Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Member Meeting – recap

We’ve talked about providing some sort of recap for the various meetings we have for the Chapter throughout the year – thought this month might be a good time to try and start that. Obviously, we don’t want to tell the whole tale and give away everything but perhaps some highlights will provide enough background to pique the interests of some and show that many people – organizations, speakers, members and chapter organizers – work diligently to bring issue of interest to our members.

September brought Mia Sheppard to the Lucky Lab representing the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. She spoke about the affects of global warming specifically to Oregon and the fish and wildlife of this state. Though the presentation was completely video media and Mia was unable to answer many specific questions for us – the presentation remained informative. We are certain with Mia's great personality and obvious dedication to the environment and her daughter's future she will grow her knowledge with TRCP and be a more complete presenter - we did just catch her a bit green in the role!

The presentation was meagerly attended – about 11 folks showed up – but there was some very insightful interaction in the group. Admittedly - I too was not going to show up - but was glad I did; the presentation was interesting primarily because the subject was as stated – affects to Oregon. How much closer to home can we get?

This was not a droning about global warming and why cars are bad or fossil fuels are the evil or why man is his own worst enemy – this spoke specifically of four animal groups in the state and what trends we are and will see. Elk, Dungeness crab, Coho salmon and waterfowl all frequent areas that are affected. Primarily the tidal and intertidal areas of the coast and the loss of preferred rearing habitat through rising ocean levels – especially on the Oregon coast a slight change will inundate prime flats areas and submerge this rearing habitat. Part of that is due to the fact man has already diminished the habitat to a point that it is limited in its current low elevation expanse. This was all easily understood but the average temperature increase that has been seen – about 1.3 degrees – is one aspect I found interesting.

Whoopee! A WHOLE 1.3 degrees one might say! So the presentation made the point that the increase is not really the factor to be aware of – it is the average mean swing in temperature EXTREMES that results that is causing the problems.
Temperature extreme ranges
You see – for example – with a temperature increase as noted we see fewer extreme cold days and more extreme hot days. This loss of temperature extremes allows certain organisms to thrive where they once could not – for example, that plague of the 90’s the pine beetles. Extreme losses of lodgepole and ponderosa pine stands have resulted from a lack of extreme cold temperatures for a duration that would control the pine beetle population; of course these tree losses lead to habitat loss and cooling thus growing the cycle.
Extreme swings by Mean shifts
So what can be done? Well, we’re in this for the long haul and we are taking the correct actions – our greatest achievements appear to be in the continued expansion and restoration of habitats such as the work TVTU is doing on the Necanicum River. Similarly reforestation with habitat improvements in other areas that support the clean waters is important. Will it solve the issue alone? Not likely but every bit helps. John Pampush [nominated for a board position] made a good point in a post movie discussion – a lot of creatures have survived catastrophic habitat loss throughout time but the key element has been these animals have always had areas of refuge to build back their populations – we only need to look as far as our own bull trout, redside, and Lahontan cutthroat populations to see some of the extreme examples through which they have held their own – a little habitat preservation/restoration CAN go a long way to helping!

Our NEXT MEETING is OCTOBER 9 and will feature our very own state representative – Tom Wolf. Tom will be talking about this past legislative session and what we can look forward to in 2014. We hope to see you there since your support is what helped our 2013 legislative campaigns.

October 9 
[second Wednesday each month]
6:30 – 8:30 [approximately]
Second Floor Banquet Room
Open to TVTU members and the general public