Urging Michigan Senators to Support the Climate Security Act for the Sake of our Natural Resources … And More

NWF   |   June 2, 2008

My name is Kelli Alfano-Yaroch and I coordinate the Sportsmen Climate Change Campaign in lower Michigan. In talking with sportsmen/women around the state on a regular basis, I’m finding that there is a consensus that they are seeing changes on the landscape while sitting in their duck and deer blinds, fishing off their boats or wading in their favorite streams around our beautiful state, due to climate change.

In June, Senators Levin and Stabenow will have the opportunity to vote on the Climate Security Act. This is a bipartisan bill that will not only reduce the pollution of green house gasses by about 2% per year for the next half century but the bill will also help usher in a new clean energy economy that creates millions of "green collar" jobs and I can only hope that they see the value in supporting this bill for the greater good of the state of Michigan.

The Climate Security Act also includes dedicated funding for natural resources and wildlife agencies that could amount to $7.2 billion per year in preparation of and protection from climate change.

The National Wildlife Federation conducted an unprecedented comprehensive nationwide survey of licensed hunters and anglers about their attitudes on global climate change that revealed that a majority of sportsmen are witnessing the effects of global climate change and believe immediate action is necessary to address it. Complete poll results are available at www.targetglobalwarming.org. As most of us know, it’s the outdoorsmen and women who are the true conservationists among us and the sportsmen/women community is concerned by the changes they see happening to the landscape. Some of the threats facing Michigan wildlife and wildlife habitat are:

  • Climate change is expected to affect shoreline wetlands of the Great Lakes, which provide critical habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl. Research suggests that the changes in breeding and migratory habitat due to climate change could lead to a 19-39 percent decline in duck numbers throughout the region by the 2030s.
  • Cold-water fish species in Michigan are expected to take the brunt of climate change. As water temperatures warm and water levels diminish, scientists project that suitable habitat for cold-water fish such as brook trout and walleye will be considerably reduced.
  • A temperature increase of 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit could cause plants and trees better suited to warmer weather to replace the valuable coniferous forests of Michigan, causing declines in species such as the endangered Kirtland’s warbler, a bird that only breeds in the jack pine forests of the state.
  • Although there is uncertainty in forecasting the impact of global warming on the water levels of the Great Lakes, there is a clear risk as global warming increases evaporation and alters precipitation patterns. In 2002, the Bush Administration published a global warming report that warned: "Lake levels are likely to decline due to increased warm-season evaporation, leading to reduced water supply and degraded water quality."
  • Warmer average temperatures could increase concentrations of ground-level ozone, which is known to aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma.
  • Loss of wildlife and habitat could mean a loss of tourism dollars. Based on a report from the National Sportsman’s Foundation, there are 1.7 million hunters and anglers in Michigan who spend $3.3 billion annually, providing over 46,000 jobs in Michigan.

I’m urging Senators Levin and Stabenow to do the right thing and support the Climate Security Act so that generations to come can enjoy the natural resources that this beautiful state of Michigan, I call home, has to offer.

Kelli Alfano-Yaroch Michigan Outreach Consultant
National Wildlife Federation

Published: June 2, 2008