Friday, May 05, 2017

You may not get the silence you’re seeking in U.S. parks, forests and wilderness

Silence may be golden but it is practically gone: a government-backed study has determined that noise pollution has hit levels that obliterate natural sound — even in national parks and wilderness. The noise pollution from cars, trucks, airplanes, helicopters, smart phones and myriad other man-made sources drowns out nature’s background in nearly two thirds of U.S. protected areas, Colorado State University and National Park Service researchers concluded. The researchers analyzed 1.5 million hours of sound recordings made by NPS staffers over the past decade at 492 sites around the country, including 23 in Colorado such as the Great Sand Dunes National Park. They found that noise levels are twice as high as natural sound at 63 percent of those sites. At 21 percent of the sites, man-made noise has risen to levels at least 10 times louder than background sound. Noise pollution in once-natural areas has gotten so bad that, in some cases, it is disrupting wildlife and scaring away animals, including endangered species, CSU post-doctoral scientist Rachel Buxton said in a phone interview from India. The findings mean noise pollution has reduced the area where natural sounds can be heard by 50 to 90 percent. In other words, a bird song that once could be heard 100 feet away now can only be heard from 10 to 50 feet away...more

Now in addition to land, water and air, we are guilty of "noise pollution".  Where will studies like this lead us? For instance, if you or your community  generates noise that harms an endangered species, are you in violation of the ESA?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

careful - if you're driving down the highway and hit a bug on your windshield - the bug will be looking out at the world through his *** thand you'll be paying out through yours - to the ESA