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Climate and Drought

Climate Change and Wildlife

Click the Fluent Water Facts below to learn more about Colorado's climate.

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Wildlife May Need to Change Habit and Habitat

Climate change is likely to affect entire ecosystems, especially since many depend on water stored and gradually released from snow. Under a changing climate, snow will melt earlier, stressing sensitive species and enabling others to move in. This stress increases vulnerability to threats like insects, disease, and fire.

During droughts, grasslands shift species compositions to favor those that are suited to warmer temperatures and less precipitation. Mountain forests will shift composition as well. As temperatures rise, plants that require cooler temperatures must seek them at higher elevations, crowding those above them. High-elevation communities risk being squeezed out.

Animals must also adapt to changing habitats. As ecosystems shift, they must be able to move with them. Human activities, such as cities and roads, may hinder the necessary migration. Less water is particularly threatening for fish – many species require specific depths and temperatures to thrive. Less water in rivers threatens these species, making them vulnerable to increased competition from other, sometimes non-native, species.

Plants and animals will seek to adapt to climate changes as they have in the past, but rapid changes will challenge their ability to keep up.

WEco Climate Resources

Guide to Colorado Climate Change presents a range of contemporary climate change information written by experts. Take a look.

Water 101 Sheets are one-page references available for download and distribution. Explore the basics of drought, and wildfire or read various water conservation tips through a series of fact sheets. Interested in additional resources? Find them herefact_sheetsClimate Workshop
Participants tour the National Ice Core Lab, hear how researchers study climate and what that means locally. Learn more.

Connecting the Drops Radio

Listen to a radio feature on climate change's effects on Colorado farmers, spring runoff, and irrigation.

1750 Humboldt Street, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80218