As average temperatures rise, the Yaak is rapidly transitioning from a snow-based to rain-based climate. Shifting precipitation patterns are impacting the volume and timing of watershed flow and increasing the frequency of drought-dependent forest diseases, insect outbreaks, and wildfire. These effects are exacerbated in the Yaak by unchecked logging and roadbuilding. Despite all this, the Yaak Valley is a biologically rich and diverse ecosystem with large pockets of the landscape showing a unique resilience to climate change.
The Yaak Valley Forest Council Climate Refuge Program seeks to identify, protect, and restore the landscape and species of the Yaak that are sensitive and uniquely resilient to the effects of climate change. We utilize climate-relevant topographic, hydrologic, and species-based criteria to locate these climate refugia, guide conservation goals, inform management action, and conduct habitat restoration.