On Thursday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared over 1,000 counties across 26 states to be natural disaster areas. This year has been the one of the worst years since the 1930s for drought in America. Drought, along with extreme heat, has prompted the USDA to declare these territories the largest natural disaster area in American history. The declaration gives nearly half the country accesses to federal aid, including farmers and ranchers who have been adversely impacted by the weather.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, about 56 percent of the country is experiencing drought conditions, which is the largest percentage recorded in the agency’s existence. Adding to the drought is the extreme heat, which according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been the hottest on record for the so far in 2012. These conditions are adversely impacting our nation’s farming and ranching activities, but what about outdoors activities?
The extreme weather has impacted hunters and anglers especially in southern states. Lakes and reservoirs are at all-time lows in many parts of the country. These low water levels and high heat have already caused fish die-offs and it has made spawning more difficult for many species of fish. Hunter’s prey is are also being adversely affected (dying off and reproducing less) by the drought and high temperatures. This means that there will likely be fewer animals during hunting season.
Image courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture, featured slider image courtesy of schizoform on the Flickr Creative Commons