Category Archives: Conservation

Environmentalists Endorse Tom Suozzi in Feb. 13 Special Election for Congress NY-03 Citing Record, Policies

Tom Suozzi, seeking to return to Congress representing NY-03, receives endorsements from leading environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, and New York League of Conservation Voters © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features, [email protected]

Glen Cove, NY – Former US Congressman Tom Suozzi today held a press conference to highlight his lifelong commitment to preserving and protecting our environment and lay out his plan to continue to do so when he returns to Congress after the February 13th special election.

At the press conference, held at a very cold and windy Sea Cliff Municipal Beach, Suozzi received enthusiastic and wholehearted endorsements from the New York League of Conservation Voters, the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) Action Fund, and the Sierra Club Long Island Group.

“I am grateful to the New York League of Conservation Voters Federal Fund, the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, the NRDC Action Fund, and the Sierra Club Long Island Group for recognizing my three-decades-long commitment to preserve, protect, and clean our air, land, and water,” Suozzi said. “Just a few days ago, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, and on that day, I saw an eagle fly across the sky in my hometown of Glen Cove. The hard work of a lot of dedicated people can produce results!”

Tom Suozzi, running to return to Congress representing NY-03 in the Feb. 13 special election, reminds voters of his 30-year record on the environment, and his policies going forward © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

When asked about the environment as a campaign issue, Suozzi emphasized his 30-year public service record of cleaning up pollution, dramatically reducing nitrogen, modernizing sewage treatment plants, remediating groundwater, and restoring shell fishing in our local waters.

“I’ve been a champion of the environment for my entire career. My opponent, on the other hand, parrots the talking points of the Conservative Party, which rejects the Paris Climate Change Agreement, denying that climate change is even real,” Suozzi stated. “Well, I know the people that live in this district very well, and they care about the environment. They want to make sure that we clean up pollution and that we protect our air, protect our land, and protect our water.”

“My whole adult life I have worked for these issues. I know how politics works, how government works….I know how to make government work for people, so they see real impact in their lives,” Suozzi said, flanked by a battalion of enthusiastic supporters despite the frigid wind.

“Our environment is a big part of my 10-point plan,” Suozzi said, citing his 10-point plan released in mid-December. “My opponent just put out a 10-point plan, which looks very similar to my 10-point plan, and there is nothing on it about the environment whatsoever.”

Tom Suozzi, seeking to return to Congress representing NY-03, receives endorsements from leading environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, and New York League of Conservation Voters © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

Joining Suozzi and speaking at the press conference were Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters; Al Fredericks, Chair of the Political Committee of the Sierra Club’s Long Island Group; Kevin Curtis, Executive Director of the NRDC Action Fund; Danielle Fugazy Scagliola, member Glen Cove City Council; and Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Nassau County Legislator and Minority Leader.

“It’s not partisan to want clean air, clean water,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We are feeling the effect of climate change – the hottest year on the planet since records were kept. Leadership matters. …We’ve had a 30-year relationship with Suozzi…He fights tooth and nail for policies that all have real impact on the environment.”

Al Fredericks, Chair of the Political Committee of the Sierra Club’s Long Island Group , noted that Suozzi was one of the chief negotiators of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act that dramatically increased funding for Long Island Sound and remediating Grumman. He cast a critical vote to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest federal investment in the environment and climate action.

“His Republican opponent cannot match his knowledge or experience in issues that most concern District 3. She is a newcomer with a single two-year term as Nassau County Legislator. We cannot afford to gamble once again on an inexperienced candidate.”

Kevin Curtis, Executive Director of the NRDC Action Fund said that his committee unanimously voted to endorse Suozzi. “The Congressman is the real deal – he does the hard work on the environment.”

Minority Leader in Nassau County Legislature Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, who has served with Suozzi’s Republican opponent the past two years, noted that this coastal peninsula was one of the largest superfund sites in the nation, but Suozzi fought for and won funding to clean it up. “There are places all over the nation needing funding –the only way to bring money home is if you have someone fighting for it. His opponent has said she is ‘not a talker’. We need someone who understands the process, how the system works and is not just a talker, but can argue, fight for his local area.”

While Suozzi has regularly held press conferences and is out meeting people and taking questions, his Republican opponent has kept away and is refusing to debate.  

“The voters need to know where she stands on the environment and every other issue. She refuses to tell us anything in detail, and she refuses to debate,” Suozzi asserted. “I give detailed policy descriptions and have a record of getting things done.”

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FACT SHEET: President Biden Designates Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument

New monument – marking fifth new National Monument created by President Biden – will conserve nearly 1 million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape sacred to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples and advance President Biden’s historic climate and conservation agenda

In conjunction with the President’s visit, Biden-Harris Administration announces $44 million investment to strengthen climate resilience across America’s National Parks system
 

Wupatki. President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona, conserving nearly 1 million acres of greater Grand Canyon landscape sacred to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples and advance President Biden’s historic climate and conservation agenda. The President also announced $44 million investment to strengthen climate resilience across America’s National Parks system © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
 

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to protect America’s natural wonders for future generations, honor culturally significant areas, and tell a more complete story of our nation, President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona. Baaj nwaavjo (BAAHJ – NUH-WAAHV-JOH) means “where Indigenous peoples roam” in the Havasupai language, and i’tah kukveni (EE-TAH – KOOK-VENNY) means “our ancestral footprints” in the Hopi language. The name reflects the significance of the Grand Canyon area, not just to one, but to many Tribal Nations.

This designation, which marks the fifth new national monument established by President Biden, honors Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically and scientifically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting wildlife habitat and clean water, and supporting local economies.

Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument will conserve nearly 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. The new monument protects thousands of cultural and sacred sites that are precious to Tribal Nations in the Southwest – including the Havasupai Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Navajo Nation, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes. These sites include Gray Mountain, called Dziłbeeh by the Navajo, which is a part of Navajo ceremonial songs, stories, and rituals. The President will sign the proclamation at Red Butte, a sacred site called Wii’i Gdwiisa by the Havasupai, which towers above the southern portion of the monument.

In conjunction with the President’s visit to Arizona, and ahead of the 1-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden-Harris Administration is also announcing $44 million to strengthen climate resilience across America’s iconic National Parks system, including 43 projects across 39 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To mark this announcement and uplift the latest climate and conservation actions by the Biden-Harris Administration, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz will travel tomorrow to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Through his Investing in America agenda, the President has delivered record funding for conservation, climate action, and environmental justice.

Since day one, President Biden has delivered on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in American history. That includes the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative, which is supporting locally led conservation efforts across the country with a goal to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to honoring and respecting Tribal sovereignty, protecting Tribal homelands, and incorporating Indigenous Knowledge and robust Tribal consultation into planning and decision-making. Today’s designation supports Tribally led conservation efforts and helps address injustices of the past, including when Tribes were forcibly removed from lands that later became Grand Canyon National Park.

The new Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument joins other iconic places protected by the Biden-Harris Administration, including Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada, Castner Range National Monument in Texas, Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado, Bristol Bay and the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and surrounding watershed in Minnesota. 

Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument protects and preserves the rich cultural, ecological, scientific, historic, and scenic value of the greater Grand Canyon landscape. Today’s monument designation protects these sacred places for cultural and spiritual uses, while respecting existing livestock grazing permits and preserving access for hunting and fishing.

The new monument is made up of three distinct areas to the south, northeast, and northwest of Grand Canyon National Park. It is bordered by the Kanab watershed boundary and Kanab Creek drainage in the northwestern area and the Havasupai Indian Reservation and Navajo Nation in the southern area, and stretches from Marble Canyon to the edge of the Kaibab Plateau in the northeastern area. The monument spans 917,618 acres of public lands managed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service.

The area includes many natural wonders, from sweeping plateaus and deep canyons to meandering creeks and streams that ultimately flow into the mighty Colorado River, providing water to millions of people across the Southwest. The unique interplay of geology and hydrology support some of the most biodiverse habitats in the region ranging from sagebrush to savanna, providing refuge for iconic wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, bison, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, owls, and songbirds. The new monument contains over 3,000 known cultural and historic sites, including 12 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today’s designation recognizes and is a step toward addressing the history of dispossession and exclusion of Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples in the area, including that occurring when the federal government established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893, Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908, and Grand Canyon National Park in 1919. 

The proclamation continues the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented engagement with Tribal Nations around traditional homelands and sacred sites. It directs the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture to engage with Tribes through consultations, co-stewardship agreements, contracts, financial and technical assistance, and other mechanisms to ensure that that the management of the monument occurs in collaboration with Tribes and reflects the Indigenous Knowledge and special expertise Tribes have amassed over countless generations. The proclamation also establishes the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon Commission to advance the objective of co-stewardship of the monument. 

Today’s designation preserves this vital landscape for outdoor recreation, including camping, hiking, biking, and other recreational activities, consistent with applicable law. Hunting and fishing will continue to be allowed throughout the monument, including in the Kanab Creek area.

The proclamation recognizes and reaffirms the State of Arizona’s ongoing primary role in the management of wildlife within the monument and directs federal agencies to build on their ongoing partnerships with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to further strengthen these collaborative efforts. Hunting, fishing, live trapping and transplantation, activities associated with scientific resources management including research, census, and monitoring of populations, and a wide range of other wildlife management activities will continue to be allowed within the national monument. The proclamation further directs the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to build on their ongoing partnerships with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to explore developing new or updating existing memoranda of understanding to further improve these collaborative efforts.

Recognizing the critical role that sportsmen and sportswomen have played, and continue to play, in wildlife restoration and conservation in the area, the proclamation requires that a monument advisory committee include representation from both the sportsmen and sportswomen community, as well as representation from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It also directs the monument advisory committee to include representation from the ranching community. The proclamation respects existing livestock grazing permits on lands within the monument.

The national monument designation recognizes and respects valid existing rights. The proclamation specifies that maintenance and upgrades to water infrastructure for flood control, utilities, water district facilities, wildlife water catchments, and other similar uses may continue; and that utility lines, pipelines, and roads can continue to be maintained, upgraded, and built consistent with proper care and management of the monument objects. Existing mining claims – predating a 20-year mineral withdraw initiated in 2012 – will remain in place, and the two approved mining operations within the boundaries of the monument would be able to operate.

The national monument only includes federal lands and does not include State and private lands within the boundary or affect the property rights of the State or private land owners. 

Background on Antiquities Act Designations

President Theodore Roosevelt first used the Antiquities Act in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Since then, 18 presidents of both parties have used this authority to protect unique natural and historic features in America, including the Statue of Liberty, the Colorado’s Canyon of the Ancients, and New Mexico’s Gila Cliff Dwellings.

The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument is President Biden’s fifth new monument designation, following the creation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in Illinois and Mississippi last month, the Castner Range National Monument in Texas and Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada this spring, and the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado last fall.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Takes New Actions to Conserve and Restore America’s Lands and Waters

President Establishes New National Monuments in Nevada and Texas; Directs Secretary of Commerce to Consider Expanding Protections for Pacific Remote Islands Which Would Reach Goal of Conserving 30% of U.S. Ocean by 2030

House on Fire, Bears Ears National Monument. During his first year in office, President Biden protected more lands and waters than any president since John F. Kennedy, including by restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments.  Last year, President Biden designated his first new national monument, Camp Hale-Continental Divide in Colorado and most recently, he established two new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

At the White House Conservation in Action Summit on March 21, President Biden announced major new actions to conserve and restore lands and waters across the nation, including by establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The President also directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider exercising her authority to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. These new commitments build on President Biden’s historic climate and environmental record, including delivering on the most ambitious land and water conservation agenda in American history.  

The announcements include:

  • Establishing two new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The designation of these two national monuments demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protect historically and culturally significant areas and conserve our nation’s treasured outdoor spaces. Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada will honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples while conserving our public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy. In Texas, Castner Range National Monument will expand access to the outdoors for the El Paso community while honoring our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. Together, these new national monuments protect nearly 514,000 acres of public lands.
     
  • Protecting all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. The President directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider initiating a new National Marine Sanctuary designation within the next 30 days to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. If completed, the new sanctuary would ensure the U.S. will reach the President’s goal of conserving at least 30% of ocean waters under American jurisdiction by 2030.
     
  • New actions to conserve, restore, and expand access to lands and waters. The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a series of new steps to conserve, restore, and expand access to lands and waters across the country. These include a proposal to modernize the management of America’s public lands, a plan to harness the power of the ocean to fight the climate crisis, a strategy to better conserve wildlife corridors, and new funding to improve access to outdoor recreation, promote Tribal conservation, reduce wildfire risk, and more.

These actions build on more than two years of the Biden-Harris Administration’s progress and historic investments to advance conservation, restoration, and stewardship nationwide:

  • During his first year in office, President Biden protected more lands and waters than any president since John F. Kennedy, including by restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. Last year, President Biden designated his first new national monument, Camp Hale – Continental Divide in Colorado.
     
  • Thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden has, over his first two years in office, invested over $10 billion in conservation initiatives – more than any other modern president.
     
  • Under the President’s leadership, the Administration is making unprecedented investments in land, water, and wildlife conservation, including by launching the $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge. These investments will help meet the President’s goal – set during his first week in office – of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
     
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has protected nationally-significant lands and waters across the country, including recent actions to restore protections for roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest, prevent future oil and gas leasing in the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean, safeguard Bristol Bay in Alaska and the world-class salmon fishery it supports, and protect America’s most-visited wilderness area, the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. The Administration is also working to protect Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the Thompson Divide in Colorado, and accelerating restoration efforts in the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, and the Columbia River Basin.

Establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada

President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. This designation will honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting this sacred Nevada landscape and its historically and scientifically important features, while conserving our public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy.

Avi Kwa Ame is considered to be among the most sacred places on Earth by the Mojave, Chemehuevi, and some Southern Paiute people. It is also important to other Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples including the Cocopah, Halchidhoma, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Pai Pai, Quechan, Yavapai, and Zuni Tribes. Its scenic peaks include Avi Kwa Ame (Spirit Mountain), which is designated as a Traditional Cultural Property on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its religious and cultural importance. The area is also home to the one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests, and provides continuous habitat or migration corridors for species such as the desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and Gila monster.

Establishing Castner Range National Monument in Texas

President Biden also signed a proclamation establishing the Castner Range National Monument, in El Paso, Texas. This action will protect the cultural, scientific, and historic objects found within the monument’s boundaries, honor our veterans, servicemembers, and Tribal Nations, and expand access to outdoor recreation on our public lands. 

Located on Fort Bliss, Castner Range served as a training and testing site for the U.S. Army during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Army ceased training at the site and closed Castner Range in 1966. Once the area is sufficiently remediated to be safe for public access, Castner Range will offer unique opportunities for the El Paso community to experience, explore, and learn from nature. President Biden is committed to expanding access to nature for underserved communities that have historically had less access to our public lands, like those bordering Castner Range. Protecting Castner Range connects the area with the Franklin Mountains State Park, creating continuous habitat for wildlife and improved public access for outdoor recreation. Castner Range also hosts significant cultural sites documenting the history of Tribal Nations, including the Apache and Pueblo peoples and the Comanche Nation, Hopi Tribe, and Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.

Directing Consideration of a Sanctuary to Complete Protections for Waters Around the Pacific Remote Islands

Consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Commerce to, using the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, consider initiating a sanctuary designation within the next 30 days to expand protections around the Pacific Remote Islands southwest of Hawaii. Such protections would encompass areas unaddressed by previous administrations so all areas of U.S. jurisdiction around the islands, atolls, and reef of the Pacific Remote Islands will be protected.

The potential new National Marine Sanctuary identified in the Memorandum would conserve 777,000 square miles, including the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and currently unprotected submerged lands and waters. The region has a rich ancestral tie to many Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island communities. The process for a potential sanctuary designation would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to further explore the area’s scientific, cultural, and ancestral linkages, and tailor its management accordingly.

The President is also directing the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a public process to work with regional Indigenous cultural leaders to appropriately rename the existing Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, and potentially the Islands themselves, to honor the area’s heritage, ancestral pathways, and stopping points for Pacific Island voyagers, and to provide posthumous recognition for young Native Hawaiian men sent to secure U.S. territorial claim to the islands in the run up to World War II.

New Federal and Other Actions to Conserve, Restore, and Expand Access to Lands and Waters

Ocean Climate Action Plan: The Ocean Policy Committee, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is releasing the first-ever United States Ocean Climate Action Plan, a groundbreaking roadmap to harnesses the power of the ocean to advance immediate, transformational steps to protect ocean health and address the climate crisis. Acknowledging that there is no path to a healthy and livable climate without the ocean, the plan outlines new actions on the Administration’s ocean-climate priorities, including efforts to advance climate solutions, promote environmental justice, support healthy communities, and ensure a robust and sustainable ocean economy.

Wildlife Corridors Guidance: The White House Council on Environmental Quality is issuing new guidance to Federal agencies on how to better incorporate ecological connectivity and wildlife corridors into federal planning and decision-making. The guidance highlights the importance of connectivity across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater habitats, encouraging collaboration across management and ownership boundaries with states, Tribes, local governments, and private land owners. This helps deliver on one of the America the Beautiful Initiative’s six early focus areas – supporting collaborative conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and corridors.

Strengthening the Stewardship of America’s Public Lands: The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in the coming weeks is seeking public input on a proposed rule that will help update and modernize the agency’s tools and strategies for managing America’s public lands. With climate change imposing mounting impacts on the nation’s public lands, and the growing importance of public lands for recreation and conservation, the proposed rule would help ensure that the nation’s lands continue to provide abundant and well-connected wildlife habitat, supply clean drinking water, and power local economies.

New Partnership to Protect Military Readiness and Preserve Green Space: The Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense are partnering to allocate $80 million through a combination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and matching funds from DoD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) to preserve green space around military installations and improve access to outdoor recreation for millions of Americans. The Departments will make the funding available to states through a competitive process that could support projects on Tribal, private, state, or local lands.

$100 Million Tribal Conservation Funding Pledge: Today, Native Americans in Philanthropy, in collaboration with Biodiversity Funders Group and 15 philanthropies, is launching the Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge with an initial commitment of more than $100 million. This is a new platform for philanthropic organizations to support the conservation work of Tribal Nations and public-private partnerships between the Biden-Harris Administration, Tribes, and philanthropy. The pledge calls on funders to commit to a self-determined amount of funding, or a self-determined percentage of annual programmatic funding, to support the biodiversity and conservation efforts of Tribes, inter-Tribal organizations, and Tribal consortia.

America the Beautiful 2022 Annual Report: The Biden-Harris Administration is releasing the 2022 America the Beautiful Annual Report, an update on progress made to support locally-led conservation and restoration efforts and meet the President’s goal to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

New Partnership to Accelerate the Conservation of At-Risk Species: The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Alliance of Forest Owners and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement Inc., will announce a memorandum of understanding which formalizes the Wildlife Conservation Initiative, a collaborative partnership focused on advancing the conservation of at-risk and listed species within private working forests nationwide. The announcement comes as the Department of the Interior celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and highlights the landmark law’s importance in preventing imperiled species’ extinction, promoting the recovery of wildlife, and conserving the habitats upon which they depend. 

Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program: Soon the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Transportation will open applications for the first-of-its-kind $350 million Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program. The program will build infrastructure that is proven to improve roadway safety – particularly in rural communities – and bring down the roughly 200 deaths stemming from more than one million collisions every year between vehicles and wildlife.

Nearly $200 Million to Reduce Wildfire Risk to Communities: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced nearly $200 million in Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) program grants to communities across the country. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CWDG program is designed to assist communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies and Alaska Native corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks to communities and critical infrastructure as the nation faces an ongoing wildfire crisis.

State Wildlife Grants: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is distributing over $56 million for state fish and wildlife agencies through the State Wildlife Grant Program to support conservation and stewardship efforts for imperiled wildlife and their habitats.  

Boating Infrastructure Grants: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is distributing over $20 million in grant funding to assist states and territories in the construction, renovation and maintenance of marinas and other boating facilities for outdoor recreation. Grants will support projects in 20 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to increase outdoor recreation access and waterway stewardship.  

Pactola Reservoir Protection: The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management announced actions to consider protections for cultural and natural resources in the Pactola Reservoir – Rapid Creek Watershed in South Dakota, including drinking water for Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base, from the adverse impacts of mineral exploration and development. The Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest, with 14 miles of shoreline and 150-foot depths on 800 acres and provides high quality recreation for communities and visitors