Healthy habitats generate many benefits for humans as well as wildlife. Natural processes create healthy soil, clean and abundant water, fertile crops, and protection from flooding and climate extremes. These benefits we receive from nature are often called ecosystem services.
People also value nature - including the fish, wildlife and plants within it - for many reasons. In addition to providing food, water, clothing and building materials, nature offers cultural and spiritual benefits, recreational opportunities and an endless source of beauty.
Unfortunately, and although the Wyoming plan has its merits, key components of the strategy are not in accord with the best available science on sage-grouse and are unlikely to protect sage-grouse from ongoing threats, particularly oil and gas drilling. “In fact, federal agencies and other states should avoid adopting the Wyoming strategy if their goal is to conserve sage-grouse,” says Defenders’ sage-grouse expert, Mark Salvo.
Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill every five years. Defenders is working to guide the rulemaking process and implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill to have the greatest positive impact for conservation. We are advocating for regulations that:
Eighty percent of threatened and endangered species rely on privately-owned land for their habitat needs. The majority of this land is managed by farmers, ranchers and forest landowners, and the actions taken on those lands have a big impact on the health of ecosystems. This makes policies and programs for private lands, like federal agricultural policy, an extremely important part of our work to protect wildlife.
Last week, a federal court upheld Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s beach driving rule, which has led to two consecutive years of great news for sea turtle and piping plover nest rates, along with record tourism numbers.