Climate Action in the Clark Fork Print

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 (

Conferences and Forums

Workshops and Forums: Preparing for a changing climate: In 2011, close to 100 citizens, local experts, and decision-makers attended a two-day ClimateWise workshop, where they discussed how climate change could impact the community, economy, and natural systems of Missoula County.   Download our short report to read highlights from the workshop, and visit our interactive website to explore the concerns and strategies identified by workshop participants.


Reports and Research: 'Low Flows, Hot Trout': Our recent climate change report focuses on what we know now, what we might see in 50 years, and what we can do to protect rivers and streams today.  Our report is now its own "micro-website," and is a central resource that provides local and state policymakers as well as community leaders with tools for adapting to the effects of climate change.  View and download the full report.

Fall Day Downtown 010

The Water-Energy Nexus: At the Coalition, we're demonstrating the connection between water use and energy production in the Clark Fork basin, in order to significantly reduce carbon emissions, decrease energy costs, and improve water quantity and quality.  Learn more about the water-energy nexus.


Environmenal and Social Sustainability Practices: At the Clark Fork Coalition, we follow numerous organizational practices to reduce our carbon footprint, and have set a goal of a 20% reduction of our organization's carbon footprint by 2015.  We are proud to announce that our organization has been certified as Carbon Neutral since 2010 with ClearSky Climate Solutions.  Download and read our Climate Action Business Plan, which outlines our reductions strategy.

Restored Flow

Watershed Restoration Certificates (WRCs): In the Clark Fork watershed, our rivers and streams are working overtime to keep up with increasing demands on water consumption, especially in the face of population growth, development, and climate change.  Now, you have a chance to give back to the Clark ForkCalculate your water footprint, and balance your water use through the purchase of WRCs.


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.

This NASA study by David Easterling and Michael Wehner explores short-term cooling trends within climate change models.  Read a summary of the report.

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.

A 2010 report by the US Forest Service called "Water, Climate Change, and Forests: Watershed Stewardship for a Changing Climate" explores some case studies in the Lolo area.

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 Efficiency Ideas

Montana Audubon - Take Global Action

Montana Climate Action Project