WildEarth Guardians

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WildEarth Guardians
WildEarth Guardians FRONTLINE Newsletter

Motorized Mayhem Threatens
Southern Utah Forests

Dixie National Forest pc Tim Peterson

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.

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Winter Wildlands Take
a Step Towards Protection

Snow Cat Updated Meme 2015

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.

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Rio Grande Deserves Right to Roam

Rio Grande small cropped Adriel

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.

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Colorado Grassland
Defended from Fracking

Pawnee Buttes Trailhead pc WildEarth Guardians

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.

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Guardians Joins
"Don't Frack Denver" Campaign

Don't Frack Denver pc Food and Water Watch

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.

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A Long Road to Recovery

Mexican wolf pc John W Iwanski

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.

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Prairie Dogs Remain at Risk

prairie dog with mallow pc Sandy Nervig

In early 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.

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Tragic Outcome for Grand Canyon Wolf
Highlights Need for Protections

Grand Canyon wolf pc AZDGF

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.

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Extreme Right Pushing
for Public Lands Takeover

Fly Fishing in Montana pc Scott Butner CC Flickr

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.

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photo credits: (Left column) Dixie National Forest—Tim Peterson. Lynx and snowmobile meme—purchased stock photos. Rio Grande—Adriel Heisey. Pawnee Buttes Trailhead—WildEarth Guadians. "Don't Frack Denver"—Food and Water Watch. Mexican wolf—John W. Iwanski, Creative Commons, Flickr. Prairie dog—Sandy Nervig. Grand Canyon wolf—AZDGF.  Stream fishing—Scott Butner, Creative Commons, Flickr.  (Right column) Jeff Davis—Jeff Davis. wolf puppies—Oregon Dept Fish and Game. 2014 Howling Affair—WildEarth Guardians. Penas Negras stream and trees—U.S. Forest Service. Chaco Canyon—EcoFlight. Trap ban meme—purchased stock photos

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Activist Spotlight

Snapshot Jeff Davis Activist Spotlight

"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 puppies Oregon pc OR Dept Fish and Wildlife

Wolf Packs Unite!

Last 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 Bob Brister.


 Howling Affair 2014 pc WildEarth Guardians

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 details!


Penas Negras Stream pc Forest Service

Plant a Tree for Spring!

 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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Want to stay in touch with Guardians but receive fewer emails? You can change your email preference here and elect to receive only the monthly Frontline, the occasional appeal and event invites, or remain as “keep me informed” and get all the latest Guardians’ actions and news.


So, How'd it Go?

Chaco Canyon pc EcoFlight 

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!


Land of Entrapment Flag Meme

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).

WildEarth Guardians' mission is to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.

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