Motorized Mayhem Threatens
Southern Utah Forests
Last month, WildEarth
Guardians called on the Forest Service to abandon its plans to open up southern
Utah’s Dixie National Forest to motorized mayhem. After securing a hard-won
victory to tear out or close hundreds of miles of damaging and un-needed roads,
the agency is now proposing to reverse this important decision, bending to
motorized interests. The Dixie, which borders Bryce Canyon National Park and
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, could soon face a fresh onslaught of
jeeps and motorcycles. Our Rewilding Campaign aims to stop the Forest Service’s
rollbacks and keep roads from smothering southern Utah’s forests.
Read More >>>
Winter Wildlands Take
a Step Towards Protection
As a result of litigation by our partner Winter Wildlands
and unrelenting pressure from Guardians, national forests finally gained much
needed protections from snowmobiles in January. Under new rules, the Forest
Service will be required to designate areas for snowmobile use on national forests,
rather than letting them run rampant in our high mountains. While it’s a major
milestone, with your help we must now ensure the rules are implemented
effectively and truly restore balance to the backcountry. Our aim is to ensure
our wildlife, including imperiled lynx, our clean air, and our quiet wild places
where we find solitude are fully protected from snowmobiles.
Read more >>>
Rio Grande Deserves Right to Roam
This month Guardians
filed suit to keep the Rio Grande flowing freely in central New Mexico by stopping
construction of massive new levees near the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife
Refuge. Approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the levees would destroy
hundreds of acres of existing habitat for the silvery minnow, southwestern
willow flycatcher, and yellow-billed cuckoo and prevent the river from creating
vital new habitat along a 43-mile stretch. With other options for more sensible
flood control, it’s imperative we fight against the further destruction of the
iconic Rio Grande that both human and wild communities depend on for survival.
Read more >>>
Defended from Fracking
At the end of
January, we formally challenged a Pawnee National Grassland decision to allow
fracking in order to defend the region’s clean air, pure water, and thriving fish
and wildlife. Located northeast of Denver, the Pawnee spans 300 square miles of
publicly owned grasslands that are popular for camping, bird watching, and
hiking. Buckling to pressure from
industry, the Forest Service proposed to lease oil and gas under the National
Grassland for fracking. Although surface disturbance would be prohibited on the
Pawnee, 354 wells will still be drilled on the edges of the Grassland. In our challenge,
we called on the Forest Service to adopt stronger safeguards for air and water
quality, the climate, and fish and wildlife.
Read More >>>
"Don't Frack Denver" Campaign
In February Guardians
joined a broad-based coalition in unveiling the “Don’t Frack Denver” campaign,
which calls on Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the City Council to protect the
Mile High City and its residents from the dangerous and toxic practice of
fracking. The campaign comes as both Denver’s people and the watershed that
supplies water to the city face growing threats as the oil and gas industry
encroaches on communities in the far northeast part of the City. In addition the Bureau of Land Management has plans to give away more
public land threatening to saddle the region with more smog. The campaign aims
to make Denver a leader in protecting Coloradans from unchecked fracking.
Read more >>>
A Long Road to Recovery
The official population
count of Mexican gray wolves in the wild in 2014 is in—and the news is good! There
are at least 109 wolves in the wild across New Mexico and Arizona, a 31 percent
increase from 2013. Unfortunately, the Mexican wolf still has a long road to travel
for full recovery. A not released draft recovery plan identifies at least 750
"lobos" spread across three populations as needed to ensure the
long-term survival of the wolf. In spite of this, a new management plan adopted
last month set a population limit of 300 to 325 and loosened limits on
shooting, trapping, and removals of Mexican wolves. WildEarth Guardians is
deeply engaged in pressing for stronger recovery goals to ensure the Mexican
gray wolf is truly rescued from the brink of extinction.
Read More >>>
Prairie Dogs Remain at Risk
February we celebrated Prairie Dog Day (our own special kind of Groundhog Day)
and released our annual Report from the
Burrow, which grades agencies on how well they’re protecting these keystone
species. Although we found some signs of improvement, prairie dogs continue to
be shot, poisoned, and driven from their homes. These intelligent, social creatures are vital in sustaining
grassland ecosystems and benefit a multitude of other animals and plants. We’re
continuing to stand for prairie dogs to secure the protection they and their
grassland ecosystems need.
Read More >>>
Tragic Outcome for Grand Canyon Wolf
Highlights Need for Protections
All of us at
Guardians are mourning the killing of “Echo,” the first wolf to reach the North
Rim of the Grand Canyon in over 70 years. Having wandered over 500 miles, this
intrepid wolf was killed by a reckless coyote hunter, despite being protected under
the Endangered Species Act. To make matters worse, we may never see real
justice. Under the federal government’s “McKittrick policy”, people who kill an
animal protected under the Act are not prosecuted unless the government can
prove intent to kill that species. Despite coyotes weighing approximately 30 pounds
and a wolf weighing at least 70, and the fact that this wolf was wearing a
distinctive radio collar, the person who killed Echo will likely go unpunished.
With this sad news, we’re redoubling our efforts to protect wandering wolves and
reverse this reckless policy.
Read More >>>
Extreme Right Pushing
for Public Lands Takeover
Fringe groups amongst western state legislators are pushing
new laws that would seize public lands owned by every American and auction them
off to the highest bidder. Although these moves are unconstitutional, extreme
right politicians are nevertheless advancing bills that would strip our access
to valuable recreation lands on national forests, national wildlife refuges,
and Bureau of Land Management lands. Utah has already adopted such legislation and
both Colorado and Wyoming are debating similar proposals. In New Mexico nearly
identical bills are moving forward in the state legislature. Together with
outdoor recreationists, sportsmen, and others, we’re digging in to fight these
unprecedented attempts to privatize our public lands.
Read More >>>
"I did quite a bit of research on non-profit environmental
and animal protection groups working in the western United States before I
decided where I was going to invest my time and money for volunteer work.
WildEarth Guardians came out the winner for many reasons, primarily because I
was convinced they had the correct ethics to do this important work. As
the Boulder Wolf Pack Leader, I am strongly opposed to hunting/trapping of all
apex predators and WildEarth Guardians leads the pack on this issue. I am
very happy with my commitment to this organization and know in my heart they
are in it for the right reasons to protect and preserve our wonderful western
landscape and animals."
~ Jeff Davis, Boulder, CO
Wolf Packs Unite!
fall, WildEarth Guardians ramped up work to restore wolves to Colorado by
organizing local wolf education and advocacy groups called “Wolf Packs.” Thus
far based in Vail, Denver, Boulder, and Pueblo, Wolf Packs are building the
social and political support needed to restore an ecologically effective
population of wolves protected against trapping and hunting. Beginning with
internal education, Wolf Packs are hosting speakers and showing films on
wolves. Leaders for the Wolf Packs will meet in March for skills training and
strategizing. Look for an all Wolf Packs gathering at Rocky Mountain National
Park this summer during the Park’s centennial celebrations. To join a local Wolf Pack or organize one, please visit our Stand4Wolves webpage or contact Guardians' organizer
Save the date for Guardians'
6th Annual Howling Affair happening in Denver on Friday, May 8. This year's
featured speaker is Dr. Michael Leach, a full time wildlife photographer and
author whose work has appeared on more than 100 television wildlife programs
and in more than 1000 books. Mark your calendar now. Purchase your advanced tickets today.
We are currently planning events for the coming months in
Tucson, Salt Lake City, Boulder, and Missoula—keep your eyes open for dates and
Plant a Tree
Every year WildEarth Guardians plants tens of thousands of
trees and shrubs to anchor streamsides of eroded waterways. For only $10, we’ll
plant a tree or shrub that provides shelter and forage for wildlife, a gift
that nurtures the environment well into the future.
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So, How'd it Go?
We told you last month that hundreds of our
supporters and allies turned out to condemn plans by the Bureau of Land
Management to approve the Piñon oil pipeline near Chaco. On top of that, more than 6,000
of you responded to our e-alert! Well, it didn’t end there. After the close of
the comment period, it was reported that more than 30,000 comments opposing the
pipeline were ultimately submitted! That’s the most that has ever been received
by the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management on a proposal like this and it’s a
powerful sign that we’re on track for victory. Thank you!
Great news! The bill to ban coyote killing contests in New
Mexico passed both the Senate Conservation and Judiciary Committees, and then the
full New Mexico Senate by wide margins, and now heads to the House. Passions
ran high at each hearing. Those supporting conservation and animal protection
testified that coyote killing contests violate ethical hunting standards, are
counterproductive in terms of reducing human/coyote conflict, and ignore the
important ecological role that carnivores play in healthy ecosystems. The
livestock industry claimed the contests are necessary to control coyote
populations, despite scientific studies finding otherwise. If you live in New
Mexico please call your state Representatives and ask them to vote for the
killing contest ban (SB 253).