If you’re a regular Gristmill reader, you’ve probably already digested this weekend’s front-page coverage of climate change in The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Global warming also recently made the cover of Trout, the quarterly magazine of the sportsmen’s group Trout Unlimited. The article, “Weathering the Change,” explains how climate change could impact stream habitats and trout populations (which thrive in cold waters):
A study prepared in 2002 for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change predicted that a 1.5-degree increase in air temperature in the Rocky Mountain region could reduce suitable stream habitat for trout by 7 to 16 percent. A 4.8-degree increase could reduce habitat by a staggering 42 to 54 percent.
Along similar lines, The Waterfowlers’ Guide to Global Warming (PDF), released last summer by the National Wildlife Federation, looks at how rising temperatures could evaporate the water necessary for duck breeding grounds in the U.S. and Canada:
The Prairie Pothole Region contains millions of shallow depressions that fill with water in spring, providing breeding habitat for millions of ducks and other migratory birds and many species of resident wildlife. As the climate warms and evaporation and transpiration by plants increase, many of these ponds are likely to dry up or be wet for shorter periods, making them less suitable habitat for breeding pairs and duck broods. Models of future drought conditions in the region due to global warming project significant declines in Prairie Pothole wetlands, from no change to a loss of 91 percent. This could lead to a 9 percent to 69 percent reduction in the abundance of ducks breeding in the region.
Sportmen’s organizations in America have traditionally focused their resources on private habitat-restoration programs. Trout Unlimited, for example, organizes efforts to clean up abandoned mines and watersheds in Appalachia. But such groups are becoming increasingly active in public debates. Bringing their members up to speed on global warming is just one example.
P.S. Pleased to make your acquaintance here at Gristmill. Most of the time I write for The Washington Monthly, where I’m now researching a series of articles on the intersection of rural politics and environmental concerns. Feedback is more than welcome: larson_at_washingtonmonthly.com.