This project will assess impacts of climate change on stream resources by considering the role of thermal heterogeneity and altered hydrologic regimes. The project will look at streams in Washington, Oregon, and California to develop a case study that stream stewards and conservation planners can use to assess vulnerability for Pacific salmon.
Successful adaptation strategies for freshwater biota will consider how spatial patterns in water temperature may respond to climate change. Using remotely sensed spatially continuous maximum water temperature data for~ 30 large rivers throughout the lower portion of the NPLCC, we will map locations of cold water patches, identify potential hydroclimatic and landscape drivers, and evaluate how detection of cold water patches depends on the spatial resolution of water temperature data. We will compare existing and future patterns of thermal heterogeneity to assess the potential influence of climate change. We will illustrate potential vulnerability of salmon to loss of thermal habitat in at least two case study watersheds. Products can be used to identify locations where stream temperature patterns will be most responsive to climate change and enable conservation planners to choose strategies that will promote future thermal diversity.
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