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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
nhfishandwildlif@aol.com

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Wednesday 05/14/2008 Write your Senator. Write your Senator today.

Right now, write now! It is time to turn the tide on Global Warming. Write your Senator NOW!

Decades of restoration efforts on New Hampshire's coastal rivers has brought a return of hundreds of thousands of river herring each May. The restored herring has brought an important ecological balance to Great Bay and has been instrumental in the return of numbers of nesting ospreys.

This restoration is at risk in several of our coastal rivers due to Global Warming. Now is the time to act to curb greenhouse gasses. The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act seeks to reduce carbon dioxide levels by two percent per year each year beginning in 2012. This is the one and only bill at the national level that has a chance of action right now. But we need Senators Gregg and Sununu to vote FOR this bill when it is brought to the Senate floor the first week of June. We only have three weeks to convince our Senators to vote for this bill. Please write your Senators and ask them to vote for the Lieberman-Warner bill.

Senator John Sununu
One New Hampshire Ave.
Suite 120
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Senator Judd Gregg
125 North Main St.
Concord, NH 03301

Time to Turn the Tide Against Global Warming

New Hampshire’s coastal rivers are dying a slow death by asphyxiation. Fifty years ago these rivers were no more than open sewers and the upstream migration was blocked by dams a century or more old. The Lamprey, Cocheco, Salmon Falls, Oyster, Exeter, Winnicut and Taylor Rivers were essentially devoid of untold numbers of river herring that historically spawned there.

Over the last three decades river herring numbers have been restored. Within just a few weeks tens of thousands of foot-long silvery torpedo-like fish will be swarming from the depths of the sea into New Hampshire’s coastal river. Legions of river herring will be rushing against strong spring river currents to return to the place of their birth, two or three years ago, in an urgent need to fulfill their life cycle. Female herring may spew 200,000 to 300,000 eggs into the surrounding fresh water.

River herring numbering in the hundreds of thousands have returned to these rivers thanks to a clean waters and a tremendous effort by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to construct fish passage facilities at the dams on these rivers in the late 1970’s, then accompanied by annual restoration work that continues today.

But there is a “perfect storm” brewing to reverse this historical accomplishment. Development, roof by roof, driveway by driveway, and parking lot by parking lot, is slowly transforming the very rivers themselves. Water that once filtered into the ground, then slowly trickled into the rivers all spring and summer long as groundwater, now shoots down our gutters, pavement and ditches, even causing flash floods that the seacoast area has become all to familiar with the last few years.

Not only is there less ground water to recharge the rivers into the hot summer, but on some, such as the Oyster and Exeter Rivers, water is siphoned off for drinking water.

Now add in Global Warming. This appears to be the straw breaking the camels back. Fish and Game Marine biologists have witnessed a dramatic decline in herring numbers since 2000. For instance the river herring numbers in the Exeter River declined from 6,703 in 2001 to only 40 in 2007. The Oyster River saw a reduction from 70,873 in 2000 to just 17,402 in 2007. And on the Taylor River in South Hampton the drop has been even more dramatic from 44,010 in 2000 to only 147 fish in 2006 and fewer than a thousand in 2007.

Striped bass fishermen-Get on board! River herring are a significant forage fish for striped bass. Herring are filter feeders turning nutrients from the sea into adult herring providing a steady supply of forage for bass at sea. The juvenile herring glean the nutrients from the fresh water and transport them back out to sea to the tune of millions of juveniles.

Global Warming heat waves are heating up the river waters just after the river herring have come to spawn. Simply put, the heated water cannot hold much oxygen and the comma sized baby herring are being smothered to death. By the millions!

New Hampshire hunters, anglers and sport shop owners are on the forefront of witnessing climate changes. In fact, in a recent poll conducted by the National Wildlife Federation, three quarters of the sportsmen said they believe global warming is happening now, and fully a third believe they have seen changes to this state’s fish and wildlife or habitats due to global warming. These sportsmen and sport shop owners are calling upon Congress to act on reducing global warming now. Senators Gregg and Sununu can save our fish by voting for the Lieberman/Warner Climate Security act that seeks to reduce Global Warming gasses by two percent per year with a 15 percent reduction by 2020 and a 70 percent reduction by 2050. Your letter to their office is a life or death matter. Will our coastal river once more be without this vibrant fish? Now is the time to write to YOUR Senator to ask them to support this legislation.

Eric Orff
Retired NH Fish and Game biologist

Points to write about:

It has taken decades to clean up our rivers and restore fish populations

The Fish and Game Department has spent decades to restore fish populations by building fish ladders and maintaining them each year

Global warming threatens to undo much that has been accomplished

River herring numbers are declining on NH’s coast because of global warming

River herring are an important forage fish for striped bass and other marine species

Great Bay and the NH coast is a special place that deserves to be protected and maintained ecologically.

You are concerned with the predicted sea level rise caused by global warming

You are passionate about hunting and fishing and the environment and want to start now to reduce global warming gasses and not pass the problem off to our children to fix.

The Lieberman-Warner bill is the best opportunity to begin to reduce global warming gasses.

Now is the time to begin to reduce global warming while we still can do it by just reducing the gasses by 2 percent a year.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the polar bear a threatened species because of global warming as well.


   

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2008-05-08 Toads trilling, peepers still peeping, marsh marigold in bloom and the Suncook River has completed its second avulsion. Oh yes, and my peas are in.

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2008-05-29 Toads at full trill and lilacs in full bloom.

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