Montana’s Resilient Fishing Economy Tested by Climate Change

Bozeman, Mont. (AP) — Montana’s fishing economy has proven resilient to the effects of drought, but new research shows that 35% of cold water habitat will be suitable for trout by 2080. No more, and the state’s annual revenue could be as high as an estimated $192 million.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Park, and the University of Montana contributed to a new study titled “Socioeconomic resilience to extreme climates in freshwater fisheries.” The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

“Trout fisheries are of great cultural, economic, and ecological importance in Montana and around the world, but even Montana’s resilient trout fisheries could be vulnerable to future climate change. ,” said USGS scientist Timothy Klein, lead author of the paper, in a news release.

Cline and authors Clint Muhlfeld, Ryan Kovach, Robert Al-Chokhachy, David Schmetterling, Diane Whited, and Abigail Lynch used recreational monitoring data from the Montana FWP to determine how climate change affected state rivers between 1983 and 2017. We analyzed how it affected 3,100 miles.

They suggest that the overall concentration of anglers has doubled in that 34-year period, and that severe drought conditions have turned currents downward and warmed water temperatures, and how the pressure of fishing is distributed across the landscape. I found that it made a big impact on me.

As temperatures rose and flow decreased in certain rivers, anglers flocked to other areas where the water was cooler. These cold water segments supported ten times as many anglers as he did the warm water segments, most of them coming from out of state.

“By moving to other fishing grounds that are more favorable during droughts, visitors have maintained income from trout fishing within the state rather than choosing to travel elsewhere,” Klein said in a press release. “Trout fishing in Montana is very resilient to changing conditions,” the release said.

In contrast, resident anglers are less willing to travel to other areas in response to the drought, and even when conditions are stressing the trout, they are still fishing along rivers near their homes. They often continued fishing.

While Montana’s fishing economy has shown resilience during past periods of drought, particularly in the late 1980s, early 2000s, and 2017, Klein predicts a warmer climate over the next few decades. He said he expects new challenges to arise as the industry evolves.

“Montana’s fisheries are famous for trout, and trout need cold, clean, connected habitat to survive,” he said. “Many of these attributes are changing rapidly as the climate warms.”

Trout typically require water with temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Other species tend to thrive when temperatures rise, Cline said.

Studies show that about 35% of Montana’s cold water habitat could be unsuitable for trout by 2080, and this loss could jeopardize 30% of current angler spending. there is. This represents approximately 21% of the region’s total annual fishing economy. .

A significant portion of the cold water habitat has allowed anglers to continue fishing for trout even when other major rivers are closed. Maintaining as many of these features in the landscape as possible will help ensure that the fishing economy remains stable.

“When we think of the most productive rivers, we think of places like Madison and Blackfoot, but under stressful conditions like drought, anglers need to find other opportunities.

Small, cold habitats such as groundwater-fed streams are important but often overlooked.

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