Wildlife Wednesdays: Effects from Floods | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Mar 31st 2021

Wildlife Wednesdays: Effects from Floods

In recent decades, the spring and summer seasons have brought more heavy rainfall events as well as increased likelihood of devastating floods. Of note, no single storm or flood event can be DIRECTLY contributed to climate change, but climate change is responsible for the changing conditions of weather. For example, with our temperatures warming, warm air holds more saturation, which is expected to bring more rain and heavier amounts in the years to come. Big storms that you would only see historically every 20 years or so are becoming more likely and are projected to occur every 4-6 years by the end of the 21st century!

Floods have quite an impact on wildlife, especially land animals, causing injuries, homelessness, and death. Food and water supply is disrupted with animals struggling to stay alive during and after a flood event. It also causes a disruption in migration and breeding events. Birds, on the other hand, have habitats that may remain intact and safe, but they lose a significant source of food with water-logged grass and land. Usually birds have to relocate when this occurs, or be at risk for starvation. Animals under the greatest risk are ones that burrow, such as rabbits, badgers, chipmunks, foxes, and skunks. As flooding occurs, their homes fill up with water; if they cannot escape, they will drown. Also, during a flood event, some fish move long distances, while others find refuge in local habitat. This includes root wads, logs, boulders, and flooded back waters. 

The good news is that most wildlife are well adapted to extreme weather conditions and will move to higher ground when an area begins to flood. They generally recover over time from extreme flooding events. However, as mentioned, with more of these flooding events occurring more often, this will cause for more displacement of wildlife. 

warming temps
Climate change is causing warmer temps=warmer air holds more water=can cause more rainfall with heavier amounts.
Animals who burrow are under the greatest risk as flooding occurs.
During a flood event, fish move long distances or take cover.