It has now been one year since the Initial Comprehensive Plan was released, developed by the Gulf Council to serve as a guide when restoring the ecosystem.But to date, the funds from this law are not yet being used to restore the Gulf.
Currently, $800 million from the Transocean settlement is available via the RESTORE Act, but that funding is still tied up. More money—far more money—will be available once the BP trial concludes either by settlement or through the conclusion of the legal process.
But a bit of progress has happened of late. The Restore Council recently released a project selection and evaluation framework, indicating how projects will be selected and vetted. This came on the heels of an oversight hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee, during which the Restore Council was told to “Get on with it!”.
Last month the Council announced a process for individual Council members to submit projects. This process will ultimately result in an initial list of priorities intended to receive funding.
The good news is that an external expert science review is part of the project evaluation. In particular, the “science evaluation engine” will establish if a project has utilized the best available science and will establish the scientific basis of the proposed activity.
While this is a good first step, it does not go quite far enough. One big problem is that the reviewers will be working on a volunteer basis, so there is no guarantee scientists with the most relevant expertise will be involved in evaluating a particular project. Furthermore, there is no ranking or scoring mechanisms to ensure that the best projects rise to the top of the list.
This week the Council announced that Russell H. Beard will serve as interim Science Coordinator “until such time as a permanent hire comes on board”. While this is a step forward, we encourage the Council to hire a full-time Science Coordinator as quickly as possible in order to coordinate reviews, locate proper reviewers for the proposed projects, and ensure objectivity in project selection.
In addition, it will be important to spell out how projects will be compared and prioritized. With so many ecosystem needs in the Gulf Coast region, difficult decisions lie ahead. But one thing is for sure: the Council should invest in the very best projects. This will require a selection process that is both objective and transparent.
The headlines from the past several weeks make it eminently clear that the Gulf of Mexico is in dire need of restoration: Oyster production throughout the Gulf remains low, the number of sea turtle nests appear to be dropping, additional damaged corals have been discovered, and the dead zone is the size of Connecticut.
Make sure that every penny of the BP’s fines are spent restoring Gulf habitats.]]>
Reuters has the details on the D.O.T.’s action:
The draft rules, which are subject to a 60-day public comment period, propose new tank-car braking systems, train-speed restrictions, more testing for volatile gases and liquids, and a two-year phase out of older tank cars that officials have said are prone to puncture and fire when derailments occur.
The rules follow an 18-month period which saw more than a dozen derailments of trains carrying crude oil, six of which led to major fires and one of which caused the death of 47 people in the Canadian town of Lac Megantic, in Quebec province.
We’re talking about one of the most profitable industries in history, yet Big Oil wouldn’t voluntarily take the basic steps listed here – safety testing, retiring the oldest and most dangerous old rust buckets. Instead, regulators now must force oil companies to act.
“While today’s action will help protect wildlife and communities from the severe dangers of transporting oil and tar sands by rail, it again shows the urgent need to move towards a safe, clean energy future,” says Jim Murphy, NWF’s senior counsel and our top expert on energy law. “The fact that oil companies need to be told to transport their toxic and explosive product in something safer than a tin can shows that this is an industry that doesn’t have the interests of wildlife, people or the health of our climate in mind.”
Remember, oil companies also would have us believe we need more tar sands oil pipelines because these oil trains are so dangerous. Yet even with a record year for oil train disasters in 2013, rail spills only barely kept pace with oil pipeline spills. When we hear TransCanada promise the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be safe, or Enbridge promise its aging pipelines in the Midwest and New England can be switched from crude oil to more corrosive tar sands, how many safety corners are they cutting?
Help protect caribou and many more at-risk wildlife by sending a message urging President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to say no to the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.]]>
From intimidating bears to fierce gators, mascots across the country are the face of any college athletic program. It is hard to not feel a surge of school spirit when you see your beloved mascot take the field. But mascots across the U.S. are facing some steep competition going up against climate change. Many of our big cat mascots such as, tigers, lions, lynxes, and panthers, could be eliminated as climate change makes is increasingly more difficult for them to survive.
March 18- The Obama Administration has selected Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, manager of Education and Advocacy Programs in National Wildlife Federation’s Atlanta office, as one of 14 White House Champions of Change for her outstanding work in engaging the next generation of conservation leaders.
Na’Taki Osborne Jelks’ recognition comes from her initiative to develop and lead NWF’s Atlanta Earth Tomorrow® Program a multi-cultural, environmental education and leadership development program that creates opportunities for youth from underserved communities to develop environmental literacy and life skills that help them make valuable contributions to the ecological health and leadership capacity of their communities.
“Through the Earth Tomorrow Program, I have been fortunate to work with a number of talented youth leaders who care about the future of our planet and who take action to protect and restore it for current and future generations,” said Na’Taki Osborne Jelks. “I am awed by their passion and creativity and inspired by the transformations that I have witnessed in participants that propel them from the realization that there are pressing conservation challenges in their communities to engaging their peers, parents, and decision-makers in taking action for change.
Read more here!
March 18– President Bill Clinton has been selected as the recipient of the J.N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award for lifetime achievement. President Clinton will receive the award and deliver remarks at the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Awards and Gala Event on April 30 in Washington, DC.
“The Clinton Administration was one of the greatest for the environment in the modern era,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We’re honored to award President Clinton for his body of conservation achievements that he, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative have accomplished over many years. President Clinton’s huge wins include protecting many of America’s public lands and resources, reducing pollution, and combating climate change.”
Denver Post: Tighter controls needed for oil and gas wells near Colorado waterways
“This doesn’t go far enough,” said Bill Dvorak, a public lands organizer for the National Wildlife Federation. “We really need riparian setbacks to keep oil and gas operations away from streams.”
HGTV Gardens: A Guide to Frogs and Toad
Spring has sprung! Be on the lookout for amphibians in your own backyard.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: ND hunters less successful as deer numbers fall
Kreil said the department has programs aimed at improving deer habitat, but can’t make up for the loss on its own. The new federal farm bill should help, he said. The legislation allocates nearly $58 billion for conservation programs over the next 10 years, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Times and Democrat: T&D, Walmart kick off 2nd ‘Mini-Gardening Workshop’ series
On April 26, the workshop will be on “Establishing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat,” following the basic guidelines from the National Wildlife Foundation, Miller said.
Union Leader: Your yard could be a certified wildlife habitat
“We can restore elements of habitats in cities and towns by what we plant in our gardens,” said Mizejewski, who is regularly featured on talk shows and morning news programs. “You don’t need a ton of land and it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have. You can be doing good things.”
Queens Village Times: Flushing’s PS 154 wins Eco-School green award
“You all have become student leaders, taking on this program,” Emily Fano, of the National Wildlife Federation, told a roaring gymnasium of fifth-graders last week at a celebration of the award. “It’s not easy to be a Green Flag school. It takes a lot of hard work.”
The Oregonian: Celebrating National Wildlife Week
National Wildlife Week, an annual event organized by the National Wildlife Federation to promote education about and connect kids to wildlife, starts today, March 17, and runs through March 23. This year’s theme is wildlife and water
EcoWatch.com: 10 Wildlife Species You May Not Know Exist in the Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is home to more than 15,420 species—from the coastal estuaries to the deep sea floor, the biodiversity of the Gulf is astonishing.
Bangor Daily News: South Portland likely to extend tar sands moratorium
The moratorium on loading and unloading so-called “tar sands” oil will likely be extended until Nov. 1.
Akron Beacon Journal: March Madness takes on new meaning for top seed’s mascots; climate change brings endangered status
“We have a new version of ‘March Madness’: Extreme weather fueled by climate change, deeper droughts, and intensifying wildfires,” said Doug Inkley, senior scientist and lead author, in a news release.
In late March or early April, a warm rain will fall and spotted salamanders will emerge from underground in the evening to return to vernal pools to breed. This phenomenon is known as “Big Night,” and it’s a great teaching moment for kids. Read this blog about how to introduce children to this spectacular nature phenomenon!
March 14- National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will be helping children dive into the fun of the 76th annual National Wildlife Week, March 17-23. Families, youth organizations, and communities will be coming together to celebrate the many ways water helps sustain wildlife and enhance the environment.
With a theme of “Wildlife and Water: From the Mountains to the Rivers to the Oceans,” NWF will provide resources for families, schools, individuals and organizations to participate and will highlight the critical impact that water resources have on wildlife by showcasing ways wildlife are connected to water. These resources include a poster, educational webinars, lesson plans, activities, event-planning tips, and a calendar of events. Visit www.nwf.org/wildlifeweek to learn more.
Click here for a list of 10 ways to celebrate National Wildlife Week!
March 14- America’s iconic prairies continue to be one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, but key opportunities exist to protect and restore them, particularly through partnerships between ranchers, conservationists, and researchers, according to the Proceedings of the 2nd Biennial Conference on the Conservation of America’s Grasslands, released today by the National Wildlife Federation and Kansas State University.
America’s Grasslands Conference: The Future of Grasslands in a Changing Landscape was held in Manhattan, KS from August 12-14, 2013. To work together to conserve American grasslands and the wildlife that depend on them, the conference brought together around 225 biologists, policy experts, ranchers, federal and state agency staff, graduate students and conservationists.
Find out more about America’s Grasslands Conference at http://www.nwf.org/grasslandsconference.
March 13- According to the company that owns it, the 64-year-old pipeline that currently transports crude oil from Portland, Maine, to Montreal has already passed its projected retirement date, documents recently discovered by the National Wildlife Federation show. The Exxon-owned Portland Pipe Line Corporation (PPLC) seeks to reverse the aging pipeline to transport heavy, corrosive, toxic tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest, costliest, and most climate-disrupting fuels in the world.
“This is yet another reason any tar sands project in Northern New England is far too risky,” said Jim Murphy, senior counsel at the National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Center. “As we saw with the tragic tar sands oil disaster in Mayflower, Arkansas, last year, these old pipelines can and will fail. It would be utterly irresponsible to try to pump impossible-to-clean-up tar sands through a pipe the company itself admits is past its retirement date and that crosses some of New England’s most sensitive wildlife habitat.”
Download the NWF Fact Sheet: Why Tar Sands are Bad for Maine
Take Action! Protect Northeast Moose from Dirty Oil.
March 11- With the annual NCAA college basketball tournaments set to begin, a new National Wildlife Federation report details how the climate crisis is hurting the real-life species that are mascots for many of America’s college athletic programs. Climate change is the most serious environmental threat today to many animals and plants and urgent action is needed at all levels, according to Mascot Madness: How Climate Change is Hurting School Spirit.
We have a new version of ‘March Madness’: Extreme weather fueled by climate change, deeper droughts, and intensifying wildfires,” said Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation and lead author of Mascot Madness. “From wolverines to gators, species that have spent countless centuries adapting a home court advantage are now watching the rules of the game changed before their eyes by industrial carbon pollution. If we’re going to turn climate change into a Cinderella story, we need to act now.”
Read the report: NWF.org/Mascots
Take Action! Speak up for polar bears by showing the EPA your support for strong limits on pollution from coal-fired power plants!
March 10- The NYC iSchool was recognized with the Green Flag by National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program for conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curriculum. The iSchool is the third school in New York City, and only the 22nd in the country, to achieve “Green Flag” status.
“We at National Wildlife Federation and Eco-Schools USA are proud of the example set by the students and teachers at the NYC iSchool,” said Emily Fano, New York City outreach manager for NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program. “The Green Flag award places the iSchool among an elite group of schools across the country that are improving their schools by reducing energy costs and waste, greening school grounds, and nurturing student-scientists through hands-on learning.”
Learn More About Eco-Schools USA : Green your school inside and out with Eco-Schools USA curriculum!
New York Times: E.P.A.’s Proposed Rules on Water Worry Farmers
Jan Goldman-Carter, a lawyer who works with the National Wildlife Federation on water issues, said the proposals outlined regulatory exemptions that have been in place for decades for plowing, planting, harvesting and maintaining drainage ditches.
Associated Press: Environmentalist say Portland pipeline is aging
Based on filings in a tax dispute in New Hampshire, the National Wildlife Federation said an 18-inch pipeline built in 1950 is four years beyond its anticipated retirement age.
Weather Channel: David Mizejewski on Wake Up With Al
David Mizejewski brings on real-life animal mascots and discusses how their lives are being impacted by climate change.
Huffington Post: Climate Change Could Affect Your Favorite College Mascot, So Root For Them Now
“We have a new version of ‘March Madness’: Extreme weather fueled by climate change, deeper droughts, and intensifying wildfires,” says Doug Inkley, National Wildlife Federation senior scientist and lead author of “Mascot Madness”.
US News and World Report: Donna Edwards Warns Climate Change Will Kill Off College Mascots
“I want to encourage you to look at the National Wildlife Federation report, match it up with those brackets, see those species that are in danger because of our changing climate,” she said, noting that she would be taking her own advice. “I can’t wait to dig through the report and actually compare the dangers to those mascots to my brackets come Sunday.”
UPI.com: National Wildlife Federation: Montreal-to-Maine pipeline stale
The shelf life of a pipeline that critics worry will spoil Maine’s environment with Canadian crude oil has expired, the National Wildlife Federation says.
Roanoke Times: Young Virginia outdoor writer winning awards, and for good reason
Reilly earned the chance by winning an award in another writing contest, this one a national competition sponsored by the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development coalition.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Teen using bats to fight West Nile virus
According to the National Wildlife Federation, one bat can capture 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour.
Charlotte Magazine: Get Outside by Exploring a Public Garden
If you’re looking for a journey outside the city, the Teaching Garden at Union County Agricultural Center in Monroe showcases plants and trees that grow well in the local area. The garden is also designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
The modeling results showing the dissolved oil could have gone further southeast than is generally understood matches up with location of reef fish caught with unusual sores.
Fish with lesions had been reported off the Florida coast long before the publication of this study. Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times reports:
Diseased red snapper and other fish turned up there a few months after BP shut off the flow of oil. The discovery of fish with lesions faded out the following year, suggesting their ailments were tied to an event that had ended.
“This highlights just how much we don’t yet know about the impacts of the oil on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Ryan Fikes, NWF’s Gulf Restoration Scientist. “Two weeks ago we learned that oil from the spill can affect bluefin tuna, one of the most valuable fish species in the world.
“Now we have learned that the oil likely spread much further south than we had thought. One thing is clear: We need to make sure that BP is held fully accountable and that the penalties from the disaster are dedicated to improving the health of Gulf. And we need to continue to invest in future research in order to better understand comprehensive spill impacts.”
The paper, published this month in the journal Deep Sea Research, points out that while the disaster was ongoing, little attention was given to sampling the continental shelf in a systematic way.
Make sure that every penny of the BP’s fines are spent on Gulf research and restoration!
With every step along our traverse of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline, one question weighs on our minds – what if crude oil were to spill from the pipeline right here?
A pipeline spill isn’t as remote of a possibility as we might like to imagine. In 2013, there were over 34 leaks and fires on oil and gas pipelines across the United States. 2014 is sure to bring more of the same. It’s not hard to imagine a spill along the Portland-Montreal Pipeline – in fact, it’s already happened.
Late in the winter of 1952, the Portland-Montreal Pipeline began leaking crude oil in Orleans County, Vermont. An article from the time in the Newport Daily Express tells us the following:
“Just how much crude oil in barrels or gallons poured out of the bad break in the pipeline on or about February 19 or 20 is not officially known.
Some unofficial estimates placed the amount of it which poured through the one-inch break (completely around the pipeline) at about 3,000 barrels. Others said a possible 165,000 gallons.”
The spill went unnoticed for two or three days, until residents spotted oily water flowing under the covered bridge in the village of Coventry. Over a month later, the Portland Pipeline Corporation (which still manages the PMPL) was still working to clean up the mess:
“Channels cut in the river ice allowed the oil coated water to slow up in pools. Workmen then spread wood shavings on the adjoining ice and onto the oily pools. Bales of straw were then thrown into the river, also soaked in kerosene. The whole mass was then ignited. Combustion of the kerosene, oil-soaked straw and shavings supplied heat to burn the crude oil. That straw and shavings acted as a wick soaked up the floating crude oil and the initial heat applied caused it to burn.”
The Portland-Montreal Pipeline has spilled before, and is likely to spill again. Pumping tar sand crude through the PMPL will raise that risk. A joint report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Pipeline Safety Trust and Sierra Club published in 2011 found that pipelines carrying tar sand crude, or bitumen, more than triples the risk of a significant spill.
Next time the PMPL leaks, how long will the spill go unnoticed – and how long will it take to clean up? I hope we never find out.
Help protect moose from dirty fuels. Tell the State Department to stop the Northeast tar sands pipeline.
NWF Campus Ecology Fellow Kaity Thomson and her companion Brett Chamberlin are blogging their weeklong trek along the route of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline (by foot, cross country skis, and snow shoes!) to meet with community members and experience the habitats at risk of a spill. Kaity and Brett will also be live-tweeting their adventure—follow them on twitter at @99brett and @kaityt18, and join in on the conversation by using the hashtags: #PMPL or #PipeHike
Brett Chamberlin is a recent graduate of New York University, where he studied politics and journalism. A NH native, Brett has organized a variety of viral projects around economic and environmental justice issues. His writing and activism have been appeared on NHPR, The Nation, BuzzFeed, The Village Voice, and more. Brett is now working as a founder of the Post-Landfill Action Network, a nonprofit helping students end waste on campus. He’s also an avid twitter user at @99Brett
Kaity Thomson is pursuing a BSc in Environmental Science at the University of New Hampshire. Initially leaving home to study dance in New York City, Kaity quickly came to realize the importance of the natural landscape she left behind. Transferring home to NH, she was driven to understand the environment and learn how to effectively communicate its importance. Currently, Kaity is researching potential impacts of a tar sands pipeline in New England. Her research and outreach is supported by the National Science Foundation and National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology Fellowship.]]>
Tis the season, where everyone is mulling over clever New Year’s resolutions—fresh ones, ones not too outrageous and out of reach that success becomes impossible. What would be a welcoming departure from the usuals—getting fit, sleeping more (my personal favorite!), reading more books?
This year, how about we set some resolutions that are about what we can do for our neighbors—including wildlife. And because my job is to inspire people to tackle climate change, and to offer ways for you to be part of the solution, I have just the right resolutions for 2014.
I only offer 3—but these three local actions can go a long way for wildlife.1. Put Solar on It! This is a new motivating campaign sponsored by Mosaic that calls on people to make installing solar power a personal resolution. Whether on your school, business, or place of worship, you will be given all the tips to help you be successful, including how to finance your idea.
Resolve to put solar on it in your community or home today.
This national campaign is inspiring folks from Mark Ruffalo to high school students and parents, because it’s tangible, reachable, and long overdue. And what’s more, a solar panel on a rooftop has nearly no interference with wildlife!
After you resolve to Put Solar On It, find out how to go solar on the roof of your home with National Wildlife Federation through Sungevity.2. Organize a tree planting in your town. Every neighborhood could use a few more trees.
And trees have lots of benefits—they keep streams intact when banks are taxed during extreme weather events; reduce the heat islands that plague nearly every major urban and suburban area; and they absorb carbon pollution.
Of course, trees also help provide much needed habitat for wildlife.
Set a goal: Plant 100 trees by year’s end.Join NWF’s Trees for the 21st Century and make this a resolution that others can be part of.3. Certify your community as a wildlife habitat. With more extreme seasons upon us, local wildlife need green space for food, water and shelter. Every public space and gathering place can be part of this effort. Combine this with your tree planting goal and you’ve got yourself a 2-fer resolution!
Make 2014 the year your community joins the growing list of certified habitats nationwide!
We know 2014 likely won’t be less busy for us than 2013, so where will we find the time to achieve any of these resolutions? Be creative. Find some friends to join you (like you do when you set that dreaded “join the gym” resolution). Set realistic goals and stay local. And most of all, have fun.
David on Wendy Williams
Oct. 31- Wendy faces her fears of creepy crawlers on this spooktacular Halloween appearance! David (aka Batman) plugged great conservation messages for each of these “spooky” animals. They may not be the cutest, but they need our help! Watch the hilarious segment and make sure to catch David on Conan on Nov. 5!
National Wildlife Federation Supports Proposition 6
Oct.30– Statement of Myron Hess, Manager of Texas Water Programs:
“The National Wildlife Federation supports Proposition 6. There can be no question that Texans face many water needs and that significant investments are necessary. Proposition 6, which would use $2 billion from the State’s existing “Rainy Day Fund” to create a specialized revolving loan fund to help implement projects in the State Water Plan, has many positive attributes making it worthy of support.
“Among its strengths is the designation of at least 20% of the funding to be directed towards water conservation and reuse projects, with an additional 10% to be directed towards rural projects, including agricultural water conservation. It also mandates a prioritization of projects that can receive funding. Those are very positive steps and the National Wildlife Federation looks forward to working with state, regional and local leaders to ensure they are implemented effectively.
“The bottom line is that Texans must invest in meeting our water supply needs. But we can’t assume there is a simple fix. Proposition 6 is an important step, but it won’t solve all our water woes. By itself it won’t ensure that we use water efficiently. And no funding mechanism can guarantee that we make good decisions to manage water supplies to protect our springs, wetlands, rivers and coastal bays for future generations. That will take a concerted effort by all Texans. We should demand no less of ourselves and of leaders at every level of government.
“We should vote to pass Proposition 6 and commit to ensuring that the funds made available are used for conservation and water projects that respect and conserve our precious natural heritage.”
And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:
Huffington Post: Let’s Be “Smart From the Start” With Solar, Wind on Public Lands
America’s Western public lands are home to some of the best hunting, fishing and wildlife habitat in the world. They’re part of what define America’s outdoor heritage and fuel our outdoor recreation economy, responsible for about 6.1 million jobs and $646 billion in spending yearly. These same lands, however, also provide some of the best wind and solar resources our county has to offer.
ALJAZEERA: The next superstorm: Preparing extreme weather
Bruce Stein, director of climate change adaptation for the National Wildlife Federation and a botanist by training, is helping to write a guide for “climate smart” conservation that will aid park- and nature-reserve managers.
Environment News Service: Climate Change Puts Red Sox’ Fenway Park at Risk
Boston’s 101-year-old Fenway Park – where the World Series was won by the Boston Red Sox tonight for the first time since 1918 – is at increased risk of flooding due to climate change, warns the National Wildlife Federation.
National Geographic: Vital Ground Protects Grizzly Bear Habitat
They have also worked to retire grazing allotments, recovering such property for wildlife. Such land was once federal protected wilderness and in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, Vital Ground has restored it for bears and other majestic North American fauna.
The Roger Hedgecock Show: Zombies vs. Animals
David Mizejewski discusses what wildlife species would survive a zombie apocalypse!
Idaho State Journal: New coalition says Congress incapable of protecting sporting legacy in Boulder-White Clouds area
“I am a lifetime Idaho hunter. I support a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument because it will protect those world-class natural landscapes that wildlife need and outdoor men and women want,” Caywood says. “I enjoy hunting and fishing the BWCs because it’s some of the best wild country left in the lower 48 states.”
Texas Tribune: U.S. House Bill Could Speed Up Cross-National Pipelines
“The Commerce Department would be forced to implement the pipelines unless it wasn’t in the national security interest to do so,” Jim Murphy, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, said Monday in an interview. “By adding the word ‘security’ in the bill, they are trying to take out consideration of environmental harm.”
Bronx-Times Reporter: PS 304 kids ‘root’ for nature
The trees were donated to the school by the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, which obtained the saplings from the National Wildlife Federation and the MillionTreesNYC the campaign.
The Herald: A watershed moment for the Delaware River basin
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, talked about the significant impact that climate change will have on the Delaware, saying, “We are moving the planet outside the human experience to a time of climate consequence.” His comments were particularly poignant in light of the one-year anniversary today of Superstorm Sandy.
Call for Entries for National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment USA Competition
Oct 18- The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the U.S. host of the international Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) program, announces a call for entries for the Young Reporters for the Environment USA (YRE USA) competition. Youth between the ages of 13 and 21 are invited to enter by March 15, 2014, at: www.yre-usa.org/join.
Young people may enter as individuals or as part of a class or group. Participants investigate an environmental issue and report on it in writing, photography, or video. Entries are due by March 15, 2014, and must be relevant to participants’ local community, connect to a global perspective, include possible solutions, and be disseminated to an appropriate target audience.
Last year’s first place video winner, Zachary Korff, had this to say about his experience with YRE USA, “The YRE contest is more than a competition. The YRE competition is a way for you to positively impact the environment, help people understand your viewpoint on an issue, and to have fun. One of the best things that I figured out was that the only limit to what you can do is what you can think of. I would recommend this competition to anyone who thinks that they see a problem in the environment that needs to be solved.”
For a blog post about Zachary, please click here.
Shutdown’s End is Progress, but Pernicious Effects of Sequester Remain
Oct 17- Congressional leaders have reportedly reached a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
Adam Kolton, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center, said today:
“We welcome the bipartisan agreement in the Senate that will reopen the government and avert a catastrophic default. These past days when our National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands have been shuttered has reminded us all of the values these cherished landscapes have not only for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and outdoor recreation but as engines for local economies and communities.
Take Action! Tell your member of Congress that they need to pass a funding bill so that vital wildlife conservation, environmental protection and many other vital services can continue.
Map Highlights 100 Great Lakes Restoration Success Stories
Oct 16- Fish and wildlife are returning to rivers after decades-long absences. Businesses are sprouting along revitalized waterfronts. People are fishing, boating and swimming in harbors and rivers once deemed toxic hot-spots. These are some of the powerful stories about how federal efforts to restore the Great Lakes are producing results for people, communities, businesses, and fish and wildlife.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is announcing that its interactive map illustrating how federal investments are restoring the Great Lakes now features 100 projects that have cleaned up toxic hot spots, restored wetlands, reduced runoff from cities and farms and advanced efforts to keep new invasive species out of the lakes.
The success stories are spread across the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. Additional restoration success stories will be added to the map as more projects are completed.
View the map at: http://healthylakes.org/map
And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:
National Geographic: Five Animals with Weird Noses
And, like their human sisters, female mandrills don’t mind a flashy-looking guy. In fact the National Wildlife Federation reports that though vocalization, size, and the ability to fight count in mating success, paternity studies show that it’s the males with the brightest colors who sire more offspring.
Yahoo! News: North American moose population continues to decline
The warming climate also requires that moose use more energy to stay cool, which can lead to exhaustion and death, according to the National Wildlife Federation:
Heat affects moose directly, as summer heat stress leads to dropping weights, a fall in pregnancy rates, and increased vulnerability to predators and disease. When it gets too warm, moose typically seek shelter rather than foraging for nutritious foods needed to keep them healthy.
Fox News: 18-foot-long oarfish found off California coast
NWF Naturalist David Mizejewski speaks about the oarfish found off the California coast on Fox News.
Post- Tribune: Farmers increasingly turning to ‘cover crops’
Not only the federal government but also environmental groups like the National Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation champion cover crops and no-till.
NUVO.com: Toxic algae problems increasing nationwide
“Normal algae is bad enough. It gums up your boat motor. It’s yucky to swim in and it’s unpleasant, but this toxic algae actually threatens people’s health, and threatens the health of animals and pets that go in the water,” Buchsbaum warned. “So it’s really something to be alarmed about, that we’re experiencing this many across the country.”
The Journal: National Wildlife Federation to sponsor family nature event
National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest conservation organization, recently announced the Hike and Seek event at the Seneca Creek State Park on Saturday in Gaithersburg, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
Naples News Daily: Tree giveaway planned; Weiss gets state honor
National Planting Day celebrates the value of native species in restoring ecological balance to the environment while creating greener, more beautiful communities. The free tree giveaway is part of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) ‘Trees For Wildlife’ program.
House Plan to Reopen Only National Parks Falls Short
Oct 2- The House of Representatives is considering several bills that would provide continuing resolution funding for select parts of the federal government, including one that would re-open National Parks.
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:
“This bill fails to address the concerns of millions of hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. While shuttering National Parks is a key element of our displeasure over the government shutdown, there are a wide range of public lands that this bill would leave closed, including National Forests, National Monuments and National Wildlife Refuges.
“House members from both sides of the aisle say the votes are there to pass a clean continuing resolution. Speaker Boehner should do the right thing and allow an up or down vote on that bill.”
Tell your member of Congress that they need to pass a funding bill so that vital wildlife conservation, environmental protection and many other vital services can continue.
Report: Farmers Help Clean Up Nation’s Rivers and Lakes with Cover Crops
Oct 1- Cover crops are one simple farming technique that can save money, produce better crops, clean rivers and estuaries, and address climate change. Yet, a new report released today from National Wildlife Federation, Counting Cover Crops, finds that less than 2% of cropland in the highly-farmed Mississippi River Basin is planted to cover crops. How can the nation get more cover crops on the ground? A second NWF report released today, Clean Water Grows, provides six examples of water quality groups working with farmers to clean up rivers and streams using cover crops.
“Cover crops are a win-win-win for our nation’s wildlife, waterways and farmers,” said Lara Bryant, report co-author and Agriculture Program Coordinator for National Wildlife Federation. “This report provides a baseline for cover crop planting so that we can demonstrate what we believe will be an exponential increase in the coming decade.
Cover crops are non-commodity crops grown to protect soil in fallow fields, which also provide benefits to the public by improving water quality, air quality and wildlife habitat. If adopted on a large scale throughout the Mississippi River Basin (MRB), National Wildlife Federation believes cover crops could greatly improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico by keeping nutrients and sediments on farms and out of waterways. Cover crops could also help solve the worsening problem of toxic algae plaguing lakes, rivers, and streams across the nation.
Yet, the potential of cover crops in the Midwest is still largely untapped. Counting Cover Crops reveals that despite the growing popularity and the many benefits provided by cover crops, only 1.8 million acres (less than 2% of total cropland) in the MRB are planted to cover crops.
The good news is that cover crop use is on the rise. Clean Water Grows profiles hard-working groups and individuals in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Maryland who are working cooperatively to increase cover crops in their watersheds.
Read Counting Cover Crops and Clean Water Grows .
Outcome of BP Trial Must Send a Message
Sept 30- Today, BP will head back to court to try and convince a federal judge that the company’s well spewed just 2.45 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico—significantly less than the 4.1 million barrels the government’s team of scientists has estimated.
Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said this about the start of the trial:
“When the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, BP had no clue how to get the well under control. The result was that toxic crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days in a row. BP’s oil still fouls our coastlines and poisons our waters. It will take decades for the Gulf to fully recover.
“We should be extremely skeptical of BP’s current claims about the volume of oil released into the Gulf. Getting the estimate reduced may boost the company’s bottom line, but it will hurt the prospects for restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. We need to hold BP fully accountable to send a clear message to every other oil company that this kind of negligence will simply not be tolerated.”
Watch NWF’s “Make BP Restore” timeline video here.
Demand justice for the dolphins in the Gulf! Edit and send a message to the Dept. of Justice, urging them to hold BP fully accountable for the oil spill.
NWF Recognizes Gulf Restoration Efforts with Conservation Achievement Award
Sept 29- National Wildlife Federation honored the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) with a National Conservation Achievement Award or “Connie” award for its work on restoring the Gulf ecosystem and economy.
The WFF’s work in the Gulf began in 2005, focusing on ending overfishing to preserve fisheries that are economic drivers for local communities. The foundation and its grantees work to establish science-based fishery management programs across the Gulf that aim to preserve threatened fish species and the livelihoods of the fishermen who depend on them.
Since the 2010 oil disaster, the foundation has also been working toward a common-sense restoration plan for the Gulf Coast. The foundation created coalitions of economic and environmental partners in each of the five Gulf states to identify and promote restoration projects that hit the triple bottom line: bringing environmental, economic and community benefits to the region. Working together, these partners were able to ensure the passage of the RESTORE Act, a law that directs fines from the 2010 oil spill back to the Gulf to be used for economic recovery through environmental restoration.
Watch NWF’s Conservation Achievement Awards video on the history of the awards and past honorees.
And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:
Reuters: BP lied about size of U.S. Gulf oil spill, lawyers tell trial
“When you drill a well in 5,000 feet of water and you literally have no idea what you do if there’s an accident – to me that’s gross negligence on the face of it,” said David Muth, director of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration program.
Los Angeles Times: Second phase of BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial begins
“The value of severe penalties and fines is to serve as a deterrent,” said David Muth, director of Mississippi River delta restoration for the National Wildlife Federation. “If BP skates, it hardly sends a good signal.”
Associated Press: Judge Hears Claims BP Lied About Oil Spill (video)
The second phase of the federal trial over the 2010 BP oil spill resumed Monday in New Orleans with a focus on how much oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico and the company’s response to the disaster.
Yahoo! News: Gulf oil spill: How much flowed? BP trial judge to decide
“We should be extremely skeptical of BP’s current claims about the volume of oil released into the Gulf. Getting the estimate reduced may boost the company’s bottom line, but it will hurt the prospects for restoration in the Gulf of Mexico,” Larry Schweiger said.
Huffington Post: A Healthy Dose of Education
Last year, as part of our effort to combat childhood obesity, we launched a Children in Nature initiative with the goal of having “No Child Left Inside” and offering more opportunities for young people in our state to enjoy Delaware’s outdoors.
Fox News: Taking the kids to the Appalachian Mountain Club
Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Hike and Seek programs scheduled in cities across the country. They’re a cross between a scavenger hunt and short hike with interactive stations all along the trail.
CBS Chicago: Wildlife Federation Urges Kids and Parents to Take a Hike
Force your children to put down their iPads or Xbox controllers and go take a hike. Literally. That’s the message from the National Wildlife Federation which has organized an event Saturday called “Hike & Seek.”
Buffalo News: Spread of Lake Erie’s toxic algae poses challenge to governments
“We really have a patchwork, piecemeal-type approach to monitoring this,” said Jordan Lubetkin, a federation spokesman who advocates standardized toxic algae monitoring. “We need to be tackling this issue on a nationwide scale.”
The Telegraph: Hunters truly appreciate all that nature has to offer
Sportspeople, through various organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and National Wildlife Federation, work tirelessly to maintain and develop the myriad habitats that benefits hunted and non-hunted species of wildlife alike. Autumn brings out the strongest of this hunter instinct just as surely as the changing of the season brings out the colors on the trees.
Bellingham Herald: Totem pole provides anti-coal focus at Cherry Point
Alexis Bonogofsky, a National Wildlife Federation official in Montana, pledged that residents of her state would stop the mines that would provide the coal for export terminals.
“All of the ranchers and all of the Cheyenne people who have been fighting this are here in spirit,” Bonogofsky said. “I just want you to know that we are going to defeat the mine. They are not going to have anything to sell.”