Global Warming and Climate Change: Effects on Streams and
Eugene P. Macri Jr.
The effects of global warming and climate changes on streams and rivers are massive and
deadly. Unfortunately, the religious nuts, tea baggers, the Koch Brothers, Exxon and other industries have
done a good job of muddying the waters or putting noise into the system which makes it unintelligible to a dim
witted American public. Add to this mess, the likes of Fox news and the scientific illiterate Mainstream Media, and
you get our present situation. In America as I have stated previously everyone thinks they are a scientist.
This is the nation where Senators and Congressmen brag about their scientific illiteracy. It's 2015 and we are
still fighting Galileo's and Darwin's battles: Separation of Church and State; and Evolution. So it comes to no
surprise that Global Warming and Climate Change is some evil plot dreamed up by scientists to destroy those "God
This is the view held by these genuses. Many of these people including our politicians believe the
earth is around 6000 years old and that dinosaurs walked the earth with man! Nevertheless, global warming and
climate change continues just like evolution whether you believe in it or not. Over the last thirty years a number
of things have occurred on our rivers and streams which are the results of these changes.
Effects of Global Warming And Climate Change On Streams and
Rivers: Temperatures, Drought, Cumulative Damage and Synergism
The Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania was at one time one of the best Smallmouth Bass rivers in the
country but no more. The biogeochemical soup which enters the river from the air, water and
land combined with the synergistic effects of low water volume and temperature increases have
had dire consequences for the river. One of the main ways that rivers deal with pollution is by dilution.
However, when the water volume is low due to climatic changes as well as temperature increases, concentration of
toxins, endocrine disruptors and bacteria cause havoc. For example, common bacteria that would not normally
be a problem become a problem due to lower volumes of water and higher temperatures that increase
their concentrations. They damage the immune system of fish. Fish do not have an immune system like a mammal.
Other perturbations such as the accumulation of methyl mercury act as a one two punch against the fish.
Another problem is that species that once inhabited certain streams have disappeared due to
the increase in stream temperatures. Many trout streams are doomed in the next ten years as these trends
continue. In some streams the extreme drought kills the majority of trout in the summer due to these
Insect populations are declining on streams due to the cumulative effects of
pollution, drought and temperature changes. On the famed British Chalkstreams the riverkeepers estimate that
they have lost 65% of their insect populations. My own analysis from Pennsylvania spring creeks puts their
loss at over 75%.
Global Climate Change is a world wide problem and it will affect everyone economically, socially,
and environmentally whether you believe in it or not. No one will be spared and chaos will ensue. Trout
streams are especially important because they are the "canary in the coal mine."