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WWF Briefing To Examine Impacts Of Climate Change On Southeast U.S. Watersheds

25 Gulf Coast Students To Participate In Hill Event

WHAT:           Congressional briefing on vulnerability of Southeast watersheds to climate change
WHEN:           10:00 – 11:15 a.m.
                       Thursday, July 10, 2008

WHERE:         210 Cannon House Office Building

SPEAKERS: 

  • Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
  • Dr. Steve McNulty, U.S. Forest Service
  • Ms. Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of Conservation Strategy and Science, World Wildlife Fund
  • The Rev. Christopher Worthley, Executive Director, Allianz Foundation for North America
  • WWF Allianz Southeast Climate Change Program students

Tomorrow, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Allianz Foundation for North America and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will host a briefing on the results of a climate change vulnerability assessment of the Cumberland, Mobile, and Tennessee River Basins. The river basins are globally unique and ecologically important, and are vital sources of clean water. The assessment comes at a time when portions of the region are experiencing exceptional drought conditions for the second consecutive year.

The vulnerability assessment indicates that climate change and increasing climatic variability will both directly and indirectly influence water quantity and quality, especially when coupled with land use changes. In addition to posing problems for the region's water users, the changes threaten the most diverse freshwater ecosystems in the United States, with hundreds of unique, threatened or endangered aquatic species. 

The assessment report, prepared by Dr. Steve McNulty of the U.S. Forest Service, was commissioned by WWF and Allianz. Dr. McNulty’s research was supported by 25 students from the Gulf coast region of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama who are members of the WWF Allianz Climate Change Program, a competitive academic project that is training the next generation of environmental leaders.  At the briefing, the students will highlight their research findings and personal perspectives, along with the need for strong policy and a scientifically informed public dialogue on issues related to climate change.