|Climate Action in the Clark Fork|
The impacts of climate change are clearly visible in the Clark Fork watershed. In the last decade, we have witnessed drought, extreme wildfire seasons, declining snowpack, early runoff, and dramatic shrinkage of glaciers. Yet we don't fully know what to expect from this warming in the watershed. Our Climate Action in the Clark Fork program seeks to explore the range of variables for rivers and communities in the Clark Fork watershed within the next 25-50 years. Read the profile of our Climate Action in the Clark Fork program on the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (www.cakex.org)
Watch this TedxRainier talk explaining the concept of a "water footprint," and how Watershed Restoration Certificates (WRCs) utilize voluntary markets to restore critically de-watered ecosystems. Purchase WRCs today to balance your water footprint and give back to the Clark Fork.
Resources on climate change science, adaptation efforts, and more:
Leppi, DeLuca, Harrar, and Running: "Impacts of climate change on August stream discharge in the Central Rocky Mountains." September 2010. From the abstract: "In the snowmelt dominated hydrology of arid western US landscapes, late summer streamflow is the most vulnerable period for aquatic ecosystem habitats and trout populations. Download the full paper.
Martin, Maron: "Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal–plant interactions": A new study of climate change impacts found that less snowfall at higher elevations is changing where elk browse, and that is changing the plant and bird communities at those elevations. The study was conducted by two University of Montana biology professors - Thomas Martin and John Maron - and published online in the journal "Nature Climate Change." Montana Public Radio covered this story in a recent Montana Evening Edition feature on January 17, 2012. Download and listen to MTPR feature.
In July 2011, the Western Governors' Association (WGA) and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced a joint agreement for improving the development and delivery of climate science and services to Western states. In the midst of a record-breaking season for extreme drought, flood, wildfire and severe storms, this timely agreement will increase collaboration and boost existing efforts to ensure Western states and the U.S. Pacific islands are better able to plan for these types of natural hazards. Learn more
Climate Change, Aquatic Ecosystems, and Fishes in the Rocky Mountain West: Implications and Alternatives for Management (USFS): A new report is available that may be relevant to managers of aquatic ecosystems in the western U.S. concerned about the effects of climate change. The report is published as a U.S. Forest Service technical report and attempts to summarize the growing literature on this topic. The report seeks to address three basic questions, 1) What is changing in the climate system and related physical/hydrological processes that may influence aquatic species and their habitats? 2) What are the implications for fish populations, aquatic communities, and related conservation values?, and 3) What can we do about it? Download the Executive Summary, or find the full report here.
The Environmental Species Coalition report outlining the Top 10 Ecosystems to Save in a Warming World. Five western ecosytems made this list.
A 2010 report by Western Resource Advocates and the Environmental Defense Fund explores the potential impacts of climate change on water quantity in the West.
Trout in Trouble: This publication from Montana Trout Unlimited and NRDC examines the impact of global warming on trout in the Interior West.
The Montana Climate Action Project: A collaboration of partners in Montana working to find solutions, create opportunities, and empower people around the issue of climate change.
Montana Climate Change Advisory Committee: Recognizing the profound implications that global warming and climate variation could have on the economy, environment and quality of life in Montana, the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) was established with the aim of formulating recommendations for specific actions for reducing or sequestering greenhouse gas emissions.
Montana DEQ: Climate Change in Montana: Learn how key sectors of the Montana economy may be affected by a changing climate including: agriculture, transportation, tourism, and energy supply. The site also examines climate change and its impacts on the valuable natural resources of forestry, water, and wildlife.
Water in a Warming West: How will Western Water Policy Respond to Climate Change? Coalition Board member Sarah Bates presents to Oregon State University regarding western water use and future adaptive measures.