DOI Announces Study Showing Spring Starting Earlier in National Parks
Climate change impacting over 75 percent of national parks across the country
RELEASED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
October 6, 2016
SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VA – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a new study showing that spring is beginning earlier than its historical average in 75 percent of the national parks examined — providing further evidence that climate change is already impacting public lands. The announcement came during a visit to Shenandoah National Park, one of the sites identified in the study as experiencing the impacts of an early onset of spring.
“Using sound science as the basis of this report, we can see that climate change is already impacting our nation’s national parks,” said Secretary Jewell. “Our challenge in real time is planning for and adapting to these changes – like the need to address increasing threats of invasive species, stresses on native species and changing visitor patterns driven by warmer weather. It’s clear that one of the biggest challenges our national parks face in their second century will be adaptive management in the face of a changing climate.”
Published today in a special feature of the journal Ecosphere (Science for our National Parks’ Second Century), the analysis spans 1901 to 2012, a period that provides the best historical temperature data and that generally overlaps with the history of the National Park System. The study is based on the work of a team of researchers led by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service, along with the University of Arizona, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Cornell University. The team analyzed patterns of historical temperatures for 276 of the 413 national park units, including sites from Alaska to Florida.
The researchers used climate change indicators called the Spring Indices — models based on nationwide field observations of first leaf-out and first-bloom dates in two common and widely distributed flowering plants —lilac and honeysuckle. Based on the indices, the scientists dated the onset of spring in each park, year by year, and then analyzed those trends.
Three out of four parks examined were identified as having an earlier onset of spring; more importantly, two out of four parks were identified as experiencing extreme early onsets of spring.
“The bottom line is not just that parks are susceptible to climate change. In fact, they have already changed,” said Jake Weltzin, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a co-author on the study. “Many park managers are already managing in an extreme environment.”
At Shenandoah, the early blooming of lilacs and honeysuckle is indicative of a much larger problem. The park has 360 non-native plant species, of which 41 are considered invasive and highly destructive. These non-native plant species, such as garlic mustard and oriental bittersweet, are taking advantage of a warming climate and earlier spring, invading forests across the park and displacing native wildflowers.
Studies suggest that early spring is also disrupting critically important natural relationships, like the link between the peak bloom of wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers.
“These results clearly show that climate changes have already affected park resources. There are now new challenges to managing parks that are experiencing continuously changing relationships between species,” said John Gross, an ecologist with the National Park Service.
In some cases, the early onset of spring has thrown off the timing of popular park events, such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Consequently, the festival has evolved from a single day to a multi-week celebration. Similarly, a community lilac festival, traditionally held over Memorial Day weekend at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire, typically no longer overlaps with the bloom time of lilacs.
NOAA Fisheries sent this bulletin at 08/30/2017 12:02 PM EDT AUGUST 30, 2017 NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is offering an online option to register Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) tournaments and … Continue reading →
PLEASE NOTE: This article’s dates have been corrected and are different than in the official government release which has a typo in the date. The VITEMA release states Monday as September 3. CCVI has corrected … Continue reading →
The Virgin Islands Territorial Management Agency (VITEMA) has announced that 2017-2018 Hurricane Tracking maps are now available throughout the Virgin Islands. Do not rely on having electrical power or batteries to connect cell phones and … Continue reading →
NOAA Fisheries sent this bulletin at 08/21/2017 09:49 AM EDT NOAA Fisheries Announces a Proposed Rule to Establish the Quotas, Opening Dates, and Retention Limits for the 2018 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season … Continue reading →
Tips from the U.S. Department of Interior on ways to volunteer and enjoy National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Held every year on … Continue reading →
National Hurricane Center: “IRMA TURNS WESTWARD WITH 120-MPH WINDS” Issued By:VITEMA Issued On: 9/1/17 7:35 PM Affected Jurisdictions: Virgin Islands THIS IS A Routine Press Release Irma has continued to intensify its hurricane … Continue reading →
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants everyone to get the facts for the upcoming 2017-2018 Flu season which begins on September 28. The 2016-2017 flu season is over. • Flu activity is low in the … Continue reading →
The Water Bay and Coki Point Cleanup, sponsored by Coral World has become an annual fixture of the V.I. Coastsweeks Clean-up. Unique in scope, this typically well-attended activity cleans both above and below the waterline. … Continue reading →
Help kick-off Coastweeks 2017 with a Brewers Bay clean-up! This clean-up aims to “turn the tide on trash” and remove harmful debris items that can, and do, negatively impact our marine ecosystem. New to Coastweeks … Continue reading →
On September 9th, VI Green Team will be doing TWO clean ups. One at Hull Bay and one at the Mangroves (to finish what was started). VIGT hopes you can join them for either! Make … Continue reading →
The Spanish Lobster, Scyllarides aequinoctialis, also known as Shovel-nosed Lobster, is a slipper lobster common to Virgin Islands waters. They are not often seen during the day which is when they hide out in holes … Continue reading →
As torrential rainfall continues to pour on the Gulf Coast, the Department of Health and Human Services is providing support as local officials are continuing to assess communities’ health care infrastructure and medical needs. A … Continue reading →
AUGUST 21, 2017 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel Meeting September 6-7, 2017 The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) intends to hold a meeting of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel … Continue reading →
Purpose: To encourage the love of gardening through educating youngsters of the techniques of agriculture; to increase environmental awareness, develop a positive self-esteem, foster love and respect for the VI. Junior Gardening & Ecology Academy, … Continue reading →
FVINP is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural resources of Virgin Islands National Park and promotes the responsible enjoyment of this unique national treasure.The Friends has more than 3,000 members … Continue reading →
A Virgin Islands 501 (C) (3) Nonprofit Corporation, the Mission of the Friends of the St Croix USVI National Parks is to increase public awareness and appreciation of the National Parks on St Croix through … Continue reading →