Monday, January 19, 2015

Top Conservation Stories of 2014

Here are a few of the most important conservation stories from 2014:

--Gila River Proposed Diversion approved by ISC

--Mexican Gray Wolf critical habitat expanded to include most of NM and AZ south of I-40

Zone 1 is where Mexican wolves may be initially released or translocated.  Zone 2 is where Mexican wolves will be allowed to naturally disperse into and occupy, and where Mexican wolves may be translocated.  Zone 3 is where neither initial releases nor translocations will occur, but Mexican wolves will be allowed to disperse into and occupy....where Mexican wolves will be more actively reduce conflict with the potentially affected public.  However, in AZ east of Highway 87 there will be a "phased approach" to managing wolf populations.

--U.S. Congress Omnibus spending bill approves the Resolution mine landswap in AZ, grazing lease terms expanded to 20 years, and Valles Caldera becomes newest National Park

--Drought in CA (7% snowpack) ... and NM.  (e.g. Heron Lake resevoir levels fall, fail to make San Juan-Chame deliveries to Rio Grande)

-- US EPA and NRCS try to regulate agriculture under CWA....and fail.  The problem of increasing toxic algae problem in Ohio lakes came to a head in 2014 when Cleveland had to turn off their city water intake from Lake Eerie due to a toxic algal bloom. The proposed rule would have allowed EPA to regulate "non-point source" water pollution from farms that did not have a NRCS-approved conservation practices in place.  But apparently the outcry was too much, and early in 2015 the rule was amended.  Note that the final rule, even though it no longer contained this provision, was still vehemently protested in 2015.

--  Gunnison Sage Grouse listed as "Threatened" under the ESA, Colorado appeals.

-- Colorado River Pulse....mostly just grows more tamarisk.

--  Pleistocene megafauna extinction due to meteor impact, new study finds.  

-- Wilderness turns 50 years old

-- New "stacked trait" GMO potatoes and soybeans approved in the U.S.

And a random tidbit:  rabbits eat more forage in utah than bison...leading ranchers to question the state's continued bounty for coyote skins.

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