PORTLAND, Ore. FEBRUARY 6, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday the creation of the first-ever Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change at seven locations around the country. These "Climate Hubs"—one of which will serve the Northwest and be led by the Forest Service—will address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, devastating floods, and crippling droughts on a regional basis, aiming to translate science and research into information that farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can use to adapt and adjust their resource management.
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pledged that his Administration will continue to do everything in its power to act on climate change. This announcement is part of the President's Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change, and put America on track to a cleaner environment.
"For generations, America's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges. Today, they face a new and more complex threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate, which impacts both our nation's forests and our farmers' bottom lines," said Vilsack. "USDA's Climate Hubs are part of our broad commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions, so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate."
The Hubs were established in response to the growing threat climate change presents to U.S. forest resources, agricultural production, and rural economies. They were chosen through a competitive process among USDA facilities. The Hubs are located across the country, in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southern Plains, Northern Plains, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest. In the Northwest, landowners and producers already are facing the challenges of a changing climate and increased weather variability in the form of reduced snowmelt, more frequent fires, and higher temperatures and drought.
The Northwest Regional Climate Hub (NRCH) will provide technical support, assessments, regional forecasts, and outreach and education to farmers, forest landowners, and ranchers to help them respond to the projected effects of a changing climate in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The NRCH will be led by the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station from its lab in Corvallis, Oregon.
“People who work directly with the land need access to our best information about climate trends so they can make wise decisions about investing in crops, machinery, irrigation, and processing,” said Beatrice Van Horne, PNW Research Station Program Manager and NRCH Director.
The NRCH also will serve as a critical link in a broad network of partners participating in climate risk adaptation and mitigation across its four-state region, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Research Service, Oregon State University, Washington State University, University of Idaho, U.S. Geological Survey, and many other educational, federal, state, and local agencies and groups.
“Our partners at universities, climate science centers, federal research labs, and other research centers have been working hard to understand climate fluctuations and predict future trends,” Van Horne said. “I’m looking forward to finding out what people working directly with the land want to know and working with partners to provide that information.”
To learn more about the USDA Climate Hubs, visit http://www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/regional_hubs.htm.
The Pacific Northwest Research Station—headquartered in Portland, Ore.—generates
and communicates scientific knowledge that helps people make informed choices
about natural resources and the environment. The station has 11 laboratories
and centers located in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon and about 400 employees.