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Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service released an alarming report illustrating the profound impact of rising firefighting costs on national forest conservation, restoration, recreation and management programs. The report highlights the fact that firefighting costs now consume over 50 percent of the Forest Service’s budget, compared to just 16 percent in 1995, and are expected to comprise two-thirds of the agency’s budget 10 years from now if left unaddressed.
Today the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that wildlife biologists have been tracking a gray wolf that has likely dispersed from Oregon into Siskiyou County in northern California. The presence of this new wolf – whose sex and specific origins have yet to be determined – affirms support for the ready return of gray wolves to California. After nearly a century without wolves being present in the state, this new wolf is now the second in the last four years known to cross the border into California. In recent years “wandering wolf” OR-7 was made famous for several trips into the Golden State, and has now started his own pack in Oregon’s southern Cascades not far from the California border.
Today President Obama announced the centerpiece of his groundbreaking climate change strategy, the Clean Power Plan (CCP).
Defenders shares in the world’s horror and outrage at the killing of Cecil the lion. African lions have declined by forty-two percent in the last 21 years, making the loss of even one lion tragic. But losing a lion like Cecil, a breeding male who was such a strong ambassador for the species, is especially devastating.
President Obama has announced new regulations for preventing the importation and sale of illegal ivory within the United States.
The President of Defenders of Wildlife today commended Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for prioritizing the use of nonlethal management tools to put an end to the livestock-wolf conflict involving the Dirty Shirt pack reported earlier in July in Northeastern Washington.
Today the House passed a cynically named “drought relief” bill that will have devastating impacts on imperiled wildlife while failing to offer long-term solutions to the mega-drought in California. The bill, introduced by Rep. Valadao (R-CA) undermines endangered species protections and state and federal environmental laws in a supposed effort to make more non-existent water available.
Conservation groups have reached an agreement with the First Solar, Inc. to provide additional conservation protections to wild lands and wildlife as part of construction of the California Flats Solar Project, a proposed 280-megawatt solar energy project in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.
Today the Obama administration announced the designation of three new national monuments, including a new monument in northern California, Berryessa Snow Mountain. The Berryessa Snow Mountain region of northern California’s Inner Coast Ranges is home to a wide variety of California wildlife, including mountain lions, bears, deer, osprey, native trout, bald eagles and elusive Pacific fishers. In 2012 California lawmakers first introduced a bill that would designate the region as a National Conservation Area. In December 2014, the Obama administration received more than 80,000 public comments supporting the permanent protection of Berryessa Snow Mountain, and today it acted.
Today the House passed a so-called forest “reform” bill (H.R. 2647) that would bulldoze bedrock environmental laws to pave the way for dramatic increases in logging in forests across America. This extreme bill turns back the clock 50 years on forest management and puts our nation’s forests at risk by green-lighting reckless logging practices, damaging vital wildlife habitat, short-cutting critical environmental review, and limiting public involvement in forest management decisions.