Clallam MRC will sponsor a community forum on Ocean Acidification (OA) April 15 from 6-8 pm at the Port Angeles Senior Center, 328 7th Street in Port Angeles. Members of Washington State’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification will highlight effects of and local solutions to an acidifying ocean.
Ocean acidification can have a profound effect on the state economy and quality of life: effects of OA were apparent to shellfish growers between 2007 and 2009, when oyster larvae succumbed to the more corrosive water. Details may be found in the press release.
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION COMMUNITY FORUM SET FOR PORT ANGELES
PORT ANGELES — Ocean acidification, its effects and local solutions will be
highlighted at a community forum featuring speakers from the Washington State Blue
Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. North Olympic Peninsula residents and others are
invited to attend the community forum, April 15 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Port Angeles
Senior Center, 328 East 7th Street, Port Angeles. Clallam County Commissioner Mike
Doherty will welcome the panel and attendees.
Between 2007 and 2009, up to 80 percent of the oyster larvae in some Washington
state hatcheries were killed by ocean acidification. As the nation’s leading supplier of
farmed shellfish, and with 42,000 jobs dependent on seafood, Washington has much to
lose from the effects of an acidifying ocean.
Ocean Acidification, also known as OA, results primarily from CO2 emissions being
absorbed from the atmosphere into seawater. The new mixture forms carbonic acid,
which alters ocean chemistry, reduces the chemical building blocks needed by many
marine species and endangers sea life.
The community forum, hosted by the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee
(MRC), will feature three speakers. Eric Swenson, Communications and Outreach
Director for the Global Ocean Health Program, will explain “The Science of Ocean
Acidification;” Betsy Peabody, founder of the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, will
describe “Local Impacts, Local Solutions” and Brad Warren, Director for the Global
Ocean Health Program, will summarize the panel’s work and present
“Recommendations, Partnerships and Actions.” Peabody and Warren served as
members of Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. Swenson was
an alternate member.
Clallam County MRC member Ed Bowlby, who also coordinates research for the
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary said, “We have to build consensus to reduce
the global emissions of CO2. When possible, we also need to act locally to mitigate,
remediate, or adapt to acidification. We can start by minimizing land-based contributions
within the watershed. Stormwater runoff, for instance, can contribute to ocean
acidification at the local scale.”
To address the threat of increasingly corrosive marine waters, former Governor
Christine Gregoire appointed the 28-member Panel on Ocean Acidification in February
2012. Co-chaired by Bill Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency, and Jay Manning, former director of the Washington Department of
Ecology, the panel presented its findings and 42 recommendations November 27 in
Seattle. (Learn more at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/water/marine/oceanacidification.html.)
In addition to the Clallam County MRC, the event is sponsored by the Northwest Straits
Commission, Puget Sound Partnership, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, National
Fisheries Conservation Center and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.