Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming
The economic, social, and environmental costs of drought can be significant, and vulnerability to drought will likely increase in the future with a warming climate. To promote stronger drought resilience on federal lands, the National Drought Resilience Partnership was initiated in 2016. As a part of this effort, the U.S. Forest Service conducted a series of focused workshops across the country to build the capacity to address the impact of short- and long-term drought on forest and rangeland resources, thus informing land management, restoration, and climate change adaptation.
The Northern Plains region (Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) has a high diversity of land, including the largest remaining tracts of native rangeland in North America, substantial areas of both dryland and irrigated cropland and pasture, mosaics of cropland and grassland, and forested lands. Livestock production includes beef (cow-calf and yearling operations, feedlots), sheep, hogs, and dairy.
The Southern Plains region contributes significantly to the Nation’s wheat and beef production. Winter wheat is the principal annual crop, with much of it serving dual-use as a cool-season annual forage in addition to grain production. Cattle are raised on extensive pasture and rangelands across the region.
Colorado’s climate has warmed in recent decades, and climate models unanimously project this warming trend will continue into the future. Climate change has and will continue to impact the state’s resources in a variety of ways, including more rapid snowmelt, longer and more severe droughts, and longer growing seasons. Moreover, Colorado experiences numerous climate- related disasters, such as oods, droughts, and wild res, which will continue to occur in the future and pose serious hazards to public safety and the economy, regardless of the rate at which the climate warms.
In Colorado, climate change presents a broad range of challenges.
The scientific evidence is clear: the Earth’s climate is warming. Multiple independent measurements confirm widespread warming in the western United States; in Colorado, temperatures have increased by approximately 2°F between 1977 and 2006. Increasing temperatures are affecting the state’s water resources. (Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, 6)
Major cities in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Western US have developed a Regional Climate Adaptation Planning Alliance to develop a common regional approach to adaptation planning – including a collective vision of resilience, planning frameworks and information sharing opportunities. This Alliance is founded on its members’ shared goal to make climate change adaptation a priority at the local level and the collective understanding that successful climate change adaptation requires regional collaboration.
Climate change is already changing ecosystems and affecting people in the southwestern United States. Rising temperatures have contributed to large-scale ecological impacts, affecting plants, animals, as well as ecosystem services, e.g., water supply. The climate of the Gunnison Basin, Colorado, is projected to get warmer over the next few decades as part of a larger pattern of warming in the western United States.
Yellowstone National Park collaborated with the National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) to examine the causes of shoreline erosion on Peale Island and to identify adaptation options for protecting the shoreline and a historic cabin on the island.