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Florida voters have passed Amendment 1, which designates billions of dollars for natural resources, wildlife and habitat conservation.
Defenders of Wildlife and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance today asked a federal court to hold the United States Forest Service and United States Fish and Wildlife Service accountable for their unlawful approval of the “Sunnyside” mineral exploration drilling project in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Forest, in the Alum Gulch area of the Patagonia Mountains. The groups say the approval of the Canadian mining company Regal Resources’ Sunnyside Project violates environmental laws and poses a potential threat to endangered species and the safety of drinking water for local residents. The Sunnyside Project involves drilling multiple exploratory holes up to 6,500 feet deep in one of the most biologically diverse mountain ranges in Arizona. The extensive drilling and construction would run 24/7 for months on end, and the total project operations could last up to 3 years.
Defenders of Wildlife today announced it has taken legal action against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) for the agency’s decision not to list the wolverine under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
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.