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.

Win #1

WILD BISON: A Prairie Homecoming Decades in the Making

wild bison

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Panagiotis Laskararkis.

Thanks to supporters like you, 2015 was another great year for work with partners and affiliates in restoring wild bison to their historic native habitat on western lands.

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.

More wild bison
Wildlife Library: Bison
Crane Trust Welcomes Bison Home

 

WIN #2

DOLPHINS: Winning the Gulf Restoration Funding They Need and Deserve

bottlenose dolphin

Photo by Alison Henry, NEFSC/NOAA.

Five years and two months after the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, the Justice Department and the five Gulf states announced the ground-shaking news that they had reached an $18.7 billion settlement with BP to help restore the Gulf.

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.

More dolphins:
BP Settlement Reached
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Caused Dolphin Deaths

 

WIN #3

MOOSE: New Hope for Wildlife with New Energy Plan

moose

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Richard Seeley.

Massive and majestic, moose require cool climates to thrive, and are being devastated by the warmer temperatures and exploding pest populations caused by global climate change, such as winter ticks.

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.

More Moose
Wildlife Library:  Moose
Climate Crisis Deepens for America’s Moose

 

WIN #4

MONARCH BUTTERFLIES: Habitat Restoration Efforts Move Gains Steam

Monarchs by Laura Tangley

Photo by Laura Tangley/NWF.

Working to reverse the dramatic decline of monarch butterflies, your support helped us partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our affiliates to plant and help protect milkweed in areas along the monarch’s migratory route.

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.

More Monarch Butterfly
Saving Monarchs
Wildlife Library: Monarch Butterfly

 

WIN #5

MOUNTAIN LION: Plans for World’s Largest Wildlife Bridge Moves Forward

mountain lion

Photo by National Park Service.

In August, another California mountain lion died trying to cross a busy freeway. P32’s tragic end, and the untimely deaths of 12 other mountain lions like him are why the National Wildlife Federation is leading the charge for a safe wildlife crossing in the hills outside Los Angeles.

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!

More Mountain Lion
Wildlife Library: Mountain Lions
Proposed Crossing is Progress for California’s Cougars

 

WIN #6

RIVER OTTER: Historic Day for Protecting Wetland and Stream Habitat

river otters

Photo by Kenny Bahr, USFWS Midwest.

River otters make their homes near waterways and are extremely sensitive to water pollution.

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!

More River Otter
Wildlife Library: North American River Otter
Presidents View: Working Hard for Clean Water

 

WIN #7

BLUE CRAB: Plan Approved to Take Pollutants Out of Chesapeake Bay Waters

Cleaner water is coming for blue crabs. In July, a federal court of appeals upheld the historic cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay. The National Wildlife Federation, with the backing of people like you, has supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in this lawsuit since it was filed in 2011.

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.

More Blue Crab
Wildlife Library: Blue Crab
Healthier Waters for Chesapeake Blue Crab

 

WIN #8

MOUNTAIN GOAT: Wilderness Areas Receive Federal Protection

mountain goats

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Jesse Lee Varnado.

Three cheers for safeguarding habitat for wildlife like mountain goats and bobcats…thousands of acres of their wilderness habitat is protected!

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.

More Mountain Goat
Life on the Edge
275,000 More Acres Safeguarded for Wildlife and Our Outdoor Heritage

 

WIN #9

HUMMINGBIRDS: Thousands of Acres of NEW Wildlife Habitat

hummingbird

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Leah Serna.

Backyard birds, along with our native bees, need some serious habitat help. This year, cities, schools, families and businesses stepped up in a big way to help by gardening for wildlife, restoring and adding thousands of new acres of healthy habitat for birds and many more species of wildlife.

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.

More Hummingbird
Video Diary: One Tiny Hummingbird Family
Wildlife Library: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

 

WIN #10

GRIZZLY BEAR: Surpassing 1 Million Acres of Safe Habitat near Yellowstone

grizzly bears

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Sandy Sisti.

As Yellowstone National Park grizzly bears wander outside park boundaries to adjoining public lands where livestock graze, they are at increased risk due to conflicts and disease from domestic livestock. But a new high-water mark was set this past year in providing conflict-free habitat for wildlife like grizzlies that are part of the amazing Yellowstone ecosystem.

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.

More Grizzly Bear
Wildlife Library:  Grizzly Bear
National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program

 

WIN #11

TREES FOR WILDLIFE: Native Trees Planted, Longleaf Pine Forests Get a Boost

bluebird on oak

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Lisa Culp.

Trees are essential habitat for many wildlife species ranging from birds, insects, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. They provide food, water, cover and places to raise young.

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.

More Native Trees
Ten Favorite Trees for Wildlife
Trees and Wildlife

 

WIN #12

CARIBOU: Keystone XL Pipeline Denied! Huge Threat Removed From Boreal Forest Habitat

caribou

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Tony Attanasio.

Millions spoke up against long odds to demand a better future for wildlife, and on November 6th, President Obama rejected the ill-conceived Keystone XL pipeline.

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.

More Caribou
Reindeer or Caribou?

 

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