Nisqually watershed and climate change in the New York Times


The New York Times recently features the Nisqually watershed and how our efforts here are planning for climate change:

For 10,000 years the Nisqually Indians have relied on chinook salmon for their very existence, but soon those roles are expected to reverse.

Based on current warming trends, climate scientists anticipate that in the next 100 years the Nisqually River will become shallower and much warmer. Annual snowpack will decline on average by half. The glacier that feeds the river, already shrunken considerably, will continue to recede.

Play the scene forward and picture a natural system run amok as retreating ice loosens rock that will clog the river, worsening flooding in winter, and a decline in snow and ice drastically diminishes the summer runoff that helps keep the river under a salmon-friendly 60 degrees.

To prepare for these and other potentially devastating changes, an unusual coalition of tribal government leaders, private partners and federal and local agencies is working to help the watershed and its inhabitants adapt. The coalition is reserving land farther in from wetlands so that when the sea rises, the marsh will have room to move as well; it is promoting hundreds of rain gardens to absorb artificially warmed runoff from paved spaces and keep it away from the river; and it is installing logjams intended to cause the river to hollow out its own bottom and create cooler pools for fish.

Read the entire piece here.