Climate change threatens health of America's lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands
provided by The Pew Center
Global climate change poses a serious threat to lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands throughout the United States, according to a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The temperature increases and variations in weather patterns projected for the next 100 years will result in changes in the geographic distribution of freshwater fish, interfere with the reproduction of many aquatic species, reduce water quality, and impose added stresses on wetlands and other sensitive aquatic ecosystems.
The United States' freshwater and wetland ecosystems face multiple threats to their health and stability, including changes in land use, environmental pollution, and the diversion of water for drinking, irrigation, and other uses, said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. To these threats we must now add the very real and very serious effects of global climate change and its potential to transform the essential character of our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.
The Pew Center report, Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Climate Change: Potential Impacts on Inland Freshwater and Coastal Wetland Ecosystems in the United States, draws on a variety of sources to summarize researchers' current understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on US aquatic ecosystems. Among the report's key conclusions:
Our rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands support economically important fisheries and provide Americans with clean drinking water, water for irrigation, recreational opportunities, and more, said Claussen. This report shows that climate change puts all of these services at risk, but it also shows there are things we can do to reduce that risk.
Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Climate Change was prepared for the Pew Center by N. LeRoy Poff, Mark M. Brinson, and John W. Day, Jr. It is the seventh in a series of Pew Center reports examining the potential impacts of climate change on the US environment. Other Pew Center reports focus on domestic and international policy issues, climate change solutions, and the economics of climate change.
A complete copy of this report and previous Pew Center reports is available on the Pew Center's web site, www.pewclimate.org.
The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers and innovative solutions in the effort to address global climate change. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.