Wildlife & Habitat

Climate change is affecting wildlife and the habitat they depend on all across America and right here in the Northeast. Higher water temperatures in our streams and rivers, changing weather patterns, increasing water scarcity and drought, sea level rise along the Atlantic Coast, more frequent storm, increasing water scarcity and drought – these effects of the changing climate are on the rise and are affecting species and their habitat. A report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program says annual average temperature in the Northeast has increased by 2°F since 1970. As the climate continues to change, animals will be forced to adapt to the new environment, change their homes and migrate to new ones, or die.

Climate change and its effects also amplify other threats to wildlife and habitat, including land-use changes, increasing habitat fragmentation, urbanization, pollution, and human populations growth. The Service is using the best available science to understand the full impact of climate change on fish, wildlife, and plants.

piping plover

More frequent storms along the Atlantic Coast are changing beaches. This could potentially change how much habitat is available for piping plovers to build their nests. You can read more about piping plovers by clicking here.

bog turtle

The bog turtle relies on wetlands and climate change can amplify existing threats to the bog turtle’s habitat such as changes in precipitation patterns and hydrology. These changes affect the turtle by the way they nest, feed, and hibernate. Learn more about bog turtle by clicking here.

Dwarf wedge mussel

A decline in dwarf wedge mussels is on the rise due to the increase in water temperatures, precipitation, and sea level rise. Storm events threaten the survival of these species. High winds will force saline water into freshwater, creating an environment dwarf wedge mussels cannot survive in. To learn more about dwarf wedge mussels click here.

Canada lynx

Due to climate change in the Northeast region, the Canada lynx habitat will be altered by the reduction of snowfall. If snowfall decreases, there may be almost no suitable habitat in Maine where the only verifiable lynx population on the East Coast exists. Learn more about the Canada lynx by clicking here.

Eastern brook trout

Serving as indicator of health, the eastern brook trout survive only in the cleanest and coldest waters. Climate change can change the nature their habitats and put this species at risk. You can learn more about the eastern brook trout by clicking here.

cerulean warbler

Located in the mountainous Appalachian regions of West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky, cerulean warblers are losing habitat in their wintering grounds. Global warming and climate change directly contributes to habitat loss, and threatens the success of breeding populations of the cerulean warbler. You can learn more about cerulean warblers by clicking here.