A new report released by the U.S. Forest Service highlights the critical role Idaho’s rivers play in providing refuge for imperiled fish species in a warming world.
The report, called Climate Shield, was released March 1 and was produced by the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station.
“Road building, logging, mining, dam building and development have drastically reduced the amount of suitable habitat for these native fish, and climate change is causing further stress,” said IRU’s Liz Paul. “The message is clear. If Idahoans want native trout in our rivers we need to restore damaged rivers and protect existing refuges.”
The Climate Shield project includes publically accessible high-definition maps and a digital database with crowd-sourced data on stream temperatures and fish populations to identify critical watersheds and streams. The data, compiled from dozens of agencies, shows that many Idaho watersheds—including the Boise, Payette, Salmon, Clearwater, St. Joe and Priest—can provide refuge for native trout if they’re protected.
“The members of Idaho Rivers United care deeply about preserving healthy populations of native cutthroat and bull trout,” Paul said. “Climate Shield data strengthens the case for increasing public land protection to prevent road building, clear cutting, open-pit mining and other harmful activities in these critical watersheds.”