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  • August 31, 2011

    Heroes of Conservation Ep3: The Drinking Water Provider

    By Editors

    Heroes of Conservation finalist Clair Harris has been repairing water catchments and facilitating the dispersal of reclaimed drinking water to Arizona’s wildlife for more than 40 years.

  • August 31, 2011

    Could Capped BP Spill Site Be Leaking Again?

    By Chad Love

    Could the capped wellhead at the Deepwater Horizon site be leaking again? That's the question some are asking after the discovery of oil sheens in the vicinity of the infamous BP disaster.

    From this story in the Mobile (Alabama) Press-Register:

    Oil is once again fouling the Gulf of Mexico around the Deepwater Horizon well, which was capped a little over a year ago. Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of small, circular patches of oily sheen dotted the surface within a mile of the wellhead. With just a bare sheen present over about a quarter-mile, the scene was a far cry from the massive slick that covered the Gulf last summer.

  • August 31, 2011

    Conservation Roundup: Newspapers, Hunting, Fishing Save the Planet

    By Bob Marshall

    Fish, wildlife experts to Obama: Stand firm on regulations
    Sportsmen fighting industries to protect public fish and wildlife habitat are getting support from former heads of federal agencies that have managed these lands. Eight former agency chiefs sent a letter to President Obama urging him to stand firm on the regulatory reform that has reduced the impact of development on fish and wildlife habitat critical to sportsmen. Industries oppose many of the changes because it costs them money.

    The letter came a few days after a federal judge in Cheyenne, Wyo., threw out a May 2010 order by the by BLM Director Bob Abbey requiring greater scrutiny of "categorical exclusions" - a process that allows regulators to exempt large sections of leases on public lands from certain environmental reviews.

  • August 30, 2011

    Conservation Roundup: Spy Lake Trout and the Mussel Invasion

    By Bob Marshall

    Fish and wildlife habitat means jobs, too.

    Sportsmen arguing against the roll back of environmental regulations often get told that keeping fish, wildlife and human habitats clean costs too many jobs.

    Well, here's some ammunition to fight back with: A growing body of evidence points to just the opposite effect - that environmental regulations important to fish, wildlife and people actually create jobs.

    That isn't just tree-hugger chatter. This letter to the Wall Street Journal by executives from power companies says so,  as does this study.

    Members of the hunting and fishing community have been trying to make the same point. Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall points out that environmental spending is less than 1.26 percent of the federal budget in 2010, yet supported "more than 1.6 million jobs and generate more than $25 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes,".

  • August 26, 2011

    Heroes of Conservation Ep2: Heroes in Action

    By Editors

    Heroes of Conservation finalist Kirk Klancke and Editor-at-large Eddie Nickens wield shovels—rather than flyrods—in the headwaters of the Colorado River, to remove highway traction sand from trout habitat.

  • August 26, 2011

    Conservationist Roundup: Warming Wildlife + Vanishing Cisco

    By Bob Marshall

    Report lists problems and cures for greater sage grouse:

    A new study confirms what sportsmen have known for years: The solution to plummeting greater sage grouse populations is closer monitoring of private lands development in birds' habitat range.

    Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey looking at grouse habitat across 11 states found occupancy rates were many times higher where human development was lower, especially such vertical structures as cell phone towers and power lines.

    The highest population densities were on federal lands where regulation is tighter. However, researchers also know the greater sage grouse will soon be listed as threatened because they depend on the vast amount of adjacent private lands to maintain populations.

    The report bolsters the support for the recent grant of $21.8 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for farmers who tailor development to grouse needs. That builds on the two-year Sage Grouse Initiative which provides $112 million to 11 Western states.

  • August 25, 2011

    Heroes of Conservation Ep1: The River Reviver

    By Editors

    Field & Stream and Toyota are happy to announce our seven finalists for the 2011 Heroes of Conservation Awards. We’ll award $5000 to each project, and give away a new Toyota Tundra to the Hero of the Year at a gala event in Washington D.C. in October.

    You can watch a new video of these heroes in action right here on the Conservationist blog every week, and we’ll tell their stories in the October 2011 issue of the magazine.

    This week, we’d like to introduce you to flyfisherman Kirk Klancke, from Fraser, Colorado. He has been working for 25 years to promote stream health in the Fraser River by leading his local TU chapter, educating and fund-raising through Riverstock music festival, and by spearheading construction of a sediment basin to improve strangled spawning grounds for trout.

  • August 24, 2011

    Conservation Roundup: Too Hot For Western Trout? and Backcountry Sportsmen Speak Out

    By Bob Marshall

    Too-hot for Western Trout Fishing?

    If you care about Western trout fishing, you'll want to know this:

    A new, peer-reviewed study shows rising stream water temperatures caused by climate change could cut Western habitat for trout in half over the next 70 years, sending populations of cutthroat, rainbows, brookies and browns plummeting.

    The study published this week in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences," was reported by a team of 11 researchers from Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State University and the University of Washington. The full report can be found here.

    The report predicts the expected three-degree Celsius (about 5 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in water temperatures and other climate-related impacts would reduce populations of native cutthroat across the West by as much as 58 percent, brook trout up to 77 percent, and rainbow and brown trout populations by as much as 35 percent and 48 percent respectively.

  • August 22, 2011

    Toilet to Tap: Dry Weather Forces Recycling of Sewage Water in Texas

    By Chad Love

    It's hard to overstate just how pernicious and devastating the effects of the ongoing drought in the southern plains have been. Lakes and rivers are drying up, city water supplies are dwindling, fish and wildlife are suffering and Texas alone has suffered over $5 billion in agricultural losses. Many are now asking if the drought is part of a paradigm shift in how we view water usage and conservation in this country. How much of a paradigm? Many cities are now actively looking at recycling wastewater into drinking water.

    From this story in the Christian Science Monitor:

    This summer, Texas' drought of the century is an uncomfortable reminder that often there just isn't enough water to go around. But the 40 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures and minuscule rainfall may also be boosting the case for a new freshwater source being developed in Big Spring, Texas, and surrounding cities.

  • August 17, 2011

    Guest Blog: Why We Must Race to Conserve our Wild Areas Now

    By Editors

    A guest post by Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

    “The most endangered species in South Dakota these days is a young rancher,” Jim Faulstich told me as we sat in the barn of his ranch in central South Dakota. “As we lose the grasslands, we also lose the wildlife habitat and the hunting tradition that is a vital part of our heritage.”

    With 6,000 acres of native grasslands and wetlands rich with pheasants, sharptail grouse, prairie chickens, partridge, ducks, antelope, and whitetail and mule deer, Faulstich’s Daybreak Ranch is a special place for both wildlife and hunters.

    As his father before him did, Jim runs 500 head of cattle on the ranch and welcomes 100 sportsmen each year to enjoy the abundant wildlife and beauty of the land. Someday, he hopes to pass the ranch down to his son-in-law, Adam, and his grandson, Caleb. But he’s worried. Every year, 50,000 acres of grassland are plowed under in South Dakota.

    I sat down with Jim on a windswept day recently to talk about the future of ranches like his and what can be done to preserve South Dakota’s ranching heritage and the native grasslands that are vital habitat to both game and non-game species.

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