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Renewable Natural Resources Foundation



The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development's Regional Program on Transboundary Landscapes is the Recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award. This award recognizes a project, publication, piece of legislation, or similar concrete accomplishment in the natural resources field.

Since 2013, ICIMOD's Transboundary Landscapes program has been advocating the use of the landscape approach, which delineates areas based on shared ecosystems instead of administrative boundaries, for managing biodiversity. By facilitating cooperation based on individual ownership of shared ecosystems between countries, the landscape approach fosters multi-stakeholder dialogue and analysis.

ICIMOD's Transboundary Landscapes program focuses on the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) area, which supports over 1.9 billion people. An ecological buffer zone, the HKH is also home to four global biodiversity hotspots. The effects of climate change and natural resource degradation have acute transboundary impacts in the HKH. Poverty, outmigration, and globalization are significant regional challenges that countries can collectively address across geographical borders. For this, an operational system that enables countries to collaborate at bilateral and multilateral levels is necessary.


"Saving America’s Broken Prairie" is the Recipient of the Excellence in Journalism Award. This award honors and encourages excellence in print journalism about natural resources. It recognizes work by an individual, group, or organization.

In "Saving America's Broken Prairie," freelance journalist David J. Unger sought to determine if delicate prairie ecosystems can be preserved even as the prairie continues to feed billions of people. To answer this question, Unger went to North Dakota to record what he thought was the region's defining story: The shale oil boom and bust that has reshaped the heartland's economy and upended energy geopolitics everywhere. But he soon discovered that oil is just one part of a great transformation now underway in North America's Great Plains and Central Lowlands, the likes of which has not been seen since the Dust Bowl.

The case study was published in Undark, a digital magazine published by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Please see the RNRF Awards page for more details at

Dr. Jason Gedamke speaks on Anthropogenic Acoustic Impacts on Marine Mammals at Washington Round Table on Public Policy

GedamkeJason Gedamke, director of the Ocean Acoustics Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hosted the RNRF Washington Round Table on Public Policy on May 30. He spoke about how marine mammals are impacted by the sounds from commercial shipping, oil and gas operations and sonar from U.S. Navy vessels.

NOAA works to understand ocean acoustics through research and data, and through the Ocean Noise Strategy Plan. The plan was released in 2016, and identifies NOAA's long-term ocean noise management goals, as well as science and policy mechanisms for NOAA to meet those goals over the next ten years. Two mapping tools, CetMap and SoundMap provide data for analysis on the impacts of sound on marine mammals. The CetMap develops visuals to capture cetacean density and distribution to provide context for impact analyses while SoundMap maps man-made underwater noise from multiple sources.

Gedamke focused his talk on chronic impacts of acoustic disturbances on marine mammals, referring to the background anthropogenic noise in the ocean that limits marine mammals’ communication range and ability to sense their environment. These impacts include: degradation of communications among whales and other sea mammals, interference with predator avoidance, and navigational difficulties. He also spoke on the cumulative effects of ocean noise in ports, especially around Cape Cod, and the implications of that noise pollution for the endangered North American Right Whale.

He noted that acute impacts of brief but intense noise events are more understood by the scientific community and are reported more widely in the media. Acute impacts create an adverse physical or behavioral change in marine mammals that affects their health and fitness, which could include physiological injury, death and the stress or confusion that could lead to stranding events. While acute, dramatic events are important to study, relatively little is known about noise impact on a broader scale, and more must be done to monitor and collect data on levels of ocean noise. While marine scientists have constructed models to analyze ocean noise pollution, empirical data collection will be key to determining their predictive accuracy and how they can be improved.

With these challenges in mind, NOAA has several flagship programs aimed at understanding the impacts of ocean noise on and mitigating harm to marine mammals. The Ocean Acoustics Program is engaged in assessing long-term trends and changes in underwater soundscapes. It also has developed the collaborative work of the NOAA Noise Reference Station Network, which establishes and collects consistent and comparable long-term acoustic data sets across the U.S. to monitor low frequency, long-term passive acoustics.

Marine mammals are experiencing new pressures from multiple environmental changes, including overfishing, ocean temperature increases and acidification, and plastic pollution. The full range and long-term consequences of anthropogenic ocean noise are still not fully understood. However, current research confidently points to negative impacts.

Gedamke’s PowerPoint presentation may be accessed by clicking here.

American Geophysical Union

AGU Responds to Proposed EPA policy Changes

On April 23, 2018, AGU submitted a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt in which it voiced a number of concerns about upcoming policy changes at the agency related to the transparency and accuracy of scientific information.

Specifically, the letter calls out the problems with a proposed policy mandating that the EPA consider only publicly available scientific data and information when crafting rule-making. These proposed requirements are based on the HONEST Act, a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2017, despite significant criticisms from the scientific community over the likelihood that the bill would end up forcing the EPA to exclude data essential to making informed public policy decisions, thereby potentially exacerbating threats to public health and the environment.

In addition, it denounced the agency’s reported directives to its employees to use scientifically inaccurate information about climate change when talking to the public.

This letter follows AGU’s earlier public statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to overhaul the Clean Power Plan, and AGU blog posts about both Mr. Pruitt’s plan to disallow EPA grantees from serving on scientific advisory panels and statements questioning the scientific consensus around climate change. AGU stands ready to work with Administrator Pruitt and the President to ensure that that best scientific information is shared freely with policymakers and the public to help guide decisions that will protect the nation. In a year in which the nation experienced 16 natural disasters, inflicting $215 billion in economic losses and claiming hundreds of lives, AGU will work to ensure the rapid and clear dissemination and use by decision makers of the most current, peer-reviewed scientific information.

Read more here.

Read the full letter here.

American Geophysical Union urges research programs on climate intervention to better understand the risks and opportunities

On January 18, 2018 the American Geophysical Union (AGU) announced a revision and reaffirmation of its position statement, "Climate Intervention Requires Enhanced Research, Consideration of Societal and Environmental Impacts, and Policy Development."

The statement was updated to reflect changes in the current understanding of climate intervention approaches, notably updating "geoengineering solutions" to “climate intervention” and discussing the two distinct categories of climate intervention: carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and albedo modification (AM). Further, AGU affirms its endorsement of more substantial CDR and AM research programs to examine these strategies in more detail, including programs outlined by the U.S. National Academies.

"We know the climate is changing, humans are responsible for most of the increase in temperature over the past half century, and that emissions reductions must play a key role in policy moving forward." said David Victor, Ph.D., chair of the Climate Intervention Position Statement Task Force for AGU. "Climate intervention could play a key role in managing the effects of climate change but our scientific understanding of its impacts remains poor. More research to understand it’s full risks and opportunities will be vital to a more informed public policy."

The nine-person panel that reviewed and revised the position statement included: -David Victor, University of California San Diego and Brookings Institution (chair)

-Ken Caldeira, Carnegie Institution for Science Piers Forster, University of Leeds

-Ben Kravitz, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

-Marcia McNutt, National Academies of Sciences

-Joyce Penner, University of Michigan

-Alan Robock, Rutgers University Naomi Vaughan, University of East Anglia

-Jennifer Wilcox, Colorado School of Mines

AGU maintains position statements to provide scientific expertise on significant policy issues related to the understanding and application of their members’ scientific disciplines.

The revised position statement was adopted by AGU’s Board of Directors on 12 January 2018. The statement is based on AGU’s previous geoengineering statement adopted on 13 December 2009 in collaboration with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) statement which was adopted by AMS Council on 20 July 2009. AGU revised and reaffirmed that original statement in February 2012.

Read the press release here.

Read the position statement here.

AGU Coalition Receives Grant to Advance Open and Fair Data Standards in the Earth and Space Sciences

Open, accessible, and high-quality data and related data products and software are critical to the integrity of published research. They ensure transparency and support reproducibility and are necessary for accelerating the advancement of science. In many cases, the data are one-time observations that cannot be repeated. Unfortunately, not all key data are saved and even when they are, their curation is uneven and discovery is difficult, thus making it difficult for other researchers to understand and use the data sets.

To address this critical need, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation has awarded a grant to a coalition of groups representing the international Earth and space science community, convened by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), to develop standards that will connect researchers, publishers, and data repositories in the Earth and space sciences to enable FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and resuable) data— a concept first developed by— on a large scale. This will accelerate scientific discovery and enhance the integrity, transparency, and reproducibility of this data. The resulting set of best practices will include: metadata and identifier standards; data services; common taxonomies; landing pages at repositories to expose the metadata and standard repository information; standard data citation; and standard integration into editorial peer review work-flows.

"AGU's commitment to open data and data stewardship started in 1997 when we developed one of the first society position statements on open data. We developed that position statement because we recognized properly documented, credited, and preserved, data would help future scientists understand the Earth, planetary, and heliophysics systems, and that is an integral responsibility of scientists, data stewards, and sponsoring institutions to ensure the preservation of that data," said Chris McEntee, AGU's executive director/CEO. "Today, with the generous support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, our community is working together to ensure that the Earth and space sciences, including more than 50,000 publications, will then be the first scientific field to have open and well-described data as a default, making that data discoverable and freely accessible across our sciences, as well as other scientific disciplines and the public."

Scientific results are increasingly dependent on large complex data sets and models that transform these data. This is particularly true in the Earth and space sciences, where critical data increasingly provide diverse and important societal benefits and are used in critical real-time decisions. The partners will work with major Earth and space science data repositories, publishers, editorial work-flow vendors, researchers, and allied stakeholders to develop common standards and work-flows for submission of data, connect repositories and publishers, develop and implement tools needed for search and discovery, and enhance quality peer review. This process will help: 1) researchers understand and follow expectations regarding data curation; 2) publishers adopt and implement standard and best practices around data citation; and 3) make data discoverable and accessible, including to the public.

Read AGU's position statement on data here:

American Meteorological Society


The AMS Policy Program released a study in May 2018 entitled "A Reset for U.S. Natural Hazards Policy? Lessons from Harvey, Irma, and Maria."

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season inflicted heavy casualties and loss of life. At the same time, events in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico highlighted opportunities for improving U.S. natural hazards policy. In short, these involve building community-level resilience nationally and correspondingly reducing reliance on forecast-based emergency evacuations. Progress is needed in several respects: a more integrated approach toward economic development and hazard risk management; more effective and strategic public-private collaboration in risk management; a focus on reducing risk versus mere redistribution of risk; rigorous learning from experience versus rebuilding as before; and shouldering responsibility versus relying on federal bailouts. Ultimately, resilience in the face of hazards cannot be accomplished by a few. Instead it will require embrace as a shared public value.

Read the report here.

99th Annual American Meteorological Society Meeting

The American Meteorological Society has announced the 2019 annual meeting, "Understanding and Building Resilience to Extreme Events by Being Interdisciplinary, International, and Inclusive (III)."

Analyses by reinsurance companies have clearly shown the monotonically increasing cost of extreme events. There are a number of interrelated factors that have contributed to this increased vulnerability. For example, sea level rise combined with the migration of people to coastal regions exacerbates the impacts of hurricane/typhoon landfall and tsunamis, the interdependent nature of the energy grid with other infrastructure and our increasing reliance on technology would lead to a cascading negative effect if a major space weather event or other natural hazard were to occur, changes in climate have led to more frequent water extremes from flooding to drought conditions that significantly impact energy and food production, and the increasing number of wildfires has destroyed large regions of forests and buildings while also enhancing the risk of landslides and contributing to extreme air pollution events. Finally, urban-to-regional-scale air pollution episodes can be particularly hazardous under severe meteorological stagnation events.

Read more here.

American Society of Civil Engineers


Produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and ASCE, the film Dream Big: Engineering Our World debuted on Netflix in early July.

Dream Big opened in museums and giant screens around the world in February 2017 to positive reviews. The documentary continues to show in theaters this summer.

The film aims to inspire kids of diverse backgrounds to become innovators, educators, and leaders who will improve the lives of people around the world throughout the 21st century.

"Over the past 30 years, it has been increasingly harder to get kids interested in science and engineering as a career. So firms have a tough time finding enough engineers to hire," said Dream Big Director Greg MacGillivray. "Dream Big's mission over its five-year plan is to change that by showing how adventurous, creative, and fun engineering can be – and the film and its massive campaign elements have succeeded! That message is conveyed even further with our play on Netflix."

Read more about the documentary and ASCE's Dream Big initiative here.

American Society of Landscape Architects Fund


In September 2017, the American Society of Landscape Architects convened the interdisciplinary Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience. The panelists included a diverse range of practitioners, experts, and stakeholder representatives, with experience working at various scales in different geographic and technical areas. The panel was given two tasks: first, to identify the most important design and planning approaches for creating healthy, climate-smart, and resilient communities,vii and second, to identify specific public policy recommendations to support those approaches. A report released in June 2018 details the panel's findings.

Climate change is a threat to people and the ecosystem services on which we depend. Extreme weather events are on the rise. Flooding, drought, and wildfires are more frequent and more severe. Higher temperatures are increasing community health risks. The changing climate is causing species dislocation and accelerating the rate of species extinction. Global agricultural systems are increasingly stressed. These early effects are harbingers of the more severe consequences that science tells us we can expect in the future if we do not act.

Even without climate change, standard development patterns and practices are putting our people and our communities at risk. Natural systems that protect shorelines are removed to make way for development. Engineered stormwater systems designed to move water rapidly off buildings and pavements disrupt natural hydrology, contribute to water pollution, and weaken or destroy marine ecosystems. "Pave the planet" development replaces natural vegetation with impervious surfaces, leaving even inland communities outside floodplains prone to flooding. Development patterns emphasizing car travel isolate communities from recreation opportunities and contribute to unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles. Taken together, these practices have made our communities and people more vulnerable and set the stage for significantly greater loss of property and life in the face of inevitable natural disasters.

ASLA's interdisciplinary Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience identified core principles, key planning and design strategies, and public policies that will promote healthy, climate-smart, and resilient communities.

Read the full report here.

For more information contact ASLA, 636 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 898-244,

American Water Resources Association

AWRA'S Annual Water Resources Conference 2018

AWRA's Annual Water Resources Conference will be held November 4-8, 2018 at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, in the heart of Baltimore's downtown. The conference will convene water resource professionals and students from throughout the nation and will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about and engage in multi-disciplinary water resource discussions.

The program will stimulate conversations on water resource management, research and education. The 2018 conference will also include locally relevant topics such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware River watershed, and eastern water law as well as globally significant issues such as coastal resilience, fire effects on watersheds, communication and outreach strategies and integrated water resources.

For more information visit here.

Geological Society of America


GSA’s governing Council approved a new position statement, Removing Barriers to Career Progression for Women in the Geosciences, at its May 2018 meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Chair-Elect of GSA's Geology and Public Policy Committee (GPPC) and Position Statement Panel Chair, Monica Gowan, noted, "Culture starts at the top and resonates through the ranks. A culture that tolerates systemic barriers and beliefs resulting in unequal access to or exclusion from career opportunities for women is unacceptable. GSA leadership saw it as vital to create a position statement stating so."

Purpose. This position statement (1) affirms the pressing need for a change in professional culture so that all people are welcomed, supported, and thrive in the geoscience profession; and for policies that aspire to the highest standards of conduct as a professional society; (2) advocates for resolving implicit and explicit biases and the elimination of harassment, bullying, and sexual misconduct in the workplace; (3) recommends elevated personal and professional responsibility and evidence-based policies that extend beyond civil and legal remedies, to promote inclusive, safe, and productive environments in the geoscience classroom, laboratory, field, and office; and (4) establishes GSA's commitment to identifying and implementing reporting procedures and clear consequences for members who practice discrimination, harassment, bullying, retaliation, sexual misconduct, or sexual violence.

Along with the position statement on Diversity in the Geosciences, GSA endorses the right for all to work in a safe, supportive, non-discriminatory, and recrimination-free environment where trust, respect, equity, fairness, accountability, and justice are honored.

"We've seen that biases and problematic behaviors by people abusing their power and privilege are present in the sciences, yet discrimination and prejudice are antithetical to the scientific method," said Gowan. "In any learning or workplace environment, one thing everyone should be able to count on is professionalism and mutual respect."

Related to this position paper, the GSA Geology and Society Division, GSA Geology and Public Policy Committee, Association for Women Geoscientists, and the Earth Science Women's Network are co-sponsoring a Pardee Keynote Symposium at the GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, 4-7 November 2018, titled, "Women Rising: Removing Barriers and Achieving Parity in the Geosciences." Susan Stover and Kelly Kryc are the session conveners.

Read the full text of the position statement here.

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry


SETAC Europe's Special Science Symposia (SESSS) will be held in Brussels, Belgium, from October 23-24, 2018. The purpose of the Symposia is to debate current scientific issues in a regulatory context, for example, the testing, evaluation, risk assessment and management of chemicals in the environment, as well as to strengthen the link between science and regulatory decision-making.

This SESSS will show a series of new developments that facilitate the extrapolation of adverse effects, caused by chemical exposure, observed in experiments amongst different levels of biological organisation. Different methodologies will be showcased, such as Quantitative Adverse Outcome Pathways, Toxicokinetic-Toxicodynamic modelling, Population models, Ecosystem/food chain models and landscape level models.

The symposium will start with the regulatory views from the European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Commission on the implementation of these new developments into Environmental Risk Assessment. This will be followed by a series of expert presentations on novel experimental and modeling approaches, as well as successful case studies on how these approaches could inform future Environmental Risk Assessments of chemicals.

Learn more about the program here.

International News


Atlantic Salmon Federation and North Atlantic Salmon Fund Sign 12 Year Salmon Agreement with Greenland Fishermen 

The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) have signed new agreements with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands that will protect thousands of adult wild Atlantic salmon from commercial nets and longlines, allowing them to return to North American and European rivers.

The new Greenland Salmon Conservation Agreement will be for a period of 12-years (2018-2029). Representatives of ASF, NASF, and the Association of Fishers and Hunters in Greenland (KNAPK) finalized the agreement on May 24th in Reykjavik, Iceland, after more than 12-months of negotiations. The Faroe Island agreement between ASF, NASF, and the Faroese Salmon Fishing Vessel Association (Laksaskip) was signed in Reykjavik on May 22nd, continuing a decades-long suspension of commercial salmon fishing dating back to 1991.

The coastal waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are critical ocean feeding grounds for large wild Atlantic salmon from hundreds of rivers in North America and Europe. Commercial catches in these areas are known as "mixed-stock" fisheries because salmon are captured from relatively healthy populations as well as endangered ones. This impacts vulnerable rivers like the Penobscot River in the US and the St. John River in Canada, as well as iconic rivers with reduced counts, such as the Tweed in Scotland, Iceland's Bix Laxa, and the Alta in Norway.

"Significantly reducing the harvest of wild Atlantic salmon on their ocean feeding grounds is meaningful and decisive, not only for salmon conservation, but also for global biodiversity and the health of our rivers and oceans," said ASF President Bill Taylor.

"The best way to save North Atlantic salmon is to reduce the number killed," stated NASF US Chairman Chad Pike. "The unique ocean environment surrounding Greenland and the Faroe Islands is where large, mature fish from over 2,000 rivers throughout the North Atlantic are known to spend their winters feeding. These conservation agreements create sanctuaries for wild salmon at these critical habitats, which is a historic win for salmon conservation."

Under the terms of the agreement, the Greenland and Faroese delegations to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) will declare zero commercial quotas at next month’s international summit in Portland Maine. As a result, mature salmon that would otherwise be removed by commercial nets will begin returning to their home rivers in the spring of 2019.

In exchange for no commercial salmon fishing in Greenland, ASF and NASF will financially support alternative economic development, scientific research, and education initiatives focused on marine conservation. A subsistence harvest by licensed recreational fishermen for personal and family consumption will continue.

Read the original report on the ASF website here.

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