Applied Ecosystem Services, LLC

The Environmental Issues Doctor

We live in a time of rapid changes and uncertainties in our climate, health, and economy. The “new normal” is not likely to stabilize for at least another year. The western US is entering the third decade of a megadrought that Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory considers to be the worst in 1,200 years. The megadrought affects the area bounded approximately by the Columbia River on the north, northern Mexico to the south, the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Effects of the drought are seen in natural ecosystems, the economy, and society in ways we’ve not before experienced. Everyone will see changes regardless of location: temperate, semi-arid, or arid climatic zone. For example, if all storm water pollutant dischargers (point and non- point) contribute the same quantity of a regulated water chemistry constituent while surface and ground water quantities decrease the concentrations of that constituent will increase and, perhaps, cross a regulatory compliance threshold. What was a non-issue has now become a permit compliance issue through no change in permit holder behavior.

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