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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.
The blaze in question is one of dozens of partially contained wildfires, some of them suspected cases of arson, burning across the Southeast. In Alabama alone, there are currently 20 fires burning, and more than 1,500 blazes have burned there since October 1. People are being evacuated in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, including in and around Chimney Rock, N.C., where an erratic fire has enveloped some 3,000 acres since Saturday.
In southwest Idaho, experiments are underway to determine if soil bacteria can halt the century-long assault of non-native cheatgrass, which sends out roots that cheat other plants of water in the spring. The strategy is to use the bacteria, possibly with some combination of herbicide, to eliminate cheatgrass long enough so that native plants can get established and fend off cheatgrass themselves.
An Alaska Airlines flight took off from Seattle and landed at Washington Reagan National Airport in what USDA is calling a “breakthrough in bioenergy.” The trip was the first commercial airline flight powered by a renewable fuel made from wood waste – in this case discarded tree limbs and branches from forests in Washington, Oregon, and Montana. The demonstration flight used a 20 percent blend of jet fuel made from cellulose derived from limbs and branches that typically remain on the ground after the harvesting of sustainably managed private forests, known as harvest residuals.
What’s Organic? A Debate Over Dirt May Boil Down to Turf via The New York Times
If a fruit or vegetable isn’t grown in dirt, can it be organic? That is the question roiling the world of organic farming, and the answer could redefine what it means to farm organically. At issue is whether produce that relies solely on irrigation to deliver nutrients to plants — through what is known as hydroponic and aquaponic systems — can be certified organic.
How dogs sniff out invasive species of mussel in Montana via The Christian Science Monitor
Like most invasive species, these mussels have no natural predators in the United States to slow their rapid increase in population size – an estimated 10 trillion zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes alone. The mussels eat plankton, leaving less food for native fish, and their tendency to live in sharp bunches have ruined pipes and even many beaches, contributing to billions of dollars in damage every year. So far, scientists have been unable to kill these mussels without harming other wildlife, which means that preventing an invasion is the only way to keep local bodies of water free of the creatures. And that's where the dogs in Montana come in.
What Does Trump Mean for America's Lands and Waters? via National Geographic
From oil exploration to the Clean Water Act, the incoming Trump Administration stands to make a break from previous policy. Climate is not the only issue on which Trump may depart from the Obama Administration’s environmental policy. Others include: Which public lands should be preserved as national monuments, which waters should be protected from pollution, and which public lands should be open to fossil fuel development.
Is Soil our Secret Weapon Against Climate Change? via The Huffington Post
What if one of the planet’s secret weapons in the fight against climate change was all around us? Most of us might guess that the answer lies in clean energy, car-pooling, or ramping up recycling only - but then you would be missing a big opportunity that’s literally right under our feet: soil. The bad news is, it is estimated that around a third of all soils are currently degraded due to issues like erosion, nutrient depletion, acidification, and pollution. That is why improving soil health is a key component of a new strategy dubbed “climate-smart agriculture.”
The measure would have allowed courts to rule on state and local laws regulating agricultural activities passed after Dec. 31, 2014. It was intended to allow farmers to defend themselves in the face of unjust laws. The bill would not have removed regulations but would have made it more challenging to add additional regulations.
Florida may expand critical wildlife areas via News4Jax
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will consider creating 10 new sanctuaries. The FWC will vote on creating 10 new sanctuaries and expanding five existing locations. Of the 10 new critical wildlife areas, nine are for birds and one is for bats.
Large parts of the Southeast are grappling with severe drought. Nearly 40 percent of the Southeast is under moderate to exceptional drought conditions. An even larger swath of the country — from eastern Texas through parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, and up to Kentucky — is experiencing less serious, but still severe, drought that threatens crops and has led to water shortages.
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