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Shaheen, Collins, King Introduce Bill to Monitor Mountain Snowpack Across Northeast

**This announcement comes ahead of Shaheen chairing the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee’s upcoming hearing on importance of the outdoor recreation economy.**

(Washington, D.C.) -- U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Snow Survey Northeast Expansion Act with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) to establish a network of snow and water monitoring stations across the Northeast to track mountain snow accumulation and precipitation rates. As climate change continues to disrupt weather patterns, a regional snow and water monitoring system is urgently needed to study how changing weather conditions impact flood potential, water supplies and seasonal businesses that rely on consistent, annual snowfall.

“Our winter season is changing and that is evident in New Hampshire, which is making it harder for officials, researchers and outdoor recreation leaders to predict snowfall, floods and water supply levels for Granite Staters,” said Senator Shaheen. “We need to respond to this changing environment, and that’s why I’m spearheading this bipartisan bill to set up the infrastructure we need to closely monitor climate change’s effect on New Hampshire’s snowfall.”

"Access to more accurate weather data is essential for informed decision-making, especially with recent unpredictable shifts in weather patterns,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill would establish a network of snow and water monitoring stations in Maine and across the Northeast, which will serve as crucial infrastructure in our efforts to closely track the effects of climate change on precipitation, sustain our seasonal winter economy, and safeguard our environment.”

“On a global scale, climate change is one of the greatest existential threats we are facing today,” said Senator King. “Here in Maine, we are already seeing the impact firsthand with increased temperatures, above average precipitation and less snowfall — impacting not only our environment, but also the recreation and forestry industries which are important economic drivers for our state. The Snow Survey Northeast Expansion Act will help expand the tools and resources needed to track the impacts of climate change to better inform the Maine industries that are heavily reliant on weather forecasting.”

"This is an exciting opportunity to implement automated and robust monitoring of our snowpacks and weather, here in the Northeast, which is critical for protecting cold-adapted ecosystems, the outdoor recreation economy, and understanding the impacts of  on municipalities and infrastructure,” said Elizabeth Burakowski, research assistant professor in Earth sciences at UNH and lead principal investigator for the project. “Without a coordinated mountain snow and weather network, we have limited ability to predict flooding and water supply in New England, where snow also serves as a critical role in the recreational and natural resources economy. Our research shows that  and at the, deep snowpacks could become increasingly short-lived.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of Senators Shaheen, Collins, and King in establishing a comprehensive mountain snow monitoring system here in the Northeast,” said Appalachian Mountain Club President and CEO Nicole Zussman. “Our region is already losing two to three weeks of winter conditions, and a regionwide system to monitor mountain snow, meteorological conditions, and hydrological cycles will give our collaborating scientists and partners the information we need to understand and address impacts on flood potential, water supply impacts, and on the outdoor recreation economy.”

Shaheen has led efforts to safeguard our natural environment and invest in climate resiliency. She has secured $1 million for a study that has begun to examine the establishment of this network in the Northeast. Recently, she visited the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Whitefield to highlight her new bill, the Connecticut River Watershed Partnership Act (CRWPA), which would formalize a partnership between federal, state, local and private entities to preserve fish and wildlife habitats, protect drinking water sources, enhance flood resilience and help promote access to the Watershed’s public spaces. Earlier this year, Shaheen announced a federal grant to assist the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to bolster climate change research and coastal resiliency efforts in New Hampshire’s Seacoast communities.