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On the Edge

  • Sarah Skikne, Amanda Staudt, Matt Vander Sluis
  • May 01, 2009

Global warming is affecting California’s water. Diminishing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades, more variable river flows, and rising sea levels mean that fresh water will be ever more scarce. At risk are river, wetland, and coastal habitats that are home to treasured fish, waterfowl, and other birds. California is on the brink of losing some of its most prized outdoor traditions, such as fishing for Chinook salmon on the Klamath River, hunting pintail ducks in the Central Valley, and sighting the Western snowy plover and other birds in the marshes and beaches of the southern coast.

This report summarizes the latest scientific research as it provides a tour through some of California’s iconic landscapes, revealing how global warming is stressing fish, waterfowl, and their habitats. Many of these ecosystems are already fragile, having withstood years of pressure from human activities. Left unchecked, global warming will magnify these pressures, fundamentally changing California’s diverse natural systems. Fortunately, it is not too late to take action to reduce global warming and help prepare California’s fish and wildlife to cope with those climate changes already put into motion by our past pollution.

On the Edge

On the Edge summarizes the scientific research behind protecting California's fish and waterfowl from climate change.

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bison herd walking in the snow