Endangered Species Coalition Lists 10 Species Endangered By Climate Change

A small turtle from the eastern U.S. A species of trout native to Glacier and North Cascades national parks. Grizzly bears. A prairie orchard. A coral. These are among the ten plant, fish, animal, and bird species listed in a new report as being the "hottest" species imperiled by climate change.
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Olympic National Park Boosts Stream Flows to Help Salmon, But Might Not Be Enough

Reports on climate change and national parks often mention parks as valuable in helping wildlife species survive by providing environmental sanctuaries of sorts. But a case playing out at Olympic National Park demonstrates how parks might not always be able to provide wildlife with what they need during climatic changes.

Latest Climate Change Report Lists 25 National Parks Most At Risk

Another report on climate change and its impacts on national parks arrived Thursday, with a list of 25 parks most at risk. While it offered no real new recommendations beyond those that have been called for by previous reports, its authors voiced optimism that corporate America is becoming more concerned about climate change and would become a force in addressing the problem and its impacts.

Interior Secretary Salazar Launches "Coordinated Strategy" To Address Climate Change Impacts on Federal Landscapes

In an understandable effort to get all land-management agencies on the same page when it comes to climate change, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Monday signed off on a strategy to develop some coordination in how climate change might already be affecting, or could in the future, the country's land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources.
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Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Red Knot and Other Northeastern Migratory Birds

Each spring, certain areas in Acadia National Park in Maine are closed to visitors as peregrine falcons return to their ancestral nesting sites on seaside cliffs. With great anticipation, park visitors gather below the cliffs with binoculars, spotting scopes, and zoom lenses to watch the peregrines — — a species that in the mid-1960s was on the brink of extinction.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Wolverines of the Northern Rockies

If ever there was an enduring symbol of the wildness of the Rocky Mountains, it would be the wolverine. While wolves and grizzly bears usually come to mind when talk turns to the Rockies’ animals that conjure images of the wild, the diminutive wolverine possesses a legendary reputation for toughness, resilience, and, some would say, cantankerousness.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Caribou in Alaska's Parks and Preserves

Caribou have been on the landscape for more than 400,000 years. For roughly the past 12,000 years, they have been hunted by humans — first the paleo-Indians, now the First Nations’ cultures along with many other Alaskans. Resilience to hunting, to weather, and to predators has enabled the caribou to remain an integral part of both the natural landscape and the human culture. The greatest test of their resilience, though, stands to be climate change.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Bighorn Sheep in the Southwest

Canyonlands National Park is one of the most rugged national parks, with a harsh summer sun that bakes the dry, canyon-riddled landscape. But those deep canyons’ steep rocky slopes, which offer ample grasses and shrubs, and an openness that puts predators at a disadvantage, are an optimal environment for bighorn sheep. In fact, Canyonlands’ bighorn population has been so stable that Utah’s wildlife biologists long relied on it for stock to re-establish herds elsewhere in the state.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Northern Flying Squirrel and other Threatened Mammals

The climate is not static. Ice ages come and go, pushing rivers of ice south and then pulling them back north across continents as temperatures and snowfalls rise and fall. Animal and plant species either stay ahead of these icy incursions and adapt, or perish.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Yellow-Legged Frogs of the Sierra Nevada

The mountain yellow-legged frog was once one of the most abundant vertebrates in the Sierra Nevada. The flash of its yellow legs could be seen and the echo of its croaking could be heard across the Sierra’s alpine lakes, even those nestled at 12,000 feet that contain watery habitats typically too cold for amphibians. Unfortunately, that empire began to crumble as long ago as 1850 when non-native trout were first transplanted into some of those lakes to increase fishing opportunities.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Oysters, Icon of the Chesapeake

Whether you call them Eastern oysters, American oysters, Rappahannock oysters, or simply “white gold,” the iconic shellfish plucked from the Chesapeake Bay are a salty delicacy that some think is best served with a dash of horseradish and a squirt of lemon juice. Sadly, it’s a delicacy that is not as abundant as it once was. The Chesapeake once harbored oyster beds so rich and bountiful that they formed reefs. Now climate change is threatening to wipe them out.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Loon and Other Birds of the Great Lakes

Change is under way in the Great Lakes, the source of 84 percent of North America’s fresh water and more than 20 percent of the world’s supply. It is a progressive sweeping change that threatens to greatly transform the ecosystems of these inland seas by warming their waters and supplanting native species with harmful invasives. And it is a change that ultimately may threaten the viability of the common loon and dozens of other birds that depend on the lakes.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Grizzly Bears

Natural events — wildfires, floods, windstorms — often leave behind obvious marks on the landscapes they touch. Charred trees and scorched meadows, washed out trails, and swaths of fallen trees are some of the reminders of these powerful forces. The impacts wrought by other naturally occurring events and cycles are not always so easy to discern.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Salmon of the Pacific Northwest

Life is not easy for salmon in the Pacific Northwest. They’re born inland, usually in a stream far from the ocean. Then, when they’re old enough, they have to swim all the way to the ocean, hopefully timing it right so there will be plenty to eat when they arrive. Some years later, if they’ve managed to avoid the Pacific’s predators, they have to retrace that journey to return to where they were born so they can mate. And then they die.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide for a Warming World -- Coral Reefs

Neon-hued parrotfish. Graceful angelfish the size of dinner platters. Delicate sponges that sway in the currents. Coral communities teeming with colorful marine life. Our fascination with the oceans and their denizens has led Congress to include within the National Park System some of the nation’s most incredible and beautiful marine ecosystems. Ninety-five percent of Biscayne National Park, for instance, is underwater.

Climate Change and National Parks: A Survival Guide For a Warming World

The effects of climate change have been visible for years in our national parks. Glaciers are disappearing faster than scientists had predicted even a few years ago. Native trees and animals are losing ground because changing temperature and weather patterns are making the availability of food, water and shelter less certain.

Interior Department Releases Study That Tracks Decline Of Glaciers in Alaska and Washington State

A half-century worth of data on glacial advance and retreat released by the Interior Department clearly illustrates how climate change is affecting these rivers of ice in Alaska and Washington state.

Scientists: Climate Change Seems Responsible for A Loss of Large-Diameter Trees in Yosemite National Park

Climate change with its warmer and drier seasons appears to be responsible for a decline in large-diameter trees across much of Yosemite National Park, according to a recently released study.
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Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Eleven Greenpeace members were arrested Wednesday for mounting a protest on the granite presidential faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial to urge President Obama to "show real leadership on global warming."

Don't Take National Park Landscapes for Granted

How comfortable have we become with national park settings? With the big sweep of granite that frames the Yosemite Valley, with Old Faithful's not-quite-so-faithful demonstrations of steam and hot water, with the fall's colorful deciduous forests of Great Smoky and Shenandoah?

Endangered Species Day, What Have We Lost, What Might We Lose In the National Parks?

For many going to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge is a town they pass en route to the park. Others spot the Pigeon River, or even spend a day rafting it during their stay. The pigeon that influenced these place names no longer darts through the skies nor perches in the forests. It's extinct.

Rocky Mountain National Park Crews Battling Bark Beetles With Insecticide

To what lengths should national parks go to combat climate change? Do such efforts run contrary to the National Park Service's mission, to let natural processes run their course? And in some cases, are those efforts akin to turning back a flood with a rake?

NPCA Launching "Do Your Part!" Program To Encourage You to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Regardless of whether you believe climate change is being driven by human causes, efforts to see a reduction in greenhouse gases and other pollutants can only benefit society. To help you reduce your own "carbon footprint," the National Parks Conservation Association is launching a public awareness campaign.

Are Yellowstone National Park's Grizzlies Changing Denning Habits Due to Climate Change?

Are grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park altering their long winter's slumber due to a changing climate? Federal wildlife biologists think so, and want to take a closer look into this possibility.

NPCA: Climate Change Greatest Threat Facing the National Park System

When you think about threats to national parks, you can point to air pollution, water pollution, development on a park's boundaries, and genetic bottlenecks affecting a park's wildlife. But few people seem to think about climate change. Well, the National Parks Conservation Association wants you to start thinking about it.

Climate Change and Coral Bleaching: Changing the Seascape of Virgin Islands National Park

Forget what you might have heard about polar bears being the first species to gain Endangered Species Act protection due to climate change. Two species of coral lay claim to that unfortunate distinction.

Lecture Series On Yellowstone Ecosystem and Climate Change On Tap

A series of discussions on how climate change could impact the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is coming to Big Sky, Montana, in the weeks ahead.

Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?

Back in 1925 Glacier Bay National Monument was established, in part, to protect "a number of tidewater glaciers ... in a magnificent setting of lofty peaks ..." Well, as these photos show, those glaciers are slip-sliding away.

NRDC Calls For Endangered Species Act Protection for Whitebark Pine Tree

While most often we hear about fish, bird, or animal species needing Endangered Species Act protection, today a group is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend that protection to a tree, the whitebark pine.
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National Parks the World Over are Preparing for Climate Change

Devils Postpile, Middle Fork of San Joaquin River. Kurt Repanshek photo.
Climate change is global. No one country or hemisphere has a monopoly on calmer or stormier weather, on drier or wetter climates, on higher or lower lake, sea, and river levels. While here in the United States the National Park Service is trying to confront the change, on the far side of the world another country is doing what it can to protect its parks from climate change.