Climate Change Impacts on Rivers
Hotter, drier conditions associated with climate change are already impacting California streams and rivers. Since at least 2010, our state has seen less winter snow accumulation, earlier spring snowmelt and lower summer streamflows. Low flows in rivers and streams also intensify the impacts of pollution and sediment loading. The chain effect of less precipitation and warmer temperatures leads to lower river flows and higher water temperatures, which can lead to toxic algae outbreaks and unhealthy river conditions. The distribution and longevity of surface water flows and general decrease in water availability impacts affects fish passage and wildlife composition more broadly. This harms not only our environment, but also impacts California’s economy, communities and culture.