Department of the Interior selects U of M’s Institute on the Environment to lead Midwest climate consortium

On Thursday, Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith said the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment has been chosen by the Department of the Interior as the site of the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC).

The center serves as a hub for scientific researchers to work with fish and wildlife specialists to protect the community’s resources in the face of climate change.

The Midwest CASC is the ninth and final member of the nationwide CASC network, according to a news release.

"The climate crisis is happening right now and we need to confront it with a sense of urgency," Klobuchar said in a statement. "By developing a Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center at the University of Minnesota, our state’s outdoor recreation specialists will be better able to keep our air and water clean and protect our state’s natural resources for generations to come."

As host, the University of Minnesota will lead a consortium of universities and natural resource organizations dedicated to advancing science to support management and protection of land, water and natural resources. The center will also pay close attention to Tribal concerns and build off the unique experience of Midwest Tribes with adaptation science and practice. This includes a fellowship program for graduate students and a summer research experience for undergraduates focused on Tribal participation.

"The University of Minnesota has long been on the cutting edge of science and the protection of our water, land and natural resources," Smith said in a statement. "In the face of climate change, we need resourceful ideas and bold action, so this decision to locate the Midwest CASC at the University is important to addressing this crisis."

An additional focus will be the interplay of natural resources, forestry, streams and wetlands, with agricultural and urban areas, land uses that are prominent in the Midwest.

Other ongoing Midwest CASC projects focus on topics including Lake Michigan fish, forest habitats and the resiliency of winter-adapted species.