Our EcoWest SXSW Eco presentation

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Overview of the American West and its environmental challenges, including visualizations of the human footprint and water use.

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Our EcoWest SXSW Eco presentation

  1. 1. Visualizing environmental trends in the American West SXSW Eco 2013 Austin, Texas @MitchTobin mitch@ceaconsulting.com
  2. 2. EcoWest.org mission Inform and advance conservation in the American West by analyzing, visualizing, and sharing data on environmental trends. 2
  3. 3. Night lights of the Western hemisphere Source: NASA 3
  4. 4. Summary • What is the West? • Human footprint • Water crisis 4
  5. 5. WHAT IS THE WEST? 5
  6. 6. View of Earth from Saturn You are here Source: NASA/JPL/SSI 6
  7. 7. Source: NASA 7
  8. 8. Feb. 1, 2004 Source: NASA 10/16/2013 8
  9. 9. EcoWest focuses on the 11 Western states 9
  10. 10. 1) Much of the West is dominated by federal land Federal Tribal State Local/regional Private conservation Joint/unknown Urbanized areas Source: Protected Area Database, Conservation Biology Institute 10
  11. 11. The United States of Light Source: NASA 11
  12. 12. 2) Aridity is common west of the 100th Meridian 100th Meridian Average annual precipitation: 1951-2002 (inches) Source: Climate Wizard 12
  13. 13. Lushness of vegetation Source: NASA 13
  14. 14. 3) Huge variations in elevation and temperature Lowest and tallest points in the lower 48 just 85 miles apart Mount Whitney, 14,505 feet Death Valley, -282 feet U.S. average temperatures: 1951-2006 Source: Climate Wizard 14
  15. 15. 4) Tremendous biological diversity Source: U.S. Climate Change Science Program 15
  16. 16. 5) Growing share of U.S. population lives in West 90 25% 80 20% 70 60 15% 50 Millions 40 10% 30 Population of 11 Western states 20 % of U.S. population in 11 Western states 10 0 5% 0% Source: U.S. Census Bureau 16
  17. 17. THE HUMAN FOOTPRINT 17
  18. 18. Federal lands common in Western states 30% 30% 1% 3% 53% 50% 6% 85% 6% 3% 37% 2% 1% 1% 48% 10% 1% 1% 57% 45% 1% 6% 42% 2% 7% 5% 10% 5% 12% 3% 42% 4% 3% 7% 7% 2% VT = 8% NH = 13% MA = 2% RI = 0.4% CT = 0.4% NJ = 3% DE = 2% MD = 3% DC = 25% 2% 4% 5% 8% 69% 19% Portion of each state that is federal land Source: U.S. General Services Administration 18
  19. 19. Percent of ecoregion formally protected Source: The Nature Conservancy 19
  20. 20. Some traditional extractive industries in decline Logging in national forests a shadow of its former self 16 Timber produced by U.S. national forests Northern spotted owl ESA listing 14 12 10 Billions of board- 8 feet Sold Harvested 6 4 2 0 Source: U.S. Forest Service 20
  21. 21. Federal lands important for fossil fuel production Private, tribal, and state land also home to energy development 45 40 35 30 25 Percent 20 15 % of US total for natural gas 10 % of US total for fossil fuels 5 0 Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 21
  22. 22. Humanity’s imprint is already deep, indelible Source: U.S. Geological Survey 22
  23. 23. Population density Source: U.S. Geological Survey 23
  24. 24. Population density plus agriculture Source: U.S. Geological Survey 24
  25. 25. Add highways Source: U.S. Geological Survey 25
  26. 26. Add highways, railroads, Source: U.S. Geological Survey 26
  27. 27. Add highways, railroads, powerlines, Source: U.S. Geological Survey 27
  28. 28. Add highways, railroads, powerlines, canals Source: U.S. Geological Survey 28
  29. 29. Landfills and waste transfer stations Source: U.S. Geological Survey 29
  30. 30. Human-caused wildfires: 1986-2001 Source: U.S. Geological Survey 30
  31. 31. Oil and gas well density Source: U.S. Geological Survey 31
  32. 32. Exotic plant invasion risk Source: U.S. Geological Survey 32
  33. 33. Probability of feral cat presence Source: U.S. Geological Survey 33
  34. 34. The human footprint in the American West Source: U.S. Geological Survey 34
  35. 35. The human footprint in the American West Glacier NP North Cascades NP Great Bear, Bob Marshall and Scapegoat wilderness Olympic NP Bitterroot Range Yellowstone NP Mt. Rainier NP Wind River Range Trinity Alps Uinta Mountains Great Salt Lake/Desert Yosemite NP Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP Death Valley NP Desolation Canyon WSA Canyonlands NP/ Glen Canyon NRA Grand Canyon NP Nevada Test Site Cabeza Prieta NWR/ Goldwater Range Source: U.S. Geological Survey Gila Wilderness 35
  36. 36. Colorado I live here I play here 36
  37. 37. California 37
  38. 38. WATER 38
  39. 39. Irrigation is the top water user in the West Water withdrawals in the West, 2005 Livestock 0.2% Mining 0.3% Irrigation 76.2% Thermoelectric 11.8% Public Supply 10.8% Domestic, SelfSupplied 0.8% Industrial SelfSupplied 0.1% Source: U.S. Geological Survey 39
  40. 40. WRI Aqueduct: overall water risk Source: WRI Aqueduct 40
  41. 41. Baseline water stress Source: WRI Aqueduct 41
  42. 42. Projected change in water stress: Pessimistic emissions scenario IPCC A2 in 2095 Source: WRI Aqueduct 42
  43. 43. Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell Photo by Mitch Tobin 43
  44. 44. Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell Source: Wikipedia 44
  45. 45. Lake Powell daily elevation: 1964-2013 Source: Bureau of Reclamation 45
  46. 46. Lake Powell Source: U.S. Climate Change Science Program/ Photos by John Dohrenwend 46
  47. 47. Lake Powell Source: U.S. Climate Change Science Program/ Photos by John Dohrenwend 47
  48. 48. 2012 Source: NASA 48
  49. 49. 2013 Source: NASA 49
  50. 50. Rising demands, questionable supplies Source: Colorado River Basin Water Supply & Demand Study 50
  51. 51. Looking back on the way to Jupiter Source: NASA/JPL/Doug Ellison 51
  52. 52. Download slides, data, and other free resources mitch@ceaconsulting.com Twitter: @MitchTobin 52

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