Climate Change Program

Introduction
Once thought of as a future problem, there is a growing body of evidence linking climate change with changes in fish and wildlife and their habitats. Nevada is experiencing the effects of climate change in a number of ways; some of which are more difficult to measure than others. Climate change predictions for Nevada include:
  • Increased temperatures
  • Warmer winter storms
  • Earlier spring snowmelt
  • Lower spring-summer streamflows
  • Increased storm severity
  • Increase in severity and frequency of wildfires
  • Increase in invasive species
Recent Projects
  • Nevada’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) revision was published in 2012. The revision was completed to incorporate the potential impacts of emerging and expanding stressors – climate change, accelerated energy development, disease, and invasive species – on the state’s fish, wildlife, and habitats. As a member of the SWAP team, NNHP played a key role during the revision process. NNHP’s primary role included species-level climate change vulnerability assessments using the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI). The CCVI is a cost-effective, rapid assessment tool used to assess the relative vulnerability of species to climate change. It uses a scoring system that aims to calculate if a species population will decline, remain stable, or increase in the context of climate change, and also highlights the factors that contribute most (or least) to a species’ vulnerability. NNHP assessed over 300 species, the results of which can be found at the links to the left. More than 250 of these species were deemed SWAP Species of Conservation Priority. The assessment results inform land managers of the primary factors contributing to climate change vulnerability in Nevada, and flag species for which specific management actions could promote greater resilience to continuing changes in climate.
Future Projects
  • Continue using the CCVI to assess all Tracking and Watch List species
  • Expand the use of the CCVI to Nevada's rare plants and common plant and animal species.

  • Kristin Szabo

 

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