Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Global warming affecting national parks

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Not just national parks, of course: it’s affecting farmlands, cities, the coastlines, and the globe. But the story in today’s paper is the GAO report of the effects on the national parks:

The federal government needs to do a better job addressing how climate change is transforming the hundreds of millions of acres under its watch, according to a Government Accountability Office report to be released today.

The 184-page report, which Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) requested in 2004, highlights the extent to which global warming is already affecting the nation’s parks, forests, marine sanctuaries and monuments.

Looking at agencies ranging from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, GAO officials gathered reports of dramatic changes across the nearly 30 percent of U.S. land that lies under federal control. Since 1850, the glaciers in Glacier National Park have declined from 150 to 26; climate-triggered coral bleaching in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is eroding the area’s tourist appeal.

For the most part, the men and women overseeing these 600 million acres of land and 150,000 square miles of protected waters have little direction on how to respond to these shifts, according to the report. It states that these managers “have limited guidance about whether or how to address climate change and therefore, are uncertain about what action, if any, they should take. . . . Without such guidance, their ability to address climate change and effectively manage resources is constrained.”

In addition to NOAA and the Forest Service, the GAO examined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

Written by Leisureguy

6 September 2007 at 10:56 am

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