Dartmouth researchers document climate change impacts on streams

HANOVER, N.H. (WCAX) Climate change is impacting rivers and streams according to new research at Dartmouth College.

The study analyzed air temperatures and water temperatures over a ten-year period. It found warmer air temperatures are a prominent driver of changes in water temperature. Officials say that could have implications for freshwater ecosystems across the nation by harming mayflies, stoneflies, and other invertebrates that support fish like native brook trout. The study was a collaborative effort spearheaded by Dartmouth College.

"Scientists at Dartmouth, working with New Hampshire Fish and Game, and also a lot of support from Trout Unlimited. So it is really exciting to work with a bunch of different stake holders and try to figure out what the impacts of rising stream temperatures will be on fish an other organisms," said Lauren Culler, a Dartmouth researcher.

There has been a push in Vermont to lower brook trout catch limits because of potential impacts of climate change. But Fish and Wildlife officials say brook trout are as abundant today as they were 50 to 60 years ago.