Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally
ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer -
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff
Sunday 01/01/2012 Got Ice? Silent Swing: On Trips Through NH, Candidates Failing to Talk Conservation
From Theodore Roosevelt creating the National Parks System to Richard Nixon establishing the Environmental Protection Agency to George H.W. Bush signing a strengthened Clean Air Act, Republicans have a long history of supporting common sense solutions to problems facing our wildlife, air, water and public health. Will this year’s crop of GOP candidates follow that conservative presidential tradition?
So far, the signs aren’t promising. I’ve heard plenty about jobs, but little of protecting the rivers, lakes and wildlife habitat that supports thousands of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation related jobs across New Hampshire. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife, in New Hampshire 228,000 people spent $177 million on fishing in 2006. Every dollar spent on conservation programs here in New Hampshire delivers jobs and economic activity.
Right now the Granite State duck hunters are asking “Where are the ducks?” and fishermen and women are asking “Where is the ice?” Until just a few days ago, going into late December, there was no ice in much of New Hampshire. Worse yet to the north in Maine and beyond winter and the snow and ice normally expected by now has not happened. As a result ducks and geese have been slow to migrate south to the New Hampshire’s coast this fall. And safe ice for this state’s ice fishermen is but a wish for now. Both this state’s hunters and fishermen are impacted by a warming climate. Worse yet all of the dozens of businesses that count on these sportsmen and women are up against a tough economy worsened by the lack of ice and snow. A good old fashioned winter just can’t be counted on any more it seems.
Climate change also poses a threat New Hampshire’s economic health many other ways. The skiing industry directly employs 17,000 people in New Hampshire and pumps $650 million dollars a year into our economy, a revenue stream that’s critically threatened by warmer winters. And if ski resorts are forced to make more snow, it will cost plenty to cover one acre of ski trails with one foot of snow that takes up to 180,000 gallons of water to be pumped. Along with the ski industry is the snowmobile industry which contributes another $1.2 billion dollars to this state’s economy, according to a 2004 UNH study. Snowmobiling supports thousands of jobs as well, especially in the Great North Woods.
So I have a few simple questions for this year’s crop of presidential candidates: Where are the ducks? What’s your plan to protect America’s natural resources? Will you support mainstream values by standing up for the wildlife, our national forests, and clean air and water that enrich all Americans? Or will you be going to Washington, prioritizing special interests and protecting the few at the expense of our environment?
2012-01-05 Got safe ice? And a NH Snow Drought
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