Climate Change Effects on the Hudson River Watershed

by Asia Rose

            Climate change has been of increasing concern across the planet. The Hudson River Watershed has been tremendously impacted as a result of climate change. The Hudson River is the backbone of many towns and hundreds of thousands of people would be impacted if it were to become unusable. Due to the complexity of the river’s ecosystem, it will take a large amount of planning to see what can be done to put a reverse to this matter as much as possible before it is irreversible.

            The Hudson River has experienced several challenges as a result to climate change. First, the watershed has become much warmer throughout the last 60 years. As a consequence, certain fish species such as tomcod and rainbow smelt have decreased in numbers. A variety of local amphibians have also experienced some hardships. Their breeding patterns have stared up to two weeks earlier than they were over 100 years ago. Landscape

has also been affected as a result of climate change. The sea level in the New York Harbor is 15 inches higher today than it was in 1850. Valley causing flooding to thousands of people.

Flooding is causing an increase in commercial and agricultural runoff, further polluting the Hudson and its surrounding tributaries.   This would cause loss of tidal wetlands along the Hudson River and essentially increase migration from the New York City metro area to the Hudson Valley, resulting in additional developmental pressure on open space. Flooding will begin to increase as climate change increases. The average rainfall has been increasing and snow cover are already decreasing. However, due to climate change, heat waves have also become an issue leaving residents with short-term droughts which have been  impacting agriculture and human health

 Algae blooms are also on the list of rising concerns as a result of climate change. Warmer temperatures have given algae the opportunity to thrive as phosphorus is increased as a consequence of the warmer temperatures. Toxic algae can

cause gastrointestinal and neurological damage in people. They’re a threat not only to our health, but to our water-focused businesses and drinking supplies as well. 

Overall, climate change has had some serious impacts on many watersheds, including the Hudson River. It is important that we acknowledge the problems associated with climate change and attempt to develop solutions to those problems before it is too late. 

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