Climate Change Program

Nevada is experiencing the effects of climate change in a number of ways and the impacts are varied across the state. Climate science predictions for Nevada include:

  • Increased average temperatures and increased frequency and severity of heat waves
  • Increased frequency and intensity of drought
  • Warmer winter storms causing decreased snowpack
  • Earlier spring snowmelt leading to lower spring-summer streamflow
  • Increased storm severity creating more frequent flooding
  • Increased severity and frequency of wildfires leading to increased invasive species

Predicted environmental impacts include:

  • Species range shifts and possilbe local extinctions
  • Drought impacts to plants
  • Limited water availability for plants and wildlife
  • Increased erosion in riparian systems
  • Increased cheatgrass
  • Loss of forested areas

Early in 2019, Nevada became the 23rd state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance. Just a few months later, Senate Bill 254 was signed into law by the Nevada legislature requiring statewide geenhouse gas emissions reductions of 28% by 2025 and 45% by 2030 (relative to 2005 emissions) and Governor Sisolak signed Executive Order 2019-22. The results of these actions formed the Nevada Climate Initiative, Nevada Climate Strategy, and mandated annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories

Recent Projects

Quantifying Carbon Sequestration in Nevada's Rangelands: With funding from the U.S. Climate Alliance, NDNH contracted The Nature Conservancy to create an updated non-native annual species percent cover map, estimate the net amount of carbon stored per acre through restoration of non-native annual species to perennial vegetation, and estimate the cost of storing net carbon through restoration per map pixel in an area of interest that includes the Great Basin and portions of the Mojave Desert. The final report can be downloaded here. A summary of the project, Carbon Sequestration in Degraded Intemountain West Rangelands, United States (Provencher et al. 2023) was published in Rangeland Ecology & Management and can be accessed here.

Past 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, NDNH played a key role during the revision process. NDNH’s primary role included conducting more than 300 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. 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.
CCVI Results Sorted by Taxonomic Group/Scientific Name
CCVI Results Sorted by Taxonomic Group/Common Name
CCVI Results Sorted by CCVI Score/Taxonomic Group/Scientific Name

Staff Members

  • Kristin Szabo