Our Mild Winter: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Strange Weather

Man, what a mild/dry winter. Right now, here in Rhode Island, March is 10 degrees above normal. Astounding! What’s good about that? Well unless you’re a skier, the extraordinary mild winter brought with it beaucoup benefits. You saved a bundle on heating. You didn’t shovel your driveway. And your toes never turned blue. The list goes on and on. Nice.

So what’s bad about it? Without the snow melt, our rivers and reservoirs will suffer, especially if the summer turns hot and dry. Not a good time to be a trout. And remember too that some places, such as Block Island, depend entirely on snow and rain to fill their drinking water aquifers. Unless it rains hard this year, they’re in trouble.

Where’s the ugly? This winter was a killer. Hidden from sight, things died and are dying, even as we speak. Some marine life depends on a cold winter for reproduction success. When the temperature is even a few degrees above normal their young-of-the-year simply don’t survive. Winter flounder are a prime example. Decades in decline,this once abundant stock is only a tiny fraction of its historic size. Yes, fisheries mismanagement, and coastal nuclear plant entrainment played a role. But mild winters -which we now see more often – are a huge factor.

Back in December, I was standing on the bridge at Green Hill Pond, peering down into the clear currents, when a lone winter flounder swam by. She was on a spawning run, and probably carrying a million eggs. I gave her a quick salute, and wished her Godspeed, but I doubt her offspring are alive.

This entry was posted in Environment, Looking Upward, On the Road, Outdoor Writing, Wild Things. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Our Mild Winter: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

  1. Fly Fishing says:

    Great blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of
    any community forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?

    I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Appreciate it!

    • admin says:

      Hi Marsha,
      Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately I do not know of any forums dealing with this particular issue, Good luck in your search!

      Ed

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