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Conservation Clip List is a weekly collection of articles distributed by NACD that provides our members and partners with the latest news in what's driving conservation. If you have a relevant submission, please contact your NACD Communications Team.
(Opinion) By this time next year, I believe we'll reflect back on 2017 as the year that the private sector stepped up to protect our land, water, and wildlife for future generations. Forward-thinking businesses are rolling up their sleeves and finding ways to make those regulations work better by accelerating the uptake of practices that are good for the planet and the bottom line. Three areas to watch in 2017: Implementing bold agricultural commitments, investing in winning wildlife solutions, and ensuring a reliable water supply.
US considers mining limits in West to save sage grouse via The Washington Post
The Obama administration offered five possible plans for limiting mining on federal land in the West to protect the vulnerable greater sage grouse, but it isn’t saying which it prefers. The options range from banning new mining activity on about 15,000 square miles for up to 20 years to imposing no additional restrictions on mine locations. The rules would affect sage grouse habitat on federal land in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
Researchers track cows to determine riparian area impact via Capital Press
A five-year study of cattle grazing on federal rangeland showed they spend only 1 percent to 2.5 percent of their time in streams or in riparian buffer areas, a finding that may prove important as debate continues over the impact of cattle on public land. The findings are potentially significant because critics of public land grazing practices have long contended cattle trample and erode streambanks and pollute water.
USDA announces new conservation farmland transfer policy via Associated Press
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a new policy designed to allow farmers to take land out of a conservation program early if it is to be transferred to the next generation of farmers. Normally, early termination of a CRP contract requires repayment of all previous payments plus interest. The new policy waives this repayment if the land is transferred to a beginning farmer or rancher.
New Yellowstone dam challenged over sturgeon worries via The Washington Post
Wildlife advocates plan to challenge the approval of a new Yellowstone River dam aimed at benefiting Montana and North Dakota farmers that critics say could kill off a dwindling population of a fish species dating to the time of dinosaurs. The dam would supply water to about 400 farms that produce sugar beets, wheat, barley, alfalfa, and other crops. Bypasses to circumvent dams have been used with mixed success for salmon and other fish populations in the Pacific Northwest and New England, but never for pallid sturgeon.
Is complete ban on lead shot necessary to protect eagles? via The Des Moines Register
(Opinion) According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there were fewer than 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the United States in 1963. By 2006 — after bans on the pesticide DDT and on lead shot for waterfowl hunting — that number had increased to nearly 10,000. Thus it’s not surprising that we should find more sick or dead eagles. But if the lead shot hunters commonly use to shoot birds such as pheasants, quail, and doves is killing eagles, should further restrictions be imposed? And how might those restrictions affect all birds, both those we hunt and those we wish to protect?
Republicans Aim to Gut Endangered Species Act via High Country News
Utah Congressman Rob Bishop is one of the House Republicans who has backed a bill to increase water storage in California and weaken protections for the smelt — prioritizing “people over ideology,” Bishop wrote last year. As chair of the House Resources Committee, Bishop has become a leader of a radical, anti-environmental movement in Congress. Their agenda includes transferring public lands from federal management to states and local governments, banning the creation of national monuments, and removing protections for existing monuments.
In the two months since the election, the president-elect selected 13 of 15 cabinet posts, from the departments of State to Justice to Health and Human Services. But he’s left to the end his candidate to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency most connected to rural voters who helped propel him into office. While the president-elect has said little about how he’d change farm policy, aside from easing up on environmental regulation, some of his statements about trade and immigration could have major implications for agricultural businesses.
Obama administration aids giant California water project via The Washington Post
The outgoing Obama administration tried to nudge forward Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to build two giant north-south water tunnels for California. Brown wants a handful of California water districts to build the twin, 35-mile-long water tunnels to pipe Northern California’s water to central and Southern California.
In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, it's easy to miss one of the tree's nemeses. No larger than a speck of pepper, the Hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life on the underside of needles sucking sap, eventually killing the tree. The bug is one in an expanding army of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate, and drought-weakened trees, the invaders have become one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the United States.
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