Global warming threatens the health of New Hampshire’s lakes and streams

New Hampshire has about 1,000 lakes and ponds and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, but global warming is beginning to threaten some waterways. find negative impacts on New Hampshire’s freshwater ecosystem. “We’re seeing an increase in cyanobacterial blooms in New Hampshire, and that’s likely a cause of nutrients and temperatures,” said Amanda McQuaid, ecotoxicology specialist and professor of lake ecology at the University of New Hampshire. . University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.>>Interactive: Climate Change and New HampshireMcQuaid said bacteria are increasingly prevalent in New Hampshire lakes and ponds, a trend that will continue.”We could expect to see an increase in cyanobacteria in New Hampshire if we see a significant increase in warming temperatures,” she said. Along with the temperature increase, New Hampshire is also experiencing more storms with The average annual rainfall in Concord over the past 30 years is greater than any 30-year period dating back to 1901. Andrea LaMoreaux, president of New Hampshire Lakes, said rain plays a role in the increase in the amount of bacteria in the State of the Lakes.” When we have these big storms, we have more water running off the ground, and this pollution and this so They enter our lakes and basically contribute to the growth of bacteria,” she said. soil and pollution from lakes. “Do simple things on your property, like have lots of vegetation to absorb rainwater and hold the soil in place,” LaMoreaux said. “These are simple things anyone can do to help minimize polluted runoff.” “As the climate warms and becomes more similar to the southern part of the country, some of these plants and animals will start surviving here in our lakes, causing all kinds of ecological problems,” LaMoreaux said. Speaking of animals, as water temperatures climb, New Hampshire’s freshwater fish also face challenges. John Magee, fish habitat biologist for New Hampshire Fish & Game, said streams and lakes could become unsuitable for cold-water fish. “We are particularly interested in wild brook trout,” Magee said. “Essentially, in some places, they’re very likely going to go extinct. The water is going to get too hot for them, and those populations are going to just disappear. At a minimum, those populations will be reduced.” According to many model predictions, New Hampshire can expect drier summers and longer periods without thunderstorms. Recent dry patches are already having an impact. “We’ve done a lot of work where we’ve done our standard work surveys, and we go back to a creek a few years later, and it’s completely dry,” Magee said. “The years just before that there was a very strong and apparently healthy population of wild brook trout.”

New Hampshire has about 1,000 lakes and ponds and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, but global warming is beginning to threaten some waterways.

Many granite staters enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating in lakes, ponds, and rivers, but as the climate warms, scientists are seeing negative impacts on New Hampshire’s freshwater ecosystem.

“We’re seeing an increase in cyanobacteria blooms in New Hampshire, and that’s likely a cause of nutrients and temperatures,” said Amanda McQuaid, ecotoxicologist and professor of lake ecology at the University of New Hampshire. Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

>> Interactive: Climate Change and New Hampshire

McQuaid said the bacteria are becoming more prevalent in New Hampshire lakes and ponds, a trend that will continue.

“We might expect to see an increase in cyanobacteria in New Hampshire if we see a significant increase in warming temperatures,” she said.

Along with rising temperatures, New Hampshire is also experiencing more storms with higher rainfall. The average annual rainfall in Concord over the past 30 years is greater than any previous 30-year period dating back to 1901.

Andrea LaMoreaux, president of New Hampshire Lakes, said rain plays a role in increasing the amount of bacteria in the state’s lakes.

“When we have these bigger storms, we have more water running off the ground, and that pollution and that soil gets into our lakes and basically helps bacteria grow,” she said.

There are a few small steps every homeowner can take to help keep added soil and pollution from entering the lakes.

“Do simple things on your property, like have lots of vegetation to absorb that rainwater and hold the soil in place,” LaMoreaux said. “These are simple things anyone can do to help minimize this polluted runoff.”

Invasive plants such as watermilfoil are also becoming more common, as the warmer water provides a good environment for growth.

“As the climate warms and becomes more similar to the southern part of the country, some of these plants and animals will start surviving here in our lakes, causing all kinds of ecological problems,” LaMoreaux said.

Speaking of animals, as water temperatures climb, New Hampshire’s freshwater fish also face challenges. John Magee, fish habitat biologist for New Hampshire Fish & Game, said streams and lakes could become unsuitable for cold-water fish.

“We are particularly interested in wild brook trout,” Magee said. “Essentially, in some places, they’re very likely going to go extinct. The water is going to get too hot for them, and those populations are going to just disappear. At a minimum, those populations will be reduced.”

According to many model predictions, New Hampshire can expect drier summers and longer periods without thunderstorms. Recent dry patches are already having an impact.

“We’ve done a lot of work where we’ve done our standard work surveys, and we come back to a creek a few years later, and it’s completely dry,” Magee said. “The years just before that there was a very strong and apparently healthy population of wild brook trout.”

LaMoreaux said Granite Staters can do little things to help, like adding native plants to their backyard.

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