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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 Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch. Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts. The Trump administration has also ordered what it called a temporary suspension of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders were expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.
USDA, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Tribes restoring grazing land via San Francisco Chronicle
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a research and demonstration project to help restore grazing land. Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Gov. Eddie Hamilton signed an agreement with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service for the two-year soil health project. Hamilton says the project will help re-establish the tribes' relationship with state agricultural departments.
Crops like pistachios, peaches, and almonds need a certain amount of cold weather every year. This is what the agricultural industry refers to as chill hours. Frigid temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees help set buds that will turn into flowers in spring, then into fruits and nuts in summer. The problem is that there is a decrease in the amount of hours needed for tree crops to reach these temperatures. Trees need more than 700 hours of sleep every winter, but for the past four years, many have slept less than 500 hours.
Clovis takes lead in installing Trump team at USDA via Agri-Pulse
Sam Clovis, Donald Trump's top farm policy adviser during the presidential campaign, will be leading the transition group installing his team and policy at the Agriculture Department. Clovis served as a surrogate for Trump during the campaign, speaking to farm groups and also representing Trump in an October debate with Kathleen Merrigan, a former deputy agriculture secretary representing Hillary Clinton.
California drought continues to shrink, federal government says via Los Angeles Times
With major reservoirs nearly full, the Sierra Nevada snowpack well above average and flood warnings in place for some rivers, federal scientists reported a continued weakening of California's drought. Overall, 44 percent of the state remains in severe drought or worse, down from 49 percent a week ago. A year ago this week, the same report found that 86 percent of California was in severe drought or worse. A stark difference remains between Northern and Southern California: 42 percent of the state is out of the drought entirely, the same percentage as last week. The areas no longer in a drought include nearly all of Northern California, from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Oregon border.
Many farmers still need training after Lake Erie algae via The Washington Post
Ohio’s agriculture leaders say thousands of farmers have completed training that will be required for putting fertilizer on fields, but many more face a September deadline to finish the program aimed at combating the toxic algae fouling Lake Erie. The first of its kind requirement is one of several steps Ohio has taken to reduce the farm runoff that feeds algae in the state’s lakes and rivers. State lawmakers put the measure in place in 2014, just months before algae in Lake Erie contaminated the drinking water for more than 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan.
The Trump administration signed an executive order to support the Keystone XL pipeline that was shelved by a series of legal challenges and rejection of a presidential permit from the previous administration. In addition, a second executive order moves forward: the Dakota Access pipeline that has faced extensive protest and opposition from Native American and environmental groups. The Dakota Access pipeline would run from North Dakota to Illinois. Dakota Access requires a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, while the Keystone XL needs a presidential permit.
Wisconsin Farm Bureau supports wolf delisting bill via Wisconsin State Farmer
The proposed Gray Wolf Delisting legislation would reinstate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) order to remove the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming from the federal Endangered Species List. It would also provide legal clarity for the gray wolf’s status on the Endangered Species list.
Montana temporarily blocks slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone Park bison via Minneapolis StarTribune
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has blocked the impending slaughter of hundreds of Yellowstone National Park bison over disease concerns until a temporary home can be found for 40 animals wanted by an American Indian tribe. About 200 bison have been captured attempting to migrate from the park this winter. Federal and state officials have plans to kill up to 1,300 bison under a controversial disease control agreement.
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