While we’re freezing out here in the midwest, and expecting lots of snow, ChasCPeterson is concerned about what’s going on out west.
It’s going to be a grim year out here in the Mojave Desert. The perennials are already crispy and can only get crispier. We’re already past the winter-rain window that would bring annuals. That means no food for tortoises, so no protein, no growth, low juvenile survivorship, decreased reproduction, and if it doesn’t rain this summer, adult mortality too. Nothing for jackrabbits and K-rats to eat means fewer jackrabbits and K-rats, which means in turn that coyotes will switch to digging up tortoises to eat. Crispy perennials and no annuals mean no insects, and therefore no lizards. No lizards or K-rats is bad for snakes. No lizards or snakes is bad for roadrunners and raptors. No bugs is bad for bats and birds; no seeds bad for other birds.
Drought is bad for west-coast humans, but it means death for the ecosystems that belong here.
There’s nothing bad that can’t be made worse! Governor Jerry Brown has suspended the California Environmental Quality Act to make more water available for California’s agriculture and people, which means that not only are those ecosystems strained by the weather, but the humans have just declared open season on what few resources they have left.