Weekly News Roundup- October 25, 2013

What’s happening at National Wildlife Federation this week?


Sportsmen back renewable energy bill

Crested Butte

Oct 25- The first chance for companies to competitively bid on public lands for solar energy projects underscores the importance of legislation that would invest revenue from the development in conservation and local communities, a national sportsmen’s coalition said.

No bids were offered Thursday during the Bureau of Land Management’s offer of applications for rights of way and development plans for commercial solar projects on a total of 3,705 acres of public land in Conejos and Saguache counties in southwestern Colorado.  However,  the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development coalition said it expects  new wind and solar projects to move forward across the West and it make sense to bring the leasing of public lands for renewable energy in line with other forms of energy development by establishing royalties to conserve fish and wildlife habitat and support affected communities.

“Hunters and anglers welcome efforts to tap the abundant wind and solar energy sources in the West as a way to increase domestic energy production. But like any other energy sources, wind and solar must be developed responsibly, and there must be a mechanism to ensure that funding is available to offset unavoidable impacts to hunting and fishing,” said Brad Powell, senior policy director for Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project.


Matching Campaign Gives Yellowstone Wildlife More Room to Roam

Oct 2Photo of brown bear Grizzly bear Mom and cubs in Alaska5- National Wildlife Federation is pleased to announce it will once again compete in Animal Planet’s R.O.A.R. matching campaignfrom Oct. 14 through Nov. 12. Funds raised through the matching campaign will support National Wildlife Federation’s Adopt a Wildlife Acre program, which solves conflicts between wildlife and livestock in areas of dangerous overlap in the Yellowstone National Park area.

“This unique opportunity gives our supporters the chance to double their impact when they donate to help wildlife,” said Tom France, Senior Director of Western Wildlife Conservation at National Wildlife Federation. “Money donated to NWF via this campaign will help secure much needed habitat for grizzly bears, gray wolves, bison and bighorn sheep in and around Yellowstone National Park through our Adopt A Wildlife Acre program.”

National Wildlife Federation’s Adopt a Wildlife Acre program addresses the conflicts between livestock and wildlife with a voluntary, market-based approach. NWF offers ranchers a fair price in exchange for their agreement to retire their public land grazing leases. In most cases, livestock producers use the funds to relocate their livestock to areas without conflict. Wildlife has secure habitat, and ranchers’ cattle can graze in an area with fewer problems.


House Water Resources Bill: Pork in a Reform Costume

Marie Murray

Oct 23- On Wednesday, the House voted to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, despite concerns from both sides of the aisle over rollbacks to environmental protections and the high cost to taxpayers.

Adam Kolton, Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center, said in response:

“The title of the bill is utterly misleading, because this is just business-as-usual pork in a reform costume. Just in time for Halloween, this bill has lots of treats for special interests and a few tricks that will hurt wildlife habitat and taxpayer’s wallets. A true reform bill would have set priorities in the face of tight budgets and climate change, to prepare the nation for more intense storms and flooding. This bill reads as if Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy never happened.”


National Wildlife Federation CEO Announces May 2014 Retirement


Oct 23- Longtime conservation leader, author, and expert on the impacts of climate change and climate change solutions, Larry Schweiger, announced yesterday that he will retire as President and CEO of National Wildlife Federation in early May 2014.

In a conference call with all NWF staff, Schweiger (who first started with NWF in 1981 and became CEO in 2004) stated: “This is very bittersweet for me. I will step away from my role as President and CEO of NWF in early May of 2014, but I look forward to expanding my influence beyond the wildlife-specific focus of NWF’s mission, writing another book on climate change solutions, and, most importantly, spending more time in nature with my family – including my five precious grandsons.”

A transition committee is currently being formed by the NWF Board and it will play a key role at the organization’s regularly scheduled November Board meeting (taking place this year on November 8th & 9th). Following the Board meeting, NWF expects it will then be able to provide additional information on the transition timeline and other issues related to the search for Schweiger’s replacement.

“Larry Schweiger has served NWF and the entire conservation movement for several decades with passion, influence, vision and determination,” said Deborah Spalding, Chair of the NWF Board of Directors.”We respect and support his desire to devote more time to his family and to focus his energies on all climate change issues, not just those impacting wildlife.” She added, “Larry will be leaving NWF at a time of promising momentum – having just completed our Fiscal 2013 year ahead of budget, with a strong senior executive team in place, and year-to-year increases in membership and giving.”


And now here are highlights from NWF in the news:

International Business Times: Zombies Vs Animals: Naturalist Explains How Nature Would Annihilate the Living Dead

David Mizejewski, with the National Wildlife Federation, has written an essayexplaining why nature would prevail over zombies in the event of a zombie plague.

Times-Picayune: Environmentalists fear streamlining in water resources bills could lead to projects like MRGO

“The people of New Orleans know all too well how important environmental review is, and should be very leery of removing existing oversight of the corps,” said Melissa Samet, senior water resources counsel for the National Wildlife Federation.

Associated Press:  More farmers tout benefits of winter cover crops

Overall, as soil health improves, it’s possible farmers can, after a number of years, cut back on fertilizers, especially if they include legumes — a good source of nitrogen — as a cover crop. They can also possibly use fewer pesticides, as some cover crops crowd out weeds.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.

Miami Herald: House overwhelmingly passes bill for Sacramento levees

But fiscally conservative groups such as Taxpayers for Common Sense and Heritage Action warned that the legislation would give too much authority to the corps and hide pork barrel spending in other ways. Environmental groups such as the National Wildlife Federation said the bill would weaken longstanding environmental protections.

The Missoulian: Montana wildlife agency restarts bison planning process

Moving forward is exactly what Kit Fischer of the National Wildlife Federation would like to see. His group has been advocating for returning bison to the landscape for the past couple of years. “Now we’re just waiting to see what FWP is going to come up with so we can see a plan and start talking specifics again,” Fischer said.

Baltimore’s Child: Walk on the Wild Side

Hike & Seek is being held on Saturday, October 26, 2013, starting at 12:00 Noon at Druid Hills Park in Baltimore, Maryland.