Wildlife in Hot Water: America’s Waterways and Climate Change

National Wildlife Federation

[PennFuture] Last week, PennFuture joined the NWF in Scranton to release its new report, which examines the affects climate change is having on wildlife and the nation’s waterways.

The report details the rapid changes to the Earth’s water cycle that are already having negative impacts on ecosystems. As a result of disruptive carbon pollution, these changes include earlier and more rapid snowmelt, fewer and more intense rainfall events, and more frequent and extreme droughts and floods. The very character, chemistry, and quality of our waterways are changing in some of the following ways:

  • Reduced dissolved oxygen levels in streams and lakes
  • Loss of habitat for cold and cool water fish species as climate change is prompting warmer temperatures
  • Loss of wetlands and reduced riparian/floodplain connectivity
  • Loss of upstream/downstream connectivity caused by the drying of stream and river reaches
  • Reduced extent, diversity, and quality of in-stream habitat for aquatic biota
  • Increased pollutant concentrations from urban and agricultural runoff…

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