Science to support management “from the Arctic to the Everglades”


Born out of the pressing need to better understand the effects of climate change on our nation’s natural resources, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) was established by Congress in 2008. Housed within the U.S. Geological Survey, NCCWSC was tasked with providing science to help managers of the country’s fish and wildlife resources respond to climate change. To help meet this goal, NCCWSC established several regional climate science “hubs” - which later became the Climate Science Centers - throughout the country to carry out research.

In 2009, Secretary of the Interior Salazar signed a secretarial order recognizing the Department of the Interior (DOI) as taking the lead in protecting the country’s natural and cultural resources “from the dramatic effects of climate change that are already occurring – from the Arctic to the Everglades”. As part of the secretarial order, the regional “hubs” were renamed the “DOI Climate Science Centers”. The mission of the CSCs was also expanded, to include the development of science and tools to help managers address climate change-related impacts to the Nation’s land, water, fish and wildlife, and cultural heritage resources. Today, there are eight Climate Science Centers, housed within DOI and managed by the USGS NCCWSC. Learn more about the CSCs here.

Our History

Year Event
2008 Establishing a National Center: In recognition of the need to better understand the effects of climate change on the Nation’s fish and wildlife resources, Congress establishes the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC).
First Projects Funded: NCCWSC funds its first five projects to address high priority climate change effects on fish and wildlife. These projects examined climate change impacts on fish, mammals, and birds.
2009 Secretarial Order No.3289: Interior Secretary Salazar signs Secretarial Order No.3289, establishing a DOI-wide approach for applying scientific tools to increase understanding of climate change and to coordinate effective response to its impacts. The mandate of NCCWSC and the eight regional centers is expanded to "synthesize and integrate climate change impact data and develop tools that the Department's managers and partners can use when managing the Department's land, water, fish and wildlife, and cultural heritage resources."
Planning for the First Five Years: 200 stakeholders from state and federal agencies, tribes, academia, and NGOs meet to identify research needs and priorities, devise strategies for partnerships, design a structure for NCCWSC, and gather input on a Five-Year Strategy for NCCWSC and the CSCs.
2010 Secretarial Order No.3289 Amended: The amendment renames the regional science "hubs" formed by NCCWSC as the "DOI Climate Science Centers".
First 3 CSCs Established: The Alaska, Southeast, and Northwest CSCs are established.
2011 2 New CSCs Established: The North Central and Southwest CSCs are established.
2012 Last 3 CSCs Established: The Northeast, South Central, and Pacific Islands CSCs are established.
Federal Advisory Committee Established: The Federal Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science (ACCCNRS) is created to provide guidance on the operations of NCCWSC and the CSCs.
Training Early Career Scientists: The Early Career Climate Forum is established as an online networking community to support early career researchers across the CSC network.
2013 Contribution to the 3rd National Climate Assessment: NCCWSC and CSC scientists contribute to the 3rd NCA's synthesis of climate change effects on ecosystems.
2014 Partnering with the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Secretary Jewell announces a plan to place five BIA Liaisons at the CSCs to identify climate information needs of tribes and to work with federal partners to address these needs.
2015 New Drought Initiative Launched: A national initiative to identify and plan for the ecological impacts of drought in the face of climate change is established.
Informing State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs): The Northeast and North Central CSCs provide input on climate impacts to wildlife and their habitat for the 2015 SWAPs of Colorado and states in the Northeast and Midwest.
Alaska CSC Receives Communications Award: A poster produced by the Alaska CSC demonstrating the important linkages between icefields and oceans received the 2015 International Vizzie Award. Alaska’s coastal glaciers are among the most rapidly changing areas on the planet and glacier runoff can influence marine habitats, ocean currents and economic activities.
ACCCNRS Delivers Recommendations: The Federal Advisory Committee delivers their first report to Secretary Jewell. The report recognizes the USGS and DOI for achieving significant accomplishments with the CSC program and provides recommendations to clarify, focus, and enhance the program's efforts.
2016 First National Fellows Meeting: A meeting is held for fellows from across the CSC network on the themes of actionable science and science communications.
Climate Leadership Adaptation Award - Honorable Mention: NCCWSC and the CSCs are awarded honorable mention for the inaugural Climate Leadership Adaptation Award for Natural Resources. The award recognizes the network's work in raising awareness and addressing the impacts of climate change on the nation's natural resources. The North Central CSC won a separate honorable mention award for their participation in Colorado’s 2016 State Wildlife Action Plan. In addition, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community won an award for their efforts to address climate risks and, through a Northwest CSC-supported project, examine the potential climate change impacts to important natural and cultural resources and evaluate the associated impacts to community health.


Founding Documents

NCCWSC Establishment Workshops
NCCWSC 2009 National Workshop Summary, July 2009
NCCWSC 2008 National Workshop Summary, December 2008
Central Regional Workshop, June 2009
Western Regional Workshop, June 2009
Eastern Regional Workshop, May 2009

Original Planning and Strategy
2011 Progress Report – Prepared for the National Partners Dialogue, November 2011
National Partners Dialogue Report, November 2011
Secretarial Order No. 3289, September 2009
Secretarial Order No. 3289 - amended, February 2010
NCCWSC Five Year Planning Strategy, July 2009
Final Report on NCCWSC Outreach and Recommendations: Ecological Society of America (ESA), The Wildlife Society, December 2009

Background Presentations
CSC Background, March 2011
National Partners Dialogue, November 2011