President Trump announced a plan to roll back Obama-era clean water regulations that aimed to protect rivers and streams from agricultural runoff and other pollutants. It will remove vast wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways from federal protection.
In his new book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, FERN contributor Ben Goldfarb makes the case that this widely vilified rodent, which was trapped nearly out of existence in the U.S., is not only making a comeback but could play a major role in mitigating the effects of climate change and other problems afflicting farmers. (No paywall)
In Wisconsin, legislation is moving through the statehouse that would roll back the state’s wetlands development regulations, according to The Cap Times. The bill was proposed by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and in its original form proposed opening up one million acres of wetlands to development.
Now in its third version, an online game developed by Iowa State University lets students learn about land-use concepts by mixing crops and conservation practices on a simulated 6,000-acre watershed, says Wallaces Farmer magazine. Professor Lisa Schulte-Moore, leader of the team that developed the game, People in Ecosystems Watershed Integration (PEWi), says the new version has more options than previous editions.
John Duarte, a Northern California farmer, has agreed to pay a $1.1 million penalty to settle a years-long case that started in 2012, after he bought and tilled fallow land within a federally protected wetland.
Fifteen years after an agreement by Florida and federal officials to revive the Everglades, "billions of dollars have been spent but not much marsh has recovered," says the Miami Herald. "But a review of the key decision points by Florida policymakers over the last two decades shows that one key player in the fate of the Everglades has grown healthier and stronger: Big Sugar."