From Florida Today
August 23, 2005
Global warming not ducky
Is global warming threatening North America's waterfowl?
Officials of the National Wildlife Federation and 27 of its affiliated state organizations say yes.
A new report from the federation titled "The Waterfowler's Guide to Global Warming" says that ducks and geese using America's flyways face significant problems caused by global warming.
Included is the major loss of prime breeding grounds, a reduction of coastal winter habitat, and disruptions in migrations.
The federation is calling it a "trifecta of troubles."
Doug Inkley, senior science advisor for the federation, said, "Global warming is setting up ducks and geese for a Pandora's box of problems that could devastate populations across the nation."
Florida Wildlife Federation president Preston Robertson, said the global warming problem could steal away the waterfowl legacy from our children.
"Global warming poses a basic threat to our conservation tradition," Robertson said in a media release. "It challenges our responsibility to be good stewards of the water, land and wildlife."
Research by waterfowl experts suggests that global warming could reduce wetland habitat in the prairie pothole region of the Upper Midwest by as much as 91 percent by 2080.
That could bring a decline in duck breeding pairs from as low as nine percent to as much as 69 percent research shows.
Species at particular risk include mallards, gadwall, blue-winged teal, Northern pintail, canvasbacks, redheads and ruddy ducks.
Carbon pollution, resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, is the primary cause of global warming, scientists contend.
In the last 100 years, global temperatures rose by an average of 1-degree Fahrenheit, but in some areas, including Alaska, the change has been more dramatic, the report said.
The average temperature in Alaska has risen by 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. It is beginning to cause problems associated with softening permafrost and erosion along Alaska's coastline.
So, what's the plan of action? The federation has three recommendations:
Uphold the Clean Water Act and Farm Bill wetlands protections and expand other programs that encourage protection and restoration of wetlands.
Develop wetland and waterfowl conservation strategies that account for the potential effects of global warming and reform floodplain and coastal management practices.
Enact policies that limit the nation's global warming pollution, protect and enhance forests, grasslands, wetlands and other natural systems that absorb and store carbon. At the same time promote energy efficiency and accelerate the development of renewable energy sources.