I feel these could be very overwhelming reflections. Water affects EVERYTHING we do and any negative effect to our water resources seems likely to snowball into many areas. To prevent my mind from spiraling out of control at the enormity of the effects of climate change on MN’s water resource I am focusing on water quality especially as it affects recreation. More rain and more intense periods of rain causing the peak in the hydrograph to be sooner and higher means more chance pollutants are carried all the way to our water bodies. More pollutants degrade the quality of our water making it less useful for life including being able to drink it and enjoy it for aesthetics and play.
I admit one of the reasons I picked this effect of climate change to MN’s water resources is I know there are simple effective ways to mitigate the damage to our water quality. Even before we get to the simple effective ways though, we must educate the general population about how climate change affects water quality. Once they grasp the gravity of the damage the pollutants cause and how that damage could effect many aspects of their lives; they will be more interested in helping with the solutions. A simple effective solution is to interrupt that pollutant rich, rapid intense flow of water down impervious surfaces by directing that flow into a rain garden, buffer zone or similar increased infiltrating area. A rain garden especially when it is filled with native plants slows down water flow and offers the added benefit of filtering the water to help remove pollutants. It means we have to change the paradigm of decades of “green concrete” carefully manicured and pristine. We have to move to more areas even in our front yards that mimic nature, areas that flow without sharp edges, plants that mingle with their neighbor plants creating barriers to rapid water flow. We have to get more people involved and more people to change, which is very hard but it is possible.
Other effects such as warmer water temps, more rain, less snow will affect water recreation by allowing more algae bloom and by decreasing the time those crazy ice fishing people can be on the lake because lakes will freeze later and melt earlier.
The more you reflect on the effects of climate change on the world as we know it; the more issues you see developing. I am glad for this kind of program which hopefully will be able to ripple out to others.