Wednesday October 19, 2022


Persistent drought in the West has helped bring climate change to the forefront of the public consciousness. Indicia of a warming planet—relentless heatwaves, drained reservoirs, and raging forest fires—have applied pressure to humans and their environment, prompting discussions about the long-term sustainability of a fossil fuel-based economy.

What may be forgotten in these discussions is how climate change affects fish and aquatic ecosystems. Warming rivers and streams, water storage and diversion practices, and other impacts have led to a decades-long decline that threatens the survival of many Western fish populations.

Water in the West visiting researcher Eric Palkovacs is writing a book that explores the challenges associated with balancing water needs of fish and people, and how the West can move toward a more sustainable water future. Below, the University of California Santa Cruz professor of ecology and evolutionary biology discusses existential threats facing migratory fishes and why it’s important to save them from extinction.

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