By Frank Hanson
The Olympic Peninsula is a unique region that supports economic and culturally important resources including large forests and vibrant fisheries. It is home to eight tribal nations, diverse resident communities, and visited by 3 million tourists every year.
Military overflights out of Whidbey Island Naval Station that conduct exercises on the Peninsula are scheduled to increase over the next several years as jet training is consolidated to this region. In particular, the newer aircraft in use (Boeing EA-18G Growlers) are an exceptionally loud jet with the potential to substantially change the experience of residents and tourists in the region. Impacts of this disturbance from flights on wildlife, including some ESA-listed species, are largely unstudied.
Please join us of for an ONRC Evening Talk on Friday, May 31, in Forks at 1455 Forks Avenue, Forks WA at 7 p.m. in our Hemlock Forest Room. In this talk, UW researcher Lauren Kuehne presents the results of a year-long project to monitor current levels of noise from military aircraft, and estimate the impact of Growler jets on the “soundscape” of the Olympic Peninsula.
Sound recorders were deployed in winter, spring, summer, and fall 2017-2018 at three locations, two of which had been previously monitored in 2010-2011 by the National Park Service. Lauren will present and discuss the results from that year of monitoring, along with a broader picture of current policy and regulatory processes related to the Growlers. These include two Environmental Impact Statements currently in progress, and considering the potential impacts of jet noise on local ESA-listed species.
Lauren is joined by Laura Giannone, a student at Evergreen State College (majoring in Sound Engineering) and intern with the non-profit organization Quiet Parks International. Laura will present her recent research testing automated approaches to identifying jet flight events, as well as her current research into citizen-science based approaches to documenting the number and impact of military flights on wilderness areas.
Together, Lauren and Laura bring combined expertise in ecology, acoustic monitoring, noise impacts, and policy – expect a lively evening considering both the uniqueness of the Olympic Peninsula soundscape and the impact of military aircraft in this region!
Training Option: Sat., June 1 – There will be a limited citizen-science training event the day after the Friday Evening Talk at the ONRC. Help is needed for Olympic Peninsula Noise Study. Training is limited to two sessions with six individuals per session. If you are interested in helping to identify and annotate flight events in recorded data collected in 2017 and 2018 from the O.P. then contact Lauren Kuehne, [email protected] or Laura Giannone, [email protected] for a training slot in either the a.m. session 9 a.m. -12:30 p.m. or the afternoon session 1-4 p.m. at the Hemlock Forest Room the Olympic Natural Resource Center in Forks.
Evening Talks at ONRC are funded through the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, an endowment that honors the contributions of Fred Rosmond and his family to forestry and Education to the Forks community. Refreshments will be served and a potluck of your favorite dessert is encouraged. For more information contact: Frank Hanson at 374-4556 or [email protected]