CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Posts tagged "environment"

Strong words from a frackingist, oil drillingist administration…

Nice law shaped to restore parts of the Great Lakes in collaboration with local communities and NOAA.

Another cold and bitter splash of reality on Obama’s environmental supporters. Quite the story by Michael Kranish for the Boston Globe.

And selling to China.

mypubliclands:

At 85,710 acres in size, Adobe Town Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the largest in Wyoming. Within the WSA, you’ll find Skull Creek Rim and Monument Valley - names that conjure up images of colorful badlands, buttes and spires created by thousands of years of erosion. Located 80 miles southwest of Rawlins, outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive and unconfined recreation exist in the WSA. 

This WSA’s rugged badland rims and numerous canyons provide ample opportunities to avoid the sights and sounds of other visitors. The open desert plain, with its expanses of sagebrush and open scenic vistas, projects a feeling of vastness and solitude. 

The WSA is nationally known for the educational and scientific study of paleontological resources. Fossil remains of mammals are numerous and widely distributed throughout the area. Two notable mammalian fossils found in the area are the Uintathere and the Titanothere. The Uintathere was a large mammal about the size and configuration of an African rhinoceros. The species of Titanothere found in the WSA was a tapir-like mammal, about 40 inches in height. This area has been identified as one of the premier sites in North America for paleontological resources.

Significant archaeological resources are found throughout the WSA, representing 12,000 years of continuous occupation by man from Paleo Indian through late Prehistoric periods. The cultural site density of the WSA is estimated to be 30 surface sites per square mile, which is unusually high.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

The Official tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management is spectacular.

Asker yan-ton Asks:
Hi there! Absolutely LOVE your blog. I have a question about isolated wetlands. What is their current standing in terms of protection in the southeast?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey yan-ton,

Thanks for the shout out. Really appreciate it. Wetlands are important areas that support jobs, animals, plants, water quality, and many other things like human health (yes!). Wetlands are managed by a mix of private property owners (such as farmers), non-profit groups (Ducks Unlimited), and state and federal government agencies.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (under the Dept of the Interior) and the EPA (see EPA Wetland Region 4) are the primary federal-level managers of wetlands in the southeast United States.

According to the FWS, wetlands:

… provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. Wetlands are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial and recreational importance. Wetlands are also important landscape features because they hold and slowly release flood water and snow melt, recharge groundwater, recycle nutrients, and provide recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people. FWS.

Wetlands have several layers of legal protections. The most powerful laws are:

This doesn’t mean that they are safe (they’re absolutely not safe). It means that the public can stop destruction of these important systems.

http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/system/images/ST2009cover.jpg

With that, check out the above report on the status of wetlands in the United States. It’s a comprehensive report that includes climate change and issues of protection.

Also check out Wetlands Watch. They’re a protection group that helps the public access resources on how to report violations, such as pollution, dumping, draining, and illegal poaching.

Cheers,

Michael

Among the report’s recommendations:

  • The federal government should fund state and local actions to prepare for climate change — rather than primarily reacting to extreme weather events that cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year.  (Sandy alone cost the federal government $60 billion.)  Currently, only a fraction of federal dollars are spent helping communities proactively prepare for escalating climate change impacts. Federal agencies should also ensure that communities recovering from extreme weather events with disaster relief funds are able to build back stronger to withstand future impacts.
  • Federal agencies should require that all major federal investments in new infrastructure account for and be built to withstand future impacts from climate change.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency should incorporate climate change projections on the floodplain maps that govern federal flood insurance rates.  These updates are needed to provide communities with accurate, risk-based information for making land-use decisions and to ensure the long-term solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program. (As of March 2014, the program was more than $24 billion in debt.)
  • The Army Corps and other federal agencies should align funding streams and support nature-based projects that both restore coastal wetlands and provide flood control benefits (like living shorelines).  Federal agencies and the White House Office of Management and Budget should also appropriately value the benefits of taking preventative action to respond to climate change and the value of natural ecosystems when calculating the costs and benefits of flood control projects.
The recommendations are based on extensive work in communities affected by sea-level rise, storms, and heat waves. These recommendations were further developed over the course of three workshops convened by the Georgetown Climate Center in late 2013 and early 2014. Participants included senior federal, state and local officials, along with experts from the non-governmental and academic communities. The workshops were held in coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and relevant federal agencies.

Via Georgetown Climate Center

How big is Africa, really?

Meanwhile in Papua New Guinea.

Birds killed per year by energy source. Via U.S. News (trigger warning, written by Alan Neuhauser).

Wind and solar kills about 300k per year. Coal, nearly 8 million. Power lines kill about 12 and 64 million birds per year.

The biggest killer of birds? House cats kill 3 billion birds per year. That’s about 375 of those black bars for coal placed end to end.

A survey by George MasonU’s Center for Climate Change Communication. Via Yale360.

insteadofwatchingtv:

Weird Places: The Bay of Fundy

Remember this invention? 19 year-old student proposed this design to clean up plastics in the oceans. The idea was picked up by TED, and green blogs exploded with glee.

I criticized the project as ineffective buffoonery and likely illegal. And several others also panned the invention as foolish and naive. Well, now the student is back with a revised version of the plastic’s clean up machine. He’s partnered with some serious engineers and PR and he formed a new company, “The Ocean Cleanup.” Video here.

A science journalist in Germany, Sarah Zierul, interviewed me and a few other experts who also criticized the machine. Sarah’s article really got to the heart of the story and you can see researched for several months to get to the facts. She re-tells the story of the young inventor, and describes the original machine and its problems, as well as the new machine and the engineering behind it. She also interviews several critics, noting how their complaints have evolved into support.

Excellent science reporting!

Read Sarah’s excellent article, here. If you don’t read German, go here.

rhamphotheca:

This White-tailed Ptarmigan was spotted with her four chicks up at Logan Pass yesterday. She is part of a research study to determine changes in habitat location and breeding numbers.

White-tailed ptarmigans are well-adapted to high elevations and cool temperatures. Rising temperatures (3x the global average rise in temperature) at high elevations over the last century means change for this alpine specialist.

According to researcher David Benson, data from the ptarmigan study shows that “white-tailed ptarmigan in Glacier have changed distribution, altered habitat preferences, and perhaps on a local scale, experienced declining population numbers in late summer.” (ms)

What a beeeeautiful bird! Lives in Montana. Of course, endangered because humans.

Massive toxic spill in British Columbia pollutes streams and lakes. The Mount Polley Mine mines copper and gold. These mines require massive amounts of toxic acids to “eat” the rocks that contain the copper and gold. The waste is “contained” in a big retention pond (in this case a huge lake). The ponds just sit there with no plans for clean up. Humans are banned from the ponds. Governments say they are safe (despite that ponds fail on average of 30%).

Millions of tons of harmful metals, soils, and wastewater spilled into pristine habitat. Canada’s response? Whooppsy! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Above images: NASA and CBC.

An earthen dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia breached on August 4, 2014, sending contaminated water surging into nearby lakes. Wastewater and metal-laden sand spilled from a retention basin and triggered a water-use ban in Likely, British Columbia, and other nearby towns. Local authorities had lifted the ban as of August 12.

On August 5, nearly all of the wastewater in the retention basin had drained, exposing the silty bottom. Hazeltine Creek, normally about 1 meter (3 feet) wide, swelled to a width of 150 meters (490 feet) as a result of the spill. In the aftermath of the flood, a layer of brown sediment coated forests and stream valleys affected by the spill. Notice how much forest immediately north of the retention basin was leveled. Debris, mainly downed trees, are visible floating on Quesnel Lake.

Video:

Several excellent Canadian, environmental, and political tumblrs are covering the spill: https://www.tumblr.com/search/mount+polley+mine.