I read the uplifting news of $827,000 in grants for West Virginia brook-trout habitat restoration and conservation projects (8/08/20) with great interest.
Then, I read the article a second time as I searched for a mention of the main reason that brook-trout habitat is at risk, i.e., the climate crisis. There is one reference to projects that focus on increasing habitat shade to “prevent the streams from becoming too warm to support brookies.”
The Gazette-Mail does its readership a disservice when major stories close to home, like this one, fail to label the root cause that provides the information we need to support investment in keeping our wildlife healthy. Trout Unlimited, the lead organization featured in the article, conducted a climate change awareness survey of its membership earlier this year and found 89% of the thousands surveyed believe climate change is real.
It is widely reported that stream temperatures are rising due to the climate crisis. As reported by West Virginia University water hydrologist Dr. Nicholas Zegre in 2019, West Virginia is facing increased periods of drought and excessive rainfall in the near future. In addition to brook trout, other species at risk include the red spruce and the West Virginia flying squirrel.
One thing we’ve learned from these prolonged months of living through a pandemic is that there is nothing to be gained by hiding the truth. Climate change is here, most of us believe the science and we want our reporters and journalists to give us the full story.