CUPN. Next, we employed NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) in order to determine which of those species may be most vulnerable to climate change, based on each species’ 1) direct exposure to climate change, 2) indirect exposure to climate change, 3) sensitivity, and 4) documented/ modeled response to climate change. CCVI results showed a range of vulnerability scores among taxonomic groups, including high vulnerability for mollusks and low vulnerability for migrant songbirds. Furthermore, we found that species of conservation concern were not necessarily those most vulnerable to climate change.

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Assessing the Potential Effects of Climate Change on Species in the Cumberland Piedmont Network of the National Park Service

Assessing the Potential Effects of Climate Change on Species in the Cumberland Piedmont Network of the National Park Service

In this study, we evaluate the climate change vulnerability of a subset of key species found in the Cumberland Piedmont Network (CUPN) of the National Park Service (NPS), an ecologically important and diverse region. We developed a list of species of conservation concern (globally and sub-nationally) within each of the fourteen NPS units in the CUPN. Next, we employed NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) in order to determine which of those species may be most vulnerable to climate change, based on each species’ 1) direct exposure to climate change, 2) indirect exposure to climate change, 3) sensitivity, and 4) documented/ modeled response to climate change. CCVI results showed a range of vulnerability scores among taxonomic groups, including high vulnerability for mollusks and low vulnerability for migrant songbirds. Furthermore, we found that species of conservation concern were not necessarily those most vulnerable to climate change.

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Steering Committee Meeting Participants

List of those who attended the 2015 Appalachian LCC Steering Committee Meeting.

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National LCC Presentation

Given by National LCC Coordinator Elsa Haubold.

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New Farm Bill Guide Now Available

New Farm Bill Guide Now Available

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative released the 2014 Farm Bill Field Guide to Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

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Plan for the Population Restoration and Conservation of Imperiled Freshwater Mollusks of the Cumberland Region

Plan for the Population Restoration and Conservation of Imperiled Freshwater Mollusks of the Cumberland Region

The goal of this Plan is to provide a framework for the restoration of freshwater mollusk resources and their ecological functions to appropriate reaches of the Cumberlandian Region through the reintroduction, augmentation (R/A) and controlled propagation of priority mollusks. The Plan prioritizes propagation and R/A activities for Region mollusks and provides guidelines for resource managers and recovery partners. The Plan is not a legal document and is not intended to replace or supersede published recovery plans for listed mollusks.

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Predicting Brook Trout Occurrence in Stream Reaches throughout their Native Range in the Eastern United States

Abstract The Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis is an important species of conservation concern in the eastern USA. We developed a model to predict Brook Trout population status within individual stream reaches throughout the species’ native range in the eastern USA. We utilized hierarchical logistic regression with Bayesian estimation to predict Brook Trout occurrence probability, and we allowed slopes and intercepts to vary among ecological drainage units (EDUs). Model performance was similar for 7,327 training samples and 1,832 validation samples based on the area under the receiver operating curve (»0.78) and Cohen’s kappa statistic (0.44). Predicted water temperature had a strong negative effect on Brook Trout occurrence probability at the stream reach scale and was also negatively associated with the EDU average probability of Brook Trout occurrence (i.e., EDU-specific intercepts). The effect of soil permeability was positive but decreased as EDU mean soil permeability increased. Brook Trout were less likely to occur in stream reaches surrounded by agricultural or developed land cover, and an interaction suggested that agricultural land cover also resulted in an increased sensitivity to water temperature. Our model provides a further understanding of how Brook Trout are shaped by habitat characteristics in the region and yields maps of stream-reach-scale predictions, which together can be used to support ongoing conservation and management efforts. These decision support tools can be used to identify the extent of potentially suitable habitat, estimate historic habitat losses, and prioritize conservation efforts by selecting suitable stream reaches for a given action. Future work could extend the model to account for additional landscape or habitat characteristics, include biotic interactions, or estimate potential Brook Trout responses to climate and land use changes.

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Ten years of vegetation assembly after a North American mega fire

Altered fuels and climate change are transforming fire regimes in many of Earth’s biomes. Postfire reassembly of vegetation – paramount to C storage and biodiversity conservation – frequently remains unpredictable and complicated by rapid global change. Using a unique data set of pre and long-term postfire data, combined with long-term data from nearby unburned areas, we examined 10 years of understory vegetation assembly after the 2002 Hayman Fire. This fire was the largest wildfire in recorded history in Colorado, USA. Resistance (initial postfire deviance from pre- fire condition) and resilience (return to prefire condition) declined with increasing fire severity. However, via both resistance and resilience, ‘legacy’ species of the prefire community constituted >75% of total plant cover within 3 years even in severely burned areas. Perseverance of legacy species, coupled with new colonizers, created a persis- tent increase in community species richness and cover over prefire levels. This was driven by a first-year increase (maintained over time) in forbs with short life spans; a 2–3-year delayed surge in long-lived forbs; and a consistent increase in graminoids through the 10th postfire year. Burning increased exotic plant invasion relative to prefire and unburned areas, but burned communities always were >89% native. This study informs debate in the literature regarding whether these increasingly large fires are ‘ecological catastrophes.’ Landscape-scale severe burning was catastrophic from a tree overstory perspective, but from an understory perspective, burning promoted rich and productive native understories, despite the entire 10-year postfire period receiving below-average precipitation. Keywords: disturbance, exotic species, fire severity, Hayman Fire, Pinus ponderosa, resilience, resistance, succession, vegetation change

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Conservation Strategy for Imperiled Aquatic Species in the UTRB

Conservation Strategy for Imperiled Aquatic Species in the UTRB

The Strategy provides guidance to Field Offices in reevaluating current ("status quo") conservation approaches in order to deliver the most cost effective approach toward the conservation and management of imperiled freshwater fish and mussel species in the Upper Tennessee River Basin.

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AMJV Partnership Receives $8 Million RCPP Award to Enhance Cerulean Habitat

AMJV Partnership Receives $8 Million RCPP Award to Enhance Cerulean Habitat

A project proposal from the Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture (AMJV) Partnership was one of 115 high-impact projects to receive in total more than $370 million as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today.

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UTRB Imperiled Aquatic Species Conservation Strategy [2015 presentation]

pdf copy of the UTRB Imperiled Aquatic Species Conservation Strategy briefing slides for team discussion on proposal to use UTRB strategy as the foundation upon which to pursue a landscape conservation design (LCD) project within the AppLCC. (2 slides/page). Note the slides with the (H) indicate those that are Hidden and not actually presented. (These are provided as background resources to the speaker.)

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Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment

In 2010, TNC scientists focused on projections of how new energy development could impact natural habitats in Pennsylvania to shape strategies that avoid or minimize those impacts.

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AMJV Partnership Successes for Song Birds and Game Species

AMJV Partnership Successes for Song Birds and Game Species

The benefits from managing habitat for game species and managing habitat for songbirds are not mutually exclusive. Creating and enhancing a variety of habitats supports a diversity of wildlife and activities, from birdwatching to hunting.

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U.S. Forest Carbon and Climate Change Controversies and Win-Win Policy Approaches

As consensus grows about the serious impacts of global climate change, the role of forests in carbon storage is increasingly recognized. Terrestrial vegetation worldwide currently removes about 24 percent of the greenhouse gases released by industrial processes. Unfortunately, this contribution is approximately cancelled out by carbon released as a result of global deforestation and other ecosystem changes. Slowing or halting the rate of deforestation is thus one of the prime strategies to mitigate global climate change. The U.S. situation differs from the global one in several ways. Since both forest acres and average biomass per forest acre are currently increasing, as U.S. forests recover from past clearing or heavy harvest, our forest carbon stores are growing larger over time. However, our high rate of industrial emissions means that only about 10 percent of the carbon released from burning fossil fuels in the United States is captured by our forests. Moreover, net U.S. forest carbon sequestration has begun to slow in recent years as reforestation reaches its limits and development sprawls into more rural forested areas. U.S. forests could possibly capture a much higher portion of our industrial emissions, but only if we prevent forest conversion and development and manage our forests to maximize carbon stores.

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TRY – a global database of plant traits

Plant traits – the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs – determine how primary producers respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes and services and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Trait data thus represent the raw material for a wide range of research from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology to biogeography. Here we present the global database initiative named TRY, which has united a wide range of the plant trait research community worldwide and gained an unprecedented buy-in of trait data: so far 93 trait databases have been contributed. The data repository currently contains almost three million trait entries for 69 000 out of the world’s 300 000 plant species, with a focus on 52 groups of traits characterizing the vegetative and regeneration stages of the plant life cycle, including growth, dispersal, establishment and persistence. A first data analysis shows that most plant traits are approximately log-normally distributed, with widely differing ranges of variation across traits. Most trait variation is between species (interspecific), but significant intraspecific variation is also documented, up to 40% of the overall variation. Plant functional types (PFTs), as commonly used in vegetation models, capture a substantial fraction of the observed variation – but for several traits most variation occurs within PFTs, up to 75% of the overall variation. In the context of vegetation models these traits would better be represented by state variables rather than fixed parameter values. The improved availability of plant trait data in the unified global database is expected to support a paradigm shift from species to trait-based ecology, offer new opportunities for synthetic plant trait research and enable a more realistic and empirically grounded representation of terrestrial vegetation in Earth system models.

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The influence of conversion of forest types on carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services in the South Central United States

This paper develops a forestland management model for the three states in the South Central United States (Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi). Forest type and land-use shares are estimated to be a function of economic and physical variables. The results suggest that while historically pine plantations in this region have been established largely on old agricultural land, in the future pine plantations are likely to occur on converted hardwood-forest lands. This shift in the supply of land for plantations could have large effects on above-ground carbon storage and other ecosystem services. Subsidies of approximately $12–27 per ha per year would maintain the area of hardwood forests and reduce carbon emissions from the above-ground and product pool carbon stocks over the next 30 years. Across the several scenarios considered, results suggest that maintaining hardwoods could be an efficient carbon sequestration alternative.

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Soil Temperature following Logging-Debris Manipulation and Aspen Regrowth in Minnesota: Implications for Sampling Depth and Alteration of Soil Processes

Soil temperature is a fundamental controller of processes influencing the transformation and flux of soil C and nutrients following forest harvest. Soil temperature response to harvesting is influenced by the amount of logging debris (biomass) removal that occurs, but the duration, magnitude, and depth of influence is unclear. Logging debris manipulations (none, moderate, and heavy amounts) were applied following clearcut harvesting at four aspendominated (Populus tremuloides Michx.) sites in northeastern Minnesota, and temperature was measured at 10-, 30-, and 50-cm depths for two growing seasons. Across sites, soil temperature was significantly greater at all sample depths relative to uncut forest in some periods of each year, but the increase was reduced with increasing logging-debris retention. When logging debris was removed compared to when it was retained in the first growing season, mean growing season soil temperatures were 0.9, 1.0, and 0.8°C greater at 10-, 30-, and 50-cm depths, respectively. These patterns were also observed early in the second growing season, but there was no discernible difference among treatments later in the growing season due to the modifying effect of rapid aspen regrowth. Where vegetation establishment and growth occurs quickly, effects of logging debris removal on soil temperature and the processes influenced by it will likely be short-lived. The significant increase in soil temperature that occurred in deep soil for at least 2 yr after harvest supports an argument for deeper soil sampling than commonly occurs in experimental studies.

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Sagebrush carrying out hydraulic lift enhances surface soil nitrogen cycling and nitrogen uptake into inflorescences

Plant roots serve as conduits for water flow not only from soil to leaves but also from wetter to drier soil. This hydraulic redistribution through root systems occurs in soils worldwide and can enhance stomatal opening, transpiration, and plant carbon gain. For decades, upward hydraulic lift (HL) of deep water through roots into dry, litter-rich, surface soil also has been hypothesized to enhance nutrient availability to plants by stimulating microbially controlled nutrient cycling. This link has not been demonstrated in the field. Working in sagebrush-steppe, where water and nitrogen limit plant growth and reproduction and where HL occurs naturally during summer drought, we slightly augmented deep soil water availability to 14 HL+ treatment plants throughout the summer growing season. The HL+ sagebrush lifted greater amounts of water than control plants and had slightly less negative predawn and midday leaf water potentials. Soil respiration was also aug- mented under HL+ plants. At summer’s end, application of a gas- based 15N isotopic labeling technique revealed increased rates of nitrogen cycling in surface soil layers around HL+ plants and increased uptake of nitrogen into HL+ plants’ inflorescences as sagebrush set seed. These treatment effects persisted even though unexpected monsoon rainstorms arrived during assays and increased surface soil moisture around all plants. Simulation models from ecosystem to global scales have just begun to include effects of hydraulic redistribution on water and surface energy fluxes. Results from this field study indicate that plants carrying out HL can also substantially enhance decomposition and nitrogen cycling in surface soils. rhizosphere | flowering | seed production

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Growth, carbon-isotope discrimination, and drought-associated mortality across a Pinus ponderosa elevational transect

Drought- and insect-associated tree mortality at low-elevation ecotones is a widespread phenomenon but the underlying mechanisms are uncertain. Enhanced growth sensitivity to climate is widely observed among trees that die, indicating that a predisposing physiological mechanism(s) underlies tree mortality. We tested three, linked hypotheses regarding mortality using a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) elevation transect that experienced low-elevation mortality following prolonged drought. The hypotheses were: (1) mortality was associated with greater growth sensitivity to climate, (2) mortality was associated with greater sensitivity of gas exchange to climate, and (3) growth and gas exchange were correlated. Support for all three hypotheses would indicate that mortality results at least in part from gas exchange constraints. We assessed growth using basal area increment normalized by tree basal area [basal area increment (BAI)/basal area (BA)] to account for differences in tree size. Whole-crown gas exchange was indexed via estimates of the CO2 partial pressure difference between leaf and atmosphere (pa-pc) derived from tree ring carbon isotope ratios (d13C), corrected for temporal trends in atmospheric CO2 and d13C and elevation trends in pressure. Trees that survived the drought exhibited strong correlations among and between BAI, BAI/BA, pa-pc, and climate. In contrast, trees that died exhibited greater growth sensitivity to climate than trees that survived, no sensitivity of pa-pc to climate, and a steep relationship between pa-pc and BAI/BA. The pa-pc results are consistent with predictions from a theoretical hydraulic model, suggesting trees that died had a limited buffer between mean water availability during their lifespan and water availability during drought – i.e., chronic water stress. It appears that chronic water stress predisposed low-elevation trees to mortality during drought via constrained gas exchange. Continued intensification of drought in mid-latitude regions may drive increased mortality and ecotone shifts in temperate forests and woodlands. Keywords: altitude, climate change, die-off, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, water availability

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Synthesis of Knowledge of Extreme Fire Behavior: Volume I for Fire Managers

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group definition of extreme fire behavior (EFB) indicates a level of fire behavior characteristics that ordinarily precludes methods of direct control action. One or more of the following is usually involved: high rate of spread, prolific crowning/spotting, presence of fire whirls, and strong convection column. Predictability is difficult because such fires often exercise some degree of influence on their environment and behave erratically, sometimes dangerously. Alternate terms include “blow up” and “fire storm.” Fire managers examining fires over the last 100 years have come to understand many of the factors necessary for EFB development. This work produced guidelines included in current firefighter training, which presents the current methods of predicting EFB by using the crown fire model, which is based on the environmental influences of weather, fuels, and topography. Current training does not include the full extent of scientific understanding. Material in current training programs is also not the most recent scientific knowledge. National Fire Plan funds have sponsored newer research related to wind profiles’ influence on fire behavior, plume growth, crown fires, fire dynamics in live fuels, and conditions associated with vortex development. Of significant concern is that characteristic features of EFB depend on condi- tions undetectable on the ground, relying fundamentally on invisible properties such as wind shear or atmospheric stability. Obviously no one completely understands all the factors contributing to EFB because of gaps in our knowledge. These gaps, as well as the limitations as to when various models or indices apply should be noted to avoid application where they are not appropriate or warranted. This synthesis will serve as a summary of existing extreme fire behavior knowledge for use by fire managers, firefighters, and fire researchers. The objective of this project is to synthesize existing EFB knowledge in a way that connects the weather, fuel, and topographic factors that contribute to development of EFB. This synthesis will focus on the state of the science, but will also consider how that science is currently presented to the fire management community, including incident commanders, fire behavior analysts, incident meteorologists, National Weather Service office forecasters, and firefighters. It will seek to clearly delineate the known, the unknown, and areas of research with the greatest potential impact on firefighter protection.

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Carbon Sequestration in Two Created Riverine Wetlands in the Midwestern United States

Wetlands have the ability to accumulate significant amounts of carbon (C) and thus could provide an effective approach to mitigate greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere. Wetland hydrology, age, and management can affect primary productivity, decomposition, and ultimately C sequestration in riverine wetlands, but these aspects of wetland biogeochemistry have not been adequately investigated, especially in created wetlands. In this study we investigate the ability of created freshwater wetlands to sequester C by determining the sediment accretion and soil C accumulation of two 15-yr-old created wetlands in central Ohio—one planted and one naturally colonized. We measured the amount of sediment and soil C accumulated over the parent material and found that these created wetlands accumulated an average of 242 g C m-2 yr-1, 70% more than a similar natural wetland in the region and 26% more than the rate estimated for these same wetlands 5 yr before this study. The C sequestration of the naturally colonized wetland was 22% higher than that of the planted wetland (267 ± 17 vs. 219 ± 15 g C m-2 yr-1, respectively). Soil C accrual accounted for 66% of the aboveground net primary productivity on average. Open water communities had the highest C accumulation rates in both wetlands. This study shows that created wetlands can be natural, cost-effective tools to sequester C to mitigate the effect of greenhouse gas emissions.

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WATER, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND FORESTS Watershed Stewardship for a Changing Climate

Water from forested watersheds provides irreplaceable habitat for aquatic and riparian species and supports our homes, farms, industries, and energy production. Secure, high-quality water from forests is fundamental to our prosperity and our stewardship responsibility. Yet population pressures, land uses, and rapid climate change combine to seriously threaten these waters and the resilience of watersheds in most places. Forest land managers are expected to anticipate and respond to these threats and steward forested watersheds to ensure the sustained protection and provision of water and the services it provides. Effective, constructive watershed stewardship requires that we think, collaborate, and act. We think to understand the values at risk and how watersheds can remain resilient, and we support our thinking with knowledge sharing and planning. We collaborate to develop common understandings and goals for watersheds and a robust, durable capacity for response that includes all stakeholders and is guided by science. We act to secure and steward resilient watersheds that will continue to provide crucial habitats and water supplies in the coming century by implementing practices that protect, maintain, and restore watershed processes and services.

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The Influence of Climate, Soils, Weather, and Land Use on Primary Production and Biomass Seasonality in the US Great Plains

Identifying the conditions and mechanisms that control ecosystem processes, such as net primary production, is a central goal of ecosystem ecology. Ideas have ranged from single limiting-resource theories to colimitation by nutrients and climate, to simulation models with edaphic, climatic, and competitive controls. Although some investigators have begun to consider the influence of land-use practices, especially cropping, few studies have quantified the impact of cropping at large scales relative to other known controls over ecosystem processes. We used a 9-year record of produc- tivity, biomass seasonality, climate, weather, soil conditions, and cropping in the US Great Plains to quantify the controls over spatial and temporal patterns of net primary production and to esti- mate sensitivity to specific driving variables. We considered climate, soil conditions, and long-term average cropping as controls over spatial patterns, while weather and interannual cropping varia- tions were used as controls over temporal vari- ability. We found that variation in primary production is primarily spatial, whereas variation in seasonality is more evenly split between spatial and temporal components. Our statistical (multi- ple linear regression) models explained more of the variation in the amount of primary produc- tion than in its seasonality, and more of the spatial than the temporal patterns. Our results indicate that although climate is the most important variable for explaining spatial patterns, cropping explains a substantial amount of the residual variability. Soil texture and depth con- tributed very little to our models of spatial vari- ability. Weather and cropping deviation both made modest contributions to the models of temporal variability. These results suggest that the controls over seasonality and temporal variation are not well understood. Our sensitivity analysis indicates that production is more sensitive to climate than to weather and that it is very sen- sitive to cropping intensity. In addition to iden- tifying potential gaps in out knowledge, these results provide insight into the probable long- and short-term ecosystem response to changes in climate, weather, and cropping. Key words: primary production; carbon; land use; agriculture; climate; weather; soil; seasonality; cropping; grassland; US Great Plains.

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Comparing carbon sequestration in temperate freshwater wetland communities

High productivity and waterlogged conditions make many freshwater wetlands significant carbon sinks. Most wet- land carbon studies focus on boreal peatlands, however, with less attention paid to other climates and to the effects of hydrogeomorphic settings and the importance of wetland vegetation communities on carbon sequestration. This study compares six temperate wetland communities in Ohio that belong to two distinct hydrogeomorphic types: an isolated depressional wetland site connected to the groundwater table, and a riverine flow-through wetland site that receives water from an agricultural watershed. Three cores were extracted in each community and analyzed for total carbon content to determine the soil carbon pool. Sequestration rates were determined by radiometric dating with 137Cs and 210Pb on a set of composite cores extracted in each of the six communities. Cores were also extracted in uplands adjacent to the wetlands at each site. Wetland communities had accretion rates ranging from 3.0 to 6.2 mm yr␣1. The depressional wetland sites had higher (P < 0.001) organic content (146 ± 4.2 gC kg␣1) and lower (P < 0.001) bulk density (0.55 ± 0.01 Mg m␣3) than the riverine ones (50.1 ± 6.9 gC kg␣1 and 0.74 ± 0.06 Mg m␣3). The soil carbon was 98–99% organic in the isolated depressional wetland communities and 85–98% organic in the riv- erine ones. The depressional wetland communities sequestered 317 ± 93 gC m␣2 yr␣1, more (P < 0.01) than the river- ine communities that sequestered 140 ± 16 gC m␣2 yr␣1. The highest sequestration rate was found in the Quercus palustris forested wetland community (473 gC m␣2 yr␣1), while the wetland community dominated by water lotus (Nelumbo lutea) was the most efficient of the riverine communities, sequestering 160 gC m␣2 yr␣1. These differences in sequestration suggest the importance of addressing wetland types and communities in more detail when assessing the role of wetlands as carbon sequestering systems in global carbon budgets. Keywords: 137Cs, 210Pb, carbon accumulation, Gahanna Woods, Nelumbo lutea, Old Woman Creek, Phragmites australis, Quercus palustris, wetland community, wetland hydrgeomorphology

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Fragmentation and thermal risks from climate change interact to affect persistence of native trout in the Colorado River basin

Impending changes in climate will interact with other stressors to threaten aquatic ecosystems and their biota. Native Colorado River cutthroat trout (CRCT; Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus) are now relegated to 309 isolated high- elevation (>1700 m) headwater stream fragments in the Upper Colorado River Basin, owing to past nonnative trout invasions and habitat loss. Predicted changes in climate (i.e., temperature and precipitation) and resulting changes in stochastic physical disturbances (i.e., wildfire, debris flow, and channel drying and freezing) could further threaten the remaining CRCT populations. We developed an empirical model to predict stream temperatures at the fragment scale from downscaled climate projections along with geomorphic and landscape variables. We coupled these spa- tially explicit predictions of stream temperature with a Bayesian Network (BN) model that integrates stochastic risks from fragmentation to project persistence of CRCT populations across the upper Colorado River basin to 2040 and 2080. Overall, none of the populations are at risk from acute mortality resulting from high temperatures during the warmest summer period. In contrast, only 37% of populations have a ! 90% chance of persistence for 70 years (simi- lar to the typical benchmark for conservation), primarily owing to fragmentation. Populations in short stream frag- ments <7 km long, and those at the lowest elevations, are at the highest risk of extirpation. Therefore, interactions of stochastic disturbances with fragmentation are projected to be greater threats than warming for CRCT populations. The reason for this paradox is that past nonnative trout invasions and habitat loss have restricted most CRCT popula- tions to high-elevation stream fragments that are buffered from the potential consequences of warming, but at risk of extirpation from stochastic events. The greatest conservation need is for management to increase fragment lengths to forestall these risks. Keywords: climate change, cutthroat trout, fragmentation, multiple stressors, native fish, stream temperature model, stream warming

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Post-clearcut dynamics of carbon, water and energy exchanges in a midlatitude temperate, deciduous broadleaf forest environment

Clearcutting and other forest disturbances perturb carbon, water, and energy balances in significant ways, with corre- sponding influences on Earth’s climate system through biogeochemical and biogeophysical effects. Observations are needed to quantify the precise changes in these balances as they vary across diverse disturbances of different types, severities, and in various climate and ecosystem type settings. This study combines eddy covariance and micrometeo- rological measurements of surface-atmosphere exchanges with vegetation inventories and chamber-based estimates of soil respiration to quantify how carbon, water, and energy fluxes changed during the first 3 years following forest clearing in a temperate forest environment of the northeastern US. We observed rapid recovery with sustained increases in gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) over the first three growing seasons post-clearing, coincident with large and relatively stable net emission of CO2 because of overwhelmingly large ecosystem respiration. The rise in GEP was attributed to vegetation changes not environmental conditions (e.g., weather), but attribution to the expan- sion of leaf area vs. changes in vegetation composition remains unclear. Soil respiration was estimated to contribute 44% of total ecosystem respiration during summer months and coarse woody debris accounted for another 18%. Evapotranspiration also recovered rapidly and continued to rise across years with a corresponding decrease in sensi- ble heat flux. Gross short-wave and long-wave radiative fluxes were stable across years except for strong wintertime dependence on snow covered conditions and corresponding variation in albedo. Overall, these findings underscore the highly dynamic nature of carbon and water exchanges and vegetation composition during the regrowth following a severe forest disturbance, and sheds light on both the magnitude of such changes and the underlying mechanisms with a unique example from a temperate, deciduous broadleaf forest. Keywords: carbon balance, evapotranspiration, forest disturbance and regrowth, forest management, net ecosystem productivity

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Climate change and the invasion of California by grasses

Over the next century, changes in the global climate are expected to have major consequences for plant communities, possibly including the exacerbation of species invasions. We evaluated this possibility in the grass flora of California, which is economically and ecologically important and heavily invaded. We used a novel, trait-based approach involving two components: identifying differences in trait composition between native and exotic components of the grass flora and evaluating contemporary trait–climate relationships across the state. The combination of trait–climate relationships and trait differences between groups allows us to predict changes in the exotic-native balance under climate change scenarios. Exotic species are more likely to be annual, taller, with larger leaves, larger seeds, higher specific leaf area, and higher leaf N percentage than native species. Across the state, all these traits are associated with regions with higher temperature. Therefore, we predict that increasing temperatures will favor trait states that tend to be possessed by exotic species, increasing the dominance of exotic species. This prediction is corroborated by the current distribution of exotic species richness relative to native richness in California; warmer areas contain higher proportions of exotic species. This pattern was very well captured by a simple model that predicts invasion severity given only the trait–climate relationship for native species and trait differences between native and exotic species. This study provides some of the first evidence for an important interaction between climate change and species invasions across very broad geographic and taxonomic scales.

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Effects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: General Technical Report PNW-GTR-870 December 2012

This report is a scientific assessment of the current condition and likely future condition of forest resources in the United States relative to climatic variability and change. It serves as the U.S. Forest Service forest sector technical report for the National Climate Assessment and includes descriptions of key regional issues and examples of a risk-based framework for assessing climate-change effects. By the end of the 21st century, forest ecosystems in the United States will differ from those of today as a result of changing climate. Although increases in temperature, changes in precipitation, higher atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), and higher nitrogen (N) deposition may change ecosystem structure and function, the most rapidly visible and most significant short-term effects on forest ecosystems will be caused by altered disturbance regimes. For example, wildfires, insect infestations, pulses of erosion and flooding, and drought-induced tree mortality are all expected to increase during the 21st century. These direct and indirect climate-change effects are likely to cause losses of ecosystem services in some areas, but may also improve and expand ecosystem services in others. Some areas may be particularly vulnerable because current infrastructure and resource production are based on past climate and steady-state conditions. The ability of communities with resource-based economies to adapt to climate change is linked to their direct exposure to these changes, as well as to the social and institutional structures present in each environment. Human communities that have diverse economies and are resilient to change today will also be prepared for future climatic stresses.

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Four-year response of underplanted American chestnut (Castanea dentata) and three competitors to midstory removal, root trenching, and weeding treatments in an oak-hickory forest

American chestnut (Castanea dentata) has been killed or reduced to recurrent stump sprouts throughout its range following the importation of multiple pathogens in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Under- standing what drives chestnut growth and survival would aid the development of appropriate silvicultural guidelines for restoring the species once blight resistant stock is available. Here we compare the response of planted American and hybrid chestnut seedlings to that of important competitors, northern red oak (Quercus rubra), sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and red maple (A. rubrum), under treatments designed to evaluate the effects of various sources of competition on seedling growth and survival. After four years, American and hybrid chestnut was significantly taller in trenched plots (181.8 ± 12.4 cm; mean ± SE) compared to untrenched plots (127.5 ± 7.9 cm), weeded plots (174.5 ± 12.7 cm) compared to unweeded plots (130.1 ± 6.5 cm) and in midstory removal plots (156.6 ± 7.8) versus full canopy (88.8 ± 11.7 cm), and had outperformed the other species in most competitive environments. Chestnut was the only species to respond to every treatment with significant growth increases, displaying a nota- ble ability to capture growing space when it became available. We suggest that American chestnut res- toration may be more successful where early stand management provides chestnut a brief period of reduced competition. Specifically, midstory removal can increase survival and growth of underplanted American chestnut, and when combined with multi-stage shelterwood removals of the overstory and some amount of competition control, may constitute a viable restoration strategy for chestnut in many of the eastern oak-hickory forests where it was originally dominant.

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Sectoral contributions to surface water stress in the coterminous United States

Here, we assess current stress in the freshwater system based on the best available data in order to understand possible risks and vulnerabilities to regional water resources and the sectors dependent on freshwater. We present watershed-scale measures of surface water supply stress for the coterminous United States (US) using the water supply stress index (WaSSI) model which considers regional trends in both water supply and demand. A snapshot of contemporary annual water demand is compared against different water supply regimes, including current average supplies, current extreme-year supplies, and projected future average surface water flows under a changing climate. In addition, we investigate the contributions of different water demand sectors to current water stress. On average, water supplies are stressed, meaning that demands for water outstrip natural supplies in over 9% of the 2103 watersheds examined. These watersheds rely on reservoir storage, conveyance systems, and groundwater to meet current water demands. Overall, agriculture is the major demand-side driver of water stress in the US, whereas municipal stress is isolated to southern California. Water stress introduced by cooling water demands for power plants is punctuated across the US, indicating that a single power plant has the potential to stress water supplies at the watershed scale. On the supply side, watersheds in the western US are particularly sensitive to low flow events and projected long-term shifts in flow driven by climate change. The WaSSI results imply that not only are water resources in the southwest in particular at risk, but that there are also potential vulnerabilities to specific sectors, even in the ‘water-rich’ southeast. Keywords: water resources, surface water, water stress

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EPA and the Army Corps’ Proposed Rule to Define “Waters of the United States”

Excerpt from summary : According to the agencies, the proposed rule would revise the existing regulatory definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with legal rulings—especially the Supreme Court cases—and science concerning the interconnectedness of tributaries, wetlands, and other waters to downstream waters and effects of these connections on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream waters. Waters that are “jurisdictional” are subject to the multiple regulatory requirements of the CWA: standards, discharge limitations, permits, and enforcement. Non-jurisdictional waters, in contrast, do not have the federal legal protection of those requirements. This report describes the March 25 proposed rule and includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines “waters of the United States” with that in the proposal.

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What can ecological science tell us about opportunities for carbon sequestration on arid rangelands in the United States?

Scientific interest in carbon sequestration on rangelands is largely driven by their extent, while the interest of ranchers in the United States centers on opportunities to enhance revenue streams. Rangelands cover approximately 30% of the earth’s ice-free land surface and hold an equivalent amount of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Rangelands are grasslands, shrublands, and savannas and cover 312 million hectares in the United States. On the arid and semi-arid sites typical of rangelands annual fluxes are small and unpredictable over time and space, varying primarily with precipitation, but also with soils and vegetation. There is broad scientific consensus that non-equilibrium ecological models better explain the dynamics of such rangelands than equilibrium models, yet current and proposed carbon sequestration policies and associated grazing management recommendations in the United States often do not incorporate this developing scientific understanding of rangeland dynamics. Carbon uptake on arid and semi-arid rangelands is most often controlled by abiotic factors not easily changed by management of grazing or vegetation. Additionality may be impossible to achieve consistently through management on rangelands near the more xeric end of a rangeland climatic gradient. This point is illustrated by a preliminary examination of efforts to develop voluntary cap and trade markets for carbon credits in the United States, and options including payment for ecosystem services or avoided conversion, and carbon taxation. A preliminary analysis focusing on cap and trade and payment for avoided conversion or ecosystem services illustrates the misalignment between policies targeting vegetation management for enhanced carbon uptake and non-equilibrium carbon dynamics on arid United States rangelands. It is possible that current proposed carbon policy as exemplified by carbon credit exchange or offsets will result in a net increase in emissions, as well as investment in failed management. Rather than focusing on annual fluxes, policy and management initiatives should seek long-term protection of rangelands and rangeland soils to conserve carbon, and a broader range of environmental and social benefits. Non-equilibrium dynamics Arid lands Soil carbon Cap and trade Additionality Rangeland management

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Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

KEY FINDINGS Biodiversity and ecosystems are already more stressed than at any comparable period of human history. Climate change almost always exacerbates the problems caused by other environmental stressors including: land use change and the consequent habitat fragmentation and degradation; extraction of timber, fish, water, and other resources; biological disturbance such as the introduction of non-native invasive species, disease, and pests; and chemical, heavy metal, and nutrient pollution. As a corollary, one mechanism for reducing the negative impacts of climate change is a reduction in other stressors. Climate change is causing many species to shift their geographical ranges, distributions, and phenologies at faster rates than previously thought. Changes in terrestrial plant and animal species ranges are shifting the location and extent of biomes, and altering ecosystem structure and functioning. These rates vary considerably among species. Terrestrial species are moving up in elevation at rates 2 to 3 times greater than initial estimates. Despite faster rates of warming in terrestrial systems compared to ocean environments, the velocity of range shifts for marine taxa exceeds those reported for terrestrial species. Species and populations that are unable to shift their geographic distributions or have narrow environmental tolerances are at an increased risk of extinction. There is increasing evidence of population declines and localized extinctions that can be directly attributed to climate change. Ecological specialists and species that live at high altitudes and latitudes are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Overall, the impacts of climate change are projected to result in a net loss of global biodiversity and major shifts in the provision of ecosystem services. For example, the range and abundance of economically important marine fish are already changing due to climate change and are projected to continue changing such that some local fisheries are very likely to cease to be viable, whereas others may become more valuable if the fishing community can adapt. Range shifts will result in new community assemblages, new associations among species, and promote interactions among species that have not existed in the past. Changes in the spatial distribution and seasonal timing of flora and fauna within marine, aquatic, and terrestrial environments can result in trophic mismatches and asynchronies. Novel species assemblages can also substantially alter ecosystem structure and function and the distribution of ecosystem services. Changes in precipitation regimes and extreme events can cause ecosystem transitions, increase transport of nutrients and pollutants to downstream ecosystems, and overwhelm the ability of natural systems to mitigate harm to people from these events. Changes in extreme events affect systems differentially, because different thresholds are crossed. For example, more intense storms and increased drought coupled with warming can shift grasslands into shrublands, or facilitate domination by other grass types (for example, mixed grass to C-4 tallgrass). More heavy rainfall also increases movement of nutrients and pollutants to downstream ecosystems, restructuring processes, biota, and habitats. As a consequence, regulation of drinking water quality is very likely to be strained as high rainfall and river discharge lead to higher levels of nitrogen in rivers and greater risk of waterborne disease outbreaks. S-2 Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services | Executive Summary Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment Changes in winter have big and surprising effects on ecosystems and their services. Changes in soil freezing, snow cover, and air temperature have affected carbon sequestration, decomposition, and carbon export, which influence agricultural and forest production. Seasonally snow-covered regions are especially susceptible to climate change as small changes in temperature or precipitation may result in large changes in ecosystem structure and function. Longer growing seasons and warmer winters are enhancing pest outbreaks, leading to tree mortality and more intense and extensive fires. For winter sports and recreation, future economic losses are projected to be high because of decreased or unreliable snowfall. The ecosystem services provided by coastal habitats are especially vulnerable to sea-level rise and more severe storms. The Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts are most vulnerable to the loss of coastal protection services provided by wetlands and coral reefs. Along the Pacific coast long-term erosion of dunes due to increasing wave heights is projected to be an increasing problem for coastal communities. Beach recreation is also projected to suffer due to coastal erosion. Other forms of recreation are very likely to improve due to better weather, and the net effect is likely a redistribution of the industry and its economic impact, with visitors and tourism dollars shifting away from some communities in favor of others. Climate adaptation has experienced a dramatic increase in attention since the last National Climate Assessment and become a major emphasis in biodiversity conservation and natural resource policy and management. Federal and State agencies are planning for and integrating climate change research into resource management and actions to address impacts of climate change based on historical impacts, future vulnerabilities, and observations on the ground. Land managers have realized that static protected areas will not be sufficient to conserve biodiversity in a changing climate, requiring an emphasis on landscape-scale conservation, connectivity among protected habitats, and sustaining ecological functioning of working lands and waters. Agile and adaptive management approaches are increasingly under development, including monitoring, experimentation, and a capacity to evaluate and modify management actions. Risk-based framing and stakeholder-driven scenario planning will be essential in enhancing our ability to respond to the impacts of climate change. Climate change responses employed by other sectors (for example, energy, agriculture, transportation) are creating new ecosystem stresses, but also can incorporate ecosystem- based approaches to improve their efficacy. Ecosystem-based adaptation has emerged as a framework for understanding the role of ecosystem services in moderating climate impacts on people, although this concept is currently being used more on an international scale than within the United States. Ecological monitoring efforts need to be improved and better coordinated among Federal and State agencies to ensure that the impacts of climate change are adequately observed as well as to support ecological research, management, assessment, and policy. As species and ecosystem boundaries shift to keep pace with climate change, improved and better-integrated research, monitoring, and assessment efforts will be needed at national and global scales. Existing monitoring networks in the United States are not well suited for detecting and attributing the impacts of climate change to the wide range of affected species at the appropriate spatio-temporal scales.

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Modeling sediment accumulation in North American playa wetlands in response to climate change, 1940–2100

Playa wetlands on the west-central Great Plains of North America are vulnerable to sediment infilling from upland agriculture, putting at risk several important ecosystem services as well as essential habitats and food resources of diverse wetland-dependent biota. Climate predictions for this semi-arid area indicate reduced precipitation which may alter rates of erosion, runoff, and sedimentation of playas. We forecasted erosion rates, sediment depths, and resultant playa wetland depths across the west-central Great Plains and exam- ined the relative roles of land use context and projected changes in precipitation in the sedimentation process. We estimated erosion with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) using historic values and downscaled precipitation predictions from three general circulation models and three emissions scenarios. We calibrated RUSLE results using field sediment measurements. RUSLE is appealing for regional scale modeling because it uses climate forecasts with monthly resolution and other widely available values including soil texture, slope and land use. Sediment accumulation rates will continue near historic levels through 2070 and will be sufficient to cause most playas (if not already filled) to fill with sediment within the next 100 years in the absence of mitigation. Land use surrounding the playa, whether grassland or tilled cropland, is more influential in sediment accumulation than climate-driven precipitation change.

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Afforestation Effects on Soil Carbon Storage in the United States: A Synthesis

Afforestation (tree establishment on nonforested land) is a management option for increasing terrestrial C sequestration and mitigating rising atmo- spheric carbon dioxide because, compared to nonforested land uses, afforestation increases C storage in aboveground pools. However, because terrestrial ecosystems typically store most of their C in soils, afforestation impacts on soil organic carbon (SOC) storage are critical components of eco- system C budgets. We applied synthesis methods to identify the magnitude and drivers of afforestation impacts on SOC, and the temporal and verti- cal distributions of SOC change during afforestation in the United States. Meta-analysis of 39 papers from 1957 to 2010 indicated that previous land use drives afforestation impacts on SOC in mineral soils (overall average = +21%), but mined and other industrial lands (+173%) and wildlands (+31%) were the only groups that specifically showed categorically significant increases. Temporal patterns of SOC increase were statistically significant on former industrial and agricultural lands (assessed by continuous meta- analysis), and suggested that meaningful SOC increases require ≥15 and 30 yr of afforestation, respectively. Meta-analysis of 13C data demonstrated the greatest SOC changes occur at the surface soil of the profile, although par- tial replacement of C stocks derived from previous land uses was frequently detectable below 1 m. A geospatial analysis of 409 profiles from the National Soil Carbon Network database supported 13C meta-analysis results, indicating that transition from cultivation to forest increased A horizon SOC by 32%. In sum, our findings demonstrate that afforestation has significant, positive effects on SOC sequestration in the United States, although these effects require decades to manifest and primarily occur in the uppermost (and per- haps most vulnerable) portion of the mineral soil profile. Abbreviations: BD, bulk density; CI, confidence interval; MAP, mean annual precipitation; MAT, mean annual temperature; SOC, soil organic carbon.

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Evaluating the Effects and Effectiveness of Post-fire Seeding Treatments in Western Forests

Key Findings• In studies that evaluated soil erosion in seeded versus unseeded controls, 78 percent revealed that seeding did not reduce erosion relative to unseeded controls. Even when seeding significantly increased vegetative cover, there was insufficient plant cover to stabilize soils within the first two years after fire. •Sixty percent of the studies reported that seeding deterred native plant recovery in the short-term. •Out of 11 papers that evaluated the ability of seeding to curtail non-native plant species invasions, 54 percent stated that seeding treatments were effective and 45 percent stated they were ineffective.• Forty papers and 67 Burned Area Reports dated between 1970 and 2006 revealed an increased use of native species and annual cereal grains/hybrids during seeding treatments over time, with native species dominating seed mixes. • From 2000 to 2007, total Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) seeding expenditures have increased substantially, reaching an average of $3.3 million per year—a 192 percent increase compared to the average spent over the previous 30 years.

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Montane meadow change during drought varies with background hydrologic regime and plant functional group

Key words:drought; forbs; hydrological gradient; plant community; woody plants. Abstract. Climate change models for many ecosystems predict more extreme climatic events in the future, including exacerbated drought conditions. Here we assess the effects of drought by quantifying temporal variation in community composition of a complex montane meadow landscape characterized by a hydrological gradient. The meadows occur in two regions of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Gallatin and Teton) and were classified into six categories (M1–M6, designating hydric to xeric) based upon Satellite pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite imagery. Both regions have similar plant communities, but patch sizes of meadows are much smaller in the Gallatin region. We measured changes in the percent cover of bare ground and plants by species and functional groups during five years between 1997 and 2007. We hypothesized that drought effects would not be manifested evenly across the hydrological gradient, but rather would be observed as hotspots of change in some areas and minimally evident in others. We also expected varying responses by plant functional groups (forbs vs. woody plants). Forbs, which typically use water from relatively shallow soils compared to woody plants, were expected to decrease in cover in mesic meadows, but increase in hydric meadows. Woody plants, such as Artemisia, were expected to increase, especially in mesic meadows. We identified several important trends in our meadow plant communities during this period of drought: (1) bare ground increased significantly in xeric meadows of both regions (Gallatin M6 and Teton M5) and in mesic (M3) meadows of the Teton, (2) forbs decreased significantly in the mesic and xeric meadows in both regions, (3) forbs increased in hydric (M1) meadows of the Gallatin region, and (4) woody species showed increases in M2 and M5 meadows of the Teton region and in M3 meadows of the Gallatin region. The woody response was dominated by changes in Artemisia spp. and Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus. Thus, our results supported our expectations that community change was not uniform across the landscape, but instead could be predicted based upon functional group responses to the spatial and temporal patterns of water availability, which are largely a function of plant water use and the hydrological gradient.

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Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources

The President's Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda is the result of an interagency process to inventory and assess current policies, programs, and regulations related to climate change adaptation. The Agenda builds upon the robust climate change adaptation work already accomplished by Federal agencies and identifies significant actions moving forward. It specifically mentions how Federal agencies working to address ecosystem management issues through LCCs and other multi-stakeholder bodies will work with partners to select flagship geographic regions for which they will identify priority areas for conservation, restoration, or other investments to build resilience in vulnerable regions, enhance carbon storage capacity, and support management needs. Within 24 months, these agencies and their partners will have identified and mapped the initial list of priority areas within each of the selected geographic landscapes or regions.

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National Fish Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy strategies and goals

National Fish Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy goals, strategies and actions from Chapter 3 of the document

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USDA Provides $328 Million to Conserve Wetlands and Farmland, Boost Economy

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that $328 million in conservation funding is being invested to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation. The USDA initiative will benefit wildlife and promote outdoor recreation and related sectors of the economy.

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Copper Creek In-Stream Habitat Restoration Project

Copper Creek In-Stream Habitat Restoration Project

This project improved riparian zones, water quality, appropriate sediment flows and restoring physical habitat for multiple listed aquatic species in the Copper Creek watershed, within the Upper Tennessee River Basin. (Photo: The low water bridge that was removed and replaced with a new bridge that spans the river. )

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Strategic Habitat Conservation - Final Report of the National Ecological Assessment Team

Strategic Habitat Conservation - Final Report of the National Ecological Assessment Team

\We envision the FWS working collaboratively with partners to develop and implement a landscape approach to habitat conservation, leading to what we term strategic habitat conservation. Success will depend on how quickly and effectively our organizational approach evolves, including steps to better communicate with and work alongside our partners.

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Strategic Habitat Conservation - Final Report of the National Ecological Assessment Team

Strategic Habitat Conservation - Final Report of the National Ecological Assessment Team

\We envision the FWS working collaboratively with partners to develop and implement a landscape approach to habitat conservation, leading to what we term strategic habitat conservation. Success will depend on how quickly and effectively our organizational approach evolves, including steps to better communicate with and work alongside our partners.

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First Participants in Conservation Stewardship Program can Renew

Producers with expiring U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts have from July 11 until Sept. 12, 2014 to renew and add conservation activities that will support their natural resource improvement activities and fine-tune their conservation plans.

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Appalachian LCC Data Needs Assessment Final Report

Appalachian LCC Data Needs Assessment Final Report

This project was undertaken to evaluate existing datasets for the Appalachian LCC region, package relevant datasets, review of some of the most commonly used conservation planning tools, provide interpretive text and graphics for datasets and tools, and identify data gaps that could improve conservation planning in the Appalachian LCC. Additionally, we reviewed and analyzed State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) from 15 states that intersect with the LCC, and corresponded with the SWAP coordinators to get their input on summaries and information on the upcoming 2015 revisions.

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AMJV Management Board Meeting

The AMJV Management Board meets twice a year to discuss the major issues, accomplishments, and future direction of the partnership.

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Federal Programs Offer Opportunities for Wildlife, Forestry Improvements

For persons interested in performing active management on their property to establish or improve wetlands, riparian (streamside) areas, forest lands, or other upland habitats for wildlife and pollinators, now is the time to request a plan and apply for financial assistance if desired.

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NRCS and Forest Service Partner to Improve Forest Health

Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie announced today a multi-year partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation.

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Event Convenes Kentucky Conservationists and Waterways Transportation Industry

On December 12th, the Ingram Barge Company and the Crounse Corporation convened more than 45 representatives from the waterways transportation industry at an event they hoped would serve as a catalyst for future collaborations with The Nature Conservancy throughout the Mississippi River Basin.

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Appalachain Landscape Conservation Cooperative GIS Datasets

Appalachain Landscape Conservation Cooperative GIS Datasets

The Appalachain Landscape Conservation Cooperative Datasets are located in a folder named “AppLCC_USGS_ConicEA_Projection” and each theme has its own folder. Most folders have a layer file for displaying the raster datasets, however if there is more than one raster in the folder, it may be necessary to point the layer to the desired raster each time it is loaded. Also there are a few layer files and one geodataset (NWI) that will only work in ArcGIS 10.x. The layer file with the same name as the raster dataset should work in both ArcGIS 9.x and 10.x. In each case we attempted to download the latest (Spring 2013) revision of the dataset that completely covered the Appalachain LCC.

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Interpretive Text and Graphics for AppLCC Web Portal (data)

Interpretive Text and Graphics for AppLCC Web Portal (data)

This document presents map images and text that describes the data that can be posted to the AppLCC web portal. The arrangement follows the layout of the Appalachain Landscape Conservation Cooperative GIS Datasets.

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2013 SN Portfolio (Full Report)

In February 2013, almost 50 experts from a wide range of technical background in both natural and social sciences, as well as geographic expertise across the entire region, volunteered to participate in the annual review of the Appalachian LCC Science Needs Portfolio. 2013 marked the first revision of the Portfolio.

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Climate Change

2013 SN Portfolio: Mission to create an effective adaptation strategy for climate change based on the best available science.

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National Climate Assessment 2012

Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services

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Overiew of LCC National Council Recruitment Process

The purpose of this overview is to familiarize the LCC Coordinators Team (LCT) with the recruitment process for the LCC National Council (Council), to identify the role the LCC coordinators will play in the process, and to provide you with some talking points for explaining the process to your respective organizations and other networks.

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Native Plants Boost Conservation Benefits, Strengthen Wildlife Populations

Native plants in many parts of the U.S. are struggling because of changes in land use and climate, posing problems for the wildlife species that depend on them for sustenance and sanctuary.

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USDA, Interior and Defense departments partner to benefit agricultural lands, wildlife habitat and military readiness

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Defense Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Installations and Environment John Conger announced today a federal, local and private collaboration that will preserve agricultural lands, assist with military readiness and restore and protect wildlife habitat.

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Agenda for Roundtable Discussion on Future of Federal Collaboration in Landscape-Scale Planning

Here is the full agenda to the meeting that is initializing a conversation about the future of federal agency collaboration in landscape-scale planning.

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New Online Tool Helps Producers Estimate Carbon Stowed in Soil

A new online tool , called COMET-FARM™, enables agricultural producers to calculate how much carbon their conservation actions can remove from the atmosphere.

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NRCS, Landowners Improve Habitat for At-risk Species

NRCS, Landowners Improve Habitat for At-risk Species

Through voluntary conservation, American farmers, ranchers and forestland owners are restoring and protecting habitat for seven at-risk wildlife species.

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Wetland restorations offer environmental, economic benefits

Scientists with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recognize the environmental and economic benefits regional wetlands provide and the importance of preserving wetland resources.

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Wetlands clean water, provide homes for wildlife across the nation

Wetlands play a crucial role in the world’s ecosystem by protecting and improving water quality, filtering surface water, storing floodwater and creating or enhancing wildlife habitat.

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NRCS helps build resiliency to climate change

As experts predict growing climate changes in the United States, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service offers a variety of practices, programs and studies that help landowners build resiliency to its effects.

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Nature Serve Terrestrial Habitat Classification

ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS OF THE UNITED STATES A WORKING CLASSIFICATION OF U.S. TERRESTRIAL SYSTEMS

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National Fish, Wildlife, & Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy

The purpose of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy is to inspire and enable natural resource administrators, elected officials, and other decision makers to take action to adapt to a changing climate. Adaptation actions are vital to sustaining the nation’s ecosystems and natural resources — as well as the human uses and values that the natural world provides.

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Maryland SHC Plan

The Chesapeake Bay Field Office is actively involved in conservation and restoration activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with most of these activities occurring in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. However, our close proximity to the Environmental Protection Agency’s  (EPA)  Chesapeake  Bay  Program  involves  us  taking  a  lead  role  in  dealing  with   watershed wide issues. We have been actively engaged in the Environmental Protection Agency’s  (EPA)  Chesapeake  Bay  Program since its inception in 1983. Over the years we have provided leadership on fish passage, oysters, stream restoration, toxics, invasive species, wetlands, and SAV. Most recently, we are providing leadership on the Habitat Goal Implementation Team, and have provided substantial input to develop a renewed federal strategy for restoring the Chesapeake Bay as part of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order that President Obama signed in May 2009. We will be responsible for implementing many of the actions identified in the Habitat and Living Resource 202(g) report.

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New York and Long Island Plan

The New York and Long Island Field Offices have developed a strategic plan for our future work. This plan provides the direction of our field offices’ work and allows us to clearly articulate to others what our goals are and why. Our plan was developed using the Strategic Habitat Conservation approach (SHC). The SHC approach is an adaptive management methodology with 4 identifiable phases – biological planning, conservation design, conservation implementation, and monitoring. You will see that our strategic plan reflects this process in its construction.

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Pennsylvania Ecological Services Plan

The Pennsylvania Ecological Services Field Office (PAFO) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has developed this Priority Planning Strategy to guide its work over the next three fiscal years. This Strategy will be shared with other conservation partners, both within the FWS (e.g. other field stations in Pennsylvania, as well as neighboring Field Offices), and outside of the FWS (state wildlife agencies, federal agencies, conservation organizations, and others). Based on conversations with partners at all levels, and depending upon changing resources, information, or rates of progress, the Strategy will be subject to ongoing review and revision.

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West Virginia Ecological Services Plan

With  the  mission  of  the  U.  S.  Fish  and  Wildlife  Service  in  mind  the  Service’s  West  Virginia   Field Office (WVFO), Elkins, West Virginia, has developed a multi-year comprehensive strategic priority plan for West Virginia to be  utilized  in  conjunction  with  the  Service’s   Washington  and  Region  5  offices’  guiding  parameters  articulated  under  the  Vision,  Conservation   Principles and Priorities below. The WVFO has incorporated these parameters into our strategic priority plan, weaving our activities not only into these national and regional parameters but also into the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) framework.

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Virginia Ecological Services Plan

The 2010-2014 Strategic Plan's purpose is to work as one group, crossing and blurring program boundaries, to determine statewide resource priorities and a strategic approach to addressing these priorities in our daily actions, resulting in a more focused effort on specific Service priorities that will offer the largest conservation benefit.

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Agenda for February 11th, 2013 ISC Call

Details meeting objectives, prioritization of the top ranked science needs, work plan research-related tasks, and close of meeting instructions.

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Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture 3 Year Operational Plan

To accomplish our collective objectives, Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture (AMJV) Staff and each of the individual partners must identify and deliver their respective contribution(s) to each priority relevant to their geography, available resources, existing local partnerships, etc. Therefore, AMJV Staff and the Executive Committee have developed a DRAFT of our partnership’s 3-year Operational Plan designed to achieve our longer-term conservation goals for each priority topic stated below.

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Federal/private partnership brings in 4-to-1 taxpayer returns for conservation

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation partnership created $40.5 million out of an initial $10.3 million taxpayer investment in 2011 for on-the-ground conservation efforts throughout the United States.

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CASRI Annual Report 2012

CASRI Annual Report 2012

The Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative Annual Report for 2012

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Appendix 4.

List of participating Universities with CESU Agreements across the AppLCC boundary. (dated 2010)

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2011 Workshop Report - Conservation Priorities Science Needs

As prepared under the DJ Chase contract by Dr. Gwen White (182 pgs). This is the FULL Report that includes details on how the Workshop was organized, the final Science Needs Portolio (draft - compliation) generated by the various Thematic Work Groups, and the Workshop evaluations and recommendations.

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Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture

Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture

The final 2012 Communication Strategy for the Appalachian Mountain Joint Venture.

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Private Land Conservation Programs from the Farm Bill and Other Sources

Join us for a discussion of current and future Farm Bill programs administered by the Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Farm Service Agency that support private landowner efforts to protect working forests and conserve open space.

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Report on Phone Interviews Conducted with Conservation Experts in AppLCC Region

Following are thematic, qualitative summaries from 33 interviews of Steering Committee and subject matter experts that were conducted by Group Solutions on behalf of the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative. These interviews were conducted to establish a baseline understanding of issues, challenges, and priorities in advance of for the July planning workshop in Blacksburg, VA.

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Report on Phone Interviews Conducted with Conservation Experts in AppLCC Region

Following are thematic, qualitative summaries from 33 interviews of Steering Committee and subject matter experts that were conducted by Group Solutions on behalf of the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative. These interviews were conducted to establish a baseline understanding of issues, challenges, and priorities in advance of for the July planning workshop in Blacksburg, VA.

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Planning for Growth and Open Space Conservation Webinar Series

Discussion on Federal Landscape Conservation Initiatives with overviews from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Department of Defense.

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Management Capacity - Federal Non-DOI Agencies

Management capacity that lies within Federal agencies outside the Dept. of Interior.

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USDA and Interior Reach Historic Agreement to Support Voluntary Wildlife Conservation Efforts on Working Agricultural Lands

USDA and Interior Reach Historic Agreement to Support Voluntary Wildlife Conservation Efforts on Working Agricultural Lands

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe today announced an agreement that will provide long-term regulatory predictability for up to 30 years to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners participating in NRCS’s Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Initiative.

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Notes: Applachian LCC ISC May 4th, 2011

Notes from the May 4th, 2011 ISC Meeting

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Appalachian LCC Reachback to Field Offices

Appalachian LCC Reachback to Field Offices

A PowerPoint summary of the mission, governance structure, decision-support tools, and conservation priorities of the Appalachian LCC.

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Ken Elowe Conservation Framework Presentation AppLCC Workshop Nov 2011

Ken Elowe Conservation Framework Presentation AppLCC Workshop Nov 2011

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Draft Mission and Vision by Organization - ISC Meeting

Draft Mission and Vision by Organization - ISC Meeting May 4, 2011

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Thematic‐Area (1) Pre‐Existing Tools, Portals, Datasets, Resources

Thematic‐Area (1) Pre‐Existing Tools, Portals, Datasets, Resources

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Rick Durbrow PPT Presentation pdf

Rick Durbrow Integrated Federal Resources for Ecosystem Protection

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