Climate Change and Bowker Creek

by OB-K K

Introductory Questions
1In 1 playlists
I know that Bowker Creeks water mainly comes from rainfall, but I would like to know how much climate change affects the quantity of rainfall. How does rainfall affect animals? How does rainfall affect plants? How does it affect people? How does the changing climate have to do with everything? How does urbanization affect the creek?

How does Climate Change affect Bowker creek?
Changes in climate can have huge impacts on stream and watershed health, like flooding. In the past few decades stream levels have increased because precipitation levels have increased causing more and more flooding across the globe. Floods are much larger and more frequent than say 75 years ago. In parts of the country with substantial snowmelt spring runoff is happening 5 days earlier than in the 1950s, while this does not affect Bowker Creek this is a global problem. If the earth keeps heating up rapidly like this someday the entire bowker creek ecosystem may be lost to floods and erosion.

Can rainfall affect plants?
It most certainly can, too much precipitation is known to kill plants. While most consider rain to be a blessing, it also has its downsides. Excessive rain works well with bacteria, meaning that plants could catch diseases during rainy seasons. On top of that rain can erode soil causing plants to be uprooted or drowned. Too much rain can even keep pollinators like bees at bay affecting blooming and fruiting. Climate change may even affect the growth rates of plants world wide meaning that they may not grow as large as they used to be.

Changing climate and urbanization on animals
As we all know we hear about animals pushed out of their habitat everyday due to urbanization and too many people, this is one of the biggest environmental issues in the world and is occuring everywhere even in Bowker Creek. Bowker Creek used to be a spawning ground for salmon but is no longer suitable. In Victoria when the roads are wet many deer get killed by cars, another problem with urbanization and climate change, working together. Floods and excessive rain can also deplete food sources for herbivores which can cause problems all across the food chain. 1 million species are now threatened by climate change.

How does heavy rainfall and floods affect people
According to local records, many decades ago when Bowker Creek would flood so would many neighboring areas like Fireman's Park. While these changes in weather do not affect people like a hurricane for example, they can be a nuisance and cause accidents. Heavy rain also decreases the number of people who go out, meaning that there is less exercise during rainy seasons like fall and winter. Rain can also cause property damage in many many different ways, like floods for example.

Bowker Creek And Dry Seasons
Lots of rain can be a problem to our delicate ecosystem but heat and dryness can be too. While in Victoria we don't get weather as dry or as hot as California, we do still get hot summers. How does this weather affect the ecosystem? While almost all organisms can get by victoria level heat, dryness in the soil can slow biological function. Heat can also promote insect and bacteria activity which can greatly weaken plants. During summer water levels can become very low forcing some animals like ducks to other places. In the summer, without as much water more trash becomes visible and the water becomes dirtier. This is one of the reasons why lots of wildlife previously found in bowker creek are no longer present. 

Overall Water quality of Bowker Creek
We know that water quality can limit the species that can live in a creek, so how clean is Bowker Creek? Contamination in Bowker often occurs after rainstorms and floods. In 2000 a study showed that Bowker Creeks water was “acceptable” for aquatic life most of the time but that can vary.