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Report: Climate changing watersheds

In a technical report to be included in the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, climate scientists say temperature changes and shifts in species ranges and moisture will have major effects on natural ecosystems, especially watersheds. These effects will trickle down to human activities like commercial fishing and storm preparedness. 

The report's findings are covered in the Arizona Republic. The team of scientists come from Arizona State University, the National Wildlife Federation, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Nancy Grimm, a sustainability scientist in ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability and professor in the School of Life Sciences, served as a lead researcher on the report.

"U.S. ecosystems are undergoing massive change due to climate change," says Grimm. 

The report covers the recent wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico and other impacts affecting the southwest. Last year, 694,000 acres of forest were lost due to wildfires, and the ash from these fires clogged water treatment plants and stalled withdrawals. These fires also wiped out much-needed habitat for endangered species like the Mexican spotted owl. 

You can read the full report at downloads.usgcrp.gov/NCA/Activities/Biodiversity-Ecosystems-and-Ecosystem-Services-Technical-Input.pdf.