Wednesday, April 19, 2017

MDIFW Regional Wildlife Biologist Week 11

April 3 - April 9 "Destroying 1000 feet of shoreline is not 'minimizing impacts to the environment'!"
This week started off somewhat slow, with even more data entry being done and testing/preparing Indian water tanks for a controlled burn coming up (for those that don't know, Indians are water tanks worn like a backpack, with a hose leading out of it to a nozzle that, when pumped, will shoot a stream of water). However, by the end of the week, I was back in the field and doing some fun things.

Keel sent me out to cover his winter severity index station in Canaan, which, if you recall from earlier, is simply an area where we measure factors related to how bad the winter is for deer by taking snow depth and deer track depth measurements.
This station was fairly quiet. I don't recall a time where I have actually been on my own in the woods in this internship, and while I certainly do enjoy my coworkers, it felt nice to be out there on my own. It was so silent; one might hear the snow melting if they listened just a little harder.

 There was a fair amount of wildlife sign too. Thankfully, lots of deer tracks showed through the snow, demonstrating a decent ease of movement through the woods. There were also lots of grouse and hare tracks, winding about between thicker areas as they moved from cover to cover to find some late winter/early spring food.

When I got back, Keel had me read an article about how it was recently the 80th birthday of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which uses taxes on ammo and guns to fund wildlife conservation. These funds skyrocketed under the Obama administration as paranoia over gun laws grew, and since then they have tanked under the Trump administration, hurting the funding for wildlife and environmental protection more so than if Trump decided not to cut funding to the EPA.

Afterwards, he handed me a fairly large stack of papers. I expected more data to enter. He told me it was an application to the EPA to create anti-erosion riff-raff along a private shoreline in Bristol, as applied for by a citizen. Any project that requires major construction or alteration of the environment in some way is required to be approved by the EPA, which will then send us the application to review to ensure no jeopardy is being done unto wildlife.

The proposal was to reinforce a thousand feet of shoreline on a coastal marsh in Bristol, where a homeowner was hoping to save their land from becoming engulfed by ocean. Within the application, there were notes of reducing impact as much as possible, no endangered species were in the area, it wouldn't be an eyesore, the method seemed environmentally friendly, and creating new habitat where any old habitat was damaged. Overall, it sounded nice, but after a little investigating, we saw absolutely no erosion damage over the course of twenty years, felt as though one thousand feet of developing was extensive, and that this would likely damage property elsewhere by diverting wave energy onward to someone else's yard, where erosion would actually increase slightly, thanks to the riff-raff.

Long story short, we gave it a no.

Alrighty folks, that's all for today, thank you for reading this week's post!

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