Populations of many cold-water species are likely to decline this century with global warming, but declines will vary spatially and some populations will persist even under extreme climate change scenarios. Especially cold habitats could provide important refugia from both future environmental change and invasions by non-native species that prefer warmer waters. The Climate Shield website hosts geospatial data and related information that describes specific locations of cold-water refuge streams for native Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout across the American West. Forecasts about the locations of refugia could enable the protection of key watersheds, be used to rally support among multiple stakeholders, and provide a foundation for planning climate-smart conservation networks that improve the odds of preserving native trout populations through the 21st century.
Climate Shield was inspired by the landscapes of the Rocky Mountains and people everywhere that are working to preserve native trout. The Northern Rockies Adaptation Partnership provided a valuable forum that accelerated this work. The Great Northern and North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperatives generously funded the NorWeST project, which serves as the foundation for Climate Shield.
Draft Blub....The Idaho water project asked TU’s science team to work with the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s “Climate Shield” analysis to pinpoint the streams in Idaho with the highest likelihood of providing functional and survivable native fish habitat into the future. Combined with the State of Idaho’s water right records this analysis provides the water project a tool with which to help prioritize its water work.