Brook trout and climate change a bad combination for Pennsylvania fishermen
Many of our readers flat-out don't believe in climate change and it greatly annoys some to see stories among our news mix reporting about the possibility and potential effects. I have even been advised by an editor friend to exclude all stories and commentary about global warming from our newspaper to avoid rankling unbelievers.
Honestly, I don't know what to believe these days but I keep an open mind because, as a professional science writer, I write often about peer-reviewed, published research, and occasionally that includes studies related to climate change. We are running one of those pieces, about the impact of warming waters on brook trout habitat, in the Aug. 28 issue.
You can get a sneak peek at the story online at http://news.psu.edu/story/366131/2015/08/20/research/trout-fishermen-climate-change-will-mean-more-driving-time-less. If it does get warmer in Pennsylvania and the East in coming decades, the effect on the range of the eastern brook trout will be significant, according to Penn State researchers.
Whether you believe in (or even are open to the possibility) that the climate will warm in the next 75 or so years, I think the story is a good read (and I'm not saying that just because I wrote it). Most of us won't be around to see it, but the thought of wild brook trout disappearing from the mountain streams of the region is troubling, to say the least.
Looking back on my own personal experience, it was my early adventures on the mountain creeks of central Pennsylvania and the Northern Tier of the Keystone State chasing wild brook trout, that rarely exceeded 9 inches, that shaped a life-long obsession with fly-fishing and even a long career as an outdoor, environmental and science writer.
Wild brookies played a major role in my life. The idea of their range shrinking so much that they would be rare in Pennsylvania is unthinkable to me.
And while we are talking about climate change, here is a link to a research story I wrote recently that is too "aggy" for the pages of Outdoor News.http://news.psu.edu/story/364787/2015/08/04/research/feed-supplement-greatly-reduces-dairy-cow-methane-emissions).
I realize that the concept of needing to prevent cow burps to prevent global warming will send some folks over the edge, but you have to admit the story describes novel research.