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Long Before COVID-19, Climate Change Was Already Hurting WNC's Trout

Emma Johnson

Climate change has been wreaking havoc on Western North Carolina's famed trout industry.  Specifically, rising sustained temperatures are slowly eliminating the cold water in lakes trout need to thrive.  While climate change continues to impact trout, the COVID-19 pandemic is too.

Emma Johnson is the Climate Science Fellow at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.  Her most recent reporting has focused on how rising temperatures due to climate change (a 2020 report from the North Carolina Institute for Climate Science says by 2060, Western North Carolina will likely see 10 to 20 more days a year where temperatures are above 95 degrees, and the annual hottest and coldest temperatures will increase by 3 to 5 degrees) will impact trout both at Sunburst Trout Farms in Haywood County, as well as at the tribal hatchery owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Johnson spoke with BPR's Matt Bush for the latest episode of The Porch, the monthly podcast produced by the BPR News team.  You can hear that show Friday February 19th at 9 a.m. and Saturday February 20th at 3 p.m. on BPR, as well as with the free BPR mobile app or through Apple or Google podcasts.  You can read more of Johnson's reporting on trout in Western North Carolina here and here.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.