Friends of the Mad River (FMR) launched its Changing Climate and Landscape survey in early February as a way to learn from the community how people have experienced a changing landscape and the impacts of climate change, what concerns these changes raise, what opportunities they see and what kind of interest they have in coming together to discuss and tackle these challenging issues. The survey has received more than 130 responses since launch. Interested community members can fill out the survey before it closes on March 21.
For decades, Friends of the Mad River has worked to support the health of the Mad River, its tributaries and The Valley that holds them. “Yet, the work Friends of the Mad River does locally does not happen in a vacuum. Years of greenhouse gas emissions have inextricably altered the global climate. What this looks like for the Mad River Valley community will likely reflect trends expected across the Northeast; over the last half-century, the average temperature, precipitation and the number of days of heavy precipitation have all gone up. The recent 2021 Vermont Climate Assessment’s headline announced quite clearly that “Climate Change is Here,” said Friends of the Mad River’s stewardship manager Ira Shadis.
“We have seen changes to how much, where and how often it rains - leaving the Mad River Valley community vulnerable to super storms like Irene or months of summer drought,” Shadis said. “However, the changes seen are not limited to the weather alone. Our water quality, forest integrity, wildlife health, agricultural economy, recreational opportunities, public health and the shape and equity of our communities are also impacted. A changing climate affects everything from the tops of our ridges to the Mad River itself.”
As the climate and landscape change, Friends of the Mad River believes that the community has the opportunity to change too, to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience. “How we adapt has become the question of the day, the year, the decade. Fostering conversations about responding to climate change within the MRV community is a key piece of Friends’ climate focus,” explained Shadis.
The Changing Climate and Landscape Survey can be found at www.friendsofthemadriver.org/climate.