WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECTIONS MEAN FOR PACIFIC NORTHWEST BIRD LIFE
by Trina Bayard
Trumpeter SwansPhoto by David Gluckman
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 7:00 Social; 7:30 Program Padilla Bay Interpretive Center 10441 Bayview-Edison Road
Can you imagine winter in Skagit Valley without Trumpeter Swans, or summers in Eastern Washington without Townsend's Solitaires? According to a first-of-its kind study by National Audubon Society, climate change threatens nearly half the bird species in the continental United States and Canada, including dozens of iconic birds like the Common Loon, Baltimore Oriole and Brown Pelican. At a local level, the data pinpoints 113 “climate-endangered” bird species that occur in Washington state that may lose 50% or more of their existing range by 2050, according to the projections. Washington species such as the Rufous Hummingbird, Bald Eagle and even the currently abundant Mallard could lose as much as 75% of their existing range, threatening their long-term survival.
Come join Audubon Washington’s Director of Bird Conservation, Trina Bayard, and Chapter Conservation Manager, Jennifer Syrowitz, to learn more about what climate change projections mean for the bird life of our region and how you can take action to protect the places on the ground that we know birds will need today and in the future, and work together to reduce the severity of global warming. Together we can build a roadmap to a better future for birds and for ourselves.
Trina Bayard is the Director of Bird Conservation
President's Summer Message 2016
By Irene Perry
I would like to thank volunteers who donate their time, talents and energy to Skagit Audubon. As a volunteer organization, every contribution from bringing refreshments for meetings to serving as a board member is appreciated.
Our active chapter offers monthly programs, weekly hiking trips, scheduled field trips and camping events with information provided through our monthly newsletter, website and email updates. All this is made possible by volunteers. Additionally, our mission includes conservation and education. We are advocates for conservation on a city, county, state and national level. Our strong conservation efforts include letter writing, attending public hearings, and citizen science data collecting to support the protection of habitats for birds and other wildlife. The education committee designs programs for all ages in a variety of venues, including schools, clubs, festivals, parks and field trips. Also, there are ongoing administrative tasks and record keeping performed by the not so visible volunteers who keep our chapter running smoothly.
There are outdoor activities and opportunities through citizen science that our chapter schedules and supports. We appreciate the scheduled field trip and hiking leaders who volunteer their time and share knowledge of local birds, plants and trails with our members and others. Many of these leaders volunteer for multiple field trips and hikes throughout the year. The scheduled outdoor events keep us directly connected to wildlife and natural areas. Citizen science efforts include the annual Christmas Bird Count, shorebird, swan and swift surveys, and the monitoring of Purple Martin nesting sites. There are many photographers in our chapter who share their outdoor experience through photographs of nature and wildlife for our newsletter, website and education programs.
Please join me in thanking all these volunteers who make Skagit Audubon a strong and growing chapter connecting people with nature in our communities. Take the time to personally thank a board member, field trip/hiking leader, photographer or administrative volunteer. Consider offering your time to make a difference. There are lots of ways you can contribute.
Conservation Report, June 2016
By Tim Manns
The list of conservation issues needing attention rarely shortens, but there are reasons for celebration too. The latest happened May 9th when the Army Corps of Engineers denied permits for the proposed Cherry Point coal export terminal. Concerted public opposition to this project goes back some years, but the Lummi Nation’s assertion of its treaty rights made the decisive difference. A law suit or project redesign could prolong the proposal’s life, but decline in the world coal market and other factors seem to make that unlikely.
The springtime return of warblers, swallows, flycatchers and other neotropical birds plus mild weather motivates us to get out, reconnect with the natural world, and recharge for facing the many issues that remain. It’s just in time because while four proposals for coal export terminals in the Northwest have now collapsed, two stagger on: Longview, Washington and Vancouver, B.C. The Department of Ecology is accepting comments on the draft environmental impact statement for the former through June 13.
Leaving fossil fuels behind is urgent for so many reasons and is also of special interest to Audubon for the impact climate change has on avian habitats. Transportation of oil and petroleum products by rail and ship has even more immediate implications for bird populations in the Northwest. See the notice in this newsletter for information about an informative event on June 26: Oil, Orcas & Oystercatchers: Preparing for the Inevitable. Later this year we should see the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed rail facility at Shell’s Anacortes refinery. Skagit Audubon will continue its involvement in reviewing and commenting on this proposal’s potential for dire effects on the local environment as well as its larger implications. Also later this year there should be further developments in the Tesoro-Savage rail-to-ship terminal proposal for Vancouver, WA, and the several oil terminal projects at Gray’s Harbor, one of the West Coast’s most important bird areas.
At this writing in May, Skagit County and several of its cities are updating their Comprehensive Plans required under the Growth Management Act. Skagit Audubon has written in support of the county planning department’s proposed changes, which now face opposition from the appointed Planning Commission. The commission’s latest action was to remove the20-year list of proposed non-motorized transportation projects (i.e. trails, bike paths) in response to concerted and long-term opposition from a small group against public funding for anything but roads, against trails for a variety of, well, strange reasons, against planning, and simply against government (and, yes, in the mix is denial of anthropogenic climate change). Making and keeping our community the way we want it to be, accommodating wild birds and native plants, elk, fishers, and all the components of the natural world, calls us to participate in the community and in local government as regularly as the anti-government people ironically do. Often all it takes is simply showing up at public meetings, writing a short comment, perhaps summoning the courage to stand up and say a few words. In the meanwhile, let’s get out and listen and look for those spring birds that remind us why this all matters.
Oil, Orcas & Oystercatchers: Preparing for the Inevitable
Location: Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Road, Mount Vernon, WA
Date: Sunday, June 26, 2016 Time: 12:00pm
In Skagit County, Shell Oil is looking to add an oil-by-rail facility to its existing refinery in Anacortes, bringing in six oil trains per week and 60,000 barrels per day. As we prepare to comment on the Shell-Anacortes Draft Environmental Impact Statement this fall, we are also learning how citizen science action could make a difference during an inevitable oil spill disaster in our marine waterways.
Join us where we will celebrate what we know and love about marine life in the Salish Sea, learn about the health of Salish Sea marine bird populations and the region’s iconic Southern-resident orca population, hear in detail the threats they face due to increased oil tanker traffic, and participate in a hands-on introduction to citizen science first response observance training – a meaningful way volunteers can take action in the event of an oil spill.
EDUCATION GRANT RECEIVED
The Skagit Community Foundation has awarded the Skagit Audubon Society Education Committee a $1,500 grant. This will support our various ed-ucational activities within the region; including purchase of additional educational materials to enhance both our youth and adult programs.
Skagit Community Foundation focuses its attention on local issues and provides resources to meet changing community needs. The foundation collaborates with organizations and corporations to provide support and funds to over 40 community groups. Their long term goal is to secure discretion- ary resources to meet changing community needs.
Skagit Audubon Society Education Committee is excited to be a part of the foundation's network by providing nature programs designed to connect the community to birds and the environment.
GRAND COULEE HIKES, OCT. 8 ~ 9
Join Gene Kiver and Bruce Bjornstad, authors of “On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods”(Vol. 2), for one or two days of hiking in the Grand Coulee. Sign up for one or both hikes. We will explore the Northrup Canyon on Sat. Oct. 8 and Candy Point on Sun. Oct. 9 in the town of Grand Coulee. Northrup Canyon is a 7.2 mile-round-trip hike through a side canyon to Northrup Lake and the plateau surface above. The catastrophic Glacial Lake Missoula Floods created the bizarre landscape in Grand Coulee and other areas in the Channeled Scabland of eastern Washington. Meet at the trailhead at 9:30 a.m.
ADiscover pass is required on all vehicles.
The Candy Point hike follows a short, but steep trail built by the CCC in the 1930s and leads a few hundred feet up to an outstanding view of the Grand Coulee Dam complex. Seen are the interaction of Ice Age glaciers, catastrophic floods, and the lava bedrock of the area. The dam complex, also viewed, was made possible by the combination of geologic events. Meet at trailhead at 9:30 am. Overnight camping is available at Steamboat Rock State Park for those wishing to do both days of hiking. A Discover Pass is required for all vehicles. Motels are also available in nearby Grand Coulee.
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.