WCS Announces Request for Proposals for Wildlife Adaptation to Climate Change Grant Program

BOZEMAN, MT (March 2, 2012) – The Wildlife Conservation Society today announced a Request for Proposals and invited eligible non-profit conservation organizations to submit project proposals to the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund—a program made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

This is the second year that the focus of the grants program, which formerly operated as the WCS Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund, is on supporting projects that address increasing threats posed by climate change to ecosystems and wildlife throughout the United States. The Fund will award up to $3.1 million this year to support applied, on-the-ground climate adaptation projects implementing conservation actions that enable ecosystems and their inhabitants to better cope with changing conditions. These actions may include: demonstrating new land management techniques for climate adaptation, creating new conservation areas to expand core wildlife habitat, and assuring connectivity for wildlife to move across landscapes.

Temperature changes of just a few degrees can have broad, and potentially devastating, implications for wildlife and wild places. Scientists are seeing many indicators of harmful climate change impacts including species migrating out of their historical ranges as habitat is becoming unsuitable and species being threatened by new diseases and predators. The adaptation projects made possible by the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund focus on increasing the adaptive capacity of wildlife and their habitats to new conditions precipitated by climatic changes. 

Through the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society is building on an established track record of funding critical wildlife conservation and climate adaptation projects over the past five years. Examples of recently funded adaptation work:

Sea level rise presents the most immediate climate change impact to the Hudson River Estuary ecosystem. In response, Scenic Hudson is executing private land acquisition strategies, creating new protected areas around key tidal habitats and facilitating upslope migration and adaptation to expected sea level rise. Approximately 419 acres of privately owned tidal wetlands and intact upland floodplains will be transferred to state protection. Scenic Hudson is also increasing landowner outreach and land acquisition activities to protect an additional 1,000 acres of tidal wetlands and adjacent upland migration zones.

The Grand Canyon Trust is working to bring beavers back to stream segments of Southern Utah where these historic nuisance animals are able to radically alter streams and valley bottom ecosystems through their dam building activities. The water storage ponds created by beavers generate a diversity of habitats and replenish aquifers, making this species a critical ally in helping natural communities adapt to predicted increases in temperature, drought severity and extreme precipitation events in an era of climate change.

The Hawaiian Silversword Foundation is working to protect Hawaii’s mid-elevation forests, where most of its native bird species are found. These areas have been warming at a faster rate than regional projections and the birds will need to move upslope to cooler areas to escape from mosquitoes that transmit avian malaria. As such, work is underway to restore 525 acres of forested habitat in the Kanakaleonui Bird Corridor and surrounding lands to provide forest birds a continuous area of native forest that will allow them to move to the safety of these higher elevations.

Learn More

Click here for more information or contact Darren Long at 1-406-556-7203 or dlong@wcs.org.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

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