Climate Change Workgroup – National Leadership Council

Resources for understanding the effects of climate change to coldwater fisheries

What effects will a changing climate have on the coldwater resources we all respect and enjoy? Climate change, and the extent to which it is human-caused, is a divisive issue; the Climate Change Workgroup respects that. Our goal is to develop an education and awareness program based upon the scientific background provided by TU Staff and others. With adequate scientific understanding, we all should be concerned about the impacts to our coldwater fishery resources. How much risk should we accept? Can we afford to risk the future of trout and salmon?

If you would like to join the Climate Change Workgroup or participate in our conversations on the fourth Thursday of each month at 8 pm ET, please contact Russell Collins, Committee Chair.

Committee Members

Chair: Russell Collins, Committee Chair, Pennsylvania
Co-Chair: Jeff Holzem, Missouri
Staff Contact: Helen Neville, Senior Scientist, VP Government Affairs

Meets: the 4th Tuesday of each month. 

Climate Change Resources

This document outlines a road map for accomplishing the goals of the workgroup – raising awareness of climate change, utilizing TU’s non-partisan outdoor sports people’s voice on adaptation and mitigation issues, and building capacity and diversity within the organization through strategic partnerships. For members wanting to help us reach these goals, please check out the “What can I do?” section of the road map.

Climate Change & Trout: Impacts, Opinions & Ways You Can Help (PowerPoint Slides Only)

Climate change has already begun to alter our nation’s lakes and rivers in many of the places you love to fish. Physical and biological systems are responding in kind. As precipitation patterns change and snow melts earlier, watersheds become drier and wildfires grow in frequency and intensity. Peak stream flows occur earlier in the year, base flows are lower, and aquatic insects and fish change their behaviors. This fact sheet describes some of the observed changes that are especially relevant to our coldwater fishery resources.

This document answers some frequently asked questions about climate change and their impacts to coldwater fish resources. It is divided into four sections: general climate change, impacts to trout and salmon, impacts to landscapes and rivers, and getting involved.

This policy statement provides guidance on TU’s approach to climate change. These policies include supporting mechanisms that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and hasten the shift to low-carbon energy sources, approaches that make communities and landscapes more resilient to the effects of climate change, and conservation activities related to the effects of energy development, production, transmission and transportation on coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

This policy statement outlines the Climate Change Workgroup’s support for TU’s protect, reconnect, restore, and sustain conservation approach and highlights additional approaches related to climate change.

This article describes three case studies of trout stream adaptation that address existing and climate-driven causes of degradation through habitat restoration. The case studies vary in geography and complexity, but all include restoration efforts intended to address multiple causes of stream degradation and improve the resilience of these streams to floods, droughts, and wildfires. The article describes solutions to common challenges in conducting climate change adaptation, including how to balance scientific assessments with opportunities when choosing projects, how smaller projects can be aggregated to achieve watershed-scale benefits, and how citizen science efforts can augment monitoring programs.

Erosion, weeds, chemically produced food, declining wild salmon runs… you name it, we are providing evidence of discordant lifestyles. We have science, we have watershed councils, we have environmental laws, and still, we have declining wild salmon runs. Guess what? It is because of us and our lifestyles, directly affecting wild salmon survival. If we truly want to save wild salmon, only a massive commitment to reducing our ecological footprint, consuming more intelligently, and adopting a heartfelt land ethic can turn the tide in their favor. Are we ready?

Other Climate Change Resources

TU Supports the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

TU FAQ on the 30X30 Initiative

Resources on climate change – American Fisheries Society

Trout and Climate Change Presentation (2017) Slides Only or Slides with Narrative Audio

Citizen’s Climate Lobby – Partnering with Trout Unlimited

Increasing concern and awareness of climate change – results of a TU membership survey

Climate Change Workgroup Blog Posts