Climate Change Front and Center
From Ridgetop to Reef: Storing Carbon on the Landscape
Join the MidCoast Watersheds Council in 2020 for a free monthly speaker series starting January 9th that will explore the potential of the Oregon Coast’s natural and managed lands to store carbon, and the tools and incentives needed to foster widespread actions for these habitats
Ocean acidification and hypoxia, sea level rise, and increases in droughts, forest fires, and flooding are all impacts climate change is having now. “We know that the climate is changing from the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and ocean, trapping heat, acidifying the ocean, and changing and intensifying weather patterns already,” notes Evan Hayduk, Coordinator of the MidCoast Watersheds Council, “and that these changes threaten humans and the resources we depend on.”
As a new decade approaches, it is overwhelming to think about what the Oregon Coast is situated to face, but there are many ways in which we can help. While decreasing carbon emissions must be a continued focus to help lessen long-term impacts, a complementary action is to assure the conservation and enhancement of our soils and vegetation so they can remove more carbon from the atmosphere and store it for longer times.
From January to June of 2020, the MidCoast Watersheds Council will host distinguished speakers at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in a free Carbon Speaker Series, titled “From Ridgetop to Reef”. This series will explore this carbon storage potential.in our coastal marshes, natural and managed forests, agricultural lands, wetlands, riparian areas, and the intertidal zone. Additionally, presentations and discussion will include information on the tools and incentives needed to foster widespread actions for these habitats.
Natural and well managed habitats provide many resources and benefits that humans need to live. Broadly, these ecosystem services are things such as producing oxygen, providing habitat, producing food and materials (e.g. lumber, fibers), recycling nutrients, forming soil, purifying water, assuring pollination, controlling pests, reducing flooding, and providing for cultural, educational, scientific, and spiritual use. Another key ecosystem service is carbon sequestration. In a 2017 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers calculated that storing more carbon in our natural environments worldwide can provide 37 percent of the carbon reductions needed to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement. That is, these ‘natural climate solutions’ can remove 11 gigatons of the 30 gigatons of excess carbon in the atmosphere each year.
“Our goals with this speaker series”, says Paul Engelmeyer, Chair of the MidCoast Wathersheds Council, “is to raise public awareness in our local community about the ways in which our natural and managed lands may best store carbon to lessen some of the effects of climate change, and in turn make our coast more resilient for people and fish and wildlife.” Each presentation will begin at 6:30 PM in the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center’s newly-renovated Doerfler Family Theatre in Newport on 333 SE Bay Blvd. Refreshments will be provided. Following the presentations, the MidCoast Watersheds Council regular Board meeting will follow to review current restoration work, the monthly financial report, and the work of the technical and administrative committees.
Save the date for: January 9th, February 6th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, and June 4th.