Watersheds

A watershed is a basin, or a land area that collects and delivers water to a central point. Water moves through a watershed through soils, streams and rivers from upper elevations to lower elevations, and exists at an outflow such as a stream, river, lake, or the ocean. Watersheds are complex and unique containing different topographies, soils, vegetation and land-uses. Watersheds are affected by climate changes that are altering the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water. The cumulative impacts of past land-uses, water withdrawals, and disturbances in a watershed are all exacerbated by climate changes. Changes vary by scale and location in a watershed, but affect the management of downstream uses, and may present challenges to those seeking to manage watersheds for water quality or supply; protection of cultural resources; biodiversity; productive timber; recreation; or the provision of habitat for wildlife and rare species.

Extreme Precipitation and Trends There is clear evidence that precipitation in the Northeast is more intense than it was in the past. The increase in the Northeast has been greater than any other region in the U.S. (Figure 1). Between 1901 and 2014, total annual precipitation…

Taking action now can help forested watersheds prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. Forested watersheds improve water quality and enhance water storage, naturally regulate streamflows, reduce flood damages and stormwater runoff, replenish groundwater and provide a myriad…

Growing Season Length Warmer temperatures have resulted in a longer freeze-free season and longer growing season across the region (Frumhoff et al. 2007, Kunkel et al. 2013). The freeze-free season, which is the period between the last occurrence of 32 °F in the spring and the…

Traditional and indigenous knowledge and perspectives have not often been recognized in climate adaptation planning efforts focused on natural resources. The Northern Forests Climate Hub is collaborating with regional tribal partners to address this gap, and collaborating to…

Dibaginjigaadeg Anishinaabe Ezhitwaad - A Tribal Climate Adaptation Menu and resources.   Climate change has impacted and will continue to impact indigenous peoples, their lifeways and culture, and the natural world upon which they rely, in unpredictable and potentially…

The Environmental Law & Policy Center, in concert with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, commissioned the following scientists and experts to produce this report to educate policymakers and the public about the significant changes affecting the Great Lakes, and the…

Research at dairy farms in Vermont shows how management practices can affect water quality, economics, and greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is a common land use for the well-drained and productive soils of Vermont’s Winooski floodplain. Intense rain and flooding events are…

In the Northeast, climate trends include more rain and more frequent heavy rain events. In addition, warming temperatures may increase insect growth rates, making the region more hospitable to existing pests and potentially to new pests. Altogether, these patterns will increase…