There was a lot of hubbub around the West when NASA revealed the beautiful “Black Marble” satellite images of America and the world, showing the intensity of our settlements through the brilliance of our electrical lights. So much of the eastern and southern U.S. is lit, and the lights only began to fade as you reach the northern Great Plains, and then look to the northern Rocky Mountains, which remain fairly dark.
Sportsmen have just a few days left to help stop the Bureau of Land Management from delivering yet another blow to mule deer, elk and sage grouse populations in western Colorado.
Monday marks the end of the public comment period on the BLM’s decision to select a new energy development plan for the 1.7 million-acre White River area near Meeker. That area could see 15,500 new wells drilled under a management regime that would allow mule deer populations to be reduced by 30 percent below the long-term objectives set by Colorado’s Division of Wildlife.
As seasons came to a close across the nation this month, many waterfowl managers privately were giving hunters this advice: Take plenty of pictures - you might not see this many duck again for years to come.
Their concerns are real.
Not only is drought returning to the prairie potholes of North and South Dakota - the most productive duck nesting habitat in North America - but the conservation programs that have served as a cushion against the worst effects of drought are being cut, if not eliminated, by members of Congress who place a low value on conservation spending.
At dawn on a January morning, the countryside around Stuttgart, Arkansas is an impressionist painting, brooding flooded hardwood bottoms fading without banks into slow gray rivers, harvested rice fields in colors of light butternut and yellow, turned black Mississippi Delta earth. Perfect clouds of snow geese, mallards, Canadas, teal, and wood ducks show dark and beautiful against the leaden winter sky. We--my son and daughter, wife, Lab pup, and I--saw it all not from a duck blind, but from Interstate 40, on the return to Montana from a 5000 mile-driving odyssey to visit family in Alabama, friends in Mississippi and Louisiana. We were towing a 14-foot aluminum boat, bought cheap from an old friend, so we traveled home slowly, not like on foot or horseback, but slowly enough to look at our country, to marvel at its wonders, to ponder its troubles.
The Global Change Research Act of 1990 requires an assessment report at least every four years. It is put together by the 60-member federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, whose work was reviewed by the National Academies of Science.
Can the oceans’ wild fish stocks survive today’s world of commercial fishing?
For more than a decade, that question has been the driving concern of many marine conservationists, anglers, and the recreational fishing industry. The combination of new, highly efficient find-and-catch technologies, along with constant market pressures from the world’s exploding population, has overwhelmed the reproductive capacity of some species. Just as troubling, pursuit of market species often results in a huge by-catch -- the capture, death and discard of untargeted species, including not only threatened fish but also marine mammals. Because that equation that shows no signs of changing, it threatens the future of some fish species.
As political pundits attempt to assess the impact of the fiscal cliff deal struck by Congress earlier this week, it is becoming increasingly clear that the biggest loser may have been conservation. Here’s what happened, and where we stand:
- The biggest immediate blow may have come when the House refused to pass the new Farm Bill, instead giving a nine-month extension to the old bill. That cast ominous shadows of uncertainty over many of the nation’s most effective and proven habitat conservation measures, including Conservation Reserve, Grasslands Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs. While it is believed legal authorization for those initiatives has been extended, there has been no additional funding.