Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have announced joint scientific research projects that address the effects of climate change on freshwater systems and sensitive aquatic species in the northwestern and southeastern United States. The multi-year $500,000 joint USDA-DOI projects will make use of existing data, field studies and modeling to better understand the effects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. Information from the project will help guide science-based land-use decisions by federal agencies and others engaged in long-term planning for climate adaptation.
Vilsack says this research will provide tools and information to help ensure that aquatic ecosystems in the Northwest and Southeast remain healthy in the face of climate change.
"Conserving our nation's fisheries and aquatic ecosystems will be a challenge as climate change continues," Salazar said. "These collaborative research projects will provide the science and technology needed by the Interior Department and other natural resource managers to plan for coping with these challenges."
In the Northwest the project's goal is to identify how climate change will affect water temperature, quality and quantity, as well as the likely effects of increasing and more fluctuating water temperatures on coldwater-dependent fish such as trout and salmon. In the Southeast, the project's goal is to develop tools managers can use to minimize the effects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems and the coldwater-dependent species in them, as well as on related ecosystem service such as drinking water quality and wildlife-based recreation.