General Meetings are held at the Remington Club, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo
May 23, 2013
Remington Club, 16916 Hierba Drive, Rancho Bernardo There is a social period beginning at 7:00 pm with the meeting and program getting under way promptly at 7:30pm.
RAMONA GRASSLAND PRESERVE THREATENED
By Jeff Ebright
The Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) asked for PASsupport concerning planned development in theRamona Grasslands Preserve by the San Diego CountyParks and Recreation. The planned development includesa trail extension that would be placed in an area that mostlikely would cause one of the most successful breedingpairs of Golden Eagles left in San Diego County toabandon their nest in Bandy Canyon. There are plans toplace a road between a ridge the Golden Eagles use tospot prey and the grasslands. A parking lot / horse stagingarea would be placed next to a lake used by Bald Eaglesto hunt. There are alternatives that would mitigate theseimpacts, but the County has refused to work with WRI.
PAS wrote a letter to the County expressing our concernsand did not receive a response. At PAS request, SanDiego and Buena Vista Audubon have agreed to supportWRI.The next step is for WRI to do a survey of the GoldenEagles that nest in Bandy Canyon. The resulting reportwill detail the impacts to the preserve by the planneddevelopment. PAS has contributed $1,000 to defray thecost of this study. The study will be sent to the CountyBoard of Supervisors, State Fish and Game, U.S. Fish andWildlife, and local conservation groups. If all goes well,we will prevent the current plan for development fromstarting in September. It would be tragic if this preserve,which was acquired with conservation money with theexpress purpose to protect critical grassland habitat forraptors, was to lose one of few remaining breedingGolden Eagle pair in the County.
Secretary Salazar Releases New “State of the Birds” Report Showing Climate Change Threatens Hundreds of Species
Audubon’s Glenn Olson and Greg Butcher joined Interior Secretary Salazar and representatives of other leading conservation organizations to announce the release of the 2010 US State of the Birds Report. The report’s findings send an urgent call to reduce carbon emissions and take steps to help birds adapt to changes already in process.
The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change,follows a comprehensive report released a year ago showing that that nearly a third of the nation's 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline.
“For well over a century, migratory birds have faced stresses such as commercial hunting, loss of forests, the use of DDT and other pesticides, a loss of wetlands and other key habitat, the introduction of invasive species, and other impacts of human development,” Salazar said. “Now they are facing a new threat--climate change--that could dramatically alter their habitat and food supply and push many species towards extinction.”
The report, a collaboration of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and experts from the nation’s leading conservation organizations, shows that climate changes will have an increasingly disruptive effect on bird species in all habitats, with oceanic and Hawaiian birds in greatest peril.
In releasing the report, Salazar cited the unprecedented efforts by the Obama Administration and the Department of the Interior to address climate change.
Last week in Anchorage, Alaska, for example, the Interior Department opened the first of eight new regional Climate Science Centers that will engage scientists from all of Interior’s Bureaus and partners to research climate change impacts, work with land, natural, and cultural resource managers to design adaptation strategies, and engage the public through education initiatives.
The Climate Science Centers will help support a network of new “Landscape Conservation Cooperatives” that will engage federal agencies, tribal, state, and local governmental and non-governmental partners, and the public in crafting practical, landscape-level strategies for managing climate change impacts on land, natural, and cultural resources within the eight regions.
“Just as they did in 1962 when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, our migratory birds are sending us a message about the health of our planet,” Salazar said. “That is why--for the first time ever--the Department of the Interior has deployed a coordinated strategy to plan for and respond to the impacts of climate change on the resources we manage.”
Key findings from the “State of the Birds” climate change report include:
- Oceanic birds are among the most vulnerable species because they don’t raise many young each year; they face challenges from a rapidly changing marine ecosystem; and they nest on islands that may be flooded as sea levels rise. All 67 oceanic bird species, such as petrels and albatrosses, are among the most vulnerable birds on Earth to climate change.
- Hawaiian birds such as endangered species Puaiohi and ’Akiapōlā’au already face multiple threats and are increasingly challenged by mosquito-borne diseases and invasive species as climate change alters their native habitats.
- Birds in coastal, arctic/alpine, and grassland habitats, as well as those on Caribbean and other Pacific islands show intermediate levels of vulnerability; most birds in arid-lands, wetlands, and forests show relatively low vulnerability to climate change.
- For bird species that are already of conservation concern such as the golden-cheeked warbler, whooping crane, and spectacled eider, the added vulnerability to climate change may hasten declines or prevent recovery.
- The report identified common bird species such as the American oystercatcher, common nighthawk, and northern pintail that are likely to become species of conservation concern as a result of climate change.
“Birds are excellent indicators of the health of our environment, and right now they are telling us an important story about climate change,” said Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg, director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Many species of conservation concern will face heightened threats, giving us an increased sense of urgency to protect and conserve vital bird habitat.”
“All of the effective bird conservation efforts already taking place to protect rare species, conserve habitats, and remove threats need to be continued,” said David Mehlman of The Nature Conservancy. “Additionally, they need to be greatly expanded to meet the threat climate change poses to bird populations.”
“The dangers to these birds reflect risks to everything we value: our health, our finances, our quality of life and the stability of our natural world,” said Audubon’s Glenn Olson. “But if we can help the birds weather a changing climate, we can help ourselves.”
“While there is much to be concerned about in this report, we can reduce the impact of climate change by taking immediate action to reduce carbon emissions and find creative conservation solutions to help birds adapt to the changes that are already in process,” said David Pashley, vice president of the American Bird Conservancy.
What the Birds are Telling Us (Audubon)
Birds are among the most adaptable of wildlife - as long as they can find suitable habitat, they are able to travel substantial distances north, inland, or to higher latitudes. That is one of the things that makes them sensitive environmental indicators - alerting us to ecological disruption, often before it directly affects us. Audubon's new analysis reveals that many species that winter in the U.S. are moving significantly north - strong evidence that global warming is already altering their - and our - environment. However, Audubon's analysis also showed that some birds, including the majority of grassland species, are not following the trend — even as temperatures climb. For these species disappearing habitat is taking an enormous toll and leaving them with nowhere to go - even as climate change is altering what habitat remains.
On the Move North
The following are just two of several species for which Audubon's Birds and Climate Change study revealed the greatest northward movement
Purple Finch: A frequent visitor to bird feeders, this colorful bird, which is frequently confused with the more common House Finch, is an "irruptive species," meaning that it winters far to the south in some winters and farther north in others. As temperatures have increased in recent years, however, the birds have not gone as far south during their irruptions - resulting in overall northward movement of over 433.
Ring-billed Gull: Like most of the large gulls, Ring-billed Gull adapts well to a human-influenced environment; it can frequently be found feeding at municipal landfills. The Ring-bill is not a typical "seagull"; it is more likely than most other large gulls to be found inland, far from any water. Its northward movement of over 350 miles is another sign of its ability to adapt to changes in its environment, including climate change - sometimes at the peril of other less adaptive species, however, as it can often out-compete them for food and habitat.
Top Ways to Combat Global Warming and Its Impact on Birds
All of us have a role to play in reducing the worst impacts of global warming. As individuals and engaged citizens, we can all take steps to reduce our energy use, switch to cleaner sources of power, conserve habitat and encourage our leaders to take immediate action. Here's a short list:
1. Be an Active Citizen
Join Audubon's activist team and urge our elected officials to make global warming a top priority by signing our petition at birdsandclimate.org. Voice your support for new approaches to help solve global warming, move us toward a 100 percent clean energy future, reduce our dependence on oil, and protect our environment. Stay informed, write letters to your leaders, and support candidates who promise to take the aggressive and farsighted actions necessary to curb global warming.>
2. Get Involved in Your Community
Support conservation efforts that protect and restore essential bird habitat, keeping it healthy to better withstand global warming. Learn how the Important Bird Areasprogram is building a national network of conservation stewards. And join in "Citizen Science" efforts like the Christmas and Great Backyard Bird Counts.
3. Determine Your Energy Profile and Carbon Footprint
An energy audit assesses how much energy you consume. A carbon footprint shows how much greenhouse gas you emit into the atmosphere. These figures can help you determine steps you can take to make your home, school, or office more energy efficient. Many footprint calculators are available online.
4. Reduce Energy Consumption
Save money and energy by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and maximize the use of natural sunlight for daytime lighting needs. Reduce excessive use of home heating and cooling and weatherize your home. Buy energy efficient appliances such as those that are "Energy Star" compliant.
5. Eat Locally Grown and Organic Produce
The fewer miles your products travel, the less energy is used for refrigeration and transport. And buy organic. That reduces the use of pesticides that kill the organisms which help keep carbon in the soil.
6. Shop Smarter
Manufacturing, packing, transporting, and selling goods not only use huge amounts of energy but also release excessive amounts of greenhouse gases. When shopping, always ask, "Do I really need this? Does the Earth really need this?" You'll probably save money as well.
7. Save Gas and Money
Use public transportation, ride your bicycle, walk, carpool, and drive a more energy-efficient vehicle. Keep tires properly inflated to increase fuel efficiency - it will lower your fuel costs.
8. Plant More Trees and Buy Good Wood
An average tree absorbs ten pounds of pollutants from the air each year, including four pounds of ground level ozone and three pounds of particulates. So, plant leafy trees around your house to provide windbreaks and summer shade. When shopping for wood, ask about certified wood to support sustainably managed forests that are bird-friendly.
9. Switch to Green Power
Power plants are the single largest source of heat-trapping gases in the United States, but in some states you can switch to utilities that provide 50 to 100 percent renewable energy. You may also want to consider installing solar panels on your home.
Visit Audubon's Global Warming web sitefor more ideas on how you can make a difference.