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  • July 31, 2012

    Conservation Update: CRP Lands Come to Rescue of Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers; Solar Will Be Wildlife-Friendly

    By Bob Marshall

    The headline above should be read out loud to all those congressmen and agricultural interests who oppose the Conservation Reserve Program.

    Here's why: Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture released millions of acres of CRP lands to grazing and haying in the nation's drought-stricken heartland, coming to the rescue of farm and ranch operations that are facing disaster. But that's exactly what the law creating CRP says should happen in these circumstances.

    Conservation programs like CRP aren't just about helping critters and sportsmen. They are an asset to farmers and ranchers as well.

  • July 29, 2012

    Conservation Update: Some in House Want Bristol Bay, West Coast Opened to Drilling

    By Bob Marshall

    Sportsmen wondering why certain House members -- who claim to be the sportsmen's voice in Congress -- keep pushing to open up oil drilling in some of the nation's most sensitive fishing areas can get a good idea from this recent interview with Randal Luthi on Environment and Energy TV.

    Luthi claims that the push by the House GOP to lift the Obama Administration's protection from Alaska's Bristol Bay and the coasts off Washington, Oregon, California and Maine is the right thing to do -- even though his industry already has access to more than 75 percent of the nation's offshore waters.

  • July 19, 2012

    Conservation Update: Sportsmen Need to Call to Save Farm Bill

    By Bob Marshall

    Conservation groups this week are sending a desperate plea to sportsmen: Contact your House members today and urge them to bring the Farm Bill up for a vote. The desperation is born of the frustration of watching victory slowly slip away.

    After months of hard work--and against some long odds--a good bill came out of the Senate last month, then a pretty good matching bill out of the House Agriculture Committee last week. But election-year theatrics could keep the most important fish and wildlife conservation legislation from making it to President Obama’s desk before the current bill expires Sept. 30.

    And after that the whole year-long effort could be nullified.

  • July 18, 2012

    American Rivers Makes an Appeal to America's Anglers

    By Hal Herring

    American Rivers, a group tightly focused on river conservation and restoration, is reaching out to the people who know rivers best: America’s fishermen. The Angler’s Fund offers fishermen an opportunity to help the venerable group (established in 1973, at a time when pollution, dam-building and devil-may-care insults to our waters was at an all-time high) in a mission to remove obsolete dams, restore fisheries and flows, and prevent pollution on all of our running waters.

    American Rivers lays claim to some remarkable success stories--the dramatic removal of the Elwha Dam in Washington state, and the recovery of the once spectacular salmon and steelhead runs there is only one of many--and they are now seeking to broaden their base to the most obvious constituency.

  • July 12, 2012

    Join the Shout to Save Bristol Bay

    By Hal Herring

    In 2008, I made a trip to the Mulchatna River to fish with friends and see some of the country that would be forever changed by the Pebble Mine Project. I’ve never been back--although I’d give most anything to fish those waters again--but the place is always with me. The strange, snow-etched Jackrabbit Hills, with the weird calligraphy of a million caribou trails crossing them and fanning out on the flat tundra like poetry written in a language that only hunters remember.

    Potholes aswarm with nesting waterfowl, and the deep prints of a grizzly way too close to the fish cleaning table. It’s all there in my mind, that land and the fish themselves, blood-red sockeye in cold green water, silvery kings thrashing in the shoals, the perfect dots on the side of an arctic char that look so much like tiny planets glowing in a twilight sky that it surely makes you wonder, really, how this world of ours came to be like this, and what it might mean, that a creature could be so beautiful. I carry those memories. I would never see the world quite the same way if I knew that place was gone, even if I never see it again myself.

  • July 9, 2012

    Conservation Update: The Gulf Gets a Win, But the Losses for Sportsmen Keep Coming

    By Hal Herring

    There’s good news, and there’s bad news that leads to good news. First, the good news:

    Sportsman’s groups from Ducks Unlimited to the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and everywhere in between were celebrating the passage of the RESTORE Act last week. Land Tawney of the National Wildlife Federation said, “The RESTORE Act is the culmination of years of work from hunters and anglers all across the nation, all working to restore the Gulf.”

    If the Act had not passed, the estimated $5-$20 billion in fines being collected from British Petroleum and other companies for their role in the oil spill would have gone to the U.S. Treasury, and been placed in a fund to clean up and mitigate future spills. It’s a staggering amount of money, and it is needed, right now, to begin the work to restore a coast that, even before being bathed in oil in 2010, with fisheries shut down for months and still-being-calculated damage to shellfish, water quality and pelagic fisheries, was washing away so fast that it is known to be the world’s fastest disappearing landmass.