USGS-USFS Partnership to Help Managers Evaluate Conservation Strategies for Aquatic Ecosystems based on Future Climate Projections

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The Southeastern U.S. spans broad ranges of physiographic settings and contains a wide variety of aquatic systems that provide habitat for hundreds of endemic aquatic species that pose interesting challenges and opportunities for managers of aquatic resources, particularly in the face of climate change. For example, the Southeast contains the southernmost populations of the eastern brook trout ...

The Southeastern U.S. spans broad ranges of physiographic settings and contains a wide variety of aquatic systems that provide habitat for hundreds of endemic aquatic species that pose interesting challenges and opportunities for managers of aquatic resources, particularly in the face of climate change. For example, the Southeast contains the southernmost populations of the eastern brook trout and other cold-water dependent species. Climate change is predicted to increase temperatures in the South and is likely to have a substantial effect on extant populations of cold-water biota. Thus, aquatic managers are tasked with developing strategies for preserving cold-water dependent biota, such as eastern brook trout, and for providing new conservation opportunities in ecosystems that will be transitioning from cold- or cool-water ecosystems to warm-water ecosystems. This joint-project with the US Forest Service developed integrated tools that allow natural resource managers to develop and evaluate strategies for minimizing the effect of climate change on aquatic ecosystems and related ecosystem services. The second study is located in the Pacific Northwest and addressess the effects of potential temperature and flow fluctuations due to climate change on salmon, trout, and chars.