How Is Climate Change Affecting Virginia?
Save the date - May 5 - for a free workshop titled Climate Change in Virginia: Local Impacts, Local Action, and hear from Del. David Bulova, a Virginia Climate Commissioner. Learn how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is trying to curb greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet and how some in Congress are trying to thwart EPA. Hear from advocates on actions we can take to stem climate change.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Patrick Henry Library, 101 Maple Ave., East, Vienna
Climate change is affecting birds' migration as some "prairie potholes," America's duck factory, are drying up and northern lakes do not freeze. Sea level rise could flood islands and seashores, inundating nesting and feeding areas. Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Climate Action Network (NOVACAN)
Partners in NOVCAN are the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia; Sierra Club (Great Falls and Mount Vernon Groups); Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment; Sustainable Loudoun; Prince William Conservation Alliance; Friends of the Potomac River Refuges; Friends of Dyke Marsh; Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light; Audubon Naturalist Society.
Budget Time: Local governments are now developing their budgets, which means that funds for natural resources and parks could be targeted. Study your jurisdiction's budget, find the hearing schedule and speak up for conservation and parks. If you don't, who will?
Cut Carbon: National Audubon is asking every Auduboner to let Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency know that Auduboners support EPA's action to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Mike Daulton with NAS said, "Audubon scientists have proven warming trends driven by carbon pollution have already disrupted bird migration patterns across the country. Nearly 60 percent of the 305 species found in winter across North America are shifting their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles." Go here for info: http://conservation.audubon.org/programs/birds-climate-change and here to sign a petition https://secure3.convio.net/nasaud/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=622
At this site, you can comment on EPA's proposed limits: http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/pdfs/20120327factsheet.pdf
Virginia's Rivers and Streams Are Sick
Virginia's rivers and streams are seriously impaired according to a March Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) report. This annual assessment offers a good basis for asking your elected officials what they plan to do about it.
According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's analysis of the report, 71% of Virginia's streams violate state water quality standards along with 94% of all estuaries. Some of the streams in the Potomac and Shenandoah River basins that are on the list, for example, are Bull Run, Little Pimmit Run, Hunting Creek/Cameron Run, Little Hunting Creek and the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers.
The analysis determines whether the state's waters support six uses: aquatic life, fish consumption, shellfishing, recreation, public water supply and wildlife. If a body of water has more of a pollutant than is allowed by water quality standards, it will not support one or more of its designated uses. Waters impaired by human activities are put on a federally-mandated "303(d) impaired waters" list and DEQ begins development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan to reduce pollutants.
Northern Virginia streams have, for example, elevated levels of e-coli bacteria and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's). Many streams are impaired for fish consumption and aquatic life from toxic pollutants, combined sewer overflows, contaminated sediments, and unidentified upstream sources.
Generally, major contributors to polluted waters in northern Virginia are the acres and acres of impervious surfaces. Many localities channelized streams, turning them into concrete troughs to shoot water downstream, instead of letting it naturally infiltrate into the ground. Many wetlands were filled or drained. The ubiquitous impervious surfaces like parking lots, roofs and roads across the region have created too much polluted runoff.
The Center for Watershed Protection says that stream quality is threatened when watershed development exceeds 10-15 percent of impervious cover or one house every one to two acres. In most northern Virginia watersheds, this threshold is breached. For example, in Fairfax County, the Little Hunting Creek watershed has 25 percent impervious cover; the Belle Haven watershed, 32 percent.
DEQ's monitoring does not address litter which is rampant. Last year, the Friends of Little Hunting Creek removed 127 bags of trash from one site in three cleanups. In late March, a group hauled 100 bags of trash out of the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve on the Potomac River.
You can read the report at www.deq.state.va.us. Click on "2012 Water Quality Report." It includes a list of impaired waters. DEQ is accepting comments until April 27. Send comments to John Kennedy, firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a good opportunity for Auduboners to let officials know that we expect all levels of government to ensure clean water.
U.S. Senate Seat at Stake: Virginia will elect a new U.S. Senator in November, to replace Senator Jim Webb who has announced he will not run again. This race presents an opportunity for Auduboners to educate candidates about conservation issues and elect a pro-conservation U.S. senator.
Vulnerability of Virginia's Species of Greatest Conservation Need To Climate Change: Implications for Management and Policy
June 12-14, 2012
9:00 am to 4:00 am
Maymont Park, Garden Room
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, National Wildlife Federation, and Virginia Conservation Network invite you to attend a series of workshops that will be held Tuesday through Thursday, June 12-14 at Maymont Park in Richmond, Virginia. Over the last two years, Virginia Tech's Conservation Management Institute has been working with DGIF and NWF to better describe the climate changes predicted for Virginia and understand what those changes could mean for Virginia's wildlife and habitats.
This project was initiated following the development of Virginia's Strategy for Safeguarding Species of Greatest Conservation Need from the Effects of Climate Change, which specifically recommends producing climate modeling and associated wildlife threats and vulnerability assessment for Virginia. The development of this strategy was based on two workshops held in Virginia in 2008 and 2009 that brought together many in the conservation community to discuss how to best conserve and manage wildlife and habitats under changing climatic conditions. Our June workshops are a culmination of this 4-year effort.
We will conduct three one-day workshops where, each day, the climate change data and threats assessment will be presented to different stakeholder groups: forestry/ agriculture (Tuesday, June 12), water resources and management (Wednesday, June 13), and coastal systems (Thursday, June 14). Participants may come to one or all of the workshops. We will discuss the methods and outputs of this process, describe the climate change data, and review the results of the threats assessment. Our discussions will focus on how the vulnerability assessment is relevant to the resources managed by each of the stakeholder groups. Our goal is to garner feedback on how this information can inform management and conservation across the state for various sectors, what policy changes or new policies may be needed in light of this assessment, and what this information might mean for updating Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan.
RSVP to Austin Kane, email@example.com or 443-759-3402. Please indicate if you would like to attend all three days or one specific day (note by date or by sector of interest).