Jessica Sieff | November 25, 2018
Indiana’s aquatic ecosystems account for close to 6 percent of the state. Rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds make up an estimated 575,000 acres, or 2.3 percent of the Hoosier state, while 3.5 percent, an estimated 815,000 acres, is covered by wetlands.
Industries such as agriculture, transportation, and recreation all benefit from the health and stability of Indiana’s freshwaters. Now a new report released by the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment (IN CCIA) suggests that with warmer temperatures and increases in precipitation, effective management and conservation of the state’s freshwater ecosystems will be vital for the organisms that live within them to adapt to climate change.
“The lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands that make up Indiana’s freshwater habitats are home to countless plant and animal species that are critical to the health and functioning of these systems. They are also key to their ability to respond and adapt to future changes in climate,” said Jennifer Tank, Galla Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and director of the Environmental Change Initiative. “Conservation and management of these systems is vital not only to protect plants and wildlife but the state’s economy as well.”
Tank is one of more than 100 researchers and experts who have contributed to the IN CCIA, a collaboration being led by the Purdue University Climate Change Research Center. The report addresses nine areas of impact to the state as a result of climate change, including agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water resources, forest and urban ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, tourism and recreation, and health.
Read more here.