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Assessment of terrestrial and aquatic monitoring programs in the Southeastern United States

A significant challenge faced by climate scientists in the public and private sector is the need for information about the historical status of ecological systems expected to be influenced by climate change. The need is especially acute for reliable and complete information about monitoring networks maintained by government and non-governmental organizations and associated data. While many organizations monitor one or more aspects of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, these monitoring programs are seldom coordinated and information about both the networks and the associated data are not readily available. The DOI Southeast Climate Science Center is participating in an effort by multiple federal, state, and other organizations to develop a comprehensive and integrated assessment of monitoring networks associated with atmospheric, stream, and terrestrial ecosystems. The objective of this two-year project is to support the development of this assessment.

Tasks will include: compile, inventory, and map geographically, sources (federal, state, local and non-governmental) of atmospheric, terrestrial, water quality and quantity information, and analysis capacity in the region to address climate issues; characterize the sources of information in terms of longevity and “depth”, consistency over time, and types and quality of information; assess other attributes of the information sources to be identified; assess currently available information for use in tracking regional trends, or running scenarios of interest to federal, state and local resource managers; and, identify key information gaps of concern to federal, state and local resource managers. The geographic scope of this effort will include the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Results from this proposed work will provide the region’s scientists and decision makers with accurate and comprehensive information about monitoring networks that can be used to assess the potential effects of climate change in the southeastern United States.

Funding: Total funding for this project is $19,794.

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