The impacts of climate change on freshwater resources (both surface and groundwater) will be one of the most important and far reaching impacts felt by individuals, ecosystems, and institutions. The NE CASC region contains more than 84% of North America's surface freshwater, supporting a variety of resources such as agricultural lands, coastal marshes, mineral deposits, forests, fens, wetlands, dunes, and other ecosystems unique to the region. Considering that the Great Lakes supply drinking water to more than 26 million people, and have billions of dollars in economic impact, climate change impacts on the Great Lakes and other freshwater resources will reverberate throughout the region.
Effects such as changes in snowpack depth and extent, seasonal shifts in the timing and volume of runoff, transitions in the peak and base stream flows, and changes in stream and river temperatures are extremely important throughout watersheds and ecosystems. Additionally, timing and volume shifts will significantly impact species that rely on hydrologic regimes for important transitions in their life cycle.
Vulnerablitiy and Risks
- Increase the risk of disease outbreaks in aquatic systems
- Impact eutrophication
- Creation of hypoxic and dead zones
- Altered ecosystem structure and function
Explore our Expertise
Aquatic Connectivity, Fish Migrations Temperature and Flow Regimes
Hydrology, aquatic habitats, ecological drought