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Impacts on Freshwater Species and Habitats

Impacts of a changing climate on freshwater species and habitats are likely to produce the following ecological consequences:

  • Sex ratios of some turtles, alligators and crocodiles may become skewed if animals cannot adapt to changing temperature patterns.
  • Nest failures of American crocodiles, alligators, and other land-nesting aquatic animals may increase as intensity and frequency of storms, flooding, or fire events increase.
  • Seasonal streams and wetlands decrease due to longer, drier periods, reducing habitat for wetland wildlife.
  • Loss of freshwater habitat connectivity due to longer, drier periods.
  • Increased fish kill and loss of aquatic species diversity due to declines in dissolved oxygen in streams, lakes and wetlands.
  • Reduced or eliminated stream flow and biological diversity of wetland species due to reduced groundwater recharge and increase in groundwater pumping (depleting aquifers) as humans manipulate water resources.
  • Changes in aquatic invertebrates (animals without backbones) that dwell on or in the bottom sediments of tidal rivers and streams due to increased penetration of saltwater (e.g., clams, crayfish and a wide variety of worms).