Conservation & Environment

President Signs Bill Permanently Reauthorizing Land and Water Conservation Fund

Posted by on Mar 13, 2019 @ 7:26 am in Conservation | 0 comments

President Signs Bill Permanently Reauthorizing Land and Water Conservation Fund

In an historic victory for public lands and close to home recreation, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was permanently reauthorized on March 12, 2019 as part of a sweeping public lands package signed into law by the president. The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House (363-62) and the Senate (92-8) last month, was signed during a ceremony that included LWCF champions.

This is the culmination of a years-long effort by Congressional champions on both sides of the aisle and by stakeholders across the country to preserve the unique character of this program created as a conservation offset for energy development.

The following statement can be attributed to Tom Cors, Director of Government Relations for Lands at The Nature Conservancy and a spokesman for the LWCF Coalition:

“We applaud our champions in the House and Senate for demonstrating that bipartisan cooperation can achieve great things, and for finding common ground in the fight to ensure that future generations will continue to have access to close-to-home recreation. With this important milestone, our nation is closer than ever to meeting the program’s original intent: to dedicate proceeds from the use of our natural resources to the conservation of America’s most important landscapes. Now the stage is set to realize that vision, and we look forward to working with LWCF’s many advocates on both sides of the aisle to secure the full, dedicated LWCF funding on which our nation’s communities, economy, and special places need. The outdoor recreation industry, governors, mayors, sportsmen, small business owners, conservation leaders, landowners,ranchers, and millions of Americans applaud the permanent reauthorization of LWCF and will continue to fight for the protection of our shared outdoor heritage.”

About the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction and activities, and the continued historic preservation of our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast.

 

Nearly $675 Million Spent On Deferred Park Maintenance, Yet Backlog Still Nearly $12 Billion

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 @ 9:45 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Nearly $675 Million Spent On Deferred Park Maintenance, Yet Backlog Still Nearly $12 Billion

Proof of the challenge the National Park Service faces in trying to catch up with deferred maintenance across the National Park System can be found in the agency’s latest report on the matter: Nearly $700 million was spent during Fiscal 2018 on maintenance projects, yet the backlog still is nearly $12 billion.

Congress had a chance last year to give the Park Service a big lift by passing legislation that would have provided $6.5 billion over five years specifically for maintenance needs. But the measure died near the end of the 115th Congress as the politicians found themselves at budgetary loggerheads with President Trump. The legislation has been introduced again to the 116th Congress, but has yet to move.

“It’s great to see the National Park Service making progress on some key repair projects. At the same time, the agency’s maintenance backlog continues to grow because the number and cost of repairs compounds each year,” pointed out Marcia Argust, who manages The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Restore America’s Parks initiative.

How bad are things? Even though the Park Service spent more than $671 million in repair work during Fiscal 2018, the backlog still grew, from $11.6 billion at the end of FY17 to $11.9 billion a year later, an increase of 2.7 percent. Aging facilities, increased visitation, and resource constraints have kept the maintenance backlog between $11 billion and $12 billion since 2010, the Park Service noted.

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Most ponds and landfills holding coal waste across the U.S. have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater, report finds

Posted by on Mar 4, 2019 @ 9:11 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Most ponds and landfills holding coal waste across the U.S. have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater, report finds

The vast majority of ponds and landfills holding coal waste at 250 power plants across the country have leaked toxic chemicals into nearby groundwater, according to an analysis of public monitoring data released by environmental groups.

The report, published jointly by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, found that 91 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power plants reported elevated levels of contaminants such as arsenic, lithium, chromium and other pollutants in nearby groundwater.

In many cases, the levels of toxic contaminants that had leaked into groundwater were far higher than the thresholds set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the groups said.

The findings raise questions about whether any of the leaks might affect drinking water supplies. Companies were required to release their monitoring data for the first time last year as part of an Obama-era rule to regulate storage of coal waste.

The 2015 regulations, which dictated how coal ash must be stored across the country, were finalized in the wake of two high-profile spills in Tennessee and North Carolina, which collectively contaminated waterways and damaged nearby homes.

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Smokies Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Posted by on Mar 1, 2019 @ 8:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Smokies Park Recruits ‘Adopt-a-Plot’ Volunteers

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park. In an effort to track nature’s calendar, or phenology, volunteers will collect information as part of an important research project tracking seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds.

Previous experience is not necessary but an interest in science and love for nature are characteristics of a successful volunteer. A 3-hour training workshop is provided and will include topics like tree identification techniques, stages of tree change throughout the year, fruit and flower identification, and phenology data collection protocols. Volunteers must attend one of these training opportunities which will be held at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, TN on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC on Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Plots are available for adoption near parking areas at several locations in the park. Volunteers will monitor their adopted plot at least two times per month from the first leaf bud in spring to the final leaf drop in fall. The Adopt-a-Plot project helps us better understand how changing weather patterns affect our diverse ecosystem and the seasonal timing of wildflower blooms and fall color.

If you are interested in this exciting volunteer opportunity, please contact park ranger Paul Super at paul_super@nps.gov or 828-497-1945 to register for the training. For more information about phenology research efforts across the country visit the National Phenology Network at https://www.usanpn.org/.

 

Chattanooga native named first female Chief Ranger of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Posted by on Feb 28, 2019 @ 9:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Chattanooga native named first female Chief Ranger of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

GSMNP officials say Lisa Hendy will oversee employees in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement duties, wildland fire operations, emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, backcountry operations, and staff the emergency communications center.

The GSMNP says Hendy brings a wealth of experience to the position after serving at several parks with complex ranger operations including Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Arches National Park, and Rocky Mountains National Park.

She is currently the Chief Ranger at Big Bend National Park where the GSMNP says she has fostered interagency partnerships with local, state, federal, and international organizations to manage law enforcement and wildland fire operations.

Hendy grew up in Chattanooga, and had her first backcountry experiences in the Smokies where she backpacked as a youth. The GSMNP says she continues to be a tremendous outdoor enthusiast and enjoys kayaking, climbing, hiking, and canyoneering.

In addition to her Federal law enforcement commission, she is also a certified paramedic and has certifications as a structural firefighter, wildland firefighter, aviation manager, technical and swiftwater rescuer, and several leadership roles for incident management teams.

Cite…

 

An Appeals Court Has Rejected a Request to Hold a New Hearing for an Appalachian Trail Pipeline

Posted by on Feb 27, 2019 @ 8:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

An Appeals Court Has Rejected a Request to Hold a New Hearing for an Appalachian Trail Pipeline

  A federal appeals court denied a request to reconsider a ruling throwing out a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request from lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy and the U.S. Forest Service to hold a full-court rehearing.

In December, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit sharply criticized the Forest Service, saying the agency lacked authority to authorize the pipeline’s crossing of the trail.

The panel also said the agency “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” when it approved the pipeline crossing the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, and a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trial.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee and other environmental groups.

The 605-mile natural gas pipeline would originate in West Virginia and run through parts of North Carolina and Virginia.

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Five lessons from the government shutdown about national parks

Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 @ 9:20 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Five lessons from the government shutdown about national parks

For now the threat of another government shutdown has ended (even as legal showdown over an emergency wall looms). Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are breathing a sigh of relief — including 16,000 National Park Service employees, most of whom were told to stay home while the parks remained open but understaffed during the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

The shutdown dealt a big blow to national parks and the people and communities whose livelihoods depend on them. But the outcry over the damage done — and the work of the countless volunteers who stepped in to help while the government was shuttered — also sends a clear message to elected officials: Our national parks really matter.

Along with a big mess to clean up on public lands across the country, the 35-day shutdown leaves behind some important takeaways.

The National Park Service must protect parks forever and make them accessible to visitors — two sometimes-conflicting goals whose achievement requires constant push-and-pull.

Roads went unplowed, trash cans overflowed, scientific studies lapsed, and visitors were turned away or left to fend for themselves. Reports of vandalism show how irresponsible it was to keep the parks open while the experts who care for them were out of work.

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Updates Planned for Mountain Bike Trails in North Carolina’s Pisgah Ranger District

Posted by on Feb 22, 2019 @ 7:32 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Updates Planned for Mountain Bike Trails in North Carolina’s Pisgah Ranger District

In the coming year, three the of the most popular mountain biking trails in the Pisgah Ranger District—Avery Creek, Buckwheat Knob and Black Mountain—will receive some much-needed maintenance. Pisgah Area SORBA (Southern Off Road Biking Association) will devote $190,000 to maintaining and rerouting several of the region’s most beloved trails with funds from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), beginning in March.

In recent years, the Pisgah National Forest has become one of the country’s top destinations for mountain biking. In the forest’s Pisgah Ranger District, which encompasses more than 160,000 acres southwest of Asheville, there are more than 300 miles of trails, many of which have become nation-favorite rides, drawing athletes from all over the country.

The riding is steep, technical and largely unsustainable, with certain trails forming deep ravines from constant use and erosion—a fact that Pisgah Area SORBA, Western North Carolina’s largest bike club, is systematically trying to address.

Trail maintenance sounds like a win for local bikers, but every time one of Pisgah’s mountain bike trails gets slated for work, a vocal subset of local bikers cry foul. Pisgah is known for steep lines and rocky, rooty tread. Both Avery Creek and Upper and Lower Black Mountain are advanced rides with near-constant drops, tangles of roots and rock gardens to navigate. It’s the kind of riding that has put Pisgah on the map. It’s also the kind of riding that can wreak havoc on local streams and water sources if left unchecked.

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New North Carolina state natural area achieves milestone

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 @ 9:03 am in Conservation | 0 comments

New North Carolina state natural area achieves milestone

  A recent 1,500 acre land purchase by the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and North Carolina State Parks marked acquisition of the first chunk of the new Bobs Creek State Natural Area in southeastern McDowell County, North Carolina.

Over the course of several years, a conservation enthusiast purchased 6,000 acres in the area with the intention of permanently protecting the land and allowing public access. The first 1,500 acres have been transferred through a bargain sale and are now permanently conserved. N.C. State Parks will own and manage the land, but not as a traditional state park.

Unlike a state park, the natural area will not provide visitor amenities such as campgrounds and picnic areas but will allow for low-impact uses like hiking and scientific research. The property was once managed by a timber company that protected several hundred acres as a “pocket wilderness” that was open to the public for hiking, wildlife viewing and camping.

Funding came from a variety of public and private sources, including $1.2 million from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, $1 million from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, $240,000 from the Open Space Institute and $4,000 from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. CWMTF has also provided $1.2 million for the second phase of the project, acquisition of an additional 2,000 acres scheduled for completion this year.

Cite…

 

GPS study: nearly all bears leave Smokies for food

Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 @ 7:13 am in Conservation | 0 comments

GPS study: nearly all bears leave Smokies for food

Researchers have completed a breakthrough study that used GPS collars to track black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The results are shattering some long-held beliefs about where the animals travel for food. It may also force entire counties to rethink their bear-proofing policies.

“We always thought there were two kinds of bears. You had ‘front-country bears’ that show up in campgrounds or communities along the boundary of the park. But we thought around 95 percent of bears in the park were ‘back-country bears’ that went about their business, living in the woods, with very little contact with humans. This research shows that was an absolute fallacy,” said Joe Clark with the USGS.

Braunstein’s project makes a myth of “front-country” and “back-country” labels for bears. Of more than 50 bears tracked, almost all of the animals traveled outside the national park to find food. That was the case if the bear was collared while seeking food in a parking lot or minding its business deep in the woods.

“Bears are leaving the park at all sides of the boundary. It’s not just the Gatlinburg area. If he [a bear] is not getting food in Gatlinburg, it doesn’t mean he’s not going to go to Cataloochee, or Cosby, or go to Townsend,” said Braunstein. “The bears you see on one side of the park can be the same bears you see on the other side.”

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How a South Pasadena matron used her wits and wealth to create Joshua Tree National Park

Posted by on Feb 19, 2019 @ 9:26 am in Conservation | 0 comments

How a South Pasadena matron used her wits and wealth to create Joshua Tree National Park

Nobody looks at the mural. Tourists keep their heads down as they walk past. They scan maps, reach for keys, tell their children to use the bathroom. Considering possible destinations, they say, “Did you want to do Hidden Valley and Keys Ranch?” Or, “We can start at Skull Rock.”

They don’t notice the image of a gray-haired woman in a wide-brimmed hat staring out at them. Serene. Determined.

To her right loom stark rock formations and groves of surreal Joshua trees. Flowers bloom at her feet in bright purples and oranges. Look closely and you’ll see a pair of pencil-legged Gambel’s quail and a roadrunner enjoying the desert Eden she nearly single-handedly preserved.

The mural at a federal visitors center is a tribute to the South Pasadena matron who devoted much of her life to saving nearly 1 million acres of desert that would one day become Joshua Tree National Park.

In California lore, the story of how John Muir persuaded Teddy Roosevelt to help preserve Yosemite is legendary. In 1903, Muir and Roosevelt camped in the wilderness for three days as Muir showed him Yosemite’s stunning vistas and valleys. Decades later, Minerva Hoyt would convince another president named Roosevelt that Joshua Tree held its own otherworldly beauty. Her story isn’t as well known as Muir’s. But it should be.

Read it here…

 

This map shows you what your city will feel like in 2080

Posted by on Feb 18, 2019 @ 8:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

This map shows you what your city will feel like in 2080

What will your city feel like in the year 2080? If you’re a frequent traveler in these United States, you might already know. A study in the science journal Nature Communications breaks down future warming by drawing parallels for 540 North American urban areas.

In 60 years, New York could feel like today’s Arkansas. Chicago is on a crash course for Kansas City. San Francisco’s blustery weather is destined to warm to Southern California temperatures. Raleigh, North Carolina, will feel like Tallahassee, Florida. You get the picture. The study used the highest warming scenario, an outcome where we don’t mitigate emissions and the planet warms around 8.8 degrees F, to map it out.

If warming temperatures existed in a vacuum, sure, why not take a permanent trip to Arkansas or Cabo, but rising temperatures are accompanied by a host of plagues that rival the ones Moses brought upon the people of Egypt.

The Northeast, is looking at the “the largest temperature increase in the contiguous United States.” That means more ticks, fewer dragonflies, a maple syrup deficit, delayed ski seasons, and “anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder” following extreme weather events.

The Southeast can expect hot nights that turn hotter days into a living nightmare. And don’t even get started on the lionfish, which is going to make its creepy way closer to the Atlantic coast as waters warm.

Cite…

 

Wilderness Skills Institute Seeks Trainees Dedicated to Conservation

Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 @ 9:45 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Wilderness Skills Institute Seeks Trainees Dedicated to Conservation

Dedicated individuals seeking to further their skills and experience in environmental conservation are invited to apply for the 2019 Wilderness Skills Institute (WSI), a two-week training course that provides a variety of instruction on basic to advanced-level skills necessary for working in wilderness environments. Held on May 20-24, 2019 and May 28-31, 2019 at the Cradle of Forestry near Brevard, North Carolina, the Institute will cover a range of essential skills from wilderness first aid to crosscut saw and axe certification.

“The Wilderness Skills Institute is one of the best training opportunities for agency employees, partners and volunteers who work in wilderness stewardship to develop the essential skills and relationships necessary to manage our public lands now and into the future,” said Leanna Joyner, Program Director of Volunteer Relations for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC).

WSI was developed in 2011 through a partnership between the ATC, Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), and the USDA Forest Service to ensure that the next generation of environmental stewards is properly trained to work effectively in unique and challenging wilderness areas. Training through the Institute is provided for free to accepted students, and free camping is available on site for those wishing to take advantage of the facilities. WSI is also an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in furthering their careers in conservation to connect with experienced wilderness stewards from across the region both in and out of the classroom.

Motivated individuals of all skill and experience levels are invited to apply to WSI by March 8, 2019. To apply and for more information, please visit wildernessskillsinstitute.org.

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Paving Project on Little River Road

Posted by on Feb 16, 2019 @ 7:15 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Paving Project on Little River Road

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a pavement preservation project will begin Tuesday, February 19, 2019 on Little River Road. A thin pavement overlay will be applied to the entire length of the 16.5-mile roadway between Sugarlands Visitor Center to the Townsend Wye along with associated pull-offs and parking lots and the 1.5-mile Elkmont Road leading to the campground. The project should be completed by September 20, 2019, though work schedules are subject to revision as needed for inclement weather.

Visitors traveling on Little River Road should expect weekday, single-lane closures and traffic delays from February 19 through June 14 and again from August 19 through September 20. Single-lane closures are permitted from 7:00 a.m. on Mondays through 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. The lane closures will be managed with flagging operations. Parking areas and pull-offs will be closed intermittently for pavement application. To better accommodate visitors during periods of high visitation, no lane closures will be allowed during peak summer months, weekends, or holidays including the week before and after Easter from April 12 through April 26.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded the $6.5 million paving contract to GC Works, Inc. Road work will include the application of a thin lift overlay to preserve the life of the pavement. Potholes will be patched before application of the pavement overlay.

In addition to this work, the park is also overseeing tree removal work along various roadways in the park including Little River Road between Sugarlands Visitor Center and Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, Elkmont Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and the Gatlinburg Bypass. Motorists should expect delays due to single-lane closures associated with this work through April.

For more information about temporary road closures, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/grsm or follow @SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.

 

402 acres added to DuPont State Recreational Forest

Posted by on Feb 14, 2019 @ 6:48 am in Conservation | 0 comments

402 acres added to DuPont State Recreational Forest

DuPont State Recreational Forest continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with Conserving Carolina announcing an additional 402 acres added to the forest. The addition will help conserve key headwater streams along the Eastern Continental Divide and link the forest with more than 100,000 acres of existing conserved lands along the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

In a news release, Conserving Carolina announced the new Continental Divide Property, located south of the forest in Transylvania County and extending across the Eastern Continental Divide, which separates waters that flow east toward the Atlantic and west toward the Gulf of Mexico.

“In a region blessed with an abundance of public and conserved natural lands, DuPont State Recreational Forest is already one of our greatest conservation gems,” Conserving Carolina Executive Director Kieran Roe said in the statement. “The incorporation of the Continental Divide tract will enhance it further by protecting water quality, preserving an important wildlife corridor and creating future opportunities for public recreation.”

The announcement follows on the heels of last month’s news that another 778.5 acres near Cascade Lake will be added to the forest, bringing the forest’s new total to 12,192 acres.

And according to the release, Conserving Carolina aims to purchase the remaining 314 acres of the Continental Divide tract and add it to the forest by the end of the year.

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The Senate just passed the decade’s biggest public lands package. Here’s what’s in it.

Posted by on Feb 12, 2019 @ 5:18 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The Senate just passed the decade’s biggest public lands package. Here’s what’s in it.

The Senate today passed the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country and establishing four new national monuments honoring heroes from Civil War soldiers to a civil rights icon.

The 662-page measure, which passed 92 to 8, represented an old-fashioned approach to deal-making that has largely disappeared on Capitol Hill. Senators from across the ideological spectrum celebrated home-state gains and congratulated each other for bridging the partisan divide.

The measure protects 1.3 million acres as wilderness, the nation’s most stringent protection that prohibits even roads and motorized vehicles. It permanently withdraws more than 370,000 acres of land from mining around two national parks, including Yellowstone, and permanently authorizes a program to spend offshore drilling revenue on conservation efforts.

Perhaps the most significant change the legislation would make is permanently authorizing a federal program that funnels offshore drilling revenue to conserve everything from major national parks and wildlife preserves to local baseball diamonds and basketball courts. Authorization for the popular program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), lapsed months ago due to the partial government shutdown and other disputes. Liberals like the fact that the money allows agencies to set aside land for wildlife habitat. Conservatives like the fact that taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for it.

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World’s Driest Desert Floods as Extreme Weather Hits Chile

Posted by on Feb 12, 2019 @ 7:19 am in Conservation | 0 comments

World’s Driest Desert Floods as Extreme Weather Hits Chile

The world’s driest desert is flooding and some of the planet’s wettest woodlands are burning. Welcome to summer in Chile.

Rains high up in the Andes Mountains have led to torrents of water pouring into the Atacama desert below, sweeping away houses and roads. Meanwhile in the south, blistering temperatures have fueled forest fires, leading the government to declare some regions a disaster area.

President Sebastian Piñera declared a “zone of emergency” in northern Chile after heavy rains devastated the country’s El Loa province. Flooding caused six deaths and destroyed nearly 100 homes, the National Emergency Office sai. Alerts for heavy precipitation were in effect in Arica, Parinacota and Tarapaca.

The disasters are part of a pattern of increasingly extreme weather in the country that stretches for 4,270 kilometers (2,650 miles) along South America’s south-west coast. The capital, Santiago, hasn’t received its average annual rainfall in a decade, while temperatures in the city beat the previous record by a whole degree Celsius last month. It was the third time in three years the city has set a record high.

“Chile needs to be thinking about how to adapt to climate change, as it has such an isolated climate that makes it more vulnerable to droughts,” said Park Williams, a hydroclimatologist at Columbia University in New York. “For the last several decades, temperatures have risen and precipitation has declined in central Chile, making it more susceptible to wildfires.”

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The Green New Deal is here, and everyone has something to say about it

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 @ 8:28 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The Green New Deal is here, and everyone has something to say about it

For the past several weeks, there’s been rampant speculation about what would be included in the much talked about Green New Deal, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change and remake much of the American economy. That anticipation came along with trepidation from some corners over whether the deal would include controversial elements that have already led to heated debate. Will a future bill include a jobs guarantee? Will nuclear energy be part of our energy mix of the future? Will it fold in universal healthcare?

Well, the nail-biting can stop now that there’s an outline of the plan to chew on. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey’s resolution arrived the morning of Feb. 7, 2018.

This is basically a target list for what future legislation would aim to achieve. It calls for a 10-year plan to build more climate-resilient communities, upgrade American infrastructure, ramp up renewable power, make buildings energy efficient, reduce pollution, restore ecosystems, and clean up manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.

Early indications are the plan has managed to thread the needle and get a lot of folks in the environmental movement on board — even those who might have been wary about what the proposal would entail.

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Conserving Carolina working to rehab 100-acre wetland

Posted by on Feb 7, 2019 @ 7:07 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Conserving Carolina working to rehab 100-acre wetland

Conserving Carolina is working on an ambitious project to completely rehabilitate the mouth of Mud Creek where it empties into the French Broad River near Fletcher, NC.

The goals are to return the area to a pre-development state that provides a safe haven to musky and other fish, curbs the reach of invasive species, reduces pollution and helps provide a place for all that water to go when heavy rains flood the French Broad.

They’re going to work to expand the riparian buffer by planting trees and other species that would naturally be found there, creating wetland habitat, upland meadow habitat, pollinator habitat and more.

Conserving Carolina will work with federal entities to recreate an Appalachian bog habitat that has become “very scarce in the region,” and work with the state Wildlife Resources Commission to create backwater sloughs, places of slack water connected to the river that provide sanctuary to fish when spawning or in flood conditions.

Conserving Carolina has dates marked on the calendar for volunteer workdays at the project site, including one scheduled for Feb. 12 to work on removing non-native invasive species.

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Earth Movers Poised To Erect Border Barrier At Texas Butterfly Refuge

Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 @ 8:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Earth Movers Poised To Erect Border Barrier At Texas Butterfly Refuge

Construction equipment has moved into place to erect Trump’s looming border barrier in southern Texas in the middle of a butterfly refuge, whose operators are furious that their land has been seized and environmental regulations ignored. The barrier is being erected along a levee of the Rio Grande in the border town of Mission.

The 18 feet of steel bollards on top of an 18-foot concrete wall will cut off 70 percent of the 100-acre National Butterfly Center closest to the river, refuge executive director Marianna Trevino-Wright said. The barrier will be two miles from the actual border, so gates will be built to allow Texans access from one part of America to another, she said.

“This has nothing to do with a levee, nothing to do with the environment,” Wright said. “This is tactical. It’s going to be guarded by paramilitary personnel.”

Some 35,000 people a year visit the butterfly center, which has as many as 200 species of butterflies in a wildlife area that will be devastated by bulldozing and disrupted by vehicle traffic, bright lights, garbage and increased human activity, Wright complained. The wall will trap some animals on the river side during floods, and those on the other side away from water they need to survive.

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