Park Hill and Santa Rosa Creek Estuary California Central Coast near Cambria CA on the Big Sur Highway (Shutterstock) shutterstock_1542044975
Park Hill and Santa Rosa Creek Estuary California Central Coast near Cambria CA on the Big Sur Highway (Shutterstock)

Federal legislation to fund the protection of the fish habitats, known as estuaries, is a bipartisan affair in the House.

It’s clear that climate change is altering our environment, but a recent study found it may also be causing the actual physiology of fish to change, too.

The study from UC Santa Cruz found that fish known as stickleback in the northern part of California have fewer protective bones than they used to. Professors believe this is happening as the climate warms and water evaporates from estuaries, the spot where rivers meet the sea, making them more pond like. The fish need fewer bones to maneuver in warmer waters, which often have more vegetation.

While climate change is often a political lightning rod, protecting estuaries from extreme weather events and erosion is something Congress is making bipartisan progress on.

A bill from Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) approving a federal program that funds the restoration and protection of estuaries throughout the country passed the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure with no objection from Democrats or Republicans. It was sent to the full House by the committee earlier this month.

“Estuaries support a diverse array of wildlife, protect inland areas from floods and storm surges and act as economic drivers for communities around the county,” Malinowski said in a statement. 

The act would also ensure that programs receiving federal funds consider the effects of extreme weather events that are increasingly common with climate change, and develop adaptation strategies. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), climate change poses a threat to estuaries because rising sea levels will degrade the surrounding land and move shorelines inland.