Does current science support the management and policy needs of cold-water refuges for salmonids in a changing world?
This project represents the first interdisciplinary assessment of current science and policies relevant to managing cold-water refuges at a global scale. Fish, especially salmonids, are an important economic resource with cultural significance to many indigenous groups, and they are indicators of aquatic ecosystem health due to their sensitivity to pollution, including thermal degradation. Thus, many regulatory, management, and conservation organizations understand that protecting, restoring, and enhancing salmonid cold-water refuges in rivers across the globe is key to future survivability. Here, we aim to link the current science of cold-water refuges with existing and potentially applicable policies to examine how science and policy can be integrated to support management strategies of cold-water refuges. To answer this question, we will review science related to cold-water refuges (e.g., definitions, drivers) and key policies, laws, regulations (e.g., U.S. Endangered Species Act, U.S. Clean Water Act) and frameworks (e.g., European Union Water Framework Directive, European Union Habitats Directive) that guide their management. This assessment is an important step in synthesizing the current information and highlighting the research and policy gaps preventing implementation by stakeholders and policymakers.