The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

freshwater conservation

Open Letter in “Science” Calls for Better Integrating Freshwater Conservation into Policy Objectives

A letter in Science, published today and co-authored by our own Ingrid Timboe, highlights an alarming statistic from the most recent Freshwater Living Planet Index (FLPI), published in the 2018 Living Planet Report (LPR) showing an 83% decline in monitored freshwater species. Most significantly, the rate of decline of freshwater species has risen with each report. Despite warnings from over a decade ago that the protection of freshwater biodiversity is “the ultimate conservation challenge” and “immediate action is needed,” conservation is evidently failing freshwater biodiversity and solutions must be found.

Additional research to form a better understanding of the species present in our freshwater ecosystems, and the ecological functions of these ecosystems is important. However, equally important as the need to do better science to fill the data gap is the need to do a better job at translating this science and data so that others can use them. It is essential that we engage policy makers and water managers at the local level in our research in order to better understand and represent the diverse needs of the communities living with freshwater biodiversity loss.