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Sportsmen's Groups Speak Out on Climate Change

March 26, 2010.

From Trout Unlimited:

Trout Unlimited (TU), along with 10 leading national hunting and fishing groups, released "Beyond Season's End," a report that describes the challenges, solutions and actions that can be taken to address the ongoing and future impacts of climate change on the nation's fish, wildlife and ecosystems.

"It is prudent to be concerned and to take action in the face of a changing climate," said Jack Williams, TU's senior scientist and co-author of the coldwater fisheries section of the report.  "The strategies for trout and salmon conservation described in this report are tried and true restoration practices that we know will help our coldwater fisheries regardless of weather extremes."

The report reviews the impacts from climate change that are already occurring and the potential for continued and significant impacts on fish, wildlife and their habitats in the future.  "Beyond Season's End" focuses on the variety of projects and efforts already underway to safeguard fish and wildlife from climate impacts. From protecting cold, headwater habitat to removing dams and other in-stream barriers to fish migration to restoring riparian habitat, many already proven habitat protection and restoration activities will be vital for trout and salmon survival in a changing climate.
 
The report's chapter on coldwater fish highlights several projects in which TU, state and local governments and other non-profit organizations are already engaged that will preserve and protect vital trout and salmon habitat.

On Wyoming's Upper Green River, TU is working to protect headwaters, replace culverts and reconnect downstream habitat to expand cutthroat trout range and improve the fish's ability to access quality habitat.  Protecting coldwater refuges, restoring downstream habitats and reconnecting stream systems to provide trout with diverse habitat resources is key to protecting and sustaining trout populations today and in a future with changing climate conditions.    

The restoration activities highlighted in "Beyond Season's End" are important for the future of coldwater fisheries and in building on 50 years of TU's conservation work, but matching these steps to safeguard trout and salmon habitat with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change is also important.

"Despite recent efforts to cloud the issue, the facts of climate change are clear; our planet is warming and we are experiencing greater variability in weather, rapidly retreating glaciers, reduced snowpack, and earlier stream runoff," said Williams.  "Without aggressive efforts to both reduce emissions and invest in protecting are coldwater fisheries, we could see significant declines in trout and salmon across the country, from brook trout in the east to cutthroats in the Rocky Mountains."

TU grassroots volunteers and staff are working on the ground around the country with a wide-ranging group of agencies, partners and other volunteers to protect trout and salmon habitat from the effects of climate change.

The groups that contributed to the report are Trout Unlimited, American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, BASS/ESPN, Boone and Crockett Club, Coastal Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wildlife Management Association, Izaak Walton League of America and Pheasants Forever.      

To download and read the report, go to www.seasonsend.org. For more information about TU, visit www.tu.org.


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