By Jason Martin, Stewardship Intern
When most people think about global warming or climate change they think of rising sea levels and temperatures. This gets people’s minds on better A/C units and selling beachfront properties but most don’t think about how rising temperatures could affect their dinner plate. Seventy percent of the commercially grown crops are pollinated by bees. Some crops such as tomatoes, squash, and blueberries depend on a specific species or group of bees to pollinate them. Any change in these relationships could have negative economic consequences for growers.
By Michael Schramm, Stewardship Intern
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that it is likely that a current 1-in-20-year annual maximum daily precipitation amount will become a 1-in-5 to a 1-in-15-year event by the end of the 21st century. The Mid-Atlantic region is anticipated to face less frequent but more intense precipitation events as a result of increased air temperatures, which in turn increase the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. We can expect longer dry periods, with more intense and extreme rainfall between those dry periods by the end of this century.
The saying goes "April showers bring May flowers," not "April droughts bring May sprouts." This spring, we are experiencing some interesting weather that is making our work a little more strenuous: the combination of rising temperatures and little to no precipitation is testing the endurance of our plants and of our watershed overall.
First, as I've mentioned before when talking about our wetland plant nursery, the early rise in temperatures has had an interesting effect on our work. There have been some nice impacts of this trend, such as seeds germinating and trees budding early, but the early jump leaves a few concerns on our minds.
Trays of wild rice growing in the AWS office
It's been quite a winter (and now, basically, spring!) for these wild rice seeds, which have come a long way from when we harvested them last fall. Looking at what we've done to store and propagate them, it's really interesting to compare it to the normal cycle of life for a wild rice plant in our watershed.
Let's start with the seed. The wild rice around our watershed usually are ready to harvest around September, all the way through October. Around that time, as the fall weather gets colder and turns to winter, the wild rice seeds that remain are either eaten by the birds or lie dormant in pockets of mud.
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