Weekly News Roundup- October 4, 2013

What’s happening at National Wildlife Federation this week?

House Plan to Reopen Only National Parks Falls Short

yosemite sunset

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

Marine Photobank

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.”