Senate Explores Climate Impacts to Sportsmen and Wildlife

Moose with calf
Moose are being negatively impacted by higher temperatures and greater tick populations. Photo by Philippe Henry/NWF photo contest
We already know that global warming is negatively impacting coastal fishing industries, big game species, and outdoor recreation. Every day, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts across the country are coping with the effects of climate change. Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing, “Farming, Fishing, Forestry and Hunting in an Era of Climate Change” which looked into the effects that climate change is having on hunting and outdoor industry.

While many Republicans on the committee were fixated on ardently denying proven climate science, Democrats like Senators Merkley, Tester, and Whitehouse, expressed concern over the serious impacts of climate change. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe testified and spoke about how climate change has caused harm to species valued by sportsmen. As he explained, big game are experiencing more diseases and cold-water trout are being displaced by fish better adapted to warmer waters. And Senator Tester drove home the fact that climate change is already having devastating impacts on farmers and to communities on the ground.

Ttrout are the indicator species of cold water stream health, and are expected to lose much of their habitat due to climate change. Photo by Fish Eye Guy (
Trout are expected to lose much of their habitat due to climate change. Photo by Fish Eye Guy
Increasingly severe drought, rising temperatures and greater weather extremes all pose a threat to wildlife species. For instance, the moose calves in New Hampshire suffered a 64% mortality rate this winter, as ticks took over in the warmer weather. The fish and shellfish industry has already been significantly impacted by fossil fuel pollution. In fact, a new report finds that the fishing industry is poised to loose anywhere between $17 and $41 billion dollars by 2050 due to climate change’s effect on marine environment. The fish and shellfish industry is a huge employer and source of economic revenue for coastal states from the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest.

But we can combat these changes to our climate and outdoor industries. Just this week, the Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama released the long-awaited carbon rules for existing power plants. These rules are the biggest step any U.S. President has taken to addressing the threat of climate change. Along with alleviating asthma and limiting premature deaths due to air pollution, the rules will help to save wildlife and habitat from the threat of climate change.

Take ActionClimate change is plaguing our farmers, hunters and anglers. Outdoor industries and sportsmen across the country are struggling to adapt to a warmer world. Speak up now: tell the EPA that you support their action on climate and the positive impact it will have on sportsmen across the country!