Archive for the ‘Wildlife/Environment’ Category

Proposed Rule Would Let Forest Service ‘Go Local’

The Obama Administration last week proposed a new rule that would give local national forest directors more control over their natural resources. The proposed rule overturns a decades-old policy that leaves forest management decisions to officials in Washington.

The planning rule would allow forest managers additional control over the development of Forest Service land management plans. The proposed change is made with an eye to increasing forest and watershed restoration and resilience, habitat protection, sustainable recreation, and management for multiple uses of the National Forest System, including timber.

“The proposed rule will provide the tools to the Forest Service to make our forests more resilient to many threats, including pests, catastrophic fire and climate change. Healthy forests and economically strong rural communities form a solid foundation as we work to win the future for the next generation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Amendment Seeks to Kill Funding for Wild Horse Managment

Debate continues today on the Continuing Resolution in the U.S. The bill would fund the government for the rest of the current fiscal year. Many amendments have been proposed and AFBF has taken a position on 22 of them.

Today an amendment was approved that would cut $2 million from the Bureau of Land Management’s budget in protest over the agency’s wild horse roundups. Indiana Republican Dan Burton says his amendment is intended to send a signal to BLM officials that most Americans want the mustangs treated more humanely on public lands. Virginia Democrat Jim Moran says Congress passed a law 40 years ago to protect the horses on the range, but that today there are more than 40,000 in holding pens and only 30,000 in the wild.

Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis was among those opposed. She says the well-meaning horse advocates are “loving the creatures to death” by fueling overpopulation of herds that damage the rangeland they depend upon.

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USDA Unveils Proposed Forest Planning Rule

The USDA Forest Service unveiled its proposed Forest Planning Rule on Thursday to establish a new national framework to develop land management plans in the National Forest System.The proposed rule includes new provisions to guide forest and watershed restoration and resilience, habitat protection, sustainable recreation and management for multiple uses of the National Forest System, including timber.

Publication of the proposed planning rule in the Federal Register will kick off a 90-day public comment period, ending May 16. The Forest Service will use comments to develop a final rule.

The Pulse will feature a more in depth look at the proposed rule next week.

(Image: paraflyer)

Sweeping Lawsuit Filed Against EPA Could Hurt Farmers

Environmental groups are seeking protection of the Arroyo Toad and other endangered species from EPA approved ag chemicals.

Two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pesticide Action Network North America, have sued the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the agency’s overall ag chemical regulatory program.

According to the suit, EPA did not consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service regarding the effects of EPA-registered pesticides on endangered species. The groups claim in a 400-page complaint that EPA is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The groups are asking EPA to retroactively consult FWS and re-write current regulations, after putting restrictions on ag chemicals.

Virtually every ag chemical in use today is listed in the suit, which seeks protection for 214 endangered and threatened species throughout the U.S. including the Florida panther, California condor, piping plover, black-footed ferret, arroyo toad, Indiana bat, bonytail chub and Alabama sturgeon.

Omnibus Lands Bill Sure to Fail

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has abandoned plans to pass omnibus lands legislation but is working to pass certain pieces of the bill before the end of the session.

The omnibus bill,  titled “The Great Outdoors Act of 2010,” included the Rep. Polis sponsored Hidden Gems bill and more than 110 land and water bills from across the U.S.

Will Rousch, the Gems campaign outreach coordinator, said they are confident Polis will re-introduce the bill — which he called the Eagle and Summit County Wilderness Preservation Act —this spring, in the next session of congress.

(Image: dgroup)


Cow Bites Wolf?

ALBUQUERQUE – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a Mexican gray wolf found dead in southwestern New Mexico in October probably died of an intestinal rupture.

A preliminary report says the female wolf from the Morgart pack ingested a plastic ear tag commonly used on domestic cattle and that a rupture in the small intestines likely killed the animal.

(Image: Douglas Brown)

Private Fish Hatcheries Create Billions of Dollars in Economic Activity

A recently completed study by researchers at Colorado State University showed that angler spending supported by the Aquacultural Suppliers of Recreational Fish (ASRF) in the Western region of the United States contribute about $1.9 billion in output and more than 26,000 jobs to the economy of the states in the region. The Western region includes Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Results showed that every dollar of recreational fish sales can be traced to $36 of economic activity, and every $1 million spent on ASRF products is associated with nearly 500 jobs in the Western region.

Locally, this implies that production from Colorado recreational fish producers results in an estimated total economic contribution of more than a quarter-billion dollars and about 3,500 jobs.

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