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Originally published Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Bold approach to climate

If the recent record floods and droughts haven't gotten our attention, we are not paying attention. As an avid angler and a proud grandfather...

Special to The Seattle Times

Outdoors economy demands governor's focus

If the recent record floods and droughts haven't gotten our attention, we are not paying attention.

As an avid angler and a proud grandfather, I am very concerned about the devastating effects that global warming could have on the region's treasured fishing heritage. On top of the enormous human toll, recent flooding scours out spawning nests and destroys critical river habitat for our wild salmon and steelhead.

Because the stakes are so high, I am closely watching the actions and decisions of the state Climate Advisory Team, which will soon release a draft report of recommendations.

I am looking to Gov. Christine Gregoire for strong leadership on this issue. She should be bold in addressing the issue of global warming as it impacts our economy and culture, including our sportfishing traditions.

In 2006 in Washington there were 745,000 recreational anglers who added more than $867 million to our economy. This component of our economy and our lives could be in jeopardy. With river temperatures on the rise, snowpack on the decline, and rising sea level threatening to inundate our estuaries, the future for the region's salmon and other species is at risk.

The science is clear. We must do more now. Given our governor's deep commitment to protecting the cultural, economic and ecological heritage that the state's salmon and other fish and wildlife provide for us, she should do everything she can to reduce activities that add to global warming. I urge the governor to show serious commitment to limits on pollution that increases global warming. It will then be her legacy and our kids and grandkids can forever thank her.

A recent National Wildlife Federation poll showed 80 percent of the nation's hunters and anglers agree that the U.S. should be a world leader in addressing global warming. Washingtonians are united by the clear moral conviction that we must confront global warming head-on and that the Northwest has much to gain in implementing these solutions. We gain not only by lessening the financial burden of the impacts but by capitalizing on the boon that is part and parcel of retrofitting our state and country from fossil-fuel dependence to a clean-energy economy.

Hunters and fishermen are literally on the ground level experiencing the impacts and seeing the changes from global warming. We want to be on the ground level finding solutions. We must lead here so that our grandkids and generations to come will inherit our rich traditions of hunting and fishing along with a future of clean energy, green jobs and a stable climate.

I appreciate all the previous efforts of our Legislature and our governor addressing global warming. Now let's see it through.

John McGlenn is president of the Washington Wildlife Federation, a group of conservation-minded hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The Bellevue resident is a consulting engineer and fishes and hunts throughout the Northwest.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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