Tuesday, October 11, 2016 7:00 Social; 7:30 Program Padilla Bay Interpretive Center 10441 Bayview-Edison Road
Joseph K. Gaydos, co-author of The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, which combines a scientist’s inquiring mind, dramatic color photographs, and a lively narrative of compelling stories. This book describes the Salish Sea ~ one of the world’s largest inland seas containing 6,535 square miles of sea surface area and 4,642 miles of coastline. Fashioned by the violent volcanism of the Pacific Rim of Fire, plate tectonics, and the sculptural magic wrought by Ice Age glaciers, the Salish Sea is a unique ecosystem home to thousands of different species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and macro-invertebrates. Copies of this book will be available at the program.
President's Message, October 2016
By Irene Perry
Your Skagit Audubon membership is a pathway to learning, caring and sharing. Our monthly newsletters, programs, field trips, and hikes give you an opportunity to connect with like-minded people who care about the natural world focusing on birds and other wildlife.
Our newsletter has current information on chapter events and conservation concerns. A favorite monthly feature is Skagit Audubon Field Notes. These notes are bird sightings and the locations submitted by members. You can see where birds are showing up and the Skagit members who are actively looking and sharing their sightings. Pam Pritzl continues to collect this information and provide it to the newsletter. Please submit your sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our programs are educational and informative, with topics including restoration, travel, photography, geology, climate change, mammals, insects, and of course birds to name just a few. Catherine Carter, program chair, seeks programs connected to the natural world which brings our membership together each month September through June. Please submit program ideas to email@example.com. A favorite annual program is the December Membership Social featuring a photo slide show. This year's show will be produced by Ronan Ellis. Each member may submit up to 8 photos and/or videos. Photos should be .jpeg format with a photo size of at least 1 to 3 megabytes (smaller pictures don't show well). Videos, no longer than 1 minute in .mov, .mp4 or .avi format will be accepted. Also, please include a short introduction with the “who, what, where and when”. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1.
This fall take advantage of your Skagit Audubon membership and attend a program, field trip and/or hike. Take time to share your bird sightings and photos with our membership. Our active chapter gives you the opportunity to connect as we learn, care and share our love of the natural world together.
Conservation Report, October 2016
By Tim Manns
For years now plans for hugely increased rail and marine transport of coal and oil to and from Pacific Northwest ports have filled the news. Terminals are, or were, slated for many environmentally sensitive locations. Carried out, these plans would make our region ground zero for fossil fuel commerce. They have roused many Audubon members to opposition because of the environmental and safety threats these projects pose. The perhaps ultimate reason for opposition is the reality of climate change and the urgency and common sense of transition-ing from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources rather than investing more in fossil fuel infrastructure. Record high temperatures, increasingly large and frequent wildland fires, rapid glacial melting, and water shortages affecting salmon, farmers, and people hoping to build homes in water-deficient basins all point to the need to speed this transition as well as adapt to unavoidable environmental change.
It’s heartening to live in a state where needed measures are beginning to be put in place. While it’s important to rigorously critique plans for rail facilities and terminals, it’s equally important to support positive action. In mid-September, Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) released its Carbon Rule reducing emission of greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane) by the largest sources, including the Anacortes refineries. The allowed quantity of emissions decreases yearly. Regulated companies and institutions may reduce their emissions or invest in projects doing so elsewhere in the state. Governor Inslee directed DOE to develop this rule after the legislature did not act on climate change.
November’s ballot offers us an opportunity to enact an innovative law positioning Washington as a leader in regulating carbon emissions. Initiative 732 taxes carbon at a steadily increasingrate to create an economic incentive for companies, institutions, and us to use less fossil fuel and switch to renewable energy. As designed, I-732 will neither increase nor decrease state revenues. While we will pay more for gasoline, I-732 will somewhat reform Washington’s regressive tax code by lowering sales tax 1% and offering financial support to low income families. It will also eliminate the B&O (business and occupation) tax, helping companies large and small.
The state board of Washington Audubon, your Skagit Audubon board, and other (though not all) Audubon chapters have voted to support I-732. Some groups oppose the initiative for its revenue neutrality, given our state’s need to better support education and other important public responsibilities. Some criticize I-732 as insufficiently focused on social justice, on rectifying the injustices suffered by lower income, often minority, people as a result of environmental degradation. Many good groups are working towards a better approach to reducing carbon emissions, but the most optimistic say it will be 2018 before we see a resulting initiative to the voters or introduction of legislation. Meanwhile, Audubon Washington and the chapters supporting I-732 point to research showing climate change to be the greatest threat to birds as well as a profound threat to people. There is urgent need for action. Climate change will not wait for the perfect initiative or bill. I-732, building on the model of British Columbia’s successful carbon tax, is the opportunity we have right now to take positive action on climate change. The Skagit Audubon board voted to support I-732. We hope you will too. Learn more about I-732 at http://wa.audubon.org/frontpage/why-we-support-i-732 and http://www.sightline.org/series/putting-a-price-on-carbon/ .
State Fears Extinction of Marbled Murrelets
by Maria M. Ruth
The past decades have not been kind to the Marbled Murrelet. Across its range, from Alaska south to central California, this imperiled seabird has suffered severe population declines—primarily from the loss and fragmentation of the forests where it nests, but also from predation, oil spills at sea, net fishing, and depletion of the small fish it feeds on.
The situation is so dire in Washington, that the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) has recommended elevating the protective status of marbled murrelets from threatened to endangered. Between 2001 and 2015, Washington’s murrelet population numbers dropped 44 percent. Wildlife biologists believe the marbled murrelet could become extirpated in the state within the next several decades if solutions aren't found to address threats to this species.
The WDFW is seeking public comment on their uplisting recommendation. Deadline for comment is October 10. Please see information below on how to submit your comments and participate in this critical conservation action.
Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center(Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.
The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.