Climate Change Impacts Freshwater Ecosystems
New report on effects and adaptation approaches in the North Pacific
New studies on climate change are released so quickly, it can be difficult for resource managers to keep on top of the most current research. As the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC) begins operation, NWF has produced the first-ever compilation of the impacts of climate change and adaptation approaches in the freshwater aquatic and riparian ecosystems in the north pacific region.
With approximately 38,200 miles of coastline, the NPLCC region extends from Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska to Bodega Bay in northern California west of the Cascade Mountain Range and Coast Mountains. It is home to iconic salmon and orca, a thriving fish and shellfish industry, and a wide range of habitats essential for the survival of fish, wildlife, birds, and other organisms. Many of these species, habitats, and ecosystems are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate.
Download the full report:
Climate Change Effects and Adaptation Approaches in Freshwater Aquatic and Riparian Ecosystems in the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative Region: A Compilation of Scientific Literature (pdf)
- Temperature increases have reduced snowpack, summer streamflows, and raised water temperature over the past century; and these trends are projected to continue at an accelerated pace.
- These trends will likely lead to the drying of alpine ponds and wetlands.
- Habitat area and quality may be reduced for Cascades frog, northwestern salamander, long-toed salamander, garter snakes, and other species.
- Coastal areas with enhanced river inputs, such as the Columbia River estuary, may experience harmful algal blooms and hypoxic waters.
Given that CO2 concentrations will continue to increase and exacerbate climate change effects, adaptation is emerging as an appropriate response to the unavoidable impacts. Adaptive actions such as increasing protected areas and habitat buffers can reduce a system‘s vulnerabilit and increase its capacity to be resilient to changing conditions.
Download by chapter:
- Front Matter: Executive Summary, Table of Contents, & Preface
- Chapter I: Introduction
- Chapter II: CO2 Concentrations, Temperature, & Precipitation
- Chapter III: Major Climate Impacts on Hydrology in the NPLCC Region
- Chapter IV: Implications for Freshwater Ecosystems
- Chapter V: Implications for Freshwater Species, Populations, and Biological Communities
- Chapter VI: Implications for Key Fish, Amphibians, and Macroinvertebrates
- Chapter VII: Adapting to the Effects of Climate Change in the Freshwater Environment
- Chapters VIII, IX, & X: Next Steps, Appendices, and Bibliography