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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.
Can Birth Control Save Our Wild Horses? via National Geographic
With euthanasia and sterilization ruled out, the government is banking on contraceptive vaccines to manage the booming population. Horse birth control is a key strategy to better manage wild horses on rangelands throughout the western U.S. Descended from domesticated animals that escaped or were released from captivity, wild horses are technically “feral”—the term used to describe the offspring of any domesticated species that people no longer tend.
Which states have most land in CRP? via Great Falls Tribune
On Oct. 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released details of the nearly $1.7 billion in Conservation Reserve Program payments made to more than half of a million U.S. property owners in 2016. The 2008 farm bill reauthorized the CRP, but Congress set a downward trend to the program, capping maximum enrolled acreages at 32 million. That cap is scheduled to decline to 24 million acres by 2018.
President Obama Establishes 17th Wildlife Refuge of his Presidency via The Heartland Institute
Despite chronic under-funding and a $3.3 billion maintenance and operations backlog on existing federal wildlife refuges, on October 25 the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the creation of a new, 15,000-acre wildlife refuge, The Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, made up of 10 areas scattered across six Northeastern states.
Farmers are using bees to spread nature’s own pesticides via Popular Science
Biopesticides, pesticides derived from natural materials, are growing faster than synthetic pesticides, which make up the bulk of crop protection. Pests and pathogens have grown resistant to many pesticides, while the EPA has phased out older chemistries, due to environmental and health concerns. These concerns have not only increased government regulation and driven up the cost of developing new chemical pesticides, but have also increased demand from consumers for farmers to grow more organic produce.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has streamlined the registration process for commercially used drones, putting new rules in place for the protection and regulation of users of the unmanned aircrafts. These procedures are expected to benefit both farmers and the drone industry, as agriculture already leads the market for commercial drones and is expected to generate $350 million in drone revenue in 2025.
Solar farms are uprooting agriculture, farmers say via Delmarva Now
Photovoltaic cells are springing up across the Eastern Shore at an unprecedented clip. Fueled by hefty government subsidies and relatively cheap prices for acreage, utility-scale solar facilities are supplanting one farm after another. Cue the backlash: Farmers say the loss of valuable cropland threatens the very existence of their industry in the Free State.
Forestry Commission pegs Matthew's damage at $205 million via Post and Courier
Hurricane Matthew caused more damage to South Carolina's forestry industry than initially thought, with the final tally coming in at $205 million, according to the state Forestry Commission. Hurricane Matthew caused about twice as much damage to the state's forestry industry as last year's historic flooding.
Water conservation improved in September but is still worse than in 2015 via Los Angeles Times
Californians halted a three-month slide in water conservation in September, saving enough to hearten state regulators who previously had expressed alarm about possible drought fatigue. Conservation backsliding has been a point of concern among officials in recent months.
Border walls are bad for wildlife via The Washington Post
Two recent studies have shed light on the often-overlooked effects walls have on wildlife. The fences can “curtail animals’ mobility, fragment populations, and cause direct mortality.” Conservation success for large carnivore populations is largely depending on trans-boundary connectivity.
Once common in Minnesota, rusty patched bumblebee nominated for endangered species list via StarTribune
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed legal protection for the bee, named for the distinctive orange marking on its back, after an extraordinarily swift decline in its numbers over the past two decades. Like dozens of other pollinators, the rusty patched bumblebee is suffering from widespread use of chemical pesticides, an increasingly flowerless landscape, disease, and climate change.
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