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On Sunday, thousands of sheep will trail through the City of Ketchum. They’re the feature attraction of the annual Trailing of the Sheep festival and are on the way to their winter grazing location. These sheep are different than most in one regard: they are part of a program that uses nonlethal methods to protect livestock from wolf predation.
Contaminants from a mine spill in Cananea, Sonora earlier this summer have likely reached the San Pedro River flowing into Arizona. And with recent storms, old copper and silver mine sites near Patagonia are leaking bright red contaminants into local streams. These toxic reminders of our mining history have the potential to wreak havoc on local water supplies and wildlife in the Coronado National Forest, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.
Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) announced it would provide $900,000 in grants as part of the Wolf Livestock Demonstration Project Grant Program. This program authorizes the Service to administer grants annually for five years to livestock producers in the states of Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming willing to implement non-lethal deterrents to keep livestock away from wolves.
Today the Obama administration announced the dramatic expansion of an existing marine wildlife national monument in the Pacific Ocean. The expanded monument is anchored to and built off of existing national wildlife refuges in the Pacific Ocean and extends protections up to 200 miles around refuge islands. The expansion of the monument increases the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to ten times its current size. The president has now created the largest marine reserve in the National Wildlife Refuge System and the world that is completely off-limits to commercial resource extraction, including commercial fishing. National monuments are areas declared by Presidential Executive Order as specially protected public preserves.
Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a judge invalidated the delisting of the species.
Today Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the release of a draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The DRECP is a landmark joint planning effort involving local, state and federal government lands and agencies. Its purpose is to identify lands most appropriate for renewable energy development while conserving areas important for wildlife, wilderness, recreation and other values across the California desert. The DRECP covers 22.5 million acres of public and private land in the desert regions and will identify 200,000 to 350,000 acres as development focus areas, enough to meet California renewable energy goals through 2040.
This week, September 21-27, marks the 12th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week. In addition to raising funds for and awareness of the plight of these important marine animals, this year Defenders of Wildlife has launched a free downloadable education unit for teachers to use in the classroom. The unit includes multiple activities and assignments, all highlighting marine biology and sea otter conservation.
Our children are less likely to see many iconic species, like the polar bear and monarch butterfly, according to a new report.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) over the agency’s denial of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection to the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. The owl was originally listed as endangered from 1997 until 2006 and then improperly removed from the endangered species list by the Service. The groups petitioned to have the pygmy owl’s endangered status restored across the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico in 2007. Although the Service acknowledged that pygmy owls still faced many threats in the Sonoran Desert and that the region is important to the species as a whole, it denied the petition under a new policy that will make it far more difficult for imperiled species to gain federal protection.
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) asked Congress to recognize the importance of wildlife conservation yesterday by introducing a resolution (S. Res. 564) on the September 1st centennial of the passenger pigeon’s extinction to the Senate.