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Conservation Groups Applaud Release of BLM Climate Study and Urge Agency to Put Lessons to Immediate Use


Science & Tech  (tags: climate, climate-change, climatechange, destruction, ecosystems, conservation, environment, energy, globalwarming, globalwarming, GoodNews, nature, Sustainabililty, wildlife, water, weather, research, protection, politics, study, scientists )

JL
- 553 days ago - earthjustice.org
A long-awaited study on the impacts of climate change on the Colorado Plateau has been released, and conservationists are calling on the Bureau of Land Management to begin using this data in their public lands management decisions.



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JL A. (275)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 5:14 pm
Conservation Groups Applaud Release of BLM Climate Study and Urge Agency to Put Lessons to Immediate Use

Decisions, planning documents must be updated
February 27, 2013
Denver, CO —

A long-awaited study on the impacts of climate change on the Colorado Plateau has been released, and conservationists are calling on the Bureau of Land Management to begin using this data in their public lands management decisions. Earthjustice and The Wilderness Society urge the agency to take into account broad changes in climatic conditions, water availability, wildlife habitat and other impacts to land as part of planning processes that underway throughout the plateau.
The Colorado River. (Kohi Hirano / iStockphoto)
The Colorado River. Studies predict that the Colorado Plateau will bear the brunt of climate change with impacts more severe than in other parts of the country.
(Kohi Hirano / iStockphoto)

“We hope that the BLM’s climate study marks a turning point in the agency’s approach to how it manages and protects water resources, wildlife habitat, and our last remaining wild areas as our environment grows hotter and drier,” said Earthjustice’s Heidi McIntosh. “With this new climate study, BLM can no longer ignore the need to manage and protect large undeveloped expanses of public land, important wildlife habitat and the water resources that are now degraded by oil and gas development, off-road vehicle use and other activities.”

BLM’s study, the Colorado Plateau Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA), is a compilation of information and analyses of current and future conditions across the region. Importantly, the REA will enable BLM to identify and prioritize the most valuable places and resources to protect and determine which human activities are the most destructive as the climate continues to put stress on nature’s ability to adapt to changes.

The REA will also support BLM’s move to a “landscape approach” to planning and land management, a departure from BLM’s traditional methods which focused narrowly on specific projects like drilling proposals, or on smaller planning areas, without examining how its decisions affected adjacent lands, including those managed by other state and federal agencies.

“Climate change is impacting our wild places, and how we care for these places in the short term will have lasting impacts for generations,” said Phil Hanceford at The Wilderness Society. “This study cannot be put on a shelf. Instead, the BLM should use this information to make better decisions about conserving our last remaining wild places while allowing for development activities where it will not affect our unspoiled lands and water resources that are already stretched far too thin.”

Background:

The Department of Interior has, since 2001, required the BLM and other land management agencies to consider climate change in its planning, management and decision making. Yet the BLM—the nation’s largest land management agency, responsible for over 250 million acres of public land—has been reluctant to do so, arguing that it lacked relevant scientific data.

The agency’s failure to look carefully at the impacts of climate change and modify its management accordingly has led conservationists, including Earthjustice and The Wilderness Society, to sue BLM to force compliance with the Department’s 2001 order on climate change, as well as with other laws requiring environmental studies in connection with BLM’s planning and management decisions.

Other scientific studies, including those conducted by the U.S. Geologic Survey, predict that the Colorado Plateau will bear the brunt of climate change with impacts more severe than in other parts of the country. These impacts include:

Significantly reduced overall flows in the Colorado River basin, which sustains both the cities and ecosystems of much of the West;
Changes in river flows and snowmelt with earlier runoff and water management challenges;
An overall hotter and drier climate, with more prevalent and hotter wildfires;
Changes in wildlife habitat as animals move in search of water and more hospitable conditions; extinctions will occur where such conditions are not available;
Loss of native vegetation as exotic species like cheatgrass outcompete the original species;
Increased dust storms as soil becomes more fragile, vegetation is lost and soil disturbance from roads, off-road vehicles and oil and gas field increases. Airborne soils more commonly settle on Rocky Mountain snowpack, creating a darker surface and generating more solar energy and leading earlier, faster runoff.

The REA, together with the preexisting studies, should result in a significant change in the way BLM conducts its business.
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 5:37 pm

I don't have much hope for anything coming from once diligent government agencies now mostly owned by lobby groups. The BLM has not shown much good faith in the past few years, maybe the many petitions on this topic will have some positive overall affect. We can hope and stay active.
 

Terry V. (30)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:07 pm
"study" is good but I will not hold my breath on them using the info properly.

Could Just One Degree Change the World?
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 6:26 pm
Excellent observations and related reservations! Thanks for posting the link to the marvelous short video Terry!
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day.
 

John B. (215)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:14 pm
Thanks J.L. for the post. With the study results in the BLM can not use the excuse that they "lacked relevant scientific data" to not implement efforts to "manages and protects water resources, wildlife habitat, and our last remaining wild areas as our environment grows hotter and drier." Read and noted.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday March 17, 2013, 8:28 pm
You are welcome John. Thanks for emphasizing the bottom line, too! You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last day.
 

Michael Kirkby (85)
Monday March 18, 2013, 9:59 am
How much longer before we see mining, oil and natural gas exploration happening throughout all of the parks and national treasures such as the Grand Canyon?
 

Carol D. (109)
Monday March 18, 2013, 11:50 am
Will they do anything with the data we will see Depends if they get offered a lot of money to do something else as in the end money talks


Noted thanks
 

Gene Jacobson (252)
Monday March 18, 2013, 12:05 pm
“With this new climate study, BLM can no longer ignore the need to manage and protect large undeveloped expanses of public land, important wildlife habitat and the water resources that are now degraded by oil and gas development, off-road vehicle use and other activities.”

This is actually the crux of the matter, I think. The data is now available and MUST be used, not only here, but around the world if we are to have a chance at staving off the coming global holocaust that climate change will bring. If we don't, if we can't, it will be the largest mass extinction in the history of the planet. Our choice, maybe, if there's still time to avoid it and a majority of climatologists now think we've gone past the tipping point. If that's true, the next several hundred years are going to be very tough for life on earth period, not just human life.
 

Lois Jordan (56)
Monday March 18, 2013, 2:32 pm
Gene said it very well. I do hope this will have impact on the proposed mining near the Grand Canyon, and also here in So. AZ with the Rosemont Mine. Trans-National Canadian mining companies have been pushing very strongly to mine in these areas. In So. AZ, the group, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas has been working long and hard to fight against the Rosemont mine. The detrimental environmental impacts have been established, but the pushback by this wealthy corporation has also involved a mass media campaign involving local TV and radio.
 

Christeen Anderson (491)
Monday March 18, 2013, 2:42 pm
Enough data and talk. Let's see some action.
 

JL A. (275)
Monday March 18, 2013, 2:47 pm
Great comments folks! Stars en route where possible.
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Mitchell D. (131)
Monday March 18, 2013, 6:41 pm
I'm a big fan of Earthjustice.
 

JL A. (275)
Monday March 18, 2013, 6:43 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last day.
 
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