Water: Climate Change and Water
Great Plains Climate Change and Water
The Great Plains climate region includes parts of 10 states. This vast grassland prairie extends from the Dakotas and eastern half of Montana in the north to Texas in the south. It is bounded on the west by the Rocky Mountains and the basin and range geographic provinces and to the east and south by the central lowlands and coastal plain provinces.
Key issues in this region relate to population growth; loss of snowpack; declining surface and ground water quality and quantity; competition for water among energy, agriculture, and public supply; and vulnerability of prairie wetlands, prairie potholes, and playa lakes. For more information about the overall impacts of climate change in the Great Plains, in addition to water impacts, visit EPA's main climate change website.
Highlights of EPA and Partner Activities
- A Tribal EcoAmbassador to United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota will develop the first environmental engineering and design course at the college through an EPA grant. Students will be taught the concepts behind low impact design and sustainability along with more practical skills, including hydrological analysis, site design, water quality control, conservation, and environmental planning.
EPA's energy management system for public water and wastewater utilities (PDF) (2 pp, 459K, About PDF), is being implemented by states in EPA Region 7, and has resulted in more than 14.5 million kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings.
The Missouri River Recovery Program and the Missouri River Basin Interagency Roundtable strive to restore the Missouri River's ecosystem.
Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Program restoration projects include a variety of techniques for different habitats, including projects designed to capitalize on sustainable ecological processes and promote sea level rise adaptation techniques.
The North Central and South Central Climate Science Centers established by the Department of the Interior provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that land, water, wildlife, and cultural resource managers can apply to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate and ecologically driven responses at regional and local scales.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Missouri River Basin La Niña Pilot Project provides climate information at a regional scale for the Missouri River Basin.
The Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the Mountain-Prairie Region Landscape Conservation Cooperative provide scientific information, tools, and techniques for anticipating, monitoring, and adapting to climate change.
Climate and Water Strategy
EPA’s goal in the Great Plains region is to ensure long-term availability and high quality of water resources and related aquatic habitats, and to protect and restore water quality, promoting water conservation and efficiency and protecting vulnerable populations. Working specifically with partners in the agricultural sector, the renewable energy sector, the oil and gas sector, and land developers and land trusts will be important in achieving this goal.
To learn more about the goals and strategic actions at the regional level, read the EPA water program’s 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change.
EPA Regions in the Great Plains
EPA Region 6 – including Oklahoma and Texas
See the Region 6 climate change website.
EPA Region 7 – including Kansas and Nebraska
See the Region 7 sustainable infrastructure for water programs website.
EPA Region 8 – including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota
See the Region 8 climate change website.