Climate Change Impacts

Climate Change Impacts at the MNRRA 

Key climate change impacts considered for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) include: 

  • Increased temperatures, especially at night, and increased precipitation in heavier rain and flooding events 
  • Increased drought stress in the summer and dramatic decreases in snow water equivalent 
Increases in precipitation and flooding events are a key climate change concern at the MNRRA
Increases in heavy precipitation and flooding events are key climate change concerns at the MNRRA; Photo Credit: Courtney Peterson, Colorado State University

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives in ash-elm floodplain forest ecosystems, like those in the MNRRA, including:

Challenges

  • Tree species currently found in the MNRRA are expected to see reduced habitat suitability under climate change, including northern white cedar, black willow, silver maple, cottonwood, and boxelder 
  • Ash species are declining due to emerald ash borer and are expected to largely disappear from the forest canopy 

 Opportunities

  • Some tree species are expected to have increased habitat suitability under climate change, including bur oak, swamp white oak, hackberry, American elm, and red mulberry
  • Habitat suitability for honey locust, sycamore, and swamp white oak is also projected to increase (currently found in similar floodplain forests in southern Minnesota and Iowa)