Across the United States, climate change is affecting water resources in many ways, including putting water supplies at risk, increasing flooding and erosion, and threatening fish and aquatic species. As global warming pollution continues to affect our environment, these risks to water resources will only increase, posing grave challenges to our nation's cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Some states are leading the way in preparing for water-related impacts with integrated and comprehensive preparedness plans that address all relevant water sectors and state agencies.
In the U.S. Southwest, global climate change, acting in concert with extant stressors such as urbanization and over-allocation of water resources, is changing ecosystems in measureable and sometimes dramatic ways. Twenty-frst century projections indicate accelerating climate change and cascading ecological consequences. Effects observed to date include large-scale forest dieback, large and severe wildfres, and changes in the flow regimes of rivers and streams with attendant changes to riparian and aquatic ecosystems.
This document, Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State’s Integrated Climate Change Response Strategy, lays out a framework to protect our communities, natural resources, and economy from the impacts of climate change and build our capacity to adapt to expected climate changes. It describes how existing and new state policies and programs can better prepare Washington to respond to the impacts of climate change.
Climate change presents an uncertain future with potentially high costs for Missoula County in western Montana. The area's economy and high quality of life that draw and keep people in the region could be in jeopardy due to changes in average temperature, stream flows, and precipitation. While the exact trajectory of change is unknown, preparations can be made for the future based on a reasonable range of expected scenarios. Preparing for climate change is similar to preparing for other potential events, such as fire or drought.
Claudia Mengelt and Robert Fri talk about coping with climate change. What short-term actions can be taken to respond effectively to climate change? What promising long-term strategies, investments, and opportunities could be pursued? This session summarizes the findings from a recent series of reports by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science highlighting options for adapting to and mitigating global climate change.
Forest managers are seeking practical guidance on how to adapt their current practices and, if necessary, their management goals, in response to climate change. Science management collaboration was initiated on national forests in eastern Washington where resource managers showed a keen interest in science-based options for adapting to climate change. Over a two day workshop scientists and managers reviewed current climate change science and identified resources vulnerable to expected climate change.