Connecticut bird faces extinction because of sea level rise

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Within a few decades the Saltmarsh Sparrow will be lost to extinction is a consensus that was discussed Monday morning, where experts said it points to a larger problem that should concern us all.

“When bird population becomes less diverse and begins to decline we know something is wrong with our environment,” said Milan Bull, said Milan Bull, with the Connecticut Audubon Society. “This is why we’re really concerned with all bird species, not just Saltmarsh Sparrow.”

They said sea level rise, brought on by climate change is to blame. The bird only nests in marshes along the northeast. Predictions have those marshes being underwater within 50 years, leaving the Saltmarsh Sparrow with nowhere to breed.

“The fact that the salt marshes are changing so rapidly, it’s not just about the birds, it’s also telling us something about coastal system and it’s changing,” said Chris Elphick, UConn professor of evolutionary biology.

Climate change was also the topic at a round table discussion inside New Haven City Hall Monday. Specifically, how to address energy and climate concerns during the incoming Trump administration.

“If you utter the words climate change, it just shuts down the conservation,” said David Sutherland, with the Connecticut Nature Conservancy, in regards to a focus group study of conservatives. “But clean energy, renewable energy, they were totally in favor of it. They think it makes all the sense in the world.”

Climate advocates urged Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to keep the pressure on Trump and any of his nominees that come before the senate for confirmation.

“We’ll look to you and your colleagues to really fight on the senate floor and to use those as a tool and show that there is industry support for clean and renewable energy,” said Claire Coleman, Climate and Energy Attorney for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

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