OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Federal oceans and polar policy expert to direct climate change center at OSU

10/07/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Gustavo “Gus” Bisbal, a science and policy expert with the United States Department of State who specializes in the world’s oceans and polar regions, has been named director of the Northwest Climate Science Center based at Oregon State University.

Bisbal established his career in the Pacific Northwest, spending four years in Portland in the district office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where he managed the Columbia River Basin and water development program for the agency.

He also spent eight years (1994-2002) with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council in Portland, where he was responsible for the integration of scientific information into policy decisions to protect and restore fish and wildlife resources in the Columbia River basin. Among his areas of specialty was incorporating variable ocean conditions into salmon management policy decisions.

The Northwest Climate Science Center was established by the Department of the Interior last year as one of eight regional centers. It is a consortium of three universities – OSU, University of Washington and University of Idaho – with an administrative home in Corvallis, Ore., site of Oregon State University. The center is designed to serve as a resource for federal agencies in providing necessary science in advising policy decisions, especially relating to climate change.

“It is the agencies that create action plans to adapt to climate change,” said Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at OSU. “The center is here to provide the best possible science to agencies so they can make the best management decisions. Gus Bisbal brings a wealth of scientific and resource management experience, along with proven leadership skills across multiple levels of government – from local, to regional and beyond.”

Bisbal, who will have a U.S. Geological Survey appointment as well as a courtesy faculty appointment at OSU, has been a foreign affairs officer with the State Department since 2006. Working in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, he advanced the State Department’s foreign policy efforts related to oceans, holding leadership roles in U.S. delegations at numerous international conferences and organizations.

Bisbal also spent two years in Washington, D.C., working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a Knauss Fellow in International Affairs. He has two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island and an undergraduate degree from the University of Buenos Aires.

The Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, which began in 2009, anchors two federally funded northwest efforts to translate science into “actionable knowledge,” Mote said. In addition to launching the Northwest Climate Science Center, funded by the Interior Department and co-led by Mote, OSU also was selected last year to coordinate a climate change consortium funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to address climate assessment needs for businesses, municipalities, tribes and agencies.