Landowner cooperation has been pivotal to the success of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program and the goal of establishing a healthy red wolf population in eastern North Carolina.
Wildlife, like the red wolf, do not recognize the boundaries of public lands, so the cooperation and stewardship efforts of private landowners are essential to the recovery of this endangered species. While North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge became the first release site with the introduction of four male-female pairs in 1987, the red wolf now ranges across three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense site, state-administered lands and private property.
Due in part to a breakdown in communication and trust with local landowners, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently announced that it is suspending any further red wolf introductions and conducting an evaluation of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The outcome of the evaluation is expected by the end of 2015.
Together with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and other partners, National Wildlife Federation is working to help ensure the recovery of this amazing species. We have supported red wolf reintroduction since the 1980s, and over the years, we have advocated to increase federal funding for red wolf recovery and helped fund rewards for information leading to the conviction of poachers of these amazing animals.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program has been instrumental in helping to bring red wolves back from the brink of extinction. The program is vital for combating the imminent threats faced by this endangered American species.
While red wolves may only currently exist in North Carolina, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a responsibility to all citizens of the United States to work towards recovery of the red wolf by improving landowner relations, enhancing communication and transparency, and possibly using incentives for private land owners.
Strong conservation voices from across the country are needed to ensure that the red wolf continues to rebound.
Please join with us in urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work with landowners to SAVE the Red Wolf Recovery Program. Write on the USFWS Facebook page now calling for action!]]>
As an angler and a father, I am thrilled that the court ruled in favor of restoring a vibrant Chesapeake Bay and watershed. This decision is a victory for clean water, fishable rivers and safe places for children to swim. —Collin O’Mara, National Wildlife President and CEO.
This win, along with the first anniversary of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, make it a big month for wildlife like blue crabs that depend on healthy waters in the Chesapeake Bay. We urged regional leaders – Delaware Governor Markell, Maryland Governor Hogan, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf, Virginia Governor McAuliffe, New York Governor Cuomo, West Virginia Governor Tomlin, and DC Mayor Bowser – to attend this week’s critical Chesapeake Bay meeting and keep this important work for wildlife going strong.
While the news is good, we are still in need of more progress for wildlife and the Chesapeake Bay!
The National Wildlife Federation-hosted Choose Clean Water Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation recently released state-level report cards which highlight the places where Bay states are on-track, as well as off-track, on pollution reduction goals. Take a look to see how Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia are doing on planting trees, creating steamside buffers and keeping farm run-off from flowing into the Bay.
Let’s continue the great, collaborative work to protect the Chesapeake’s water and wildlife.
Hope you'll be there July 23 for wildlife & the Chesapeake Bay! @GovernorTomWolf @MayorBowser http://t.co/rDuXhRXVif pic.twitter.com/KGoT0DmivE
— Wildlife Action (@wildlifeaction) July 20, 2015
That is the legacy of tar sands oil in Michigan. And it’s a tragic one for wildlife.
On July 25, I’m joining hundreds of others in Battle Creek, Michigan to remember the fifth anniversary of the rupture of Line 6B, where pipeline giant Enbridge spilled approximate one million gallons of sticky tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek and then the Kalamazoo River. And I’ll also celebrate real progress made possible through the leadership of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
This Saturday we’ll gather to remember this horrible event and recommit our efforts to make sure we never have an accident like this again.Action is needed. The tar sands oil industry has plans to bring more tar sands oil into the Great Lake’s region, concocting a scheme to avoid public review. That scheme is being challenged in court by NWF, our affiliate in Minnesota, and indigenous and other conservation groups.
Here are reasons we must take measures to stop tar sands expansion and protect wildlife in the Great Lakes region.
There is some good news. A taskforce in the State of Michigan led by Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant, who serves under Republican Governor Rick Snyder, moved to ban tar sands oil from moving through Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
This marks continued momentum in the region against tar sands oil. Michigan’s future could be made even safer if Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama can say no to more tar sands oil in the Great Lakes.
Tell State Department: DO NOT allow expansion of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline!
Hope to meet some of you on Saturday.]]>
$12.6 billion of the total is tied to environmental penalties and damages, with the remaining $6 billion headed to the Gulf states for economic damages. Taken together, these fines amount to the largest environmental penalty in U.S. history–which is only fitting for an event of this magnitude.
This settlement comes at a critical time for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. The impacts of the spill on wildlife and habitats are complex, far-reaching and ongoing. Just a few months ago, NOAA released a study that conclusively identified elevated petroleum compounds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as a cause of disease in bottlenose dolphins that has contributed to a devastating ongoing unusual mortality event.A recent National Wildlife Federation report investigated impacts to twenty different types of wildlife. For example, in the wake of the 2010 disaster, the average annual number of Kemp’s ridley nests on Gulf beaches have declined.
The legal wrangling may be over, but the National Wildlife Federation will continue to be on the ground making sure this money is spent on projects that benefit wildlife. With a large portion of these penalties reserved for ecosystem restoration, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real difference for wildlife and coastal communities alike. We’ve laid out specific plans for the entire Gulf, with a focus on restoring the Mississippi River Delta.
Help us make sure this settlement is spent on projects to benefit wildlife in the Gulf!]]>
The rule was signed at the National Wildlife Federation’s District of Columbia affiliate—Earth Conservation Corps—in the presence of NWF CEO Collin O’Mara, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, and Managing Director of the Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss. It was a historic day for clean water.
The passing of this rule reflects the importance of protecting our waterways, and the fact that no one likes dirty water. Here’s why:
Do you like beer? Me too. Craft Beer Companies testified before the United States Senate that they need this rule because their breweries and communities depend on clean water. Beer is 90% water after all. If we make our beer with clean water, we better our beer, better our business and better our economy.
Do you like fishing? Me too. America’s anglers are standing firmly behind the Clean Water Rule. Trout Unlimited and other organizations know that this rule will protect the fishing, rearing, and breeding grounds of rockfish (striped bass) and trout. Whether you like to fish, eat fish, or just hang out around fish, we all know fish deserve clean water (especially since they spend most of their lives in it).
Do you like bald eagles and osprey? ME TOO! The bald eagle has been our National Emblem since 1782. And osprey just look really awesome, especially when they are right on the water hunting for prey. This rule protects their watersheds and the fish they eat to survive. Plus, what’s the best part about a bald eagle? It never needs a haircut!Do you like drinking clean water? This is a no brainer.
The Rule protects streams and wetlands that are drinking water sources for more than 1 in 3 Americans – that’s about 117 million of us!
If you want to take action to support this new rule and protect our waters, contact your Members of Congress – both of your U.S. Senators and your Representative in the House – and tell them that you support this new rule and expect they will too. Some in Congress want to unravel these new protections and this is a critical time to weigh in.
The Clean Water Rule must be protected to ensure clean water for public health, wildlife, and the economy. As Prairie River Networks says, “Water is life.”
Check out their YouTube video:
Click here to view the embedded video.
The fracking conversation that arose in recent years began with the environmental concerns of residents, then policy and regulations (or lack thereof) in response to these concerns, and finally, it has come down to a small town fighting for its representation and prevention of the health consequences that studies have proven could arise for the people, the land, and the wildlife that dwell here. This issue is particularly relevant due to the overturned fracking ban that Denton residents voted in last November; fracking has unfortunately re-started in the Denton area in the last month.Many different studies on the local, national and international levels have brought to light the health consequences and the effects that fracking will have on the land, people, and wildlife in North Texas. Between late spring and fall, I usually take to the trails around Denton to visit the trees and grasslands, many of which are near a creek or body of water, land features in danger of being seriously affected by fracking.
Out on these trails, I’ve seen many gorgeous birds native or migrating through Texas, such as herons and falcons and white-tailed deer during each season. I don’t always catch the armadillos rummaging or the cottontails burrowing, but I can’t help but think that their home, water and air are being harmfully altered as well, and that resources vital to their sustenance are being poisoned. In nearby Wise County, residents reported that their water “stung their eyes during showers, and their animals refused to drink the water” after fracking had begun. From domestic animals to their wild relatives, creatures in North Texas are facing similar discomforts, but without a voice to represent them.On June 17th, a groundwater study was published in the trade journal Environmental Science and Technology. The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Texas at Arlington. Over the past two years, samples were collected from 550 water wells in 13 counties along the Barnett Shale, Denton County being one of them.
The results of the study make it clear that using well water in the Barnett Shale has proven to be potentially dangerous, and it might become necessary not to use the water, which is not a feasible action for many. In another recent scientific study report from CHEM Trust, a British charity, CHEM Trust warns of severe risks to human health and wildlife from chemicals used in fracking. Part of the issues noted in this report include the possibility of harm to an estuary in Wyre, Lancashire in the UK, home to wading bird species of international importance.These findings are contrary to claims from the United States Environmental Protection Agency: “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” [their] study says, reported in early June. The fracking process involves injecting millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals into rock formations at high pressure, which breaks the rocks apart to release trapped fuel. It is not out of the question that this process might affect groundwater, as fracking is conducted in the vicinity of it, but the idea is being fought by the industry and not being supported by the EPA.
We need communities and individuals to continue to stand up to their local and state governments and demand that fracking is banned, as I have seen the hardworking and determined people of Denton, Texas do for the last few years.
Denton, Texas residents formed Frack Free Denton as part of their initiatives to educate the public about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. See more of their story and efforts here.
About the Author: Laci Kettavong was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Her family’s story of emigration from the Lao PDR to the United States has influenced her academic and professional interests to include sustainability, water issues and environmental history. Laci is currently an NWF EcoLeader Fellow and is helping to write content for the EcoLeader Career Center. She is also a graduate student and teaching assistant at the University of North Texas, studying environmental philosophy and science. Laci enjoys creating art, gifts, and décor from recycled and reusable materials and being a part of the vibrant Denton, Texas community where she attends school. The community has come together to enforce the fracking ban for which they voted and she has become interested in covering and sharing their story.]]>
Upon my arrival at the Refugio State Park entrance, I was greeted by employees of the park, California Fish and Wildlife and NPS rangers. I explained my affiliation with NWF and my interests for being at the site to represent the interests of wildlife. Since I was unable to provide a press pass, I was asked to leave and warned that my presence was now known and I would be fined if I tried to enter the area.Feeling undeterred, I got back on the highway looking for entry roads a bit further north. Without fail, each time I stopped and before I could get out of my car I had police and rangers pull up behind me and ask me to leave. I was able to catch a few glimpses of agency workers in their HAZMAT suits and helmets carrying bags and buckets of oily water and sand mixtures up cliff sides.
At this point, very little knowledge was being provided about the amount of oil or the determined cause of the spill. Darren Palmer, the chairman and CEO of Plains All-American Pipeline had only conveyed the company was working to identify the reason of the leak and that an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil may have reached the water. I was able to capture some images of the buckets of oil being gathered and splattered rocks on the beaches.In addition to my on land observations, I was able to go out in the field with The Santa Barbara Channel Keepers, a grassroots non-profit organization who works to protect and restore the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds.
On our boat ride to Refugio State Beach, we saw sea lions, seals, dolphins and even a blue whale that came so close to the boat you could nearly touch it. Santa Barbara has natural oil seeps that can be seen and smelled on most days. However, as we entered the protected marine space just off the Gaviota Coast it became clear that we were not seeing typical natural seeps.
Miles of thick oil slicks drifted along the marine conservation area. The oil smothered areas of kelp forest that floated on the surface and coated the side of the boat. I found it amazing that we were amongst this huge slick in a marine protected space, and yet no boats were present doing any cleanup. Meanwhile, scattered along the coastline in patches were agency workers in white suits slowly moving about with their trash bags and cleanup tools.
Program director of the organization, Ben Pitterle was the captain of the boat for the day and his goal for the excursion was to drop the group’s underwater camera at Refugio and determine whether oil had accumulated on the seafloor.
Seafloor assessment and cleanup is not usually on the agenda after an oil spill, but some scientists believe that it should be. If oil has gathered on the seafloor then this information is critical for totaling the damage inflicted by the spill on marine life and the environment. Nonetheless, non-profits’ and universities’ requests to survey the ocean floor around Refugio have been continuously rejected, illuminating the confused bureaucracy around the official clean-up effort.Just east of Refugio—along an undeveloped stretch of shore where celebrity Brad Pitt’s mansion is located—armed wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife approached our boat and told us that we needed to leave the area due to closure for the cleanup. The wardens were friendly, and after 45 minutes they determined we did not have permission to conduct the research and needed to vacate.
This was an interesting development because just an hour before, Ben had been on a conference call held by authorities for non-profits waiting for the go ahead to be involved. Top officials from Unified Command—the group in charge of the cleanup, which includes state and national agencies and Plains All American Pipeline —said they wanted to work with non-profits and were made aware that we were on the boat headed to the site.
“What we were hearing, at least from the top of the command chain, is that they’re trying to move in the direction of coordination and collaboration,” Ben told me. It was obvious as we turned the boat around that this collaboration had not yet made its way down the chain of command.
The logistics of this operation are obviously huge and complex, but it was clear that there was a serious disconnect in communication. The situation was frustrating for Ben because his organization along with researchers at the university, have special expertise and resources they can bring to the table. This is the marine area that they work in everyday and it was simply unfortunate that their resources were not being utilized.
Clean up costs for the spill have already exceeded $60 million to date, and are estimated at $3 million a day. And wildlife continues to be impacted, as the San Jose Mercury News recently reported, “Wildlife experts have recovered 161 dead birds and 87 dead marine mammals, mostly sea lions. Another 106 animals were found coated in oil and are undergoing rehabilitation.”This oil spill is yet another wake-up call that we are putting wildlife at risk due to the negligent and inexcusable oversight of oil pipelines. Federal regulators have now disclosed that the pipe had “extensive external corrosion” concluding sever metal deterioration. These findings conflict with the report made on May 5th and the inspections conducted on that area of pipe for operator Plains All American Pipeline. This is another example of pipeline infrastructure failing, despite industry reports and promises that pipelines are safe and well monitored. It is apparent that federal regulations of pipelines are entirely inadequate and basic monitoring and safety equipment are not significantly required.
Safety regulations must be more strict and transparent ensuring that all pipelines are state of the art, monitored frequently and at the first sign of any issues are taken off the line and fixed immediately. Nevertheless, until we transition to clean wildlife friendly energy sources we will never be free of the risk of pipeline spills.
The age of fossil fuels must to come to an end. We need to make the transition to clean energy now, and put policies in place that reduce oil demand and speed the transitions to fossil fuel free energy sources. Let’s use what remains of the fossil fuel era to build the infrastructure, develop the technologies, and create the materials necessary for our complete transition to clean energy sources that do not leave wildlife at continuous danger.
In addition, it is essential that communities are well trained and well informed regarding the risks. There is a fine line between safety measures in an emergency and shielding view from the public. It was clear that this cleanup effort, like so many others, was dancing along that line. Trying to hide the extent of the damage to wildlife and ecosystems does not serve the public good, but are the oil companies interested in advancing that?
As NWF’s Senior Council Jim Murphy observed, “Now that they are being watched, Big Oil wants to hide the ball.”]]>
The broad, austere sage steppe is home to more than 350 wildlife species. Sportsmen overwhelmingly agree that wildlife like the greater sage-grouse need to be protected, but the means to that end is all over the map.
The Bureau of Land Management, the agency in charge of most of the sagelands across the west, has the unenviable task of protecting the landscape that supports the sage-grouse in the face of a never-ending onslaught of development pressure, increased usage, and political winds that shift almost daily. Something must be done and the BLM has to do it. Otherwise, the ESA listing will come and we’ll all be scrambling to decipher what it all means and how we’ll ever get back to the west we know and love.When I was a young boy, I often traveled with my father across the Red Desert of Wyoming during his field work. The sage sea rolled endlessly in front of our eyes while the sights, sounds, and smells captured my imagination and my heart. I knew even then that these places were not something everyone got to experience and that even fewer truly appreciated them.
The BLM recently offered us a lifeline. We now have a blueprint for how to protect the bird, prevent an ESA listing, and perhaps bring this bird back to healthy, huntable levels. Their new plan protects the most critical areas such as leks which are sage grouse mating areas, and the plan lays out a strategy to prevent and mitigate damage from wildfires and invasive species.
Sportsmen and women should get behind this far-reaching plan. We have an obligation to ensure the future of this bird and the uniquely American landscape we call home. Together, let’s conserve the West for the future.
Support the Bureau of Land Management by advocating for the greater sage grouse and its habitat.]]>
Thankfully, the species has rebounded incredibly since that time. Past conservationists like Theodore Roosevelt and William Hornaday ensured a future for bison by protecting the few that remained.With the release of the new report, “The Future of Yellowstone Bison Management,” we believe an incredible opportunity exists to chart a new course for America’s most treasured bison. The top policy recommendations outlined by the National Wildlife Federation and our report partners, The National Parks Conservation Association and the Wildlife Conservation Society include:
How does Adopt a Wildlife Acre work?The National Wildlife Federation compensates ranchers for their public grazing near the park where conflicts have occurred. The rancher is then able to secure grazing elsewhere where conflicts with wildlife are minimal. It’s a win-win! Since 2002 we have developed agreements on over 650,000 acres of public lands in the Greater Yellowstone Area, providing bison future habitat outside the Park.
What does the future look like for bison?
The future is bright for America’s largest land mammal. NWF’s decades-long commitment to Yellowstone has resulted in an incredible opportunity to expand habitat for bison beyond the Park’s boundaries. Although bison management in Yellowstone has been heavily debated for nearly a century, NWF couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities on the horizon. As they say, “we’re almost over the hump!”
To see where we’ve been working, check out our Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program page!]]>
While companies struggle to wring the last few cents out of a declining coal market, they are shifting their financial obligations to clean up their mess to the shoulders of the American public, to the tune of over $3 billion. They must think they have nothing to lose, but you do – you lose your right to wild places and the wildlife that inhabit them.Wildlife is bearing the brunt of energy development and Big Coal’s failure to reclaim mined lands. Mule deer, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, elk and hundreds of bird species including eagles make their home in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. Scientific data underlines the fact that habitat will continue to be degraded and populations of mule deer, pronghorn, and sage grouse will be unstable and highly likely to decline with continuing or increased energy development.
Amongst others, Alpha Natural Resources, one of the largest coal miners in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, has been informed by Wyoming regulators that it no longer meets the state’s self-bonding requirements. The requirements allow companies that meet certain financial criteria to pledge that they’ll reclaim the mined-out areas without having to pay the customary collateral. Now, without the state’s help, Alpha must ante up a whopping $411 million in the next 90 days to cover its reclamation obligations.In a new report, Undermined Promise II, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Western Organization of Resource Councils describe how the American public will be left to deal with the fallout from coal companies. Reclamation bonds that coal companies are required to post under federal law may outstrip the industry’s financial resources. Only 46 out of 450 square miles of mined land across Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota have been reclaimed. So, taxpayers may be stuck with a clean-up bill of roughly $2 billion in Wyoming alone. Overall, the tab on unreclaimed mined lands in the U.S. is in excess of $3.5 billon.
Western landscapes, agricultural lands, water and wildlife will also be permanently damaged. The fragile sage steppe environment of the West, home to the imperiled sage grouse, mule deer, pronghorns and hundreds of other species, may take decades to recover to pre-mining conditions.State and federal governments must do more to hold coal companies accountable for the damage they’ve created by enhancing enforcement of the law that protects our lands, water, and wildlife.
Should you, an American taxpayer, and the wildlife that is part of your public trust, be left on the hook? Should our wildlife and wild places be destroyed for the profits of a few rich corporate executives? In the end, that’s up to you.
Tweet about NWF’s Undermined Promise II report now to spread the word about how coal companies’ failure to reclaim mined lands will harm wildlife.]]>