ESA voices concern about EPA’s effort to weaken the Clean Water Rule

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
For Immediate Release

Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 x205, alison@esa.org

 

The Ecological Society of America is concerned with the proposed rule issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule (Waters of the United States Rule or WOTUS).

ESA urges the agencies to consider the far-reaching implications of weakening “Waters of the United States” and calls for any re-definition of WOTUS to be informed by science. All people depend on the nation’s waters for a multitude of ecosystem services. Today’s announcement by the EPA undermines the goal of the Clean Water Act  to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources. Any attempt by the EPA to narrow the definition of the Clean Water Rule will have negative implications for our nation’s fish and aquatic resources, wildlife and the health of our communities.

Wetlands, streams and adjacent waters are intrinsically connected to the chemical, physical and biological integrity of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters and territorial seas. The Clean Water Rule, which the EPA seeks to replace and weaken with its revised proposed rule announced today, was developed using the best available science, technical experts, and  over 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies.

ESA President Laura Huenneke rejects the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken the “Waters of the United States” rule. “Today’s action by the EPA undermines the use of the best available science showing strong benefits of protecting wetlands and upland watersheds,” she says. “This proposed rule will affect the commercial and recreational fishery industries that depend on clean water for fish habitat. It will also require taxpayers to pay for costly infrastructure to prevent flooding that wetlands currently provide at no cost by absorbing stormwater. Finally, we know that pollution and contaminants in wetlands move into the food chain through fisheries, ultimately affecting public health.”

 

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The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in the science of ecology. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

2018 ESA Regional Policy Award Recognizes Representative Walter J. Leger III for His Coastal Restoration Work

103rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America: 
Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being
5–10 August 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
For Immediate Release

Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205 or mobile, 703-625-3628  alison@esa.org 

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its 11th annual Regional Policy Award to Representative Walter J. Leger III, speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, during the Society’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

Representative Walter J. Leger III, speaker pro tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

“The Society applauds Rep. Leger’s commitment to science-based restoration of the Gulf Coast,” said ESA President Rich Pouyat. “Louisiana is losing about 75-square kilometers of coastal wetlands and habitat a year. Rep. Leger has demonstrated a consistent interest in coastal issues and raising awareness among policy makers through briefings from ecologists and others about the underlying science of coastal restoration through an unofficial ‘coastal caucus’ in Louisiana’s House of Representatives.”

Leger was first elected as a state legislator in 2007 and represents the Louisiana’s 91st District, which includes parts of New Orleans. Among other priorities, he has championed coastal restoration and preservation. He has worked actively to ensure proper use of funds intended for coastal protection and restoration, including funds stemming from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Leger is an avid supporter of Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan that focuses on building and maintaining land and reducing flood risk through large-scale projects such as marsh creation and sediment diversions; structural protection and nonstructural risk reduction; and proactive resilience investments for flood prevention and protection.

“I am honored to receive this award from the Ecological Society of America,” said Rep. Leger. “Having partners like ESA to inform the policymaking process regarding coastal preservation and restoration is vital to the future of Louisiana. Our geography defines us, and we need to continue working towards evidence and science-based solutions to ensure that the story our coastline tells is one of perseverance and longevity.”

ESA President Pouyat will present the 2018 ESA Regional Policy Award at the beginning of the meeting’s Opening Plenary Sunday, Aug. 5 at 5:00 PM in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom.

 

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2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana
Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being
5–10 August 2018

Ecologists from 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and countries around the world will converge on New Orleans, Louisiana this August for the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Up to 4,000 attendees are expected to gather for thousands of scientific presentations on breaking research and new ecological concepts at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on August 5 – 10, 2018.

The Opening Plenary features Robert Twilley, executive director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and distinguished professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Science at Louisiana State University, who will speak about, “Ecosystem design approaches in a highly engineered landscape of the Mississippi River Delta.” The event is free and open to the general public and will be live-streamed – watch it here on Sunday, August 5 at 5:00 PM.

ESA invites press and institutional public information officers to attend for free. To apply, please contact ESA Public Information Manager Zoe Gentes directly at zgentes@esa.org. Walk-in registration will be available during the meeting.

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The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in the science of ecology. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

ESA Selects 2018 Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award Recipients

RELEASE DATE: Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Contact: Alison Mize, alison@esa.org, (202) 833-8773 ext. 205

 

 

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). This award provides graduate students with the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for policy experience and training. Ten recipients were selected for this year’s award: Aaron W. Baumgardner (California State University, Bakersfield), Stephen R. Elser (Arizona State University), Ann Marie Gawel (Iowa State University), Emily E. Graves (University of California, Davis), Chelsea L. Merriman (Boise State University), Steffanie M. Munguía (Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey), Vera W. Pfeiffer (University of Wisconsin – Madison), Johnny J. Quispe (Rutgers University), Urooj S. Raja (University of Colorado Boulder), and Jenna M. Sullivan (Oregon State University).

These students will travel to D.C. in April to learn about the legislative process and federal science funding, to hear from ecologists working in federal agencies, and to meet with their Members of Congress on Capitol Hill. This Congressional Visits Day, organized and sponsored by ESA, offers GSPA recipients the chance to interact with policymakers and discuss the importance of federal funding for science, in particular the biological and ecological sciences.

“Now more than ever, we need scientists who can meaningfully share their science with policymakers,” said Rich Pouyat, president of ESA. “The Katherine S. McCarter policy award is an exciting opportunity for the next generation of ecologists to explore science policy in our Nation’s capital. It gives them the opportunity to develop the skills that will make them effective communicators of the ecological and environmental sciences and in so doing help lawmakers to make informed, science-based decisions.”  

ESA’s policy award was renamed this year in honor of Katherine McCarter, who served as executive director of the Society for 20 years until her retirement in January of 2018.

 

2018 ESA Graduate Student Policy Award Recipients 

 

Aaron W. Baumgardner

Aaron Baumgardner is an M.S. candidate in biology at California State University, Bakersfield. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, his current research focuses on the climate extremes of drought and their influences on vegetation health in Southern California’s chaparral shrublands. Future plans include pursuing a Ph.D. and expanding his research beyond shrublands to other plant community types. Baumgardner’s interest is in bridging ecological research with the policymaking process to help craft and shape environmental policy. He received a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Akron.

 

Stephen R. Elser

Stephen Elser is interested in the ecosystem services provided by green infrastructure and how local practitioners use it to strengthen cities’ resilience to extreme weather events. Elser is pursuing a Ph.D. in the environmental life sciences at Arizona State University and is a graduate fellow in the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network. For the past nine months, he has researched the ecosystem services of urban wetlands in Valdivia, Chile. Before beginning his Ph.D. studies, he worked for two years as a research technician in a stream ecology lab at Baylor University to establish the phosphorus threshold in Oklahoma’s scenic rivers to prevent undesirable algal blooms. Elser received a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and a minor in sustainability from the University of Notre Dame.

 

Ann Marie Gawel

Ann Marie Gawel is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program at Iowa State University. She studies the roles of non-native species in the novel ecosystems of the island of Guam, where native seed-dispersers (birds) are functionally absent due to predation by the invasive brown tree snake. Her focus is on non-native mammals and how they shape plant communities through seed dispersal, seed predation, and herbivory. How the public perceives the management of these species is also part of her research. Gawel is of Micronesian heritage and has spent most of her life living in the Micronesian islands of Pohnpei and Guam. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, and a master’s from the University of Guam studying the effects of non-native ungulates in limestone karst forests. While there, she founded the Green Army environmental service organization and served on the University President’s Green Initiative board. She also worked for four years as an endangered species biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Guam and Hawaii. Although an ecologist by training, Gawel is also interested in the human dimensions of conservation and environmental policy, especially in the context of culture and history in the U.S. territories.

 

Emily E. Graves

Emily Graves is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in ecology at the University of California (UC), Davis. Her research investigates the intersections of movement ecology and conservation physiology to understand the potential role that agricultural pesticides play in the population dynamics of bird species of conservation concern. She is currently utilizing animal tracking technology to discover how differences in tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) foraging behavior affect colony health and reproductive success in natural and working landscapes, and how these differences are impacted by agricultural pesticides. Graves is a co-founder of Science-Informed Leadership, a graduate student-led effort to promote evidence-based governance and decision-making in the executive branch, and served as National Volunteer Coordinator during their advocacy campaign in 2017. She is currently a co-chair of the Policy Committee in the Society for Conservation Biology – Davis Chapter. Graves holds a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degree in avian sciences from UC Davis.

 

Chelsea L. Merriman

Chelsea Merriman is a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State University. Her research focuses on using interdisciplinary methods to understand the larger impacts of landscape and chemical diversity on the reproduction of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), as well as the impacts on sagebrush in the steppe. Utilizing geospatial, biological, and econometric tools and analyses, she hopes to tell a holistic story about the temporal and physiological trade-offs both plants and animals make to survive and reproduce in a changing environment. Merriman received her Bachelor of Science in environmental science and anthropology from the University of Notre Dame in 2014. A Boise native, she spends every waking moment that she is not working outdoors, hiking, and fishing with her friends, family, and dog Rosie.

 

Steffanie M. Munguía

Steffanie Munguía is completing her Master of Arts in international environmental policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey. She is specifically interested in researching the ecological impacts of natural resource management decisions in the human contexts in which they are made. Before coming to MIIS, she received two Bachelor of Science degrees in integrative animal biology and environmental science and policy from the University of South Florida. While there, Munguía conducted ecological research on house sparrow invasion expansion in Africa, native amphibian populations in central Florida, grassland songbird breeding behavior in Kansas, and invasive iguanas in South Florida. She attended an ESA Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Success (SEEDS) workshop in Puerto Rico in April 2017. Munguía is committed to enhancing access to scientific research for diverse communities and believes that government support of science is necessary for resource management and continued growth, discovery, and innovation for generations to come.

 

Vera W. Pfeiffer

Vera Pfeiffer is a Ph.D. candidate at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Plants and pollinators hold a fascination for her and motivate her to study plant and pollinator diversity, pollinator foraging and plant-pollinator network structure, and resilience from a broader ecological network perspective. Pfeiffer has worked with Long-term Ecological Research scientists in the Oregon Cascades Mountains; landscape ecologists and geneticists at the University of Wisconsin – Madison; and math and physics faculty at the Evolution and Ecology program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria. She recently returned from Europe, where she spent a year as a visiting ecology Ph.D. student at Mendel University through a U.S. student Fulbright research fellowship. While there, she conducted a project focused on ecological boundaries, specifically bumble bee foraging practices across agricultural-urban and agricultural-forest edge landscapes. Pfeiffer is now finishing her Ph.D. and working to communicate what she has learned about the influence of landscape on our native pollinators and plant-pollinator interactions and hoping to provide a stronger, more informed context for effective and productive policy development.

 

Johnny J. Quispe

Johnny Quispe is a doctoral student at Rutgers University’s Department of Ecology and Evolution investigating the effects of sea-level rise to coastal wetlands and the vulnerabilities of coastal areas prone to flooding, identifying areas for restoration and flooding mitigation, and quantifying damage from future flooding. He aims to connect and reconnect communities with their shorelines while learning from locals about their coasts’ past; especially in low-income inner cities where communities might not have access to waterfronts and do not have the opportunity to interact with the surrounding waterways. Quispe plans to expand his research into disadvantaged coastal communities by working to preserve cultural identity, fostering sustainable relationships, and inspiring minorities to pursue science careers. His previous work experience encompassed conservation, restoration, and environmental remediation projects in New Jersey in the nonprofit, public, and academic sectors. Quispe earned a Bachelor of Science in international environmental policy, institutions, and behaviors at Rutgers University.

 

Urooj S. Raja

Urooj Raja is a doctoral student in environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where her dissertation research examines innovative media technologies with a focus on virtual reality and augmented reality mediums to devise innovative solutions to ‘wicked’ problems like climate change. Before this, she worked as a humanitarian adviser at the United Nations and did a stint at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. Other work experience for Raja is noteworthy. She served as an instructor in Columbia University’s Community Impact initiative, the Harlem Children’s Zone and also as a staffer for a New York State Assembly member. Raja graduated from Princeton University with honors, and she is the recipient of a 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the 2016 Environmental Fellowship from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. The New York Times and The Washington Post published articles featuring Raja’s research.

Jenna M. Sullivan

Jenna Sullivan is a Ph.D. candidate in Drs. Bruce Menge and Jane Lubchenco’s marine community ecology lab in the Integrative Biology Department at Oregon State University. In her research, she utilizes the diverse, well-studied system of the Oregon coast rocky intertidal to gain insights into how human-induced changes, including ocean acidification and top predator loss, will affect individual species and their interactions. Sullivan’s research focuses on the keystone sea star (Pisaster ochraceus), and she is currently characterizing the community effects of the decline in this top predator as a result of sea star wasting disease. Following Lubchenco’s lead, she delves into the role of science in policy and management and on ways to successfully communicate with and engage diverse audiences. Sullivan received an undergraduate degree in biology from Dartmouth College.

 

 

Click here to see a Flickr album with more photos of this year’s award winners.

 

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The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

U.S. Exit from the Paris Agreement Disregards Science and Endangers Global Environment

ESA LogoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2,  2017
Contact: Alison Mize, 703-625-3628, alison@esa.org
Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

 

By withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United States is abdicating its role as the world leader in using science-based information to inform policy. Business, political, and scientific leaders the world over are condemning the decision. More than 190 signatory nations agreed to take actions towards reducing future temperature increases and addressing the serious threats posed by a changing climate to people, livelihoods, and nature. The science-based evidence is clear that humans are driving climate change.

“President Trump’s actions to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement are consistent with his earlier environmental policy actions. Unfortunately, the absence of science and scientists in the Trump administration has not changed. The U.S withdrawal shows a frightening disregard for science that jeopardizes the role that a healthy environment plays in human welfare,” commented ESA President David Lodge.

U.S. Governors and locally-elected officials are voicing their continued commitment to address climate change. World leaders from China, India, and the European Union and others announced their determination to keep their Paris Agreement pledges.

“Ecologists can take heart that hundreds of U.S. state and local elected officials of both parties, and a rapidly growing group of prominent U.S. business leaders are using our science to make important decisions about products, practices, and policies every day. Instead of ignoring what science reveals, they are redoubling their efforts to slow climate change and increase the resilience of biodiversity, ecosystems, and human society even without federal leadership,” said Lodge. 

Reversing course now is counter-intuitive to the U.S. tradition of innovation, which produces clean energy to replace fossil-fuel energy and serves as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation.

“Solar and wind energy is now often cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuel burning power plants. Renewable energy, advanced battery technology development, and other forms of the clean energy industry will continue to drive economic growth where policies enable that growth. There is a great risk that by pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the administration is ceding even greater economic and manufacturing leadership to China, Germany, and other countries. This action is counter to the best interests of the U.S. and counter-productive for global environmental protection,” said Lodge.

Our planet is already changing. Current climate trends are bringing great disruption to ecosystems and the many species that share this planet—including people. We depend on ecosystems for the pollination of our crops, the support of our fisheries, the cleanliness of our water—and the integrity of wild areas enjoyed by fishers, hunters, hikers, and boaters. Intact ecosystems improve soil, filter water, store carbon, and cycle nutrients.

“We know that ecosystems provide these benefits, but climate change and other global changes are overwhelming the ability of ecosystems protect us,” said Lodge. “Reversing the US Clean Power Plan and other steps already taken by the administration endangers ecosystems that provide the life-support for human beings in the US and across the globe. U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement only adds insult to injury to the other nations of the world that are using science-informed policy.”

Read ESA’s statement on Climate Change

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The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org

2016 ESA Regional Policy Award Recognizes Shannon Estenoz for Her Work in Everglades Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 7 July 2016
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, alison@esa.org

 

Shannon Estenoz

Shannon Estenoz

On Sunday, August 7, 2016, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its ninth annual Regional Policy Award to Shannon Estenoz, Director of Everglades Restoration Initiatives for the US Department of Interior during the Society’s Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

Estenoz coordinates the work of the three Department of Interior agencies that are responsible for Everglades restoration efforts: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the US Geological Survey. The Everglades are recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world’s unique natural and cultural resources. Encompassing nearly 18,000 square miles of the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Everglades and the greater Everglades ecosystem (spanning from the Kissimmee River basin north of Lake Okeechobee all the way south to Florida Bay) are also the focus of the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration effort.

“The Society applauds Ms. Estenoz’s decades-long commitment to conservation and her work to protect and restore the Florida Everglades,” said ESA President Monica Turner. “As the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades functions as both a national treasure and critical habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna. ESA celebrates her collaborative efforts with researchers, policymakers and community leaders to protect this vital ecosystem from pollution, climate change, invasive species and other threats to this cherished ecosystem.”

Estenoz’s career encompasses a spectrum of prior leadership positions: Executive Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, Everglades Program Director of the World Wildlife Fund, three terms as National Co-Chair of the Everglades Coalition, and Sun Coast Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association. Florida Governors Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush, and Charlie Crist tapped her for public service during their tenures.

“I am very honored to be selected for this award by the Ecological Society of America. Strengthening the nexus between science and decision-making is a high priority for me and for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives,” said Estenoz.

Previous accolades given to her include many awards: Champion of the Everglades Award from Audubon of Florida (2010), Marjory Stoneman Douglas Environmental Award from Friends of the Everglades (2010), the National Wetland Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (2001) and Conservationist of the Year awards from the Florida Wildlife Federation (2002), the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation (2003), and Everglades Coalition (2009).

ESA President Turner will present the 2016 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of the meeting’s Opening Plenary on Sunday, August 7 at 5 PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. The plenary will be open to the general public.

Everglades National Park. Credit, Julian Boed.

Everglades National Park. Credit, Julian Boed CC BY.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Thirty-one top scientific societies speak with one voice on global climate change

ESA Logo

Read the consensus letter (pdf)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11:00 am EDT Tuesday, 28 June 2016
Media Contacts:

In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

The 28 June letter, representing a broad range of scientific disciplines, reaffirmed the key climate-change messages in a 2009 letter signed by 18 leading scientific organizations. The letter is being released again, by a larger consortium of 31 scientific organizations, to reassert the scientific consensus on climate change, and to provide objective, authoritative information to policymakers who must work toward solutions.

“Climate change is real and happening now, and the United States urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We must not delay, ignore the evidence, or be fearful of the challenge. America has provided global leadership to successfully confront many environmental problems, from acid rain to the ozone hole, and we can do it again. We owe no less to future generations.”

The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • American Society of Naturalists
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Statistical Association
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
  • Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
  • BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
  • Botanical Society of America
  • Consortium for Ocean Leadership
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Entomological Society of America
  • Geological Society of America
  • National Association of Marine Laboratories
  • Natural Science Collections Alliance
  • Organization of Biological Field Stations
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Society for Mathematical Biology
  • Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Society of Nematologists
  • Society of Systematic Biologists
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

 

Leaders of participating organizations offered the following comments:

“Climate change has far-reaching implications to everyone on our planet, as it is tied closely with national security, economics, human health, and food security. There is consensus in the scientific community – climate is changing. Now we need policymakers to act, to invest in research to understand the effects of climate change and opportunities to mitigate its drivers, and to adapt to its impacts.”

— RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (Ret.), president and CEO, Consortium for Ocean Leadership

 

“Climate change poses significant challenges to natural and managed ecosystems. Now is the time for scientists and policy-makers to work together to address the issue of climate change in order to protect agricultural productivity, global food security and environmental resources.”

— Harold van Es, president, Soil Science Society of America

 

“The environmental, social, and economic challenges posed by climate change are among the most important issues of our time. Comprehensive solutions grounded in understanding of ecological systems – our lands, waters, oceans, and atmosphere — and society are urgently needed. A sustainable future remains possible if we work together and act now.”

— Monica G. Turner, president, Ecological Society of America

 

“This letter, signed by a diverse set of scientific organizations, conveys the solid scientific consensus view that anthropogenic climate change is occurring. How climate change will manifest for specific geographic regions within the next decade and beyond is a topic of intense research. Statisticians are experts in making decisions when specifics aren’t clear and stand ready to work with decision-makers.” 

— Jessica Utts, president, American Statistical Association

 

“Geological studies have demonstrated that climate has changed repeatedly in the past and that future climate change is inevitable.  Understanding the complex processes involved in climate change is necessary for adaptation and mitigation.”
— Jonathan G. Price, Ph.D., CPG, President, Geological Society of America

 

“The reality of climate change is already upon us, and is affecting not only our lives but that of all life on earth. We must do all that we can to mitigate these effects using scientific knowledge and mobilizing society for action. It is the responsibility of our politicians to move us forward in these actions.”

—Dr. Robin L. Chazdon, executive director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation,

 

“The phenomenon of human-mediated climate change is not a matter of opinion, but of careful evaluation of data from a vast spectrum of scientific disciplines.  What remains unclear is the degree to which climate change will cause environmental, social, and economic havoc.  Estimates range from severe to catastrophic.  We owe it to our children and to our children’s children to take bold action now so that our descendants do not pay the price for our generation’s greed.”

— Anne D. Yoder, president, Society of Systematic Biologists

 

 “Climate change is one of the most profound challenges facing our society. Consensus on this matter is evident in the diversity of organizations that have signed this letter. Science can be a powerful tool in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and we stand ready to work with policymakers as they deliberate various options for action.”
— Christine McEntee, executive director/CEO of the American Geophysical Union

 

“Climate influences where plants and animals live. Rapid climate change will force species to find new habitat in hospitable conditions, but many species will not be able to and will go extinct. This isn’t good. It disrupts our ecosystems, which are the source for our food, and clean air and water.”

— Robert Gropp, Ph.D., interim co-executive director, American Institute of Biological Sciences


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

ESA Announces 2016 Graduate Student Policy Award Recipients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Contact: Terence Houston, 202-833-8773 ext. 224 terence@esa.org

 

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has selected the 2016 recipients of its annual Graduate Student Policy Award: Brian Kastl (University of California), Kristen Lear (University of Georgia), Matthew Pintar (University of Mississippi), Timothy Treuer (Princeton University), Jessica Nicole Welch (University of Tennessee), and Samantha Lynn Werner (University of New Hampshire).

The six students will travel to Washington, DC on April 27-28 to participate in policy training and attend meetings with their US Representative and Senators. The Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition, co-chaired by ESA, sponsors the event.

On Capitol Hill, students will team with other scientists to discuss with lawmakers the importance of federal funding for the biological sciences, particularly the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants will attend sessions about how current political and fiscal issues may impact federal agencies. ESA graduate student policy awardees will also meet with federal ecologists to learn about their work within the federal government.

“Young ecological scientists who are confident in their ability to engage within the policy sphere are needed more than ever, whether they chose to pursue a career in policy or research. Proficiency in communicating science to lawmakers to inform policy decisions is a valuable skill for ESA members to attain, and it’s never too soon to start,” said Katherine McCarter, executive director of ESA.

Brian Kastl

Brian Kastl

Kastl’s research on ecosystem services aims to inform the design of policies that support sustainable watershed management. In 2012, he was selected by The Nature Conservancy to lead a policy study in Micronesia to reduce the impact of deforestation on water security. He was subsequently awarded a travel grant to present his research at the 2013 United Nations Environment Program Global Land-Ocean Connections Conference. He is a PhD student in ecohydrology and decision science at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara, and a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

Kristin Lear

Kristen Lear

Lear worked with a Mexican non-governmental organization to develop science-based conservation policies for the Mexican Long-nosed bat. Her NSF Graduate Research Fellowship has been critical in providing professional development and in funding her bat conservation research. She is pursuing a PhD in Integrative Conservation and Forestry & Natural Resources at the University of Georgia.

 

Matthew Pintar

Matthew Pintar

Pintar’s graduate school experiences with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service shaped his interest in policy engagement. Internships with the Prince William Forest Park and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area provided him with unique insight into policy management decisions. As an undergrad, he studied the effects of acidification on ovenbird territory size within the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine. He is pursuing a PhD in Biology from the University of Mississippi.

 

Timothy Treuer

Timothy Treuer

Treuer’s NSF-funded research developed a technique using arrays of microphones, synced by GPS, to investigate how acoustically active species interact and coexist in their environment. Through participation in the Civics and Conservation Summit and the Climate Project, he led legislative and advocacy engagement efforts with Alaska’s state and federal lawmakers. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

 

Jessica Nicole Welch

Jessica Nicole Welch

Welch studies threats to bats caused by invasive species and analyzes the extinction risk of threatened bat species to better inform conservation efforts. She is involved with a diverse array of public outreach and volunteer work promoting science education. As Coordinator for Tennessee Darwin Day event, she applied for grants and solicited donations to offer Tennessee schoolteachers instruction on how to teach climate change and evolution. Welch has also presented at the 2012 and 2015 ESA annual meetings and served as a SEEDS mentor during the latter centennial meeting. She is working towards her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee.

 

Samantha Werner

Samantha Werner

Werner hopes to provide policymakers with a better understanding of the link between agro-ecological sustainability and economic vitality through her Master’s degree research in environmental economics at the University of New Hampshire, funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. As an undergraduate, Werner got her start in research investigating the impact of climate change on ecosystems in northern Sweden with support from NSF. She presented her research during ESA’s centennial meeting.

 

The Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways ESA works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The Society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year. ESA graduate student members may run—through ESA’s Student Section—to serve on several ESA standing committees including the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). ESA’s Washington, DC-base Public Affairs Office works closely with the PAC and focuses on activities to engage ecological scientists with policymakers and the media.

Reflections from past recipients are available on the Graduate Student Policy Award alumni network page.

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The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

ESA announces 2015 Graduate Student Award Recipients

Graduate students from University of Illinois at Chicago, Princeton University, Oregon State University and University of Texas at Austin will speak with federal lawmakers about sustaining support for science.

ESA 100 years logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 25, 2014
Contact: Terence Houston, 202-833-8773 ext. 224, terence@esa.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest professional society of ecological scientists, is pleased to announce this year’s Graduate Student Policy Award winners. The award affords ESA graduate students the opportunity to participate in two days of science policy activities, including meetings with congressional offices. This year’s winners are Sydney Blankers (University of Illinois at Chicago) Cleo Chou (Princeton University), Natalie Hambalek (Oregon State University) and Emlyn Resetarits (University of Texas at Austin).

All four students demonstrate a commitment to engaging in public policy and the ESA Award allows them to build on their prior experiences. Blankers, Chou, Hambalek and Resetarits, will participate in a congressional visits event in Washington, DC, this May, sponsored by the Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) and co-chaired by ESA. The event brings together young scientists from across the country to meet with lawmakers. The scientists will highlight the benefits of biological research and education in their respective states and the nation. Participants attend sessions about how current political and fiscal issues may impact federal agencies. ESA graduate student policy awardees also meet with federal ecologists to learn about their work and that of their respective agencies.

 

2015 ESA Graduate Student Policy Award winners

Sydney Blanker

Sydney Blanker

Sydney Blankers is pursuing a Masters in urban planning and policy with a concentration in environmental planning. She studies regulatory and economic techniques for influencing development and resource use in a manner that is more in tune with urban community ecosystems. She will present her thesis on urban and natural interconnectedness at the American Planning Association National Conference in Seattle in April 2015. Through her work with the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, she has interviewed sustainable businesses and showcased their work through a marketing campaign.

 

Cleo Chou

Cleo Chou

Cleo Chou is expected to obtain her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology this year. Her dissertation is on carbon and nutrient cycling in tropical rainforests. She is a fellow in the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars group, an interdisciplinary group of PhD students from energy and climate-related fields. She also serves as project coordinator and co-author of a publication on nuclear fusion technology as an energy source in the Andlinger Center Energy Technology Distillate series, geared towards policymakers as well as academics. As an undergrad at Columbia University, she planned and organized events designed to bring timely and social-relevant science to the student body and local community.

 

Natalie Hambalek

Natalie Hambalek

Natalie Hambalek’s policy engagement began while as an undergrad at Sonoma State University where she called on California state lawmakers to pass legislation to expand access to education at the university level, including the California Dream Act. She’s been a presenter for Discovering the Scientist Within and Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Math. Her honors include a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Honorable Mention. She is also a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar. In pursuing her Ph.D. in zoology, she is studying the physiological effects of pesticides on amphibian declines and management efforts to mitigate adverse outcomes.

 

Emelyn Resetarits

Emlyn Resetarits

Emlyn Resetarits has collaborated with Shoal Creek Conservancy and the city of Austin watershed department to conduct a biodiversity assessment of the Shoal Creek watershed. Her Ph.D. research focuses on expanding metacommunity theory and bridging the gap between theoretical and empirical work. At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, she helped alert local government entities to a harmful algal bloom genus that produces a neurotoxin that causes amnesiac shellfish poisoning in humans. During her time as an undergrad at Columbia University, she worked as an environmental liaison between the university and student body to find sustainable solutions on campus issues. She is also the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

The Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways ESA works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The Society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year. ESA graduate student members also may run—through ESA’s Student Section—to serve on several ESA standing committees, including the Public Affairs Committee, which works closely with ESA’s Washington, DC-based Public Affairs Office and focuses on activities to engage ecological scientists with policymakers and the media. Reflections from past recipients are available on the Graduate Student Policy Award alumni network page.

 


The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

California State Senator Darrell Steinberg named as ESA Regional Policy Award winner

ESA2014 Sacramento logo

99th Annual Meeting
The Ecological Society of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Contact: Alison Mize (703) 625-3628; alison@esa.org

 

On Sunday, August 10, 2014, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its seventh annual Regional Policy Award to California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg during the Society’s 99th Annual Meeting conference in Sacramento, CA. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

“Darrell Steinberg exemplifies leadership in promoting sustainability” said ESA President Jill Baron.  “As the California Senate President Pro Tem he championed bills to foster renewable energy, clean water and parks. He sets a high standard for policymakers everywhere.”

Elected to the California Assembly in 1998 and to the Senate in 2006, Steinberg ascended to Senate leader in late 2008. During his time in the state Senate, Steinberg authored SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles through transit-oriented urban growth. This year, he spearheaded a framework of permanent funding for mass transit, sustainable community development and transit-oriented affordable housing using the state’s Cap and Trade revenue, and also formulated a drought relief bill that prioritizes projects focusing on water conservation. In addition, Steinberg successfully passed legislation to modernize the California Environmental Quality Act.

“Despite the deniers who bury their heads in the sand and ignore global warming, the crisis of climate change is a very real threat. It’s a threat we need to meet head-on by embracing new concepts of where we live and work, how we get there, and how we create sustainable industries and communities,” said Senate Leader . “I’m humbled by this honor, and confident that those who follow in our Legislature will continue to carry the mantle of California’s leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

ESA President Baron will present the 2014 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of theOpening Plenary on Sunday, August 10 at 5 PM in the Memorial Auditorium of the Sacramento Convention Center.Kip Lipper, Steinberg’s Chief Counsel for Energy and Environment, will accept the award on his behalf.

Learn more about the August 10 – 15, 2014 ESA Annual Meeting.


 

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge. ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.