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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.
Trump administration puts off listing bumble bee as endangered via The Washington Post
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delayed listing the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered, a result of a regulatory freeze imposed on President Trump’s first day in office. The previous administration announced Jan. 11 that the rusty patched bumble bee, whose numbers have declined 87 percent since the mid-1990s, was so imperiled that it should become the first bee species to be listed as endangered. But a day before the new protections were set to take effect, the Fish and Wildlife Service said they would not take effect before March 21.
Water level drops behind California dam, easing flood fears via The Denver Post
The water level dropped behind the nation’s tallest dam, reducing the risk of a catastrophic spillway collapse and easing fears that prompted the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people downstream.The water level in Lake Oroville rose significantly in recent weeks after a series of storms that dumped rain and snow across California, particularly in northern parts of the state. The high water forced the use of the dam’s emergency spillway, or overflow, for the first time in the dam’s nearly 50-year history. Unexpected erosion chewed through the main spillway during heavy rain earlier this week, sending chunks of concrete flying and creating a 200-foot-long, 30-foot-deep hole that continues growing. The lake is a central piece of California’s government-run water delivery network, supplying water for the state’s Central Valley agricultural heartland and residents and businesses in Southern California.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing with Republicans focused on curbing the Endangered Species Act, the latest front in the conservative push to rein in regulations they see as harmful to business. The law is a flashpoint: The agriculture industry says it imposes far-reaching regulatory burdens. And many who want to see the law relaxed believe it tramples on their property rights by imposing restrictions on how they can use their land. They're calling for a higher threshold for supporting data and research that justifies putting an animal on the endangered species list before invoking federal power over an individuals' land.
Colorado’s 834 million dead trees threaten to worsen fires via The Washington Post
Colorado’s beetle-infested forests are peppered with an estimated 834 million standing dead trees that threaten to worsen wildfires and degrade vital water supplies that flow from mountains. Roughly one in every 14 standing trees in the state’s forests is dead, with the total up 30 percent in seven years. A combination of standing and fallen trees killed by beetles can make wildfires burn longer and in some cases hotter, making them harder and more expensive to control and putting firefighters in more danger.
Despite weeks of rain and a growing perception that the California drought is dead or dying, state officials largely extended the water regulations that have become the new normal in cities and towns throughout the state. The rainy season that began in October is still far from over, and little is guaranteed when it comes to weather, regulators argued, adding that the Sierra snowpack that has built up to 154 percent of normal could melt quickly come warmer weather.
As bee populations dwindle, robot bees may pick up some of their pollination slack via Los Angeles Times
Scientists in Japan say they’ve managed to turn an unassuming drone into a remote-controlled pollinator by attaching horsehairs coated with a special, sticky gel to its underbelly. The system is nowhere near ready to be sent to agricultural fields, but it could help pave the way to developing automated pollination techniques at a time when bee colonies are suffering precipitous declines.
Official sides with Georgia over Florida in water lawsuit via The Washington Post
A judicial official sided with Georgia in a decades-long dispute over water rights with Florida, recommending that the U.S. Supreme Court refuse Florida’s high-stakes request to cap water use by its neighboring state. The dispute focuses on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-
Sonny Perdue, Trump’s Agriculture Pick, Could Roll Back Forest Protections via InsideClimate News
(Opinion) Perdue comes from Georgia, one of the country's biggest timber states, at the heart of a region that cuts and sells more wood than any other on the planet—the "wood basket" of the world. A woodland owner himself, Perdue has questioned the link between extreme weather and climate change, has taken campaign funding from the timber industry, and has been a booster of converting wood to ethanol. If confirmed, Perdue will help craft the agency's budget and steer its priorities. Yet more important, perhaps, is his choice for deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment. That person directly oversees the operations of the Forest Service.
A bitter three-year community fight over a hog feedlot in Dodge County has landed before three state Court of Appeals judges who are now being asked to decide a question that environmentalists see as critical to the future of clean water in Minnesota. The case involves 2,400 of the 8.3 million hogs that are now raised in Minnesota, the third leading state in the country for pork production. In Dodge County, an intensely agricultural county where many farmers and livestock operators also serve as elected officials, swines greatly outnumber the 20,000 humans. They produce enough manure to equal the sewage production of 830,000 people, all of which is used as fertilizer on local farm fields. The county is also at the top of the watershed for two polluted rivers: the Zumbro and the Cedar.
Forestry officials winning war against invasive species via Golden Isles News
Asian beetles were first introduced in 2012 in Florida. The beetle, described as a “specialist feeder,” has an appetite for the potato vine’s leaves and nothing else. The beetles die when they run out of potato vine leaves to eat. That’s what happened last year when forestry officials were initially puzzled about why the beetles didn’t survive the winter. The weather never got cold enough last winter for the beetles to go into a dormant state and they starved to death after the vines shed their leaves for the winter.
Idaho has so much snow that water is already being released from some reservoirs for flood control and Idaho Power has halted most of its cloud-seeding operations. Water managers and experts meeting in Boise as part of the Idaho Department of Water Resources' Water Supply Committee say there will be enough water this year to meet the needs of cities, farmers, and hydropower producers. Experts say this year's winter in Idaho has been unusual for the amount of snow in lower elevations — 500 percent above average in some areas — that has caused dozens of buildings to collapse.
A small city in Iowa is devoting 1,000 acres of land to America's vanishing bees via Popular Science
This spring, Cedar Rapids (population: 130,000) will seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. The city's plan is to eventually create 1,000 acres of bee paradise by planting these pollinator-friendly foodstuffs. The 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative grew out of a partnership with the Monarch Research Project (MRP), whose goal is to restore monarch butterfly populations. It was Cedar Rapids Park Superintendent Daniel Gibbins who proposed converting 1,000 acres into pollinator habitat over five years. So far, the project has secured $180,000 in funding from the state and the MRP.
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