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Future. Challenges U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Two Bureaus, One Mission. What is the Future Challenges project? A USGS and FWS, future-oriented partnership in science-based conservation. Partnership emerged from October 2003 meeting of USGS Executive

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Challenges U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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ChallengesU.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Two Bureaus, One Mission

  • What is the

  • Future Challenges

  • project?

  • A USGS and FWS,

  • future-oriented partnership in science-based conservation.

  • Partnership

  • emerged from

  • October 2003 meeting

  • of USGS Executive

  • Leadership Team and

  • FWS Directorate.

L to R, USGS Director Chip Groat

and former USFWS Director Steve Williams

  • Future Challenges

  • project goal:

  • To position USGS and FWS to

  • predict and respond to

  • significant challenges to

  • biodiversity and ecosystem

  • function over next 15-20 years.

  • Ground-

  • breaking

  • scientific

  • research

  • has historically provided basis for significant progress in addressing environmental challenges.

Rachel Carson J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling

Unsung Heroes

Far left column, endangered species researchers at Patuxent Research Refuge, 1950s-1960s; center, pioneering flyway field biologists Fred Lincoln and Elizabeth Losey, 1920s-1949; right column, Patuxent pesticide researchers R. Prouty, top, and Bill Reichel, 1950s-1960s.

  • It is our turn, and our responsibility, to build scientific foundation that will support conservation leaders who come after us.

  • Today, significant future impacts to biodiversity and ecosystem function are predicted from:

  • Climate change

  • Biotechnology

  • Invasive species

  • Water for ecological needs

Climate Change:

  • 2-4 degree C. increase

  • in earth’s temperature

  • predicted by end of

  • 21st Century.

    (Courtesy of Dr. Dennis Ojima, Scientist/Professor, Colorado State University)

Mean temperature change 1965 - 2002 over the globe

  • Data source:

  • Processed by the U.S. NCDC Global Climate at the Glance Mapping System

Global climate change of increasing interest in fish and wildlife conservation.

  • Biotechnology:

  • A potential conservation tool, but genetic engineering poses potential threats to ecological functioning that need to be assessed.

  • (Courtesy of Dr. Anne R. Kapuscinski, Professor/Institute Director,

  • University of Minnesota)

  • Can modern biotechnology support natural resource conservation?

  • To better understand and manage populations?

  • To modify or manipulate organisms?

  • To determine effects of modified organisms on existing populations?

First Transgenic Animal

on U.S. Market

The New York Times Nov 22, 2003

“Gene-Altering Revolution Nears the Pet Store: Glow-in-the-Dark Fish”

Nature 27 November 2003

GloFish casts light on murky policing of transgenic animals

Marketed without regulatory environmental review. FDA is lead authority.

  • Invasive Species:

  • Scientists emphasize growing threat of invasive species to ecosystem function and native species conservation.

  • (Courtesy of Dr. Jamie K. Reaser, President of Eco Systems Institute)

Globalization: Trade-Travel-Transport

Consequences of invasive species are environmental and economic.

  • Invasives are:

  • 2nd or 3rd most significant driver of environmental change globally.

  • 2nd greatest threat to threatened and endangered species in United States, costing estimated $100 billion annually.

  • Water For Ecological Needs:

  • Scientists predict significant implications for aquatic resource conservation from changes in use and allocation of water.

  • (Courtesy of Dr. Robert M. Hirsch, Associate Director for Water,

  • U.S. Geological Survey)

Total surface-water and ground-water withdrawals

Demand for ecosystem services is a major driver of changes in water allocations








Future Challenge: Elevating ecosystem requirements in water-use planning

  • New paradigm

  • Whole hydrograph

  • Dynamic channel

  • And ground water

  • Biological community

Old paradigm

Minimum flow

Static channel

Surface water

Single species

Climate change

Invasive species


Water for ecological needs

Given these identified future challenges to ecosystem function and sustainability, USGS and FWS must lay both a science and a management foundation for future generations of decision-makers and resource managers.

  • Game Plan

  • Work with employees to identify specific impacts of these four drivers of change on USGS and FWS science and conservation missions.

  • Game Plan

  • Build institutionalized scientific capacity within USGS and FWS to jointly address these challenges to sustainable ecosystem function.

  • Game Plan

  • Expand FWS and USGS partnership and collaboration with larger scientific community in addressing these challenges.

  • First Step —

  • Open the Dialogue

  • Future Challenges

  • Workshop held

  • August 10-12, 2004,

  • at National

  • Conservation Training Center.

  • Consistent themes,

  • crosscutting issues emerged from workshop.

  • Adaptive management

  • Effective mitigation

  • Long-term monitoring

  • Data management and synthesis

  • Leveraging resources

  • Addressing priorities

  • Next Step –

  • Broaden the Dialogue

  • Distribute “Challenge Summaries.”

    Engage employees and partners.

  • Next Step –

  • From Talk to Action

  • Begin to build

  • scientific

  • foundation

  • needed to address these four challenges now and in the future.

  • Next Step –

  • From Talk to Action

  • Engage USGS and FWS leadership at all levels in providing people and money to support priority research efforts.

  • Final Step –

  • A New Beginning

  • Create final plan to guide broad partnership in science-based conservation over next two decades.

Your Role

  • Engage

  • Support

  • Communicate

  • Implement

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