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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.
Ranchers dread effects of Cascade-Siskiyou monument expansion via Capital Press
Cattle groups reacted with dread at the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon and California, which they fear will gradually eradicate ranching in the area. The Obama administration announced the monument will be increased by about 49,000 acres, up about 80 percent from its current size of 62,000 acres. While the federal government touted the decision as improving “vital habitat connectivity, watershed protection, and landscape-scale resilience for the area’s unique biological values,” cattle groups fear it marks the beginning of the end of ranching in the expanded monument.
Farmland in Puyallup Watershed conserved with $8 million grant via The News Tribune
With the help of an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 1,000 acres of prime farmland in the Puyallup Watershed will be conserved, Pierce Conservation District announced. Beginning this summer, the grant will last for five years. Ten percent of the funds will implement conservation practices on farms to improve water quality and wildlife habitat, and the rest will go toward placing land into conservation easements. The easements, legal agreements between a landowner and a nonprofit land trust, ensures that the land will be used, in this case, for agricultural and farming purposes — permanently.
For the first time, a bee species in the continental United States has been declared endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The rusty patched bumblebee is in worrisome decline and it is a race to keep it from becoming extinct, the agency said. The population of the rusty patched bumblebee has shrunk by 87% since the late 1990s.
Judge turns back Idaho challenge to sage-grouse plan via Agri-Pulse
Idaho's challenge to a federal land-use plan designed to protect greater sage-grouse has been rejected by a federal judge, who said the state could not demonstrate legal standing. The state and the Idaho Legislature sued the Interior and Agriculture departments over the federal land-use plan for Idaho and southwestern Montana - as well as the environmental analysis behind it.
Is the great California drought finally ending? via The Los Angeles Times
The state’s biggest reservoirs are swelling. The Sierra Nevada have seen as much snow, sleet, hail, and rain as during the wettest years on record. Rainy Los Angeles feels more like London than Southern California. So is the great California drought finally calling it quits?
Minnesota Republicans target water quality law for repeal via Associated Press
House Republicans are targeting the state's new law meant to boost water quality, putting Gov. Mark Dayton on defense over one of his marquee initiatives. The so-called buffer law has been a source of contention among many Minnesota farmers since Dayton first proposed it in 2015, the same year it eventually passed. It requires 50-foot setbacks around public waterways starting in November, while extra protections around other water sources aren't required until 2018.
NOAA plans to open federal waters in Pacific to fish farming via The Washington Post
As traditional commercial fishing is threatening fish populations worldwide, U.S. officials are working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean. The government sees the move toward aquaculture as a promising solution to feeding a hungry planet. But some environmentalists say the industrial-scale farms could do more harm than good to overall fish stocks and ocean health.
Energy, farm policy collide in the new Congress via Washington Examiner
The energy debate on Capitol Hill this year could turn quickly into talk of farm policy as a large section of the utility sector and other groups prepare to make sure energy policy doesn't get overlooked in next year's farm bill. The next five-year reauthorization of the farm bill comes up in 2018, which has groups set to make sure the bill's increased energy focus over the last decade doesn't face the cuts it experienced in the last Congress.
Mutant Grass Is Terrorizing Oregon via Gizmodo
You probably didn’t know that the state of Oregon is the self-professed grass seed capital of the world. Grass, it turns out, is a fairly lucrative claim to fame, accounting for more than a billion dollars in economic activity each year in the state. But genetically modified grass that “escaped” is threatening to upend that industry. The genetically-modified grass not only threatens the local grass industry, but, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, commercializing it could actually “jeopardize the continued existence” of two endangered plant species and would “adversely modify” the habitat of other endangered species, like Fender’s Blue Butterfly of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
A group of former Department of Natural Resources secretaries are urging Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and legislators to reject a proposal to divide the agency and spread its responsibilities across state government. Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow has proposed splitting the DNR into a new Department of Fish and Wildlife and a new Department of Environmental Protection. Three existing agencies would assume forestry, park and land acquisition duties.
After pushback, Oregon scraps report linking private forests to water-quality risks via The Daily Astonian
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality drafted a report that identified logging as a contributor to known risks for drinking water quality in communities up and down the Oregon Coast. But the report has never been published. It was scrapped by the agency after intense pushback and charges of anti-logging bias from the timber industry and the state Department of Forestry.
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