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Resilient Habitats: Ecosystems

Greater Puget Sound Ecoregion

Anchored by three National Parks -- Olympic, Mt.Rainier and North Cascades, along with adjacent national forest Wilderness areas -- the Greater Puget Sound Region is home to a stunning array of wildlife, and provides for clean water, recreation opportunities and healthy local economies.

From its snowcaps to whitecaps, the region is feeling the pressure from climate change and other activities as evidenced by receding glaciers, dangerous warming of important salmon streams, increased flooding, massive private forest land conversions to non-forest uses, and increased fire threats on the east side of the Cascades. The Resilient Habitats campaign seeks to bring attention and protection to the region's wildlife, such as orca whales and Pacific salmon, wild lands, and human communities that coexist in these unique and fragile ecosystems.

The Resilient Habitats campaign employs the following approaches to reduce the vulnerability of Greater Puget Sound ecosystems to climate change:

  • Apply science-based blueprints for building resilient habitats and natural systems carbon sequestration
  • Protect adequate and appropriate spaces including core areas, particularly in upper watersheds
  • Restore the integrity of watersheds to create corridors and linkages
  • Prevent the additional loss of, and restore key carbon storing forest lands and coastal and nearshore environments
  • Rely on natural systems to safeguard communities from climate change
  • Protect the integrity of Puget Sound shoreline and habitat
  • Provide reliable sources of funding to build resilient habitats and natural systems carbon sequestration programs

The Sierra Club is working to protect undisturbed wildlands and watersheds in the region to mitigate the impacts of climate disruption. The Club is also calling on federal, state, and local agencies to address climate change as they develop plans to maintain forest health, watersheds, and wetlands as temperatures increase. Some specific Sierra Club objectives are:

  • Secure protections for critical habitat in the Olympics, Alpine Lakes and North Cascades
  • Secure habitat designation for listed species and incorporate climate change impacts into the management plans and habitat designations
  • Implement Key Elements of the Puget Sound Partnership Action Plan:
    • Protect and restore critical floodplain habitat and reduce polluted stormwater runoff in Puget Sound basin
    • Incorporate recognition of climate change into Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest plans
    • Acquire key private lands in the "checkerboard" landscape in the Interstate 90 and U.S. Route 2 corridors
    • Secure a stronger recovery plan for Snake and Columbia River salmon runs
    • Get the Department of Natural Resources to incorporate climate planning and resilient habitat protections into planning guidelines for updating land plans
    • Work with local land trusts and communities to acquire key private forest lands and help keep private forests from being developed

Comments? Contact Graham Taylor.

 

Photos

Courtesy of the National Parks Service

Mount Rainier National Park
Ohanapecosh River in Mount Rainier National Park
Salmon
Mount Gardner and Deer

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