Ripple Impact: Migratory Birds and Lengthy-term Drought within the West

This text was initially printed in American Water Sources Affiliation journal “Water Sources Influence” and written by Audubon’s Director of Migration Science Nat Seavy, and Karyn Stockdale, Audubon’s Senior Director of Western Water.

As water managers know all too effectively, one of many basic challenges is that water is one component of a fancy and linked system. Water that falls as snow within the mountains strikes downslope to rivers, wetlands, lakes, underground aquifers, and coastal estuaries. These hydrological connections present foundational sources for an unbelievable system that helps folks, fish, birds, and different biodiversity throughout the planet.

However immediately’s hydrologic cycle is vastly completely different than 50 years in the past, with proof of local weather disruption all through the water cycle—together with long-term drought, warmth waves, flooding, wildfire, and extra. One problem of understanding and managing these water-based methods is that many impacts, resembling long-term drought, don’t have an effect on only one location. They ripple out throughout bigger areas. Within the case of migratory birds that rely on rivers, wetlands, estuaries, and lakes, these ripples can prolong from the Arctic all the best way to the southern reaches of South America. As an integral a part of broader drought resilience work within the American West, efforts to assist migratory chook populations also can make waves, sending ripples effectively past the habitats the place wildlife managers and water managers focus their efforts.

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