With much of New England nearing its fifth month of severe drought, the region’s fall foliage and seasonal agriculture are starting to feel the effects. Each year, billions of people flock to the northeast to see the changing leaves on forest trees and participate in fall festivities such as pumpkin and apple picking. Fall tourism in Vermont and New Hampshire produces a combined $1.8 billion;  however, the damaging effects of persistent drought may keep people away and revenue down. Recent reports state some agriculture is half its normal size and, in certain areas, the foliage is less vibrant than usual. 
“Drought conditions can slow down the process of color change. It can also lead to less brilliant displays of color,” says weather.com’s meteorologist, Tom Moore, on its website.  In more extreme cases, the leaf colors quickly change to brown and fall from the trees. In addition, the drought leaves trees weak and more susceptible to fungus and bug infestations. The Boston Globe stated that 350,000 acres of trees in Massachusetts saw increased defoliation due to dry conditions and a gypsy moth invasion.
But it’s not just the trees that are affected by drought – this year’s crops such as pumpkins, apples and even cranberries are reported to lack in fullness and quantity. With water levels at an extreme low, cranberry farmers are expected to see a drastic decrease in revenue. “Farmers in the Northeast are hurting. The biggest impact of the drought thus far is farming,” says USDA plant physiologist, David Hollinger, in a Cape Cod Times article. 
US Department of Agriculture Meteorologist, Brad Rippey, stated in the same article, “There is a likelihood of drought persisting in its present state through the end of the year.”  Without an immediate water management solution, the New England region may face environmental effects spanning beyond the autumn season into the spring.
Published October 27, 2016 MacQuarrie, Brian. Want to see fall foliage? Head north. Or west. Boston Globe, September 26, 2016. Web. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/09/26/want-see-fall-foliage-head-north-west/hSbTo1pVrcxQnTDPPyYNbL/story.html  Rice, Doyle. Fall foliage fans, it’s a red-letter day! USA Today, October 12, 2016. Web. http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2016/10/12/fall-foliage-autumn-leaves/91961032/  Fisher, Eric. How Drought Will Impact Apples, Pumpkins, Foliage In New England. CBS Boston, September 13, 2016. Web. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/09/13/drought-apple-picking-pumpkins-foliage-new-england/  Carr, Ada. Drought and Dry Weather Could Cut Fall Foliage Short in New England. Weather.com, September 6, 2016. Web. https://weather.com/science/nature/news/new-england-drought-dry-fall-foliage  Fraser, Doug. Drought’s dramatic impact hits home. Cape Cod Times, October 11, 2016. Web. http://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20161011/droughts-dramatic-impact-hits-home