Last week, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) finalized an agreement with the University of Minnesota and seven partner organizations — including the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign — to form a new Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC). The center will advance scientific research and education in response to climate change impacts in the Midwest.
The Midwest CASC consortium will be hosted at Minnesota and will include the U of I, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the College of Menominee Nation, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Michigan State University, Indiana University, and The Nature Conservancy. Member organizations were selected to the newest of nine regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers after an open competition and extensive review by scientific experts.
The U of I team, funded at $518,000 over five years, is led by Jeffrey Brawn, Levenick Endowed Chair of Sustainability and Professor of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences, and Jeremy Guest, Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and iSEE Associate Director for Research.
“Our membership in the Midwest CASC consortium opens up a host of collaborative and funding opportunities for researchers campuswide,” Brawn said. “It establishes exciting new partnerships that greatly enhance the U of I’s capacity in a diverse suite of topics in sustainability and climate science.”
Together, the Midwest CASC consortium organizations will work closely with USGS and other 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.
The Midwest CASC will focus on pursuing adaptation — from understanding key vulnerabilities to climate change, to designing adaptation actions in ecologically and culturally appropriate ways. A key aspect of the innovation will include monitoring approaches to review and update actions. To this end, the CASC will fund individual research projects and work collaboratively across the consortium on key issues in the region that also involve adaptation practitioners.