Wildlife Stressed Out

Posted on January 30, 2013 by greatlakesoutdoors

As I write this, it’s almost 60 degrees outside.  Its January 30th.  I live in Michigan.  This isn’t right.

No doubt, our warming climate is not only weird, but it poses’ a huge threat to the future of our fish and game up here in the Great Lakes and across the country.

So, its no coincidence that today the National Wildlife Federation released a new report important to sportsmen and anyone who recreates outdoors – not just up here in Michigan – but from all corners of the nation.  Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis examines how many of America’s  iconic game species face the risks of climate change, such as the northern bobwhite, brook trout, pintail, moose, sage grouse, lesser scaup, and many more.

It recommends solutions that would protect not just wildlife but communities across America from growing threats such as sea level rise, wildfires and drought.

The threats include:

  • Increased incidence of extreme weather events including drought, flooding, warming winters  and catastrophic fires that drastically alter and destroy habitat;
  • Sea level rise of up to two feet, threatening people in heavily populated coastal communities and wildlife-rich coastal habitats, such as the Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Florida and the Pacific Northwest;
  • Major declines and extinctions in coldwater fish such as trout and salmon as water temperatures rise;
  • Substantial declines in estuaries and wetlands;
  • Changes in habitat, food sources and migration patterns for America’s waterfowl, particularly in the prairie pothole region.

The impacts of climate change not only affect the wildlife and habitat that we hold sacred, but have real economic impacts related to these activities.

“Sportsmen and women are an economic force,” according to a new Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) report, America’s Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy. “The $90 billion they spent in 2011 would land them at #24 on the Fortune 500 list…From boats to shotguns to land purchased for a place to hunt or fish, on average each sportsman and woman spent $2,407 that year.”

Bottom line is that we know what’s causing the climate changes we sportsmen are seeing in the field and in the streams.  What we need is the political leadership to make smart energy choices and wise investments in protecting our natural resources.


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