Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oregon environmentalists concerned about sea level

The World (Coos Bay, Oregon): …One environmental group is pressing Oregon to help coastal communities get ready for the water. “The handwriting is on the wall that we are going to see sea levels rising,” said Steven Schell, an Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition director and land use attorney. “The only question is how much.”

Another question is: When? Schell said dramatic change won’t happen overnight, but there already is evidence of shifts. “Can I say that the Coos Bay area will be wiped out tomorrow? No,” he said. “Can I say the areas like Charleston and the North Spit will have to deal with sea level rise? Yes.”

It’s not the general sea level rising that is alarming in and of itself, said Bob Bailey, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development’s coastal division director. When you combine it with other factors — bigger storm surges, higher high tides, changing ocean conditions and weather patterns — it paints a chaotic future for low-lying areas here on the coast.

…And so, the group is pressing the state for an answer on how it will deal with the impending changes. The coalition is asking the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission to adopt a statewide goal to protect coastal areas, called “Goal 20.” Coalition members will present a petition and the reasoning for it today at LCDC’s meeting in Salem.

…According to a report prepared by department staff, adapting land use planning rules to account for climate change is one way state and local governments can start dealing with predicted change now. The department recommends governments use maps of areas that will be affected by higher seas and surges to avoid development in those areas.

The New Carissa was a dry bulk freighter of wood chips, owned by a Japanese shipping concern. Now it's wrecked off the Oregon coast near Coos Bay. This tremendous shot is by Erin from Oregon City, OR, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

No comments: