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Department of the Interior Announces Host for Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

Center Forms Consortium of Partners to Tackle Climate Crisis


Last week, the U.S. Geological Survey finalized an agreement with the University of Minnesota and seven other partner organizations to form a new Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center.


The center will advance scientific research and education in response to climate change impacts in the Midwest.


"Adaptation needs to be front and center in addressing the climate crisis, and for that the Midwest needs reliable science and solutions that are appropriate to the local landscapes and cultural contexts. This center is a critical investment in the future of the region," said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.


The USGS team will be hosted at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment. Partner organizations include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the College of the Menominee Nation, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Michigan State University, Indiana University, the University of Illinois, and the Nature Conservancy. Member organizations were selected after an open competition and extensive review by scientific experts.


Together, the CASC organizations will work closely with federal, state and tribal entities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to support management and protection of land, water, and natural resources with actionable climate science, innovation, and decision support tools. This region was previously served by a CASC in the 22-state Northeast region.


"We are excited to work with the University of Minnesota and the partners in the consortium to focus on the needs of the Midwest. The integration of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and the College of Menominee Nation in the Midwest CASC will allow us to work directly with tribes to address priority climate change issues," said Doug Beard, USGS National Chief of Climate Adaptation Science Centers.


The consortium will pay special attention to Tribal concerns by building on the experience of Midwest Tribes with adaptation science and practice, through a fellowship program for graduate students and a summer research experience for undergraduates designed to enhance Tribal participation.


"We are looking forward to connecting researchers with Tribal college students and Indigenous undergraduates. This will provide Tribal college students experiences working on cutting edge climate change research while also providing researchers the opportunity to collaborate with tribal nations," said Tom Kenote Jr, the Geoscience Project Director at the College of Menominee Nation Sustainable Development Institute.


Another key focus will be the interplay of natural resources, forestry, streams and wetlands, and agricultural and urban areas - all land uses that are prominent in the Midwest.


CASC will fund also individual research projects and work collaboratively across the consortium on key issues in the region that also involve adaptation practitioners. Research will focus on climate adaptation to better understand vulnerabilities to climate change, development of ecologically and culturally appropriate adaptation actions, and creating monitoring methods designed to continuously improve outcomes through changing conditions.


The partnership will be effective immediately, with a formal ribbon cutting celebration planned on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus later this fall.