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Climate shield cold-water refuge streams for preserving native trout

Posted date: March 18, 2015
Publication Year: 
Authors: Isaak, Daniel J.; Nagel, David E.; Young, Michael K.;
Document type: Briefing Papers


Isaak, D., M. Young, D. Nagel, D. Horan, and M. Groce. 2015. The cold-water climate shield: Delineating refugia for preserving salmonid fishes through the 21st Century. Global Change Biology 21 doi:10.1111/gcb.12879.


Crowd-sourced biological datasets contributed by multiple agencies were coupled with high-resolution NorWeST stream temperature scenarios to delineate invasion resistant, climate refuge streams across >450,000 stream kilometers in the northwestern U.S. for two native trout species of concern — Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout. Under both moderate and extreme climate change scenarios, refugia with high probabilities of trout population occupancy (>0.9) were predicted to exist for both species. Most refugia are on public lands (>90%) where few currently have protected status in National Parks or Wilderness Areas (<15%). Forecasts of refuge locations could enable protection of key watersheds, be used to rally support among multiple stakeholders, and provide a foundation for climate-smart planning to preserve native trout through the 21st century.