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The Montana University System’s Institute on Ecosystems’ Montana Climate Assessment is a statewide report that looks at climate trends and their impacts on Montana’s water, forests, and the agriculture industry.
Increasing temperatures have been observed to lead to reduced lake levels due to increased evaporation. Altered water levels can negatively impact people and the environment.
Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook offers place-based organizations a guide to applying risk-based methodology to identify climate change vulnerability and plan to address likely threats to reduce risks. This guidance focuses specifically on water resource stressors, and offers a straightforward approach to risk identification and risk abatement planning.
Impacts of changing water regimes include altered precipitation, altered water levels, and greater flood risk. Together these changes pose management challenges and present conservation opportunities to the land trust community.
The Climate Change and Water website highlights U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) climate change response actions, regional climate impacts, and additional resources to address climate change impacts to water resources.
As the USFS’s Climate Change and Water: In Brief summarizes, declining water quantity and quality are becoming common issues, especially where our demands exceed supply. Growing water demands, in turn, put aquatic resources and other services at risk because less water is available to sustain them.
Regionally planned ecological corridors are being implemented in Michigan to protect wildlife and water quality.
The National Water Program (NWP) 2012 Strategy addresses climate change impacts in the context of EPA’s water programs, reflecting the recognition that adaptation “requires a collaborative, problem solving approach, especially in a resource-constrained environment.”
NOAA”s Lake level viewer Great Lakes helps users visualize lake level changes that range from six feet above to six feet below historical long-term average water levels.
Due to climate change rising air temperatures are already warming freshwater habitats. Some lakes and streams have already experienced water loss due to summer droughts. These, and other changes, are likely to continue and accelerate in the coming decades, and impact water quality and quantity, with negative implications for freshwater ecosystems and the species that rely on these vulnerable habitats. Despite these challenges, land trusts are well positioned to manage rivers, lakes and other freshwater habitats for the multiple benefits – both ecological and economic – they provide.