One of Kansas' key conservation plans now accounts for the effects of climate change, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
"A new component to the SWAP is the addition of a consideration of how Climate Change might impact Kansas wildlife," the document stated. "Climate change will present new challenges for KDWPT. Climate change was addressed by analyzing the vulnerability of a subset of the state's SGCN (Species of Greatest Conservation Need) to climate change."
The plan said climate change affects the nearly 800 vertebrates and approximately 24,000 invertebrates the state manages.
"Species are already being significantly impacted by climate change," the report said. "Effects such as shifts in species distributions, changes in phenology of species, and de-coupling of co-evolved interactions have been documented.
The document also said that while there is uncertainty in the variations of climate change impacts on a regional scale, there are predicted impacts that wildlife and their habitats are expected to experience.
"Changes in temperature and precipitation will lead to changes in the water cycle impacting both aquatic and terrestrial species," the report said. "An increase of extreme events such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and severe storms are expected, which can alter species habitats by increasing wildfires, pests, diseases, and invasive species."
It also noted that increasing temperatures may cause range shifts or contractions of flora and fauna.
"Species that have limited mobility or are unable to migrate may become extirpated or event extinct," the document said. "Increasing temperatures may also change seasons and their associated physiological processes, shifting phenology of species."
The plan also listed the lesser prairie chicken, a species that has been at the center of a land rights debate in Kansas, on the first tier of the list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need in many of its Ecological Focus Areas, alongside the piping plover, snowy plover and Eastern spotted skunk. The second tier listed such species as the monarch butterfly, Northern pintail, short-eared owl, canvasback, American white pelican and the prairie rattlesnake. The document said the state planned to partner with industrial, energy and telecommunication companies, as well as private landowners, to reduce impact on native grasslands and lesser prairie chickens.
The 178-page plan, which is mandated by the USFWS, must be revised every 10 years. The state's eligibility for receiving State Wildlife Grant funding depends on having an approved plan.
View the entire document here.