Evaluating the vulnerability of freshwater habitats to effects of climate change in the Cariboo-Chilcotin

This project directly addresses the 2008 priority activity “Development of strategies to identify/cope with the impacts of climate change”.

Given our general understanding of the adverse effects of climate change on freshwater habitats (e.g., increases in water temperature, reductions in summer low flows, etc), it is critical that we develop strategies to help salmon cope with these changes wherever possible. Developing intelligent coping strategies, however, requires that we make decisions using detailed information so we know where to act, when to act, and how significantly to act, thereby avoiding wastage of precious time, money, and people’s energy. An evaluation of the vulnerability of freshwater habitats to climate change is a critical first step to providing decision makers with that detailed information. This project represents the first broad-scale assessment of climate change vulnerabilities across the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Additional efforts are needed to help regional decision makers use this information and decide what they will do differently today for the benefit of human communities and salmon populations in the future.