The Kenai Peninsula is drying out and this summer, fires have sprouted up in some unusual places. Scientists warn about this trend: meaning bigger fires and more of them.
Ed Berg is digging a roughly foot-wide-hole in a wetland off Diamond Creek Trail in Homer. He’s a retired ecologist from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
“So what I'm seeing in the plug are all these little woody roots that are from the crowberry and the dwarf birch drawers, and blueberry,” he said.
These roots are an indication of a profound change. For thousands of years, peninsula wetlands didn’t see any woody shrubs like these.
“Within the last 50 years or so, the woody plants have come in gangbusters and starting even earlier with some of the trees like black spruce, which are very moisture tolerant, especially since the 1970s, we've seen these shrubs come in,” he said.