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Roundtable: Considering ‘Climate Refugia’ an Outstandingly Remarkable Value on Wild and Scenic Rivers
Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 3:30 AM - 4:30 PM EDT
Category: Events

Considering ‘Climate Refugia’ an Outstandingly Remarkable Value on Wild and Scenic Rivers

River Management Roundtable
Jan. 10 | 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. ET

Climate Refugia

Climate change is impacting rivers and riverine habitats in numerous negative ways, including decreasing water quantity, changing hydrographs, increasing temperature, disruption of riparian ecology, and incentivizing the proliferation of non-native species. Yet, numerous intact headwater streams on our public lands are predicted to resist such changes far into the future. Such “climate refugia” are “areas that remain relatively buffered from contemporary climate change over time and enable persistence of valued physical, ecological, and socio-cultural resources" [1], including critical habitat and migration corridors. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides an excellent, potential tool for managers to protect climate refugia through inventorying and managing “Climate Refugia” as Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs). Michael Fiebig (American Rivers) and Charles Drimal (Greater Yellowstone Coalition) will discuss the importance of these refugia and the viability of establishing climate refugia as an ORV to be inventoried in Wild and Scenic eligibility inventories, suitability determinations, and management upon the passage of congressional legislation.

[1] Morelli TL, Daly C, Dobrowski SZ, Dulen DM, Ebersole JL, Jackson ST, et al. (2017) Correction: Managing Climate Change Refugia for Climate Adaptation. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169725. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169725

Watch the Recording


Michael Fiebig

Michael Fiebig, Director, Southwest River Protection, American Rivers
Michael Fiebig directs the Southwest River Protection Program at American Rivers, leading efforts to protect the most ecologically and culturally valuable rivers in the Southwest U.S., partnering with Tribes, local communities, NGOs, land managers, creatives, and elected officials. Mike has worked on Wild and Scenic Rivers policy for 11 years, starting with coordinating American Rivers’ successful campaign to designate East Rosebud Creek, Montana’s first new Wild and Scenic designation in 42 years. For the past two decades he has worked domestically and internationally in conservation, education, and research for institutions such as the NOLS, U.S. Forest Service, USAID, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Winter Wildlands Alliance, and others. Mike earned an M.S. in Natural Resources Policy and Conflict Resolution from the University of Montana (2008), a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Philosophy from Michigan State University (1997). He lives with his wife and their dog in Durango, CO.

Charles Drimal 

Charles Wolf Drimal, Deputy Director of Conservation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition
Charles manages issues related to river protection and stream stewardship, climate change, and tribal conservation for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He has led efforts to procure Wild and Scenic River designations in Montana and administrative protections for public lands and waters in Wyoming. He uses his two Masters Degrees in Environmental Science and Ecopsychology to work effectively with stakeholders on a daily basis. Charles is a backcountry skier, climber, packrafter, husband and father. He is grateful to call the mountains and rivers of the GYE home.


About RMS River Management Roundtables

Each month, the River Management Society hosts virtual conversations with professional river, greenway, and water trails leaders, planners, and managers whose community, region, state and federal river will benefit from the experiences of peer-to-peer sharing. Our goal is to facilitate an open forum to support your work managing rivers. We work together to tackle common issues by asking questions, sharing solutions and building comradery.