Thank you to The Durango Herald for your article “Rising water temperatures threaten fish populations” (Aug. 13). We need to be reminded of how a warming climate is impacting our local area. As drought and water temperatures rise, habitat would be reduced and certain stretches could undergo ecological collapse, said Duncan Rose, director of the Dolores River Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited.
The Climate Reality Project summarized the four ways the climate crisis is impacting Colorado:
Heat. Colorado temperatures have increased two degrees in the last 30 years. Increased heat translates to higher energy use from air-conditioning, and potential energy system stress. Like COVID-19, excessive heat can aggravate existing human health conditions such as respiratory issues and heart disease.
Snowpack and Drought. We depend on abundant snow for winter recreation. Spring melt runoff fills our lakes and streams, supplying irrigation and residential water use. Shorter, warmer winters threaten our local tourism economy and agriculture.
Wildfires. Hotter, dryer conditions are increasing the frequency and severity of wildfire damage in the Rocky Mountains. In 2013, Colorado was listed as the third-most wildfire-prone state in the U.S.
All this can seem like depressing news, but the future is not written yet. We can take action. We can urge our representatives to sponsor smart climate legislation that reduces carbon emissions. We can vote in November for candidates who prioritize climate policy.
Collective action now will save more than fish populations. It can protect our health, agriculture, tourism and future.