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Consequences of Climate Change: Insects at Glacier National Park Now at Risk

Oct 05, 2016 04:54 AM EDT
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In a settelment with Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the western glacier stonefly, according to the press release by the Center. Along with the westen glacier stonefly, another stonefly species called meltwater lednian stonefly, is also proposed for additional protection, according to the press release posted in Center for Biological Diversity website.

Glacier stoneflies thrive in the streams formed by glaciers; and with the threat of global warming, it is pretty obvious how this will all turn out.

"As go the glaciers of Glacier National Park, so go these two unique stoneflies," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. "Global warming is changing the face of the planet before our eyes, and, like these two insects, many species are seeing their habitats disappear."

The Glacier National Park in Montana, annual temperature is rapidly increasing, with about 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. Out of 150 glacier parks that remained since 1850, there are only 25 that are still intact, but the numbers are declining. It is predicted that by 2030, the glaciers in the park will melt due to climate change.

"These two stoneflies have something to tell us," said Greenwald. "Without efforts to curb our emissions, all the glaciers in Glacier National Park will certainly disappear."

Acording to Serena Baker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the stoneflies live in remote areas, so they're mostly protected from human contact.

"The bad news is though that the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. And so, that is why we really think it is wise to go ahead and propose federal protection for them. For these icy streams that are in danger of drought and climate change," she said, Montana Public Radio reported.

There are also four potential new populations of western glacier stonefly that are said to be found in in the Beartooth Mountains in southwestern Montana and Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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