Thursday, February 3, 2011

Planning Ahead for Washington's Wildlife

Ask a room of climate change researchers what Washington State will look like in the next 100 years and you will see dozens of different maps illustrating changing climate’s affect the natural world. Projections for climate change differ vary greatly depending on how each scientific model considers an array of factors. Maps of the future may show arid lands increasing or decreasing, forest types migrating east or west, and wildlife habitat and corridors expanding, contracting, or vanishing altogether. Only one thing seems certain about the future – change is coming.

In tandem with climate change, a growing demand for renewable energy makes its mark upon the landscape. Throughout Eastern Washington, rows of white wind turbines occupy the ridgelines and transmission lines stripe the terrain. As the pace of wind development increases, so does the urgency for planning ahead for connectivity and resiliency of wildlife habitats across the region.

Wildlife managers at the state and federal levels have the challenging job of anticipating a range of factors when planning for the future survival of fish, wildlife, and bird species in Washington State. Join the Conservation Division for “Planning Ahead for Washington’s Wildlife”, an evening lecture and discussion with two of the state’s leading wildlife managers February 18, 7-9:00 p.m. at The Mountaineers Program Center.

Rocky Beach, 32-year veteran of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, will discuss the impacts of climate change on Washington’s wildlife species and their habitat, as well as the possible strategies to address this daunting challenge at international, national, state and local levels.

William O. Vogel, Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will introduce landscape-level efforts to plan for the exploding wind energy market in Washington State. Vogel will explain how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is adapting to address concerns about wildlife and bird species by working cooperatively with land owners and project developers, as well as local agencies.

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