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Conservation Matters

Conservation Matters – Conservation Matters is the title of of our conservation column in the bi-monthly OPAS Harlequin Happenings newsletter. We will post our column every two months for you to read.


March – April 2017 Issue of Harlequin Happenings


Final Days to Comment on the Conservation of Marbled Murrelet Habitat

March 9th is the last day to comment on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Marbled Murrelet Long Term Conservation Strategy. We have made it easy for you to review and edit our sample comments found on the Conservation Action Alerts page of the OPAS website.

The six Alternatives analyzed in the DEIS are not adequate to protect the Marbled Murrelet from eventual extirpation from Washington State. The proposed Alternatives do not set aside enough contiguous older forest habitat to allow our state’s Marbled Murrelet populations to stabilize and recover. Can we count on you to take just a few minutes of your time to fill out our comment form? Please go to this link to speak out for our state endangered Marbled Murrelets: http://olympicpeninsulaaudubon.org/conservation/ conservation-action-alerts/

Earth Day

Bob Phreaner“These are the times that try men’s souls…”— so began The American Crisis by Tom Paine. These are indeed challenging times to be a conservationist, but you only have to recall what our country was like on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day. There was a war in Vietnam, riots opposing the war on college campuses nationwide, gas guzzling muscle cars, industrial air pollution overlooked as a sign of prosperity, untreated sewage, and toxic waste dumps.

In the 1960s, birds became symbols of the way human industry infiltrated the environment and threatened human health. After World War II, the use of the pesticide DDT became widespread in U.S. agriculture. Inspired by Rachael Carson’s 1962 best seller, Silent Spring, which publicized the effects of DDT, Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) along with a staff of 88 community organizers promoted a national teach-in on the environment. held during Spring Break. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. For many of us coming of age during that time, Earth Day helped establish our values. Now, some politicians are on a mission to attack the EPA—not for its work in keeping our air and water clean, but as a symbol for the government rules and regulations that, they say, strangle businesses and hinder the economy. Rising temperatures threaten the habitats birds need by redistributing their food and shelter, while rising seas encroach inland and put wetlands and beaches at risk. In North America, climate change threatens the survival of over 300 bird species, according to Audubon scientists. We need a strong EPA to assure air and water quality and to address the impacts of climate change.

Washington State voters missed an opportunity to deal with climate change when they failed to support I-732. After this setback, I found inspiration in the response by Gail Gatton, Audubon Washington’s Executive Director. Gail stated that action at the local level would become increasingly important to promote policies that protect birds, their habitat, and our communities that steward them. “Since launching our climate initiative across the country, Audubon has a proud bipartisan tradition of working with anyone willing to protect birds and people. We’ll be back for the next opportunity, and the next one, and the one after that.”

We can take a constructive approach by educating future generations in the science of environmental stewardship. Voter approval of the Sequim and Port Angeles School levies is a start; however, challenges remain for education and science studies. I recently attended the Feiro Marine Life Center’s “Fishes on the Fence” fundraiser where Ron Allen, Chairman and CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, stressed the crucial need to strengthen science education in our community. He encouraged the audience to support teaching facilities like the Feiro Marine Science Center and the expansion of the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

Our State legislature is considering bills that impact water supplies, protect public lands, address oil transportation safety, improve funding for oil spill response programs, provide incentives for solar energy, and revisit the issue of putting a price on Carbon. You can visit our website, www.olybird.org, to stay informed and take action.Let your representatives know where you stand.

Now is the time to think globally and act locally, by responding to the action alerts on our website, joining the OPAS conservation committee, donating to DRAC or other educational facilities, and doing what you can to build on the progress that we have made since the first Earth Day.