Warming Winters Threaten America’s Outdoor Traditions

“On Thin Ice” Report Details Impacts on Hunting & Fishing Heritage

03-27-2012 // Miles Grant
On Thin Ice

Near-record warmth in the winter of 2011-2012 left both wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts scrambling to adapt – and it’s just a preview of what’s to come in a warming world, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. On Thin Ice: Warming Winters Put America’s Hunting and Fishing Heritage at Risk tells the stories of how 2011-2012’s warm winter impacted hunters and anglers across America and details the steps we need to take now to protect those traditions for future generations.

According to NOAA:

  • America had its 4th-warmest winter on record.
  • 27 states across the Northern Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast had winter temperatures among their 10 warmest on record.
  • Snow cover extent during winter ranked as the 3rd-smallest on record

“American sportsmen have a special connection to the outdoors, and for that reason we’re on the front lines of global warming. It’s impossible to ignore the changes happening before our eyes – you don’t need to be a scientist to know something is seriously wrong,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Climate change is also a threat to America’s economy. The outdoor recreation industry supports 6 million jobs, contributes $730 billion a year in economic activity and delivers $49 billion in tax revenue.”

On Thin Ice details how warming winters are threatening outdoor traditions across America:

  • Trout fishing threatened by reduced snowpack that feeds cold water to rivers
  • Ducks “shortstopping” migrations, traveling only as far south as they need to go to find unfrozen water
  • Declining moose population tied to a global warming-fueled tick explosion
“This report is a timely reminder of the critical importance of landmark limits on industrial carbon pollution unveiled today by the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Schweiger. “These rules are a critical step toward protecting America’s wildlife, natural resources and public health.”
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