The Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (SW CASC) is a collaborative federal-university partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and seven academic institutions from across the U.S. Southwest (see map and list below). The SW CASC is one of eight regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers under the Department of the Interior (DOI) managed by the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC). See our National Network tab to learn more.


The Southwest’s ecosystems, communities and cultures are resilient and thriving as the climate changes. Resource management decisions are informed by climate adaptation science. 


We develop actionable science and implementable climate adaptation solutions in partnership with natural and cultural resource managers, policy makers, Native Nations, and researchers across the Southwest.

Respect: We operate with respect for partners, cultures, traditions and Indigenous knowledge systems. 

Collaboration and reciprocity: We strive to build authentic, sustained and mutually beneficial collaborations and partnerships. 

Co-production: We prioritize co-developing actionable science, underpinned by authentic partnerships.

Inclusivity: Justice, diversity, equity and inclusion are central to our work.

Scientific integrity: We believe that science plays a critical role in the development of lasting climate solutions. 

Commitment: We are committed to seeking nature-based solutions* to climate adaptation challenges, for the future wellbeing of our interconnected ecosystems, cultures, and communities. 

*Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

The Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (SW CASC) acknowledges that tribes, as the original stewards of the land, are at the forefront of addressing climate change when their languages, culture, and deep connections to the land remain intact. Innovative strategies, influenced by traditional knowledge, advance their actions in climate change adaptation, and the SW CASC works to collaborate, support, and partner with tribes in their efforts. The SW CASC engages with tribal stakeholders and provides funding opportunities and technical support to advance tribal communities in their climate adaptation initiatives. The SW CASC Tribal Engagement Strategy provides a vision for tribal engagement in the SW CASC region, which covers California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

Map of the southwest region of the US with land acknowledgement mapping.



The Southwest region formally comprises the states of ArizonaCaliforniaNevada, and Utah. The Colorado River Basin plays a large role in the ecosystems, water resources, and economic health of the SW CASC region. SW CASC activities also encompass parts of the upper Colorado River basin, particularly with respect to direct and indirect effects of climate change and river management on water delivery to the lower basin.

Illustrated map of the SWCASC region and university locations.

-University of Arizona (Host Institution) (Gregg GarfinAlison Meadow)

-Colorado State University (Brad UdallErica Fleishman)

-Desert Research Institute (Tim BrownTamara Wall)

-Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego (Dan CayanAlexander Gershunov)

-University of California, Davis (Erica FleishmanBeth Rose Middleton, Mark Schwartz)

-University of California, Los Angeles (Richard AmbroseGlen MacDonald)

-Utah State University (Michelle BakerNancy Huntly)