[Tweeters] Birding: Our Eroding Values.

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Oct 26 11:55:47 PDT 2013

Now you might think this will be a diatribe about poorly behaved birders. Nothing could be further from the truth, or whatever.

No this post is about erosion. You've no doubt heard about the Erosion problems in our Great Country. Eroding topsoil from poorly managed farms and forests. Or how about the social erosion of our local suburban habitat by Eastern Grey Squirrels on feeder welfare. No, this is about the benefits of erosion.

I know that many of you have had a wonderful time birding on our ocean coast, places like Long Beach, Westport, or Ocean Shores. How about all those sandpeepers out there! The thing is, without any sand, you're gonna be a quart short of sandpeepers. Well, how did that sand get there, you no doubt are wondering? Erosion.

You see, all those above mentioned spots are the result of thousands of years of the Columbia River (Workhorse of the West) providing free sand deliveries to the coast. Longshore currents carried all that sediment north, thus creating all them beaches and sandbars and stuff. Look at a map, to get the picture.

"Well", you might say, as a perceptive reader, "that is deposition, not erosion, Jeff!". And that would just be an example of the sort of short -sightedness that's got us into so many problems around here. Because you cant have deposition without erosion. Thank our local geology for contributing little bits of itself, and the rivers for delivering the load.

Well the Columbia and the Ocean are both doing their best, both pretty hard working gals if you ask me, however humans, those eager beavers, are sort of messing with things. For one thing they went and built all those dams on the river, which trap a lot of that sand load. Furthermore, they built all them jetties and stuff. OK, so you and the Surfbirds are happy, but it blocked a lot of that sand flow north. Without the ability to deliver that eroded sand upcoast, the Ocean just chews away all that fabulous "real" (as we say) beach estate. Cant blame the 'ol ocean for that, although people do. The ocean just wants something to do.

But the finger pointing just gets worse. Some are pointing out that recent el Nino storm episodes are to blame for property loss. Oh sure, blame the Mexicans! Like people that hire Mexican workers to cut down the neighbors trees that block their sound view, and if caught, blame it on failure of translation -" gosh those folks must 'a misunderstood what I told 'em to do!" That causes erosion in more ways than one, on those steep view property sites with owners of eroding morals.

Anyway, the next time you're on those sandy beaches , shorebirding, think about erosion values. Erosion, it's not all bad. Nature - all those cycles and stuff, so complicated -and so interesting.

Jeff Gibson

slowly eroding in

Everett Wa

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