Ask Congress to fund the Legacy Roads and Trails Program

secure.wildearthguardians.org

National forests and grasslands spread across ten percent of the U.S. Also reaching across those public lands are over 370,000 miles of roads, built mainly for the industrial logging boom of the past, but not adapted to the climate crisis of today.

With enough road miles to circle the earth 15 times, the cost to fix them all runs in the tens of billions. We can be strategic on how we address this problem. By focusing repairs on the roads where the 149 million forest visitors go, we can focus road removal along streams that supply 69 million Americans with drinking water and where wildlife are most vulnerable. We simply must eliminate what we don’t need and fix what we do need for a resilient future.

Email your members of Congress today and ask them to reinstate and fund the Forest Service’s Legacy Roads and Trails Program. It’s a proven solution to an outsized problem.

Photo Credit: WildEarth Guardians

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1142

Every state should be doing this!

Petition: Don’t Dredge Up Marine Habitats With Destructive Sand Mining

forcechange.com

Target: Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China

Goal: Halt sand dredging that threatens marine ecosystems and habitats of Taiwan.

China has begun a fresh round of obliterating the sand banks that separate it from Taiwan. This maneuver is believed to be a tactic for intimidating the smaller region and attempting to wipe away its natural defenses. The strong-arm method is also taking a hidden but no less devastating environmental toll.

The operations involve mining sand by essentially displacing and pumping it up with large dredging ships. Hundreds of these vessels often conduct illegal dredging around Taiwan’s waters, but as tensions have risen between the regions the activity has become more frequent and more overt. The estimated 100,000 tons of sand dredged on a daily basis are already likely devastating the delicate marine ecosystems that call these waters home.

The centerpieces of these systems, small seabed-dwelling organisms, lose their lives directly as their habitats are destroyed and their bodies sucked up and spit back out as carcasses. A devastating domino effect could collapse the entire food chain. Worse yet, the loss of sand creates shoreline erosion that could even adversely impact life on land.

Sign the petition below to urge an immediate cease and desist to this wholesale environmental degradation.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Xi,

China wants to position itself as a leader on clean technology and environmental sustainability. Yet this country continues to conduct arguably the most devastating and least-regulated form of mineral extraction on a wide scale. So-called sand mafias have made blood money from the destructive practice of sand mining. The world’s most populous country has created an empire out of this environmentally unsound practice.

The continued dredging of the Taiwan Strait is the most egregious example. You may see these exercises as a short-term power play, but the decades’ worth of damage you are inflicting on vibrant marine ecosystems will last several lifetimes. Nearly 100,000 tons of sand are likely lost in one day alone. With this loss comes habitat erosion, a seabed strewn with carcasses, and a food chain without its most critical links.

Please stop these dangerous dredging exercises before they fuel a catastrophe beyond your control.

Sincerely,

Photo Credit: Vince Beiser

https://forcechange.com/580104/dont-dredge-up-marine-habitats-with-destructive-sand-mining/

Petition: Protect Sacred Native Land From Massive Copper Mine

Target: Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vicki Christiansen

Goal: Terminate plans to develop a copper mine on Oak Flat.

Oak Flat in Tonto National Forest, a sacred land to the Apache people, was sold to a London based company to build a massive copper mine. This will not only cause grave destruction to this ancestral land and burial site, but it will also seriously damage the environment. Oak Flat is an important habitat for endangered wildlife and migratory birds.

The project is sure to deplete water supply and quality in the region. It is predicted that the mine would eventually cause the land to cave into a crater a mile wide and a thousand feet deep. The decision to sell this land to a multinational corporation was a disturbing betrayal to the local Indigenous communities and it must be stopped. Sign the petition below to demand cancelation of the copper mine on Oak Flat.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mrs. Christiansen,

The sale of Oak Flat to a London based copper mining company is a violation of local Indigenous communities and will be detrimental to the region’s wildlife and water supply. Oak Flat is sacred ancestral land and must be protected and regarded with respect. 

President Joe Biden has spoken extensively of his desire to address the climate and ecological crisis. That being said, this environmentally harmful project is not in alignment with the current administration. Plans to place a copper mine in the Tonto National Forest must be terminated immediately. An apology also needs to be issued to the surrounding tribes for this vial disregard of their land and culture. 

Sincerely,

Photo by: David Pinter

https://forcechange.com/579748/protect-sacred-native-land-from-massive-copper-mine/

No traps on public lands

Petition · Protect Conglomerate Mesa From Destructive Gold Mining! · Change.org

Conglomerate Mesa Coalition started this petition to Inyo County Supervisors and 3 others

Help stop the destruction of the California desert! Sign our petition to protect Conglomerate Mesa from gold mining.

Conglomerate Mesa: A Gem of the California Desert

Conglomerate Mesa lies on the doorstep of Death Valley National Park and is OUR public lands. This land is part of the traditional homeland of the Timbisha-Shoshone and the Paiute-Shoshone Native Americans and the area possesses immense significance to the local tribal nations today. Conglomerate Mesa is a roadless, pristine area ranging from 3,800 to 7,700 feet in elevation. This unique environment provides a rare transitional habitat for plants and wildlife as the ground begins to rise from the badlands of Death Valley into the Inyo Mountains. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management and designated as National Conservation Lands, Conglomerate Mesa was intended to be protected for conservation and recreation. It is isolated, undisturbed, roadless, and of historic importance.

Mining Threatens Conglomerate Mesa’s Future

Conglomerate Mesa is currently threatened by an industrial open-pit gold mine. Recently, Canadian exploration company K2 Gold, and their subsidiary, Mojave Precious Metals, proposed to the Bureau of Land Management a plan that would execute 120 exploratory drills on Conglomerate Mesa and build a road into the areas. This would not only destroy valuable habitat for native plants and wildlife, but it would permanently scar a roadless desert landscape.

Sign our petition below to help protect Conglomerate Mesa.

With Malpais Mesa Wilderness to the south, Inyo Mountains Wilderness to the north, Death Valley National Park to the east and Keeler and Lone Pine to the west, Conglomerate Mesa is a vulnerable piece in a larger landscape of contiguous protected lands in the California Desert. We need you with us! Sign the petition to support the permanent protection of Conglomerate Mesa.

Updates

  1. 16 hours ago1,000 supporters
  2. 2 weeks agoConglomerate Mesa Coalition started this petition

Reasons for signing

Paul Fretheim·1 week agoWhy should a Canadian Corporation be able to destroy our scenic landscape to extract gold? Inyo would gain nothing!

https://www.change.org/p/protect-conglomerate-mesa-from-destructive-gold-mining?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=52767c80-04e9-11eb-b30f-0d464f1aaeb7&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=e76783f4-31c5-4339-8c6c-2e839c0b9d20

Taxpayers shell out huge subsidies to wolf-killer’s ranching enterprise

www.thewildlifenews.com

It’s been a while since there’s been news about public lands rancher/wolf killer Craig Thiessen from New Mexico. He’s the guy who pleaded guilty to killing a trapped Mexican gray wolf pup (named “Mia Tuk” by an Albuquerque schoolkid) with a shovel in 2015. He got off relatively easy for violating the Endangered Species Act and was mysteriously never prosecuted for animal cruelty by New Mexico, but the U.S. Forest Service took his violation of the grazing regulations very seriously and they yanked his grazing permit in November 2018.

Trespassing bull on the Canyon del Buey allotment, June 12, 2020. Photo: G. Anderson/WWP

Thiessen appealed the loss of his permit all the way up to the regional director, who affirmed the District Ranger’s decision and ordered the cows off Canyon del Buey allotment by the end of August 2019. As you can probably guess, Thiessen defied this direction and his cows are still in trespass on the Gila National Forest. There’s been some legal back and forth between Theissen and the feds and that process is ongoing (more on that here soon), but there’s something else for the taxpaying public to be enraged about:

Canyon del Buey LLC was the largest recipient of Farm Bill livestock subsidies in Catron County in 2019, raking in $135,683 dollars of federal funding. Of that, $119,029 came under the “Livestock Indemnity Program” which is designated for livestock losses in excess than usual due to extreme weather or due to animals reintroduced by the federal government, i.e. wolves. It’s impossible (so far) to determine whether the Thiessens got money for extreme weather or livestock depredations, but at about $1,000K per head (see page 6 at link), that’s a whole lot of dead cows we taxpayers are paying for. (And it’s not the first time: Craig Thiessen has also received almost $400,000 since he whacked Mia Tuk.)

This was in addition to the $9,550.50 Craig Thiessen got for claimed wolf depredations in 2019. Not clear which livestock were his, but as we’ve shown, many of the Catron County wolf depredation reports are a little more than fishy. At least that $9,550.50 came out of a privately-established compensation fund (the “Groves Estate”) and not taxpayer pockets, but it’s kind of offensive that someone who admitted to bludgeoning a wolf pup to death with a shovel can turn around and get money for his dead cows. It’s almost as if the game is rigged to benefit wolf-hating ranchers.

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2020/10/16/taxpayers-shell-out-huge-subsidies-to-wolf-killers-ranching-enterprise/

Cattlemen Tell EnviroNews Ranchers Want Mexican Wolves Killed, Despite Being Paid for Livestock Losses

www.environews.tv

Cattlemen Tell EnviroNews Ranchers Want Mexican Wolves Killed, Despite Being Paid for Livestock Losses

14 – 17 minutes


(EnviroNews Arizona) — Parts of eastern Arizona are a conflict zone, as a 100-year war between ranchers, conservation groups, government agencies, and the endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) rages on. The rarest subspecies of gray wolf, also known as “el lobo,” is doing what wolves have always done in their native territories: they hunt and eat animals weakened by misfortune, time and nature itself. But ranchers who sell their cows, sometimes for $1200-$1500 per animal, aren’t happy when someone’s future hamburger becomes a wolf’s dinner.

Even though the government will compensate ranchers for cows killed by wolves, a new survey reveals most cattle farmers feel el lobo’s reintroduction into the area is a threat to ranching – and their livelihoods.

“[Ranchers] realize that [wolves are] there and they’re there to stay now,” Jerome Rosa, Executive Director of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, which funded the survey, told EnviroNews in a phone interview. “They just have to do the best they can to try and manage the situation and try to do what they can to be able to live, you know, cohesively. But if they had a preference, [absolutely they] would like to not have that apex predator out there.”

Back From the Brink of Extinction

When Rosa said, “out there,” he is referring to the southwestern United States – part of the Mexican wolf’s indigenous turf. Early in the 1900s when the livestock industry began booming, the federal government hired trappers to eradicate all wolves – and they were nearly successful in that task with el lobo.

“This genetically [and] morphologically unique animal came about as close to extinction as any creature can get without actually going over the brink,” Michael Robinson, a senior conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, told EnviroNews.

And how close is “close?” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) official Stephen Guertin told a congressional subcommittee “the Mexican wolf was all but eliminated from the wild by the 1970s due to extensive predator control initiatives.” According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AGFD) website, Mexican wolves had once disappeared completely from Arizona and New Mexico.

But when the Endangered Species Act (ESA/the Act) passed in 1973, these critters finally received some appreciation. USFWS hired trappers again — this time to capture live wolves that could still be found in Mexico, in an effort to save the species from total annihilation. The agency was only able to find and capture five wild wolves; four males and one female. With time running out, USFWS took those specimens and launched a captive breeding program.

In 1998 el lobo caught a break and received an invitation to return home to the Southwest and 11 were released into the Blue Range Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Area in Arizona.

“They’re part of the natural ecosystem,” Robinson said. “They’re a beautiful, intelligent social animal that helps maintain balance, and they deserve to be there.”

Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)

The USFWS’ website hails the breeding program as a victory: “Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, the howl of the Mexican wolf can once again be heard in the mountains of the southwestern United States.” Despite the agency’s victory dance, ranchers certainly were not out holding “welcome home” signs. The conflict zone reemerged — as did the wolf killings.

Money Can’t Buy Wolves Love

To help ease concerns, ranchers have been compensated for depredations since the wolves were first reintroduced in 1998 and in 2015 the State of Arizona Livestock Loss Board was formed. Ranchers can submit claims to the board for depredations when they can prove Mexican wolves most likely killed their animals. According to the agency’s most recent annual report ranchers have been paid more than $143,000 over the last few years.

But Rosa told EnviroNews these reimbursements still can’t buy the wolves love. He said the number of cattle they kill exceeds what ranchers claim as a loss:

Some [ranchers] just don’t want to deal with the red tape. They don’t want to deal with the paperwork. Or, when they find these carcasses, they’re too far gone. And remember: these cattle are out there in these vast, vast landscapes in really, really rugged terrain, and so often, when they do find a depredation, there’s nothing there to investigate. You know, there’s not enough to be able to prove it was a depredation. So, [ranchers] just don’t say anything. It’s like, “Well, you know, we took a hit on that.”

Rosa added that there’s no way for cattlemen to calculate losses for livestock that die from exhaustion and dehydration after being chased by wolves, or cows that get stressed out, thin, and don’t reproduce.

David Parsons, the wildlife biologist who led USFWS’ effort to reintroduce the Mexican wolf into the Southwest, told EnviroNews he’s heard those claims, but not the veracity of them. “Open range cattle die for many reasons other than predation or harassment by predators, such as weather extremes, disease, toxic plants, and even lightning strikes,” he refuted.

Hawk’s Nest Pack Released into Pre-Release Pen in 1998 — Photo: Dave Parsons

Parsons is now a science advisor for the conservation group Project Coyote. He said figuring out an exact cause of a cow’s death is arduous. “It would be very difficult to tease out the significance of mortality caused by predator harassment compared to all other causes of mortality.”

Natural Born Killers?

No one disputes that wolves are natural born killers. But Rosa claimed there are far more wolves out there than official counts reflect. “As the wolf populations increase, the cattle populations will decrease. I think that’s tragic,” he said.

Rosa added the more the packs grow, the more food they will need. “And unfortunately, the realism of wolves is they don’t just kill when they’re hungry. They kill for sport,” he said. “That’s what they do. You know, they are… that’s what they do. I mean, they’re killers.” But many experts dispute that and say wolves do not kill for the fun of it.

Greta Anderson — Deputy Director, Western Watersheds Project

“They kill to eat,” Greta Anderson, Deputy Director of the Western Watersheds Project told EnviroNews. “When humans find animals that have been killed by wolves but are uneaten, they should assume the carcasses haven’t been consumed yet, as animals will routinely return to kill sites and continue to feed off a carcass as long as they can.”

Regarding the numbers of wolves, federal and state officials have boots on the ground, the AGFD even pays five full-time biologists to help manage and tabulate the numbers. Currently, there’s a minimum of 76 Mexican gray wolves in the state and about 163 total in the Southwest. So, even after over two decades of “recovery” in the wild, the current number of lobos is far from the estimated 3000-4000 that roamed the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Currently, wolf tracking is done in many ways: about half the estimated population wears radio collars, others are counted on the ground, in the air, and even by conducting howl surveys where biologists listen for wolves return howls.

“I don’t think the cattle growers have a basis for contending that the numbers are substantially higher than announced,” Robinson said. “If there were significantly more wolves on the landscape than the interagency field team now contends, wouldn’t those wolves be breeding with each other, and wouldn’t their numbers grow to the point that their presences couldn’t be denied by anyone?”

Wolf Depredation Prevention

What about just deploying measures to keep wolves away from cows, so fewer end up getting eaten? According to the cattle association’s survey, some feel “spending on preventative practices can be large relative to returns.” And ranchers’ willingness to pay to avoid depredations may be an area they’ll study in the future.

Jerome Rosa — Executive Director, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association

Rosa said prevention can be challenging, expensive and more assistance is welcome, adding, “I think the ranchers would like to have all the available tools in their toolbox to be able to manage the situation.”

But in addition to reimbursements for depredations, there’s also money out there to help ranchers pay for prevention. One example: the State of Arizona Livestock Loss Board slated $110,000 to develop effective methods of preventing wolf and cattle interactions.

At present, preventative tools like tracking collars, that help to alert ranchers when wolves are in the area, are being used along with blinking lights, electric fences, and range riders. The downside, Rosa said, is that batteries burn out, and some prevention is burdensome.

All of these non-lethal measures just work for a short period of time,” he contended. “These wolves are extremely, extremely intelligent, and they get immune to those systems, and so then you constantly have to be changing.”

Mexican Wolf With Radio Collar — Photo: Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

One solution Rosa offered is to limit the wolf population to a “manageable number” and kill problem wolves. “In areas where we’re having problems, then we need to go to lethal take on those packs,” Rosa told EnviroNews.

“You mean kill the wolves?” EnviroNews reiterated for clarity. “Yes. Yes,” Rosa asserted. And sometimes ranchers ask for just that and the federal government obliges.

Mexican Gray Wolf — Photo: KTAR Pheonix

Experts tallied reports for EnviroNews and found that since Mexican wolves were reintroduced to the Southwest the feds have killed about 21 lobos. The most common reason was for livestock depredations.

Dave Parsons Conducts Health Check on Captive-Born Mexican Wolf Pup

Conservationists insist killing this already beleaguered species is not the answer. Instead, they say regulators should require ranchers to use more preventative measures and remove the remains of dead cattle immediately, so the scent doesn’t attract predators. Furthermore, they insist there’s plenty of money out there to help ranchers outsmart even the craftiest of wolves.

“The government has asked nothing of the ranchers — at least required nothing,” Robinson continued. “They have asked nicely at times, you know, ‘Would you mind doing this?’ And sometimes the answer is ‘yes’ and sometimes the answer is ‘no.’”

Parsons claimed some wolves are being killed in “cryptic poaching” — meaning poaching that goes undetected. “Uncollared wolves killed in remote areas are rarely discovered by agency biologists, and the same is true for collared wolves when the poacher immediately disables the collar,” he added.

What’s at Stake?

Rosa told EnviroNews that if something isn’t done to curb Mexican wolf numbers, more ranchers will hang up their hats. Fewer cattle, he said, means less meat at the grocery store and more wildfires because ungrazed pastures provide fuel for flames to spread. “Killing wolves will allow [for] cattle, [and for] more people to be able to continue having cattle, out there to graze these spots,” he asserted.

Mexican Wolf — Photo: Columbus Zoo

But in addition to the many tangible issues, palpable on the ground between ranchers and conservationists, the more esoteric factor of global warming looms. Scientists say the rising trend of massive wildfires in the West is fueled in part by methane emissions from livestock and the agricultural sector at large.

Robinson told EnviroNews responsible, proactive ranchers should tap into the resources available to help keep afloat, but pulled no punches when emphasizing the free marketplace should determine the better mousetrap:

As for whether ranchers will go out of business due to depredations in the absence of wolf killing, that very much depends. Not all business ventures in the United States are destined to succeed, even when subsidized. The fact that some ranchers refuse to take measures to protect their stock would seem to make them less likely to stay in business.

Parsons agreed. “If a heavily subsidized livestock production business cannot afford to protect its primary asset (cows) by methods such as confining cows to pens for calving and hiring range riders to monitor and control their whereabouts on the landscape, then perhaps it is not a viable or appropriate business enterprise,” he said.

This Land is Not Your Land

Finally, EnviroNews asked Rosa, “Do you see the Mexican wolf as a vital part of the ecosystem? Should the species be there [at all]?” His answer: Nope. He concluded:

I don’t see it as a vital part. It wasn’t here for many, many years after they had been hunted down in the past. Now, some will say, “OK, they take care of, you know, sick animals, they’ll put them down.” They’re non-discriminatory. So, they’re not just taking [out] the weakness of a species. They take these animals down just for sport. I mean, it’s just what they do. And so, I understand, you know, the wolf advocates reasoning that they use — that they try to use. But, [it’s] not logical, and it’s not realistic. But, you know, I understand that that’s their position.

That’s something that enrages conservationists who say the wolves aren’t into sport killing and were there first. “The livestock industry has sought to transform the entire ecosystem of the Southwest… they see the wolves as the worst part of the ecosystem that they want to eliminate,” Robinson said.

Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)

So, the 100-year war between ranchers, cattle, wolves, conservationists and government agencies continues. Many battles ensue, no side declares any winners, but all have the instinct to keep fighting.

OTHER GREAT REPORTS ABOUT MEXICAN WOLVES FROM ENVIRONEWS

RECENT AND RELATED

OTHER ENVIRONEWS REPORTS ON WOLVES

https://www.environews.tv/092520-cattle-assoc-tells-environews-ranchers-want-mexican-wolves-killed-despite-being-paid-for-livestock-losses/

Controlled Burns Work!!

A Biden-Harris presidency would largely end oil and gas production

thehill.com

By Jason Hayes, opinion contributor

Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate could mean the end to the affordable energy that makes modern American life possible.

In comparison to the Trump administration, which has prioritized deregulation and energy dominance, the former vice president and California senator have both committed themselves to heavily restrict fracking as they focus on climate change and renewable energy. If enacted, the Biden-Harris plan would reduce energy choices, increase prices and drive Americans back to international markets for essential energy supplies.

On issues of energy supply, Biden has been clear. For example, moderators at the Democratic Party debates asked him about his position on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the means by which American natural gas producers have helped to free us from many of the vagaries of international energy markets. He boldly replied, “No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period. Ends!” Later, in the same debate, he added, “No new fracking.”

That broad and somewhat vague pronouncement likely raised blood pressure readings among supporters in Biden’s campaign. Promising to put as many as 1.7 million American workers out of a job by banning fracking would be a hard sell for any campaign, especially in gas-producing states such as Texas or Pennsylvania. So no one was surprised to see Biden staffers walk back the former VP’s ambiguous promises immediately after the debate. They quickly limited his anti-fracking rhetoric to targeting energy development on federal lands.

And Biden staffers aren’t the only ones openly correcting policy stances for the former vice president. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who co-chairs the Sanders side of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, is getting in on the action, too. Jayapal has publicly bragged about her ability to “significantly push Joe Biden to do things that he hadn’t signed on to before.” Biden is, in her estimation, “movable.”

That malleability is not terribly surprising given that, for some time now, Biden has been seen as increasingly confused and frail. Keying in on those concerns, a recent Rasmussen poll indicated that 59 percent of Americans believe that he will not finish a first term, were he to win the upcoming election. For that reason, American voters must recognize that, come November, they may well be considering Harris as the actual Democratic presidential candidate. So, her take on energy policy should be understood as well.

While The New York Times recently tried to sell Harris as a “pragmatic moderate,” on issues of energy, her policies align far more closely with the progressive wing of the party. For example, Harris recently introduced the Climate Equity Act with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). In the Democratic presidential debate, Harris bluntly stated that she “support[s] a Green New Deal,” the nearly $100 trillion climate change policy authored by Ocasio-Cortez. In that same appearance, Harris promised that, “on day one as president,” she would “reenter us into the Paris Agreement.”

In last year’s CNN climate town hall, Harris was asked about her views on fracking by a climate activist with the environmental group 350.org. Without pause, Harris confirmed, “There is no question I’m in favor of banning fracking.” She then gave a simple, one-word answer, “Yes!” to CNN host Erin Burnett’s follow-up question, “So, would you ban offshore drilling?”

The Biden-Harris position on fracking and natural gas production is abundantly clear, as reported by a recent string of tweets from Alex Epstein, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.” Epstein contends that fracking is the means by which the U.S. produces 60 percent of our oil and 75 percent of our natural gas. Banning it would put millions out of American workers back in unemployment lines already swollen by policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stifling the development of the fuels and technologies that power our economy with clean, affordable and reliable energy would be like killing the goose and then tossing the golden egg out the window. That’s an extremely bad way for the freshly minted progressive duo to start their campaign.

Jason Hayes is director of environmental policy at the Mackinac Center in Midland, Mich. Follow him on Twitter @jasonthayes.

https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/512601-a-biden-harris-presidency-would-largely-end-oil-and-gas-production?amp&__twitter_impression=true

Engineering Coastal Communities as Nature Intended

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D. Rex Miller All PostsHear From Our ExpertsDefenders in ActionWild FeaturesPresident’s Corner May 17, 2020 Andrew Carter

People love to live by the water. For centuries, cities like New York, Miami, Honolulu and San Francisco have attracted residents and tourists from around the world. In fact, almost half of the U.S. population lives in counties on the coast, and that percentage is growing in footprint, density, number and population, reshaping and hardening coastlines in the process. 

Coasts also provide habitat for great numbers of plants and animals and are typically biodiversity hotspots. But all this coastal development is reducing the amazing biodiversity along our shorelines. 

Oregon coast as seen from Ecola State Park

Sristi Kamal

Coastal Defenses

Development has also reduced our coasts’ natural ability to resist and recover from natural disasters and has removed habitat that provides shelter for wildlife and ecosystem services for humans. Traditional coastal defenses like sea walls and levees are widely used to protect communities, but these artificial coastal barriers can lead to significant erosion or unwanted sediment deposition and negatively impact water quality. They are also time-consuming to build and cost billions to construct, maintain and repair.

Increasingly, engineers and planners are starting to pay more attention to the potential of “Nature and Nature-Based Features” (NNBFs) as environmentally friendly solutions—like mangrove forests, beach dunes, coral reefs and wetlands—that fulfill the same roles as an important weapon in the fight against coastal storms and flooding. 

Pea Island NWR dunes Cape Hatteras

D. Rex Miller

NNBFs include natural defenses and human-built features that mimic them. Using NNBFs in coastal development decisions can therefore mean constructing new ones or protecting existing natural ones. NNBFs are often cheaper and require less maintenance and management. They can also make communities more resilient to climate change by adapting to changes in the environment. They are part of the larger concept of “green infrastructure,” or attempting to harness nature’s resilience to solve human problems. And its not all-or-nothing – NNBFs can complement artificial coastal infrastructure. 

NNBFs like wetlands are essential to protect coasts from storm surges because they can store and slow the release of floodwaters, reducing erosion and damage to buildings. One study found that salt marshes can reduce wave height by an average of 72%. Coral reefs can serve as a barrier and reduce wave height by an average of 70%. These reefs protect coastal cities near them such as Honolulu and Miami, saving lives and preventing monetary damage.

Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki from Diamond Head

Megan Joyce/Defenders of Wildlife

 
When Superstorm Sandy slammed the Northeast in 2012, homes on beaches fairly near to sand dunes were protected by these natural buffers, which can blunt the force of waves and wind. In many cases, homes on beach areas where dunes had been removed (often to improve ocean views) were completely destroyed by Sandy. Removing many of the mangroves that lined Biscayne Bay in South Florida may have helped spur economic development. However, it also removed another natural barrier against storm surge. This increased vulnerability of homes and businesses to the hurricanes that frequently hit Miami. Coastal communities in Indonesia hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami that had removed their mangrove forests suffered more damage and more lost lives than areas where mangroves had been allowed to remain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on a number of projects that look at features like mangroves and their ability to protect coasts.

Hurricane Sandy damaged Cape May National Wildlife Refuge

Image Image Credit David Bocanegra/USFWS

Breach at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (DE) after Hurricane Sandy

Image Image Credit Lia McLaughlin/USFWS

Aerial photo of damaged homes along New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy

Image Image Credit Greg Thompson/USFWS Damage from Hurricane Sandy at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, homes on the Jersey Shore

Bringing Wildlife Back 

People are not the only ones who can benefit from NNBF. Restoring or protecting habitat can bring back habitat for wildlife and provide space for wildlife to live alongside coastal human communities. This includes imperiled species.

For example, coastal dunes restoration can improve habitat for threatened species like the piping plover, red knot and seabeach amaranth. Restoring mangroves can help protect species like the wood stork and American alligator, and the endangered hawksbill turtle. Protecting coral reefs can help threatened elkhorn and boulder star corals, and ensure habitat remains for the hawksbill sea turtle. People and wildlife can both have space.

Red knots and horseshoe crabs

Image Image Credit FWS

Alligator Okefenokee NWR

Image Image Credit Steve Brooks

Hawksbill sea turtle

Image Image Credit Michele Hoffman

NNBFs can also improve water quality. Much of the rainwater and flood water that goes on vegetation or sand will sink into the ground where it is cleaned. Healthy coral reefs and healthy mangroves help improve marine waters. And by avoiding artificial coastal defenses, polluted runoff can be avoided. Improving water quality can help marine imperiled species. For example, manatees in Florida have been devastated by red tide in recent years. Similarly, water quality issues can stress or kill threatened corals that need clear water for photosynthesis. Even species far offshore, like orca, can be hurt by contaminated runoff from development. Creating habitat for wildlife can even have additional economic benefits beyond coastal protection. It can offer opportunities for economic activity like kayaking, fishing and birding.

Corals at Barren Island, Palmyra Atoll

Image Image Credit Andrew S. Wright/USFWS

Scenic Mangroves on the Bear Lake Canoe Trail Everglades National Park

Image Image Credit NPS

The Future of NNBF

In recent years, the U.S. Congress has become interested in the potential of NNBFs, instructing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to incorporate NNBFs into coastal defense projects where appropriate. The Corps’ research and development center has taken a leading role in researching NNBFs. Through its engineering with nature initiative, it has developed numerous projects exploring NNBFs’ potential. However, the regional offices have made less progress in taking advantage of NNBFs in their coastal defense projects. NNBFs should be a priority for the Corps and coastal communities around the country – and the world. 

Advocating for NNBFs is part of Defenders of Wildlife’s mission to protect habitat and we believe they are a strong tool for addressing the overall biodiversity crisis faced by the planet. 


More information:

To learn more about NNBFs generally, check out the Army Corps’ Engineering with Nature website. If you’re interested in learning more, Defenders of Wildlife’s Center for Conservation Innovation will be hosting a talk on NNBFs given by an Army Corp’ expert. Click here to sign up to watch it. To learn more about green infrastructure generally, check out ESRI’s Green Infrastructure story map. There are a lot of green infrastructure projects that you can help with at home, such as Defender’s Orcas Love Raingardens project in the Pacific Northwest. 

Author(s)

Andrew Carter

Andrew Carter

Senior Conservation Policy Analyst Andrew works on wildlife conservation policy at the Center for Conservation Innovation, where he researches and analyzes conservation governance strategies and emerging policy issues, and works with other CCI members to develop innovative approaches to habitat and species protection.

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https://defenders.org/blog/2020/05/engineering-coastal-communities-nature-intended?utm_source=stories&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog-engineeringcoastalmangroves-072420

The Towers of Ladakh – Overheard at National Geographic | Podcast on Spotify

The Towers of Ladakh

Overheard at National Geographic

June 15, 2020 19 MINS

A mechanical engineer teams up with an unlikely band of students who use middle school math and science to create artificial glaciers that irrigate Ladakh, a region in India hit hard by climate change. For more information on this episode, visit nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard.June 15, 202019 MINS

Podcast Episode

Hoping for Habitat Restoration in Tennessee Coal Country

defenders.org

The wind whipped icy rain in every direction and gave a gray cast to the steep hilly landscape surrounding us. We were all pretty well soaked through, but we were on an important errand; investigating a former mine site for evidence of toxic pollutants and other environmental harm.

2020.01.27 Straight Creek Bond inspection KopperGlo Coal Mine Tennessee

Kat Diersen/Defenders of Wildlife

The Straight Creek mine site is owned by the KopperGlo Mining Company, a company with a history of permit violations and environmental harm on the coal-rich Cumberland Plateau of northeast Tennessee. Just a few years ago, Defenders took legal action that resulted in a major mitigation settlement against one of the company’s other mines in the region. This day’s damp and chilly visit had been requested by a coalition of groups that often works together to watch-dog mining activities in TN. Our goal for the day was to assess the quality of KopperGlo’s post-mining site cleanup activities, known as “reclamation,” and ensure that the site would support basic ecological functions and do no further environmental damage to this once biologically rich watershed after the Straight Creek mine was formally closed. 

Straight Creek is what is known as a re-mining site. It had been mined in the past, prior to Congress passing the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). This means there was no law in place to require reclamation and the land was left barren and scarred. Vertical cliffs stripped of vegetation existed higher up the mountainside along the entire mine site where the previous mine had sliced away a side of the mountain like a piece of birthday cake. These “high walls,” as they are called, are unstable and dangerous, prone to erosion and landslides, and likely to allow any toxins that reside within the remaining coal seam to leach into the surrounding hillside.

Kat Diersen/Defenders of Wildlife

SMCRA is the primary legal tool that we use to conduct citizen oversight of mines in Tennessee. Under SMCRA, mining companies are required to post a bond sufficient to cover the cost of reclaiming a site before they can get a permit to operate. This is to ensure that should the mine be abandoned before it can be fully reclaimed, the responsible government agency has sufficient funds to complete the reclamation. Once a site is adequately reclaimed by the mining company, as determined by Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), the company may request that the bond be released to them. SMCRA provides mechanisms for public engagement in the mine permitting and reclamation process. Any time a company requests a permit for a new operation or the release of bond for a reclaimed operation, OSMRE must provide notice to the public. Stakeholders can request hearings and even site visits to review, discuss or challenge these requests.

For over five hours we walked nearly the entire length of the old mine site, which was long and narrow as it had been carved into the side of a long ridge line. Along the way we stopped to take water samples at several ponds and other places where water emerged from the hillside. The ponds were former runoff catchment ponds that had been restored to become small wetland structures. Pollutants we sampled for included iron, manganese, selenium and aluminum—all well-documented, common pollutants that result from strip mining. When stakeholders had visited the site several years ago at the beginning of reclamation, several samples came back highly positive for these metals. This day’s samples later revealed that pollutant rates came down considerably, but most of our partners thought the samples were diluted because we were sampling during a time of extremely high water flow due to ongoing winter rain, while previous samples had been taken during a hot, dry summer.

2020.01.27 Mine inspection in Tennessee

Kat Diersen/Defenders of Wildlife

At one spot at the base of a small cliff, there was a fissure with gushing water where a former catchment pond had been lost during a landslide. This pool had been the one where the most concerning water samples had been taken in previous years. Now there was a large piece of pvc-like plastic, running from the outflow at the small cliff base, across the adjacent field and right off the side of the mountain. The KopperGlo representative explained that this was to ensure the water would run across the field and not sink back into the ground, further destabilizing the loose soil below and causing another land slide. Unfortunately, this probably means that any heavy metals still coming out of the ground are being dumped off the site and onto the hillside below.

kopperglo mine TN land features

Kat Diersen/Defenders of Wildlife

The intended post-mining use of this site in KopperGlo’s permit was commercial forestry and wildlife habitat, and we did see evidence of efforts on that front. The land had been sloped and graded to approximate the pre-mining topography of the site and there appeared to be a decent diversity of planted native grass, shrub and tree species on the newly-shaped mountainside. At several of the old containment ponds-cum-wetlands, I noted wetland plant species such as cattails, and in one I even spotted several eastern newts. I also saw scat from elk, deer, coyote, and a couple of other mammals, indicating that at least less sensitive wildlife is beginning to re-inhabit the area.

After the test results from our water samples came back, we concluded that overall there was not much to challenge on this site. Site restoration efforts and water quality were imperfect but within legal limits. We prepared a comment letter for OSMRE, in which we asked that KopperGlo be required to continue monitoring water quality at the site for another year and come up with a solution to the one major outflow that didn’t involve using a plastic liner to transport potentially contaminated water off of the site, and reaffirmed our commitment to continued participation as stakeholders on other mining actions throughout the region.

Kopperglo mine site

Kat Diersen/Defenders of Wildlife

Straight Creek is just one of hundreds of mines that have scarred and polluted this landscape and degraded its waterways over the last century. The rivers of the Cumberland Plateau are historically among the most biodiverse in the country and are currently home to a number of imperiled species, including the federally threatened blackside dace, which has designated critical habitat in the same watershed as Straight Creek. Today these systems are so degraded that the impacts of a single mine can seem like a drop in the bucket. But if we are to have any hope of repairing and restoring them, then we must keep pushing to minimize as much new mining activity as we can and ensure that existing mines reduce their harm as much as possible.

 

It’s a little frustrating that this site, with its visible high walls and polluted water, constitutes a “good” reclamation. There is no such thing as a good strip mine, and even the best reclamation effort is a poor option compared leaving these beautiful mountains whole and healthy. Nevertheless, I believe that our past efforts to hold KopperGlo and other mining operations in the region accountable have resulted in these companies taking more stringent efforts to comply with the letter of the law, and the Straight Creek reclamation site is evidence of that. Defenders and our allies will continue to keep an eye out in Tennessee coal country, challenging each and every new mine operation and pushing for better clean-up of this ravaged, but still rich and beautiful landscape.

https://defenders.org/blog/2020/06/hoping-habitat-restoration-tennessee-coal-country#utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=blogs&utm_campaign=blogs-HabitatCoalMiningTN-060420#utm_source

Petition: Protect National Monuments and Sacred Native Land From Drilling and Mining – One Green PlanetOne Green Planet

onegreenplanet.org

By Sharon Vega 3-4 minutes

The Trump administration has made it very clear that they have no desire to protect wildlife and the environment. They care about making money. They’ve been rolling back environmental protections even in the midst of a pandemic. Among the many terrible things they want to do is opening up the Arctic to drilling, allow trophy hunting on national preserves and refuges, and weakening the Endangered Species Act. Their latest attack is on sacred native land and national monuments: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

In February, the administration finalized plans to drill and mine in these areas which until recently were protected under National Monument status. Their plan “puts tens of thousands of archeological sites, Native American sacred sites, and recreational public lands in the hands of private industry to mine, drill, and develop for their own benefit.”

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) describes Bears Ears as “a stunningly beautiful, ecologically fragile landscape that has played a crucial role in Native American culture in the Southwest for thousands of years” and Grand Staircase-Escalante as “one of the richest and most important paleontological sites in North America.”

The plan to drill and mine in these areas is no surprise given that in 2017, “Trump reduced the size of Bears Ears by roughly 85 percent, and Grand Staircase-Escalante by half.”

We cannot allow this recklessness to damage lands that Americans love and that are sacred to Native Americans. Sign this petition telling Congress that you want to protect all of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase now!

Sign these other relevant petitions to stand up against more environmentally damaging plans and proposals made by the Trump administration:

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Also, don’t forget to download the Food Monster App on iTunes — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy!

Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/petition-protect-national-monuments-sacred-native-land-drilling-mining/

EPA opts not to delay controversial Alaska mine for now

wp-1591413516299601624557.jpg

washingtonpost.com

Juliet Eilperin 3-4 minutes

A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency informed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Alaska late Thursday that the EPA would not formally object at this point to the proposed Pebble Mine, a massive gold and copper deposit where mining could damage the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

Christopher Hladick, the EPA’s regional administrator for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, wrote to the Alaska district engineer, Col. David Hibner, that the agency still has serious concerns about the plan, including that dredging for the open-pit mine “may well contribute to the permanent loss of 2,292 acres of wetlands and … 105.4 miles of streams.”

But Hladick said the EPA would not elevate the matter to the leadership of the two agencies, which could delay necessary approvals for the project to advance. The EPA “appreciates the Corps’ recent commitment to continue this coordination into the future,” he wrote.

The move marks the latest chapter in a years-long battle that has pitted a Canadian-owned mining company against commercial fishing operators, native Alaskans and conservationists determined to protect the unique and economically critical sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay.

The Corps is set to decide this summer whether to grant a federal permit to the Pebble Partnership to move forward with the project. The EPA could still veto such a permit. Last year, it sent the Corps a letter saying the project slated for southwestern Alaska “may” harm “aquatic resources of national importance.”

But the EPA had to determine by Thursday whether the mine “will” cause such harm, and it opted not to do so — an indication that the environmental agency does not appear likely to block the mine.

Pebble Partnership chief executive Tom Collier, whose company has proposed a 20-year plan to extract copper, gold and molybdenum from a deposit worth hundreds of billions of dollars, hailed the decision in a statement as “another indication of positive progress for the project.”

Rich Nolan, president and chief executive of the National Mining Association, also welcomed the EPA’s determination. “It is encouraging to see the permitting process proceeding as intended on this important project, especially after so many years of delay and inappropriate overreach,” he said in an email.

But opponents of the proposed mining operation — located in a watershed that supports a long-standing Alaska Native subsistence tradition, as well as a lucrative commercial and recreational fishery — noted that the EPA and other key agencies have raised concerns the Corps has yet to address.

“There are still many substantive issues with the project proposal that have yet to be resolved,” said the vice president of Bristol Bay Native Corp., Daniel Cheyette, whose Alasksa Native corporation opposes the mine, which would be the largest in North America.

Mark Ryan, a lawyer in private practice who served as regional counsel in EPA Region 10 between 1990 and 2014, said in a phone interview that the EPA’s letter appears contradictory.

“It’s a very odd letter,” Ryan said. “It points out the mine’s very serious environmental damage but then does not invoke EPA’s powers to elevate the issue for further discussion.”

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/05/29/epa-opts-not-delay-controversial-alaska-mine-now/#click=https://t.co/AtL9EULdAB#click

Engineering Coastal Communities as Nature Intended

defenders.org

9-11 minutes


People love to live by the water. For centuries, cities like New York, Miami, Honolulu and San Francisco have attracted residents and tourists from around the world. In fact, almost half of the U.S. population lives in counties on the coast, and that percentage is growing in footprint, density, number and population, reshaping and hardening coastlines in the process. 

Coasts also provide habitat for great numbers of plants and animals and are typically biodiversity hotspots. But all this coastal development is reducing the amazing biodiversity along our shorelines. 

Oregon coast as seen from Ecola State Park

Sristi Kamal

Coastal Defenses

Development has also reduced our coasts’ natural ability to resist and recover from natural disasters and has removed habitat that provides shelter for wildlife and ecosystem services for humans. Traditional coastal defenses like sea walls and levees are widely used to protect communities, but these artificial coastal barriers can lead to significant erosion or unwanted sediment deposition and negatively impact water quality. They are also time-consuming to build and cost billions to construct, maintain and repair.

Increasingly, engineers and planners are starting to pay more attention to the potential of “Nature and Nature-Based Features” (NNBFs) as environmentally friendly solutions—like mangrove forests, beach dunes, coral reefs and wetlands—that fulfill the same roles as an important weapon in the fight against coastal storms and flooding. 

Pea Island NWR dunes Cape Hatteras

D. Rex Miller

NNBFs include natural defenses and human-built features that mimic them. Using NNBFs in coastal development decisions can therefore mean constructing new ones or protecting existing natural ones. NNBFs are often cheaper and require less maintenance and management. They can also make communities more resilient to climate change by adapting to changes in the environment. They are part of the larger concept of “green infrastructure,” or attempting to harness nature’s resilience to solve human problems. And its not all-or-nothing – NNBFs can complement artificial coastal infrastructure. 

NNBFs like wetlands are essential to protect coasts from storm surges because they can store and slow the release of floodwaters, reducing erosion and damage to buildings. One study found that salt marshes can reduce wave height by an average of 72%. Coral reefs can serve as a barrier and reduce wave height by an average of 70%. These reefs protect coastal cities near them such as Honolulu and Miami, saving lives and preventing monetary damage.

Downtown Honolulu and Waikiki from Diamond Head

Megan Joyce/Defenders of Wildlife

 
When Superstorm Sandy slammed the Northeast in 2012, homes on beaches fairly near to sand dunes were protected by these natural buffers, which can blunt the force of waves and wind. In many cases, homes on beach areas where dunes had been removed (often to improve ocean views) were completely destroyed by Sandy. Removing many of the mangroves that lined Biscayne Bay in South Florida may have helped spur economic development. However, it also removed another natural barrier against storm surge. This increased vulnerability of homes and businesses to the hurricanes that frequently hit Miami. Coastal communities in Indonesia hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami that had removed their mangrove forests suffered more damage and more lost lives than areas where mangroves had been allowed to remain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on a number of projects that look at features like mangroves and their ability to protect coasts.

Hurricane Sandy damaged Cape May National Wildlife Refuge

Image

Image Credit

David Bocanegra/USFWS

Breach at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (DE) after Hurricane Sandy

Image

Image Credit

Lia McLaughlin/USFWS

Aerial photo of damaged homes along New Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy

Image

Image Credit

Greg Thompson/USFWS

Damage from Hurricane Sandy at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, homes on the Jersey Shore

Bringing Wildlife Back 

People are not the only ones who can benefit from NNBF. Restoring or protecting habitat can bring back habitat for wildlife and provide space for wildlife to live alongside coastal human communities. This includes imperiled species.

For example, coastal dunes restoration can improve habitat for threatened species like the piping plover, red knot and seabeach amaranth. Restoring mangroves can help protect species like the wood stork and American alligator, and the endangered hawksbill turtle. Protecting coral reefs can help threatened elkhorn and boulder star corals, and ensure habitat remains for the hawksbill sea turtle. People and wildlife can both have space.

Red knots and horseshoe crabs

Image

Alligator Okefenokee NWR

Image

Image Credit

Steve Brooks

Hawksbill sea turtle

Image

Image Credit

Michele Hoffman

NNBFs can also improve water quality. Much of the rainwater and flood water that goes on vegetation or sand will sink into the ground where it is cleaned. Healthy coral reefs and healthy mangroves help improve marine waters. And by avoiding artificial coastal defenses, polluted runoff can be avoided. Improving water quality can help marine imperiled species. For example, manatees in Florida have been devastated by red tide in recent years. Similarly, water quality issues can stress or kill threatened corals that need clear water for photosynthesis. Even species far offshore, like orca, can be hurt by contaminated runoff from development. Creating habitat for wildlife can even have additional economic benefits beyond coastal protection. It can offer opportunities for economic activity like kayaking, fishing and birding.

Corals at Barren Island, Palmyra Atoll

Image

Image Credit

Andrew S. Wright/USFWS

Scenic Mangroves on the Bear Lake Canoe Trail Everglades National Park

Image

The Future of NNBF

In recent years, the U.S. Congress has become interested in the potential of NNBFs, instructing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to incorporate NNBFs into coastal defense projects where appropriate. The Corps’ research and development center has taken a leading role in researching NNBFs. Through its engineering with nature initiative, it has developed numerous projects exploring NNBFs’ potential. However, the regional offices have made less progress in taking advantage of NNBFs in their coastal defense projects. NNBFs should be a priority for the Corps and coastal communities around the country – and the world. 

Advocating for NNBFs is part of Defenders of Wildlife’s mission to protect habitat and we believe they are a strong tool for addressing the overall biodiversity crisis faced by the planet. 


More information:

To learn more about NNBFs generally, check out the Army Corps’ Engineering with Nature website. If you’re interested in learning more, Defenders of Wildlife’s Center for Conservation Innovation will be hosting a talk on NNBFs given by an Army Corp’ expert. Click here to sign up to watch it. To learn more about green infrastructure generally, check out ESRI’s Green Infrastructure story map. There are a lot of green infrastructure projects that you can help with at home, such as Defender’s Orcas Love Raingardens project in the Pacific Northwest. 

Author(s)

Andrew Carter

Andrew Carter

Senior Conservation Policy Analyst

Andrew works on wildlife conservation policy at the Center for Conservation Innovation, where he researches and analyzes conservation governance strategies and emerging policy issues, and works with other CCI members to develop innovative approaches to habitat and species protection.

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Wildlife & Wild Places

Sunset over Rodeo Beach CA

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https://defenders.org/blog/2020/05/engineering-coastal-communities-nature-intended#utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=blogs&utm_campaign=blogs-NNBFs-051720#utm_source

Sign Petition STOP Disney- Last Chance for Lighthouse Point

change.org

Sign the Petition Lighthouse Point started this petition to The Walt Disney Company

There are plenty of places in the Bahamas where Disney can dock its cruise ships. There is only one Lighthouse Point. We are deeply concerned about Disney’s plans that threaten this unique natural place treasured by generations of Bahamians and visitors from around the world. The seas surrounding the point are so biologically rich that they have been formally proposed as a Marine Protected Area. This is NOT the place where an environmentally responsible corporation would choose to construct a massive private cruise ship port – the centerpiece of which is a half-mile-long pier cutting across coral reefs including endangered staghorn coral. The port’s construction and operation would seriously harm the environment, while the economic benefits to communities in South Eleuthera are still unclear and very questionable. Our planet’s oceans are already facing unprecedented pressures. Their future depends on the choices we make today to protect places like the proposed Lighthouse Point Marine Protected Area. Disney should follow the lead of other cruise companies that have chosen instead to rehabilitate already degraded areas for their cruise facilities. This is our last chance to protect Lighthouse Point for generations to come. Sign the petition to call upon Disney to secure a different, more suitable site for their cruise ship port and instead work with Bahamian citizen groups on a sustainable development alternative for Lighthouse Point.

https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-last-chance-for-lighthouse-point-2

Petition · Donald J. Trump: Stop 5G · Change.org

Stop 5G Sean Benham started this petition to President Donald J. Trump and 16 others According to studies, 5G is a dangerous technology that undermines and destroys the health of all living material including humans. We demand a stop to the implementation of 5G in the United States and Europe until it has been proven in several, unaffiliated studies and in court, that this technology does not cause health issues in any way shape or form.

https://www.change.org/p/donald-j-trump-stop-5g-a5240d08-226c-47fd-9bd3-adb8d14e79d5?recruiter=1046543195&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_petition&recruited_by_id=93d7dde0-5ce7-11ea-b547-731fa82dfc5e

March 16 the deadline to speak up for Heber Wild Horses

Tuesday's Horse

HEBER, AZ — March 16 is the deadline for public comment on the fate of the Heber Wild Horses. Comment link and talking points at the end of this post.

Why it is so important

Last week, the Forest Servicereleased its proposed management plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory.

It includes plans to limit the horses’ range to 21 square miles. The surrounding Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest covers more than 43 thousand square miles of public land.

Horse advocates say existing fencing prevents many of the horses from even accessing the designated territory. The Forest Service also intends to remove most of the horses from the area. They estimate there are currently between 292 and 471 horses.

The goal of the Forest Service is to limit the number of horses to 50 to 104. Critics say that would not allow for enough genetic diversity in the bands, or families…

View original post 420 more words

UPDATE On Bahamas struggle to recover before the next hurricane season is upon them

fox43.com

With a few months to go before the new hurricane season begins this summer, piles of debris that are still sitting along the streets could turn deadly.

ABACO, The Bahamas — There are signs of recovery in the Abaco Islands, five months after Hurricane Dorian decimated this part of the Bahamas.

In Marsh Harbor, for example, work crews and volunteers are gutting homes, repairing roofs and clearing streets.

But in other parts of town, stray dogs are the only signs of life, and only the distant sounds of chainsaws and hammers pierce the eerie quiet.

In fact, some of the areas devastated by the storm appear untouched since the hurricane made landfall, without a person in sight.

Utilities have been slow to come back.

“We expect power in Abaco to be fully restored by early summer,” reports Katherine Smith from the Bahama Disaster Reconstruction Authority.

Thoughts of the 2020 hurricane season are adding urgency to the recovery.
Resettling to Rebuild

With so many homes destroyed, there aren’t enough people currently living on the island to rebuild quickly.

“Much of the population in Abaco evacuated or were displaced. And now they are largely unable to return because there is no housing,” explains David Eisenbaum, with the charity All Hands And Hearts. “We need thousands of volunteers. There’s a tremendous need for manpower and the recovery is limited by this shortage of labor.”

To help residents return to the islands, the Bahamian government is setting up dome structures for temporary housing.

“We are shipping in domes that they can stay in as their homes are being rebuilt,” Smith tells CNN. “And we are launching a Small Home Repair Program this month to try to get the homes ready for the next hurricane season, which is right around the corner.”

With a few months to go before the new hurricane season begins this summer, piles of debris that are still sitting along the streets could turn into deadly projectiles if the wind picks up.
Reviving Grand Bahama

Grand Bahama also suffered severe devastation from Dorian. Storm surges up to 20 feet submerged vast parts of the island, swamping more than 4,200 homes according to Smith.

“Some of these homes might partially still be standing, but are not safe to stay in,” explains Katie Wiles, an American Red Cross spokeswoman. “One of the top needs here is also for long-term shelter.”

There’s also a shortage of drinkable water; the storm surges dramatically raised the salinity of Grand Bahama’s water supply.

“After Dorian, the water became extremely salty. Currently, 65% of households are compromised,” reports Iram Lewis, the Bahamas’ minister of state for disaster management and reconstruction. “By March, that number should be down significantly and completely gone by the end of the summer.”

It’s a hint of optimism, boosted by electricity that is now back on across almost all of Grand Bahama.

Yet the devastation to infrastructure and business has crippled the economy. Unemployment for Grand Bahama remains high, and the damage to infrastructure renders tasks beyond meeting the day-to-day needs difficult.

“So many have to now walk on foot through the debris just to receive drinkable water. The everyday challenges they face make it difficult to rebound from this and rebuild,” Wilkes explains. “The level of devastation is so big that it will take a long time for the Bahamas to recover. And they can’t do it alone.”

Many of the international charities who initially responded to Dorian are still on the ground. You can help these organizations continue their work in the Bahamas by clicking the button below or by following this link.

https://www.fox43.com/amp/article/news/nation-world/bahamas-struggle-to-recover-before-the-next-hurricane-season/521-c02848f2-700f-4e8c-9965-454ed2635422?__twitter_impression=true

Tell the U.S. Forest Service to drop the fee plan for Wilderness in the Central Cascades!

Tell the U.S. Forest Service to ‘take a hike’ and drop the fee plan for Wilderness in the Central Cascades!

The U.S. Forest Service (FS) is proposing to charge people for simply walking in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas in the Oregon Cascades. Specifically, the FS wants to require fees for all overnight access to these Wildernesses – plus for day use at 19 trailheads – claiming hiking is a “specialized recreation use.”

The proposed fees violate the intent and purpose of the Wilderness Act, including protecting Wilderness from commercialization and commodification. It is simply unjust to charge people to visit Wilderness areas, which belong to all Americans. They are our irreplaceable birthright as citizens, open to all, not just those wealthy enough to pay fees.

The proposed fees are illegal under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which prohibits charging fees for parking at, hiking through, horseback riding in, or camping in undeveloped federal sites such as Wildernesses. Despite Forest Service claims, traveling on foot or horseback through a Wilderness is not a “specialized recreation use,” which applies to group activities, recreation events, and motorized recreational vehicle use.

The fees are tied to the Forest Service’s limited-access permit system starting next summer for the Mount Jefferson, Mont Washington, and Three Sisters Wildernesses to prevent overcrowding and resource damage. While Wilderness Watch supports quotas to protect Wilderness areas from being over-run by people, we are adamantly opposed to the federal government charging hikers a fee simply to take a walk in the Wilderness. The fees are another part of the effort to commercialize Wilderness, and would exclude the public from accessing and enjoying their public lands.

This fee proposal is unprecedented, with the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests implementing fees across 450,000-plus acres in three Wildernesses for all overnight users plus day use at 19 trailheads. This fee system would set a horrible national precedent for other Wilderness areas around the country.

Please submit your comments to the U.S. Forest Service by November 25th.

Subject: Recreation Fees
Message:
Dear U.S. Forest Service:

I’m adamantly opposed to your proposal to charge people for simply taking a walk in the in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas in the Oregon Cascades.

Your proposed fee violates the intent and purpose of the Wilderness Act, including protecting Wildernesses from commercialization and commodification. Wilderness areas belong to all of the American people. They are an irreplaceable birthright to all our citizens, open to all the public and not just those wealthy enough to pay additional fees. All citizens across the nation already own the Wildernesses in the National Wilderness Preservation System and we have paid for them with our taxes. It is simply unjust to charge people to visit the Wilderness they already own.

These fees would also be illegal under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and would exclude the public from accessing and enjoying their public lands.

The Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness Areas already plan to require limited-access permits starting next year to prevent overcrowding and resource damage. While I support quotas to protect Wilderness areas from being over-run by people, I’m adamantly opposed to the federal government charging hikers a fee simply to take a walk in the Wilderness.

This fee proposal is unprecedented as the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests would be the first national forest in the U.S. to implement a fee system across three Wilderness areas that will charge for all overnight use plus day use at 19 trailheads across 450,000-plus acres of Wilderness.

The USFS is incorrectly claiming authority for charging such fees under a clause in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) that allows a fee for “specialized recreation uses” such as group activities, recreation events, and motorized recreational vehicles. Congress never meant that to apply to private individuals who are hiking, walking, horseback riding and camping in a completely undeveloped part of a national forest.

Such fees would set a horrible national precedent for other Wilderness areas around the country and I urge you to abandon your fee scheme for the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas.

Thank you.
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It’s simply unjust to charge people to visit Wilderness areas, which belong to all Americans. They are our irreplaceable birthright as citizens, open to all, not just those wealthy enough to pay fees.

https://wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org/cascadewildernessfees/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=9c71e708-9e5f-445b-a06e-f7371f2c4e74

Rep. Lowey Reintroduces Bill To Ban Traps In Refuges

Exposing the Big Game

  NOV 17, 2019

New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey has reintroduced a bill that would prohibit body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge system.

Lowey, Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, reintroduced the Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act Friday, that would ban from public land traps where animal endure hours or even days of pain. Lowey says that, each year, thousands of bobcats, otters, foxes, beavers and other wild animals are trapped in this manner across the nation’s refuges. She says more than 50 percent of the 566 refuges allow trapping. Steel-jaw leghold traps; conibear traps: and neck snares would be banned if the measure is enacted. Lowey says it’s time to restore the true meaning of “refuge” to the National Wildlife Refuge system

https://www.wamc.org/post/rep-lowey-reintroduces-bill-ban-traps-refuges

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Stop oil and gas development from harming Alaska’s wildlife – Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife Logo

Stop oil and gas development from harming Alaska’s wildlife
Spotted Seal (c) Jay Verhoef (NOAA)

Alaska’s wildlife is in jeopardy. A newly proposed development by oil giant ConocoPhilips would build a huge oil field with hundreds of oil wells that would impact critical polar bear habitat and protected lands in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released their Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the development, but they’re rushing through the process to open up leasing as quickly as possible, with little regard for the harm this development could bring to local wildlife.

Tell the BLM: Don’t turn a blind eye to wildlife!

Dear BLM State Director Chad Padgett,

  • Personalize your message
    I am writing to you with significant concerns about BLM’s Willow Master Development Plan Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding the proposed Willow oil and gas development located in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A). In particular, I am concerned about the Willow development’s proposed size and proximity to some of the most valuable wildlife habitat in America’s Arctic found adjacent in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area and Arctic Ocean, and its impacts to polar bear critical habitat. I am also concerned that the analyses and decision-making around this very significant development is happening virtually in tandem with BLM revising its overall management plan for the NPR-A, the Integrated Activity Plan, where the size and protections of established Special Areas may be changed.

ConocoPhillips has proposed developing a major industrialized zone, including up to five drill sites of up to 50 wells each, a central processing facility, an operations center pad, miles of gravel and ice roads, pipelines (including under the Colville River), a gravel mine just west of the community of Nuiqsut, and a gravel island in Harrison Bay. This human-made, modular island just off-shore and north-east of the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area would impact polar bear critical habitat and likely would also impact to threatened ice seals and whales. These species are already experiencing significant effects from climate change and other oil and gas activities in the Alaskan Arctic. The DEIS understates impacts to polar bears and seals, and completely omits impacts to cetaceans including listed bowhead and beluga whales.

I urge BLM to slow this analysis process down to make sure that the agency is getting sufficient public input; properly analyzing issues raised by a cross-section of stakeholders; and especially sufficiently analyzing impacts to imperiled polar bears, ice seals, whales and other wildlife.

Sincerely,
https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3552&s_src=3WDW2000PWX5X&s_subsrc=tw-deiswillow&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=deiswillow

Planned Road would cut through Florida Panther Habitat

The Jaguar

Panther Release in Rotenberger WMA by Florida Fish and Wildlife. CC BY-ND 2.0

Here’s a disturbing story from National Geographic about a planned road that would slice through Florida panther habitat.

As writer Douglas Main explains, the state of Florida recently authorized the addition of three new toll roads. While all of these roads could negatively affect a vital wildlife corridor, one of them would directly traverse the habitat of Florida’s iconic panthers.

Florida panthers are actually pumas (Puma concolor) that have managed to survive after the rest of their species was driven out of the Eastern United States. It hasn’t been easy, though. Main writes that there were only around 20 Florida panthers left in 1967, when the cats were listed as an endangered species.

Thanks to the Endangered Species Act – the extraordinary piece of legislation that was just gutted by the Trump administration – Florida…

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Petition To Nigeria: keep cocoa growers out of gorilla habitat!

rainforest-rescue.org

Gorilla habitat is shrinking day by day, and one of the main drivers is the chocolate industry. In Nigeria, cocoa farms are penetrating the last refuges of the endangered primates, driven by demand from chocolate lovers the world over. We can’t let the last remaining tiny patches of gorillas’ forests be trashed for candy.

Call to action

To: Governor Ben Ayade, via the Cross River State Forestry Commission (Mr Ogbang Akwaji)

Cocoa plantations are endangering the last rainforests in Cross River State. Strengthen nature conservation and fight illegal deforestation by cocoa producers.

Read letter

Nigeria gives rise to despair and small glimmers of hope: 96 percent of the country’s forests are gone. One remaining bright spot is Cross River State in the southeast – its forests, which are among the world’s most biodiverse, are still home to gorillas.

Yet Cross River’s forests are also dying by a thousand cuts: More than 16,000 hectares were destroyed in 2017 – four times the previous year’s toll. The main causes of deforestation are illegal logging, palm oil plantations and the production of charcoal. Increasingly, cocoa plantations are encroaching on protected forests.

The ultimate driver of destruction, however, is the sweet tooth of consumers in the global North. Nigeria is the third-largest cocoa exporter in the world. The country is responsible for ten percent of the EU’s imports. Exports have grown by 65 percent over the past three years to 248,000 tons in 2018, with the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium being the largest importers.

In Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – the world leaders in cocoa production – the destruction of forests has reached extreme proportions. Nearly all of Côte d’Ivoire’s protected areas have been plundered, and Ghana holds a sad world record for its rate of deforestation in 2018. The close link between cocoa cultivation and deforestation makes us fear the worst for Nigeria.

Chocolate companies buy whatever cocoa they can get, no questions asked. While environmentalists in Brussels are in fact pushing for the EU to regulate the market, the gorillas can’t wait that long.

The governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has it in his hands to protect the gorillas and their habitat. Please sign our petition to the governor – we can’t let the last remaining tiny patches of gorilla habitat be trashed for candy.
Back­ground

Cross River State is already taking first steps toward preventing further deforestation for cocoa. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is currently expanding an ongoing project to villages in Afi, Mbe and Okwangwo. Its aim is to produce cocoa in an environmentally sound way. The EU is supporting the project financially.

The state government is planning a cocoa processing plant in the city of Ikom. The impact that this will have on the expansion of the plantations is currently unclear.
Cocoa in Omo Forest Reserve

Cocoa plantations are also a problem in Omo Forest Reserve. Thousands of smallholders have planted fields in the protected area in the state of Ogun. The reserve is home to at least 80 forest elephants and a crucial source of drinking water for the Nigerian metropolis of Lagos. Some settlers have already been there for decades, and the government would rather not evict them, as it would destroy their livelihoods and compensating them would be very costly. Rangers patrol the forest to stop others from encroaching, but the ranger units are too understaffed to protect the forest effectively.
Letter

To: Governor Ben Ayade, via the Cross River State Forestry Commission (Mr Ogbang Akwaji)

Your Excellency,

Rainforest Rescue is a nonprofit organization based in Hamburg, Germany. We are dedicated to preserving rainforests, protecting their inhabitants and furthering social reform.

Cross River State brings Nigeria – a country which has already lost 96 percent of its forest cover – to prominence in global discussions on the environment because it is home to some of the most biodiverse forests of Nigeria, and habitat of endangered species such as gorillas, chimpanzees and forest elephants.

It is therefore very worrisome that in Afi River Forest Reserve – a biodiversity hotspot – forest is being cut illegally for the production of cocoa. The reasons for this are manifold, amongst them the search for alternative livelihoods to replace logging for timber by local communities and a lack of knowledge about sustainable cocoa farming systems. We also observe that law enforcement within the protected areas seems ineffective.

To prevent further destruction, we call on you to implement the following measures:

  1. Strengthen the protection and management of forests in Cross River State in collaboration with local communities.
  2. Educate small-scale cocoa farmers in sustainable cocoa farming systems.

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1188/nigeria-keep-cocoa-growers-out-of-gorilla-habitat?mtu=434678884&t=5562

Yours faithfully,
This petition is also available in the following languages:

German
Spanish
French
Portuguese

Sign Petition: This Company Is Destroying an Island

thepetitionsite.com
by: Care2 Team
recipient: Manasseh Sogavare P.M. of the Solomon Islands, Xiang Lin

To most people, the Solomon Islands may seem like small specks of land in the huge expanse of the South Pacific. But to its more than 600,000 residents, it’s home. And they will do anything to protect it. The nation’s forests face the very real threat of disappearing in the coming years due to overexploitation spawned by the voracious demand for timber in Asia.

Since 1990, for example, Solomon Islanders have seen more than 20% of their forest disappear, putting both their livelihoods and their native species’ existence at risk. Now some residents are fighting back, but if the government has their way, they will spend years in jail for their resistance.

Sign to demand justice for the Nende Five.

There are many logging concerns now toppling old-growth forests throughout the archipelago, but according to activists, one company’s operations — Malaysia-based Xiang Lin SI Ltd — showed up on their southern island of Nende and started their operations illegally. But even though it is Xiang Lin Si Ltd that is accused of breaking the law, the government has decided to prosecute the brave activists that are trying to stop them.

According to villagers, Xiang Lin didn’t go through the proper steps and channels in order to acquire a license. They didn’t consult the locals, they didn’t give them the obligatory 30 day period to raise any grievances and — perhaps most troubling of all — there are signs that the previous provincial premier, Baddley Tau had accepted bribes that might have allowed logging companies like Xiang Lin to start operations without going through the correct channels.

With all the uncertainty into the illegality of the Xiang Lin’s practices, it’s no wonder that so many Nende Islanders have started fighting back. Some of them, now known as the “Nende Five” have been arrested and face serious jail time if they are found guilty.

Xiang Lin has encroached on the livelihood of an entire island of people, their culture, their ecosystem and their way of life. They have bulldozed and destroyed. And now, after all that, they are about to be the cause of unfair incarceration of people who were just want to protect their lands.

Sign the petition and ask the Solomon Islands to drop the charges against the Nende Five and tell Xiang Lin to cease operations on Nende immediately.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/562/724/087/?z00m=31710688&redirectID=2891548854

Stop Attacks On Endangered Gray Wolves | Help Wildlife, Protect the Environment, Support Nature Conservation, Save the Planet

Sierra ClubOfficial Campaign
Stop Attacks On Endangered Gray Wolves

U.S. Fish and Wildlife just announced their plans to start a process to strip Endangered Species protections from all gray wolves in the lower 48. Tell USFWS: don’t delist!
Why This Matters

Republican leadership will go to any lengths to undercut still-needed protections for struggling wildlife. This fall, House Republicans tried to pass legislation that would remove all gray wolves from the Endangered Species List while gutting the public’s ability to defend wildlife in court — first in a standalone bill, then hidden as riders in the House spending bill.

Thanks to the over 46,000 of you who wrote letters and made phone calls in opposition to these Congressional attacks on gray wolves, the riders were removed from the must-pass spending bill. So now, U.S. Fish and Wildlife is seeking to remove gray wolves’ Endangered Species protections through an administrative delisting process.

Gray wolves are just starting to recover after human persecution brought them to the brink of extinction. In Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where wolves have already lost Endangered Species protections, trophy hunters, trappers, and others have killed more than 3,200 of them just since 2011. We already know what horrors will occur if we let the Trump administration get its way — we must push back to save the future of this magnificent, struggling species.

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Principal Deputy Director Everson: Gray wolves need Endangered Species protections to survive — don’t delist!

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife: Gray wolves still need Endangered Species protection — don’t delist!

To: USFWS Deputy Director Margaret Everson

Gray wolves need Endangered Species Act protections to survive — don’t delist!

Read entire petition

Dear Principal Deputy Director Everson,

I am strongly opposed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the continental U.S. at once.

Wolves have just begun to recover in some areas of the country. Since the effort to restore wolf populations began in the 1980’s, we have had some great successes, and we now have wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Midwest. But it is too soon to remove wolves from the Endangered Species list, as several courts have confirmed. Continued federal protections are critical to securing the fragile recovery of existing wolf populations and allowing wolves to expand into other suitable habitats.

In Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where wolves have already lost federal protections, trophy hunters, trappers, and others have killed more than 3,200 of them since 2011. Endangered Species Act protections are still essential to help wolves return to remaining suitable lands where they used to roam, just as the bald eagle was allowed to expand before its federal protections were removed.

Wolves are the wild ancestors of all the domestic dogs we know and love today. Polls and studies show that a majority of the public highly value wolves. These remarkable creatures are icons of our landscape and their presence is vital to maintaining the balance of their native ecosystems.

I urge you to uphold protections for vulnerable gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act to allow for continued recovery of this majestic, misunderstood species. Please, stop the delisting process.

Sign Petition

https://addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/take-action-to-protect-wolves/petition/tell-us-fish-and-wildlife-gray-wolves-still-need-endangered-species-protection-dont-delist

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Stop Trump Administration From Letting Oil Companies Determine Environmental Rules

Lobbyists for Big Oil have been allowed by the EPA to alter air pollution research which dictates environmental regulations. Sign this petition to demand that the Trump Administration stop giving Big Oil control over our environmental policies.

Source: Stop Trump Administration From Letting Oil Companies Determine Environmental Rules

Feds Begin Selling Wild Horses Captured in California for $1 Each

Straight from the Horse's Heart

as published on EcoWatch by Lorraine Chow

“The Forest Service is treating these national treasures like trash by selling them for one dollar a piece…”

About 200 horses are available for adoption and sale until Feb. 18. The fee for purchase “with limitations” has been reduced to $1 per horse, down from the original price of $25. The fee for adoption is $125.

“With limitations” includes a stipulation that prohibits using the horses for human consumption. Other requirements include appropriate transportation, adequate space and healthy accommodations for the animals, according to Ruidoso News.

The horses now up for sale and adoption are all 10 years and older. They were among the 932 mustangs that were gathered via helicopters in the territory near Alturas, California between Oct. 10 and Nov. 8.

The gathering of wild horses has prompted fierce debate about how to control populations. On the one hand, the…

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PETITION: Help Strip a Poison Pill from Utah Lands Bill!

Help Strip a Poison Pill from Utah Lands Bill!

You may recall that in May, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the “Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018” (S. 2809), a bill that involves world-class wildlands in southeastern Utah along the Green River in Desolation Canyon and in the San Rafael Swell. It was a bad bill that not only shortchanged the areas that would gain Wilderness designation, but more importantly included numerous bad provisions that would have severely compromised even the areas that were designated Wilderness.

We’ve just learned that backroom negotiations have resulted in a bill that dropped several of the bad provisions and added more Wilderness to the package. However, Senator Hatch added a very harmful, unprecedented amendment onto his bill – without any discussion or debate – that would legalize permanent fixed climbing anchors in designated Wilderness, part of a deliberate plan by the Access Fund and its allies to weaken the landmark 1964 Wilderness Act. While other changes to the bill might make it acceptable to conservationists, it is imperative that the destructive and precedent-setting “fixed-anchor” provision be removed.

The use of fixed anchors in wilderness directly contradicts the Wilderness Act’s prohibition of “installations” in wilderness. The preservation of an area as wilderness is an attempt to preserve the wildest and least tamed landscapes. Reducing a climbing route’s challenges by bolting it also goes against the essential spirit of the Wilderness Act. The maintenance of wilderness character dictates that, rather than hammer a piece of rock into submission and installing permanent bolts, a climber in Wilderness may have to accept that a route that cannot be climbed without bolts should not be climbed at all. In the first catalog for his company Chouinard Equipment, later to become Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard pioneered removable climbing chocks and a manifesto of “clean climbing.” He wrote, “We believe the only way to ensure the climbing experience for ourselves and future generations is to preserve (1) the vertical wilderness, and (2) the adventure inherent in the experience… The fewer gadgets between the climber and the climb, the greater is the chance to attain the desired communication with oneself—and nature.”

It is unfortunate that the Access Fund is mirroring the efforts of mountain bikers by turning to the same anti-wilderness Utah politicians who stripped protections for Bears Ear and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to try to weaken the Wilderness Act as it applies to their recreational pursuits.

Please help block this unprecedented attack to legalize illegal fixed climbing anchors in Wilderness!

https://wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org/utahlandbillnofixedanchors/index.html