Weekly News Roundup – August 5, 2011

Want to know what National Wildlife Federation was up to this week? Here is a recap of the week’s National Wildlife Federation news:

Helping Farmers Who Help Wildlife

August 4 – The extreme flooding of 2011 has affected thousands of Americans. Year to date, there have been 47 declared disasters and emergencies in the U.S. in response to the impacts of severe storms and flooding. These events have taken lives, destroyed communities and racked up millions, if not billions, of dollars in damages.

Here is a look at how the floods have impacted one sector of the economy, and how the solutions NWF helped craft made a real difference for people and wildlife.

Major Victory for Salmon

August 3 – A U.S. District Court judge ruled yesterday that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service failed for the third time in 10 years to produce a legal and scientifically adequate plan (biological opinion) to protect imperiled Columbia-Snake River salmon from extinction.

“For a decade now, we have been advocating for real solutions to save salmon,” said John Kostyack, Vice President of Wildlife Conservation at the National Wildlife Federation. “With salmon populations hovering near 1 percent of their historic levels, the time for half-measures and vague promises is over.

Climate Change Hurts Indian Tribes Disproportionately, Report Finds

August 3 – North American Indian Tribes are especially harmed by climate change, as more ecological shifts and more frequent, more extreme weather events occur. Because Tribes are heavily dependent on natural resources, severe weather events like droughts, floods, wildfires, and snowstorms make tribal communities particularly vulnerable and impact Native Americans more than they impact the general population.

“Extreme weather events can be very destructive for Tribes, many of whom are already suffering from lack of resources to begin with,” said Dr. Amanda Staudt, scientist, National Wildlife Federation. “Heat waves and droughts can exacerbate plant and wildlife mortality, heighten the risk of wildfires and habitat loss, and compromise tribal lands.”

Science Solid: America’s Polar Bears on Thin Ice

August 2 – The Bureau of Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has reportedly placed on administrative leave Dr. Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist, pending an internal investigation into “integrity issues.” Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has alleged the probe is a “political attempt to impugn [Dr. Monnett’s] observations on polar bears’ vulnerability to retreating sea ice.”

“When it comes to science demonstrating the threat to polar bears posed by global warming, this study is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation. “There’s a massive body of established scientific evidence showing receding Arctic sea ice is putting polar bears in greater danger with each passing year.”

Wildlife Bears Heavy Burden Under Debt Ceiling Deal

August 2 – Legislation to raise the debt ceiling and cut federal spending passed Congress today and was signed into law by President Obama. The deal imposes discretionary budget program caps, resulting in reductions for the Departments of Interior, Agriculture and Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies that focus on conservation.

“The deal to resolve the Congressional debt ceiling crisis and avoid the catastrophe of a national default is clearly a relief for America,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. But moving forward, members of Congress must remember the heavier a burden our conservation programs are forced to bear in the short term, the higher a risk we face in the long term – not just in higher public health costs, but in jeopardizing the wildlife and special places that generations of Americans have protected and handed down to their children and grandchildren.”

And here are highlights from NWF in the News:

For more, visit www.nwf.org/News