The Renewable Fuel Standard, which guarantees biofuels such as corn ethanol a share of the gasoline market, has prompted farmers to plow under wildlife habitat and has contributed to agricultural runoff, said the National Wildlife Federation on Thursday.
If farm bill negotiators allow “anti-environment policy riders” into the bill’s final version, they can expect protracted debate and possible defeat of the panoramic legislation, said 38 Democratic senators on Thursday.
The Interior and Commerce departments unveiled a proposed retrenchment of the Endangered Species Act that would remove key provisions, such as giving similar protection to species whether they are considered “endangered” or “threatened,” said the Washington Post.
In California's Sacramento Valley, farmers and conservationists are working together to create habitat for wildlife, trying to mimic wetlands that were once plentiful in the state but have shrunk to one-tenth of their historic size. The focus of their work is the rice industry, which ranks second in production after the Mississippi Delta. The effort is paying off. One farmer pointed out "egrets and herons, Sandhill Cranes, curlews, ibis, and countless ducks and geese filling whole sections of rice fields," reports Lisa Morehouse in her latest story for FERN, in collaboration with KQED's California Report. No paywall
Wildlife Services, the branch of the USDA that controls so-called problem wildlife, will no longer use “cyanide bombs” to kill coyotes on public lands in Colorado.
Research by the University of Saskatchewan provides “the first direct evidence that neonicotinoids can harm songbirds and their migration,” said the Guardian, by causing the birds to lose weight and their sense of direction.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says it could use a 2005 anti-terrorism law — the Real ID Act — to all President Trump’s border wall to be built through a national wildlife refuge in Texas, without having to conduct an environmental impact studies. The studies are usually mandated for any new construction on federal lands under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Trump administration is considering a different way to manage endangered species. The new approach is based on an algorithm that would channel funds toward plants and animals that have the greatest chance of survival—and away from others.
With enrollment in the land-idling Conservation Reserve nearing its statutory limit of 24 million acres, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced revisions in the program to protect water quality and to benefit wildlife, pollinators and wetlands. Under one of the changes, USDA will pay up to 90 percent of the cost of environmentally beneficial practices, such as bioreactors and saturated buffers that clean up run-off from drainage lines running beneath cropland.
“Worldwide populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have plunged by almost 60 percent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment,” says Reuters, based on the 2016 Living Planet Report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).