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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Climate Change Strategy

Calling for a “coordinated and strategic response” to climate change resulting from global warming, on Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed plan to address the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife. In a statement released by the Director of the Service, he stated: “the plan lays the foundation for the Service’s role in national efforts to conserve fish and wildlife in a rapidly changing climate but the plan is not yet complete. It needs constructive input from our most powerful partners-the American public. The public’s involvement is critical, because climate change is bigger than any one agency, department, or government.”

The proposed plan includes:

“* Targeting conservation by working with partners to develop science-based methods to identify the most vulnerable species.
* Prioritizing existing challenges that will be made more difficult as a result of changing climate, including water scarcity and habitat fragmentation.
* Leading efforts to develop a National Fish and Wildlife Adaptation Strategy, as outlined in pending climate change legislation in the U.S. Congress, to serve as the conservation community’s shared blueprint to guide wildlife adaptation partnerships during the next 50 years.
* Creating a National Biological Inventory and Monitoring Partnership that strategically deploys the conservation community’s monitoring resources. Working with DOI’s Regional Climate Change Response Centers, the Partnership would generate scientific data needed to understand climate change effects on the distribution and abundance of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats; model predicted population and habitat change; and help us determine if we are achieving our goals.
* Building Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that develop regional and field technical capacity by working with partners to provide cutting edge science and information. These cooperatives, guided by DOI’s newly created Climate Response Council, will be the primary vehicle through which the Service and partners acquire and apply the best climate change science to inform fish and wildlife management decisions and actions.”

Comments by the public can be submitted through November 23, 2009 at the the Service’s climate change site.