New Book Outlines Challenges Southwest Faces Due to Climate Change

The southwestern United States faces a host of challenges as a result of climate change including strained water resources, greater prevalence of tree-killing pests, and potentially significant alterations of agricultural infrastructure. A hotter future is projected for the Southwest—a region stretching from the California coast to the plains of eastern Colorado and New Mexico—and future heat and changes in precipitation will present challenges for managing natural resources, water, infrastructure, and threats to human health. Climate change is already complicating efforts to conserve threatened and endangered species.

Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States, published by Island Press and available for order here, is a landmark study that addresses these issues. It focuses on current climate conditions in the region, the environment of the past, what is projected to change over the 21st century and how this will impact ecosystems, water resources, agricultural production, energy supply and delivery, transportation and human health. I contributed to the preparation of the assessment and co-authored chapter 18, which focuses on climate choices for a sustainable Southwest.

A consortium of researchers from the Southwest Climate Alliance coordinated the assessment; these scientists are affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior Southwest Climate Science Center. The book blends the contributions of 120 experts in climate science, economics, ecology, engineering, geography, hydrology, law, planning, resource management and other disciplines. This book is one of ten regional technical inputs to the 2013 National Climate Assessment released in draft form earlier this year.

I am pleased to offer our readers a 25% discount when ordering the book through Island Press. Just use discount code 5NCA to get the discount off of this book or any other National Climate Assessment regional technical inputs.

FEMA and NMFS Hold Conference "Demystifying" Compliance with the Endangered Species Act

On March 1-2, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Marine Fisheries Service held a two-day conference entitled "Demystifying National Flood Insurance Program Alignment with the Endangered Species Act."  The agenda for the conference and associated materials are provided below. 

Full Conference Agenda (PDF)

Glossary of Terms (PDF)

Compliance Options (PDF)

Importance of Healthy Floodplains by NMFS (PDF)

The Importance of Floodplains to Functioning River Ecosystems (PDF)

NMFS FEMA FAQ (PDF)

NMFS RPA #3 (PDF)

Additional Resources (PDF)

Endangered Species Act & Renewable Energy Projects

The regulatory requirements of the Endangered Species Act ("ESA") are imposing limitations on the development of renewable energy projects in the California desert. State and federal regulatory agencies are attempting to expedite ESA and other environmental reviews of proposed renewable energy projects. But the jury is out on whether these efforts will succeed. The ability of California to implement its precedent-setting climate change legislation hangs in the balance. As Governor Schwarzenegger stated "If we cannot put solar power in the Mojave Desert, I don't know where the hell we can put them."

Click here for the ESA and Renewable Energy Power Point presentation that was given at the April 8-9 ESA conference

Endangered Species Law Conference to Take Place April 8-9 in San Diego

On April 8-9, Nossaman partners Rob Thornton and Paul Weiland will be co-chairing a CLE International conference on Endangered Species Law at the Omni Hotel in San Diego, California.  Nossaman attorneys Sue Meyer, Rob Thornton, and Paul Weiland will be presenting on panels at the conference.  Other speakers are among the leading attorneys, consultants, scientists, and stakeholders in the field, including Dr. Holly Doremus of University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Dennis Murphy of University of Nevada, Reno, and Dan Keppen of the Family Farm Alliance.  The conference will cover numerous subjects including alternative energy compliance, peer review, recovery planning, and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan