12 Wins for Wildlife YOU Made Possible in 2015
Looking back at 2015, I’m incredibly proud of wins we achieved together for America’s wildlife.
With friends of wildlife like you by our side, we helped restore more wild bison to the Great Plains, launched rescue efforts for our dwindling monarch butterflies, and certified thousands of new acres of wildlife habitat in cities, schools and places of worship throughout the country.
The truth is, none of this is easy. The challenges facing wildlife are many. Water pollution and droughts, massive habitat loss and fragmentation, and climate change are driving record numbers of species toward extinction.
But you and I don’t protect wildlife because it’s easy. Together we stand up for our cherished wildlife and wild landscapes because it’s right.
All you do for wildlife is making a difference. Feel proud of these wins for wildlife. You made them happen.
WILD BISON: A Prairie Homecoming Decades in the Making
Earlier this year, over 60 genetically pure Yellowstone bison were restored to open lands in Nebraska. These restorations add to the 195 wild bison transferred over the past few years in Montana to Fort Peck Indian Reservation, and 34 more bison brought to Fort Belknap Reservation.
DOLPHINS: Winning the Gulf Restoration Funding They Need and Deserve
And habitat restoration can’t come fast enough for some bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf, a species severely stressed by and still struggling with the effects of the spill.
This would have NEVER happened without relentless pressure from friends of wildlife like you.
As you read this, scientists and advocates are working on the ground in all the Gulf states to ensure BP’s fines are spent on projects that will benefit Gulf wildlife.
MOOSE: New Hope for Wildlife with New Energy Plan
In August, President Obama released the final Clean Power Plan, the first ever rules designed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, which emit 40 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions.
It’s a game-changing step secured after years of advocacy by wildlife and environmental advocates.
MONARCH BUTTERFLIES: Habitat Restoration Efforts Move Gains Steam
Even mayors are getting in on the action with the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay launched the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, a national campaign to engage mayors and local leaders to take specific actions in their communities to help save monarchs.
Great job from our entire community of friends who care about the beautiful monarch butterfly.
MOUNTAIN LION: Plans for World’s Largest Wildlife Bridge Moves Forward
More than 44,000 National Wildlife Federation friends of wildlife spoke out in support of the project and in September, the state of California unveiled plans for a 165-foot wide bridge that would span all ten lanes of Highway 101 in Agoura Hills.
When built, it will be the biggest wildlife crossing in the world!
RIVER OTTER: Historic Day for Protecting Wetland and Stream Habitat
So, after many years of advocacy work to get policies needed to protect these waters, we were thrilled to stand with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy as she signed the new Clean Water Rule, which restored protections for more than two million miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands.
Steadfast support for clean water from friends of wildlife made the difference in the long, uphill battle to get these protections over the finish line!
BLUE CRAB: Plan Approved to Take Pollutants Out of Chesapeake Bay Waters
The plan aims to cut nutrient and sediment pollution entering our waters by 2025. These forms of pollution cause dead zones and algal blooms that are toxic to wildlife.
MOUNTAIN GOAT: Wilderness Areas Receive Federal Protection
In February, President Obama named Colorado’s stunning 22,000 acres of Browns Canyon America’s newest national monument, a designation that affords forever protection.
And in August, the president signed “The Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act,” permanently safeguarding 275,665 acres of wildlife-rich areas in central Idaho.
The designations were the result of decades of advocacy by wildlife, recreation and conservation advocates.
HUMMINGBIRDS: Thousands of Acres of NEW Wildlife Habitat
Certified Wildlife Habitats grew by by almost 10,000 this year! When families and businesses become certified, they restore habitat by providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife – like hummingbirds – to raise their young.
318 more schools – from preschools to universities – joined our Schoolyard Habitat program this year. That means thousands of kids gained a connection to nature and wildlife. Schools in the program do everything from creating planter boxes and gardens, to restoring native prairie, to creating wetlands!
And nearly 20 cities and communities, including Houston, TX, and Missoula, MT, joined our Community Wildlife Habitat Program — municipalities that are committed to greening in a way that’s wildlife friendly.
GRIZZLY BEAR: Surpassing 1 Million Acres of Safe Habitat near Yellowstone
In January, through our Adopt-a-Wildlife Acre program supported by people like you, the 22,000-acre Upper Gros Ventre cattle allotment, located south of Yellowstone near Jackson, Wyoming, was turned into a safe haven for grizzlies and gray wolves. This was done by compensating ranchers for removing their livestock from leased federal lands like Gros Ventre.
In a little over a decade, this wildly successful program has secured over 1 million acres of safe habitat for wildlife on public lands.
TREES FOR WILDLIFE: Native Trees Planted, Longleaf Pine Forests Get a Boost
Thanks to friends of wildlife, the National Wildlife Federation supports community and education groups to plant thousands of native trees each year to help restore habitat for wildlife. In 2015, almost 30,000 native trees were planted!
And good news for our efforts to restore the incredibly beautiful longleaf pine forests which at one time widely ranged across the Southeast: the USDA allocated Farm Bill funds in January to protect and restore dwindling forests and wildlife habitats throughout the region.
CARIBOU: Keystone XL Pipeline Denied! Huge Threat Removed From Boreal Forest Habitat
It was a monumental victory for wildlife like caribou, a species that has suffered immensely from the devastating extraction of tar sands oil. By stopping the pipeline, wildlife advocates like you prevented the accelerated destruction of caribou’s ancient and irreplaceable boreal forest habitat.
Reindeer or Caribou?