Weekly News Roundup- September 20, 2013

What’s happening at National Wildlife Federation this week?

Piping Plover by Ken Lee


NWF Taking Action

EPA Carbon Pollution Rules Critical to Protect Wildlife from Climate Change

Factory smoke stacks

September 20-  The Environmental Protection Agency is unveiling landmark limits on carbon pollution from new power plants today.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new power plants are critically important to protecting our wildlife, communities and public health from the worst impacts of climate change. The EPA has undertaken a thorough, painstaking design and public comment process, with more than three million Americans speaking up in support of carbon pollution limits. Coming off America’s hottest year on record and the world’s hottest decade on record, these rules are urgently needed to conserve America’s outdoor heritage for our children’s future.

“This debate hinges on a very simple question: Should power plants be able to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our skies, or is there a reasonable limit? As polluter allies try to strip environmental and public health experts of their authority to limit carbon pollution, the National Wildlife Federation’s members will be working to send a clear message to Congress: The era of denial and delay is over.”

Take action!  Help protect polar bears by editing and sending a message to the Environmental Protection Agency, voicing your support for limits to carbon pollution.


House Water Bill No Reform Measure


September 19– The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has reported a bill titled “The Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2013” today. The bill is traditionally known as the Water Resources Development Act.

Melissa Samet, Senior Water Resources Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, had this to say about the House draft of this bill:

“Putting the word ‘reform’ in the title of the bill can’t hide reality. This bill would undermine longstanding laws that have improved public safety, protected wildlife habitats and saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars

“Over the decades, we have seen that careful reviews of the impacts of projects such as levees and dams save time and money and protect the environment. Gutting this review process will result in taxpayers footing the bill for projects that cause entirely avoidable harm to our nation’s waters.”


USDA Data: Grasslands, Forests Being Converted to Cropland at Alarming Rates

Corn stubble stores carbon

September 18- The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently released data reflecting that between 2011 and 2012, more than 398,000 acres (620 square miles, or roughly the size of Houston, TX) of grasslands, forests and other lands were plowed, cleared or otherwise converted to cropland.

The USDA’s release of this type of data is believed to be unprecedented, and comes amid an ongoing debate about the severity and causes of ecologically-destructive conversion of land to cropland.

In addition to reaffirming researchers’ findings that land conversion has been exploding in the Western Corn Belt, the USDA data reveal that land conversion is happening at high rates in counties from Maine to California and from Oregon to Florida.

Check out the FSA data on cropland conversion here!


And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:

Associated Press: US Judge Upholds EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

The EPA called the ruling “a victory for the 17 million people in the Chesapeake Bay watershed” while other groups that supported the regulations, including the National Wildlife Federation and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, applauded Rambo’s decision.

Associated Press: Great Lakes Program Inspires Rare Bipartisanship

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is among the most fiercely defended programs in the country,” said Andy Buchsbaum, regional director of the National Wildlife Federation. “The last two years, Congress has given it the exact level of funding the president called for in his budget. That’s almost unheard of, given the partisan toxicity right now.”

National Geographic: Climate Change Spells Trouble for Anglers

The warming trends are only getting worse. Doug Inkley, a senior scientist at the NWF, points to a study quoted in the group’s report. “The science is telling us that in the lifespan of a child born today, 50 percent of the habitat suitable for coldwater species of fish will no longer be suitable for them.”

Washington Post: Park(ing) Day turns metered spots into temporary parks in D.C.

Fittingly, the National Wildlife Federation (901 E St. NW) is transforming its space into a “certified wildlife habitat,” hosted by mascot Ranger Rick.

Houston Chronicle: River authority OKs plan to cut off water

“Cutting off the life support flows for Matagorda Bay without requiring serious cutbacks on lawn watering is not fair or consistent with state laws,” said Myron Hess, a Texas-based water expert for the National Wildlife Federation.

Outdoor Life: New Bison War: Should Buffalo Be Reintroduced to the West?

A few fringe environmental groups in the West espouse an end to livestock grazing on public lands. Most of us – and nearly all ranchers – recognize that as an extreme position. The National Wildlife Federation and other wildlife conservation organizations believe a “No-bison-on-public-lands-anywhere-anyhow” position espoused by ranchers is equally extreme.

Washington Post Express: Reinvigorating Philanthropy

In the aftermath of the Gulf Oil Disaster, the NWF staged boat tours for scientists, journalists and government officials to see the impact zone firsthand. It was the efforts of the NWF that prompted the US Attorney General to launch a criminal investigation on BP and its corporate partners into law breaking.

Denver Post: 10 fun things to do in Denver before summer ends

Hike & Seek in Denver: Scavenger hunts are inherently outdoor activities, so combining them with hiking seems like an ideal way to both educate and tire out the kiddies.

National Geographic: Do Animals Get Dementia?

“Wild animals live a tough life,” agreed David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. “Even early [physical] deteriorations—like age-worn teeth or hips—make it harder for them to survive.” Additional cognitive problems would simply make them too vulnerable to survive.

Great Falls Tribune: In hot water? High temperatures, low flows caused by climate change may cause frequent fishing restrictions

“Climate change has direct implications for freshwater fish in the United States,” the report, titled “Freshwater Fish in a Warming World” states. “Rivers streams, and lakes are warming and subject to more severe and prolonged droughts, leaving shallower waters prone to even more warming.”