Last week I borrowed a standup paddleboard and with a friend enjoyed a lazy float down several miles of the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth. With the temperature in the high 80s and nearly no wind the setting was perfect: no crowds, abundant wildlife and the peaceful sound of water on its journey down, perpetually heading toward the ocean. There was, however, something amiss about this dog day afternoon adventure- the water itself. Typically mountain streams like the Icicle and the Wenatchee are cold enough to keep most of us from jumping in and splashing around for minutes or even hours at a time like one might at the community pool. But on this afternoon the water was so warm we, like many others, swam unhampered by numbed body parts and goose bumps. While it may feel great to us, this warm water spells trouble for fish and wildlife and points to a serious problem: drought.
Surely it’s no surprise to anyone that the entire west coast is experiencing severe drought, but for many of us we’re not sure what exactly that means. How should that influence our daily routine? What are ways we exacerbate or alleviate the effects? How will drought affect me? Fortunately there are plenty of resources answering these questions and more. For starters check out our drought page on our website. For more detailed reports and information see the following sites:
- National Drought Mitigation Center - http://drought.unl.edu/ranchplan/Overview.aspx
- Washington State Department of Agriculture - http://agr.wa.gov/PestFert/natresources/Drought.aspx
- Washington State Department of Ecology - http://www.ecy.wa.gov/drought
- Washington State University - http://drought.wsu.edu/