GREATER YELLOWSTONE COALITION
America's Voice for a Greater Yellowstone!
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GYC strongly supports legislation that is introduced in the U.S. Congress, calling for protections for East Rosebud Creek, a spectacular stream that rushes off the granite shoulders of the Beartooth Mountains through undulating ranchlands. East Rosebud is a stronghold for native cutthroat trout.

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HOME > Issues > Climate
Climate Change: A Greater Yellowstone overview

Overview: As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone has long stood as a beacon of conservation success. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has kept the 20 million acre ecosystem largely intact, with a full complement of native wildlife species. Keeping the ecosystem — with Yellowstone National Park at its core — healthy and intact has never been easy, and now we find ourselves facing a new challenge: climate change.

Rapid changes in climate are occurring in Greater Yellowstone and are impacting wildlife and their habitats. Already we know that average July temperatures at Mammoth Hot Springs were 3.5 degrees warmer during the last decade than in the 1940s. Peak spring runoff in many of Greater Yellowstone’s rivers is occurring 10 to 20 days earlier; and studies show that by 2050 the Yellowstone River between Livingston and Laurel, Mont. — one of the world’s great trout streams — will likely become a warm-water fishery. Whitebark pine, a critical late-season food source for the grizzly bear, has suffered die-offs approaching a staggering 85 percent. Each day we learn more about how climate impacts everything from the growth of wetland plants to the reproductive success of wolverines.

Goals: The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is committed to ensuring the lands, waters, and wildlife of Greater Yellowstone has the best chance possible to adapt and flourish.  Reducing existing stressors, restoring degraded habitats, and allowing wildlife the chance to move and migrate to suitable locations will all play an important role in this effort. Our goal is to ensure that this incomparable place continues to shine as a beacon for conservation – even in a time of global climate change.

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OVERVIEW
  • Weather – the state of the atmosphere at any given time and place, for the next few days up to a month.
  • Climate – long-term meteorological conditions that prevail in a region, with a decade as the minimum span of averages.
  • Most monitoring stations in Northern Rockies show a 2-4°F increase in temperature over last 100 years.
  • Snowpack in Greater Yellowstone is decreasing and melting 10-20 days earlier than the historical average.
  • Cold water fish habitat is expected to decrease significantly as lower, warmer flows occur over the coming decades.
  • High elevation species with small bio-climatic envelopes are highly vulnerable and in some cases unlikely to persist (see whitebark pine).