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Organisms that live in the semi-arid prairies in the Northern Great Plains are able to live through conditions of extreme heat, cold, floods, and drought. The fish that inhabit the warm, turbid waters of northern Great Plains streams are indicators of change in these delicate ecosystems, where water quantity and water quality are often precariously close to ecological tolerance limits. In fact, changes in water quantity associated with global climate change may transform some prairie streams from essential refuges to habitats no longer capable of supporting fishes. USGS researchers and their partners are studying these changes and developing tools to assist managers in predicting the effects of climate change on prairie stream ecosystems of the northern Great Plains.
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