National Study Identifies Little Sioux River Watershed As "Resilient To Climate Change"

Fri 10-9-2020

(Undated)-- A recently completed study has identified the landscapes in several watersheds, including that of the Little Sioux River, as being resilient in a changing climate. Amy Crouch of The Nature Conservancy of Iowa tells KUOO news the multi-year assessment was conducted by scientists from around the country...Amy Crouch01 

"Well the study was conducted throughout the United States in the contiguous 48 states and it took the country region by region and determined what factors made for a climate resilient landscape in those different areas, and the Little Sioux Watershed was one that stood out to have a lot of the factors that made it resilient with a climate changing climate."

Crouch says there are a number of factors that need to be met in order to be considered a resilient landscape...Amy Crouch02 

"The amount of remaining prairie and wetlands and oak woodlands is a huge factor. Also there are a lot of lands that are connected like along the river and through pasture to pasture. That connectivity is very important for migratory birds and for the animals that live here year-round, too."

Crouch says a lot of the characteristics of the Little Sioux River Watershed were formed 10,000 years ago by glaciers. She says it's going to be crucial to protect those features in the future...Amy Crouch03 

"Definitely. And that's not taking things out of private ownership and putting them in public ownership, necessarily. That can be a tool, but one of the huge tools is just getting private land owners to kind of understand some of the uniqueness of the area and work with conservation people such as Natural Resource Conservation Service and others to help preserve what we have. It's very compatible with the agricultural system that we have and it's beneficial to both the ag system and the natural system."

The Little Sioux River Watershed covers about 1.5 million acres.