Ocean acidification, water supply topics of free forum

During a free program at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., speakers will talk about how the ocean is acidifying and future water availability.

PORT ANGELES — Speakers will discuss ocean acidification and future water availability on the North Olympic Peninsula in a free program at 6 p.m. Sept. 28.

The presentation, which will include a panel discussion, will be in the conference room at the Red Lion Hotel, 221 N. Lincoln St., Port Angeles.

“Changing chemistry in our marine waters is changing the food web and the industries that depend upon it,” said Helle Anderson, project coordinator with the Clallam Marine Resources Committee, which is sponsoring the program along with Olympic Climate Action.

“How those changes occur, and what each of us can do to help reduce those changes, will be explored” during the forum, she said.

Forum speakers will examine the ecological impacts of ocean acidification, the impacts of ocean acidification on area shellfish, water availability on the Peninsula, and how individuals can be involved in minimizing effects, she said.

Ginny Broadhurst, executive director of the Northwest Straits Commission, will facilitate the event and the panel discussion, and will outline actions that individuals can take.

Anna McLaskey, a doctoral student at the University of Washington, will discuss the ecological impacts of ocean acidification.

A member of the West Coast Ocean Acidification 2016 Cruise, McLaskey will introduce the cause and chemistry of ocean acidification. Her research focuses on the impacts of ocean acidification on crustacean zooplankton such as krill and copepods.

Bill Dewey, director of public affairs for Taylor Shellfish, will explore the impacts of ocean acidification on oysters and other shellfish.

“Ocean acidification is a big deal,” he said. “Sea water chemistry is going to change in dramatic ways in our lifetime. We are going to watch all the organisms shift in the ocean in ways we can’t fully understand.”

Taylor Shellfish — headquartered in Shelton with shellfish arms on the Hood Canal and other areas — started as a family business in 1890 and is now the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the country.

Dewey travels around the world speaking about how ocean acidification impacts the shellfish industry, and how it will impact the ocean food web.

Ann Soule, city of Sequim resource manager, will discuss future water availability.

Based on weather predictions of drier, warmer summers and wetter winters, Soule concludes that we should “harness all possible sources of water for our water-dependent region.”

She has worked extensively on surface water and stormwater, and water quantity and quality issues in the Dungeness watershed and Clallam County — and will explore potential relationships between freshwater supplies and marine resources.

Following the presentations, a panel will engage the audience in a discussion about these topics, Andersen said.

The project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Anderson said.

The Clallam County Marine Resources Committee works to promote local solutions to the degradation of natural resources in Clallam County, Anderson said. The group meets at 5:30 p.m. the third Monday of each month at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

For more information, see http://www.clallamcountymrc.org/.

Olympic Climate Action is a citizens’ action group focused on climte change on the Peninsula, in the state and the nation, according to its website at https://olyclimate.org/.

Peninsula Daily News, 19 September 2016. Article.

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