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Wednesday
Aug312016

POTUS Talks Conservation and Climate Change

President Barack Obama spoke at the 20th Anniversary of the Annual Lake Tahoe Summit about how new conservation efforts are integral to combating climate change as he unveiled new funds to fight wildfires on public lands and a strategy to ramp up private and philanthropic support for U.S. conservation.

Here are a few key quotes to take away from his remarks:

"The challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected."

“Conservation is critical not just for one particular spot, one particular park, one particular lake. It’s critical for our entire ecosystem. And conservation is more than just putting up a plaque and calling something a park. We embrace conservation because healthy and diverse lands and waters help us build resilience to climate change. We do it to free more of our communities and plants and animals and species from wildfires, and droughts, and displacement. We do it because when most of the 4.5 million people who come to Lake Tahoe every year are tourists, economies like this one live or die by the health of our natural resources. We do it because places like this nurture and restore the soul. And we want to make sure that’s there for our kids, too.”

"No conflict between a healthy economy and a healthy planet."

“We’ve proven that the choice between our environment, our economy, and our health is a false one. We‘ve got to strengthen all of them together."
Friday
Aug262016

Marine National Monument Expansion

White House Press Release 8/26/2016:

On Friday, President Obama will expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world’s largest marine protected area. Building on the United States’ global leadership in marine conservation, today’s designation will more than quadruple the size of the existing marine monument, permanently protecting pristine coral reefs, deep sea marine habitats, and important ecological resources in the waters of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. 

Following this historic conservation action, the President will travel to Hawaii next week. On Wednesday evening, he will address leaders from the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and the IUCN World Conservation Congress, which is being hosted in the United States for the first time. On Thursday, he will travel to Midway Atoll, located within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, to mark the significance of this monument designation and highlight first-hand how the threat of climate change makes protecting our public lands and waters more important than ever. 

The monument was originally created in 2006 by President George W. Bush and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.  Since that time, new scientific exploration and research has revealed new species and deep sea habitats as well as important ecological connections between the existing monument and the adjacent waters. Today’s designation will expand the existing Marine National Monument by 442,781 square miles, bringing the total protected area of the expanded monument to 582,578 square miles.

The expansion provides critical protections for more than 7,000 marine species, including whales and sea turtles listed under the Endangered Species Act and the longest-living marine species in the world — black coral, which have been found to live longer than 4,500 years. Additionally, as ocean acidification, warming, and other impacts of climate change threaten marine ecosystems, expanding the monument will improve ocean resilience, help the region’s distinct physical and biological resources adapt, and create a natural laboratory that will allow scientists to monitor and explore the impacts of climate change on these fragile ecosystems.

The expanded monument area also contains resources of great historical and cultural significance. The expanded area, including the archipelago and its adjacent waters, is considered a sacred place for the Native Hawaiian community. It plays a significant role in Native Hawaiian creation and settlement stories, and is used to practice important activities like traditional long-distance voyaging and wayfinding. Additionally, within the monument expansion area, there are shipwrecks and downed aircraft from the Battle of Midway in World War II, a battle that marked a major shift in the progress of the war in favor of the Allies.

All commercial resource extraction activities, including commercial fishing and any future mineral extraction, are prohibited in the expansion area, as they are within the boundaries of the existing monument. Noncommercial fishing, such as recreational fishing and the removal of fish and other resources for Native Hawaiian cultural practices, is allowed in the expansion area by permit, as is scientific research.

In recognition of the value of Papahānaumokuākea to Native Hawaiians, and in keeping with President Obama’s commitment to elevating the voices of Native peoples in management of our resources, Secretary of the Interior Jewell and Secretary of Commerce Pritzker also announced that the Departments will soon sign an agreement with Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources and Office of Hawaiian Affairs providing for a greater management role as a trustee in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.  This arrangement has been previously requested by Senator Brian Schatz and Governor Ige.

Today’s action by President Obama responds to a proposal put forward by Senator Schatz and prominent Native Hawaiian leaders, in addition to significant input and local support from Hawaii elected officials, cultural groups, conservation organizations, scientists and fishermen.  This step also builds on a rich tradition of marine protection in Hawaiian waters and world-class, well managed fisheries, including a longline fishing fleet that is a global leader in sustainable practices. 

In addition to protecting more land and water than any Administration in history, President Obama has sought to lead the world in marine conservation by combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, revitalizing the process for establishing new marine sanctuaries, establishing the National Ocean Policy, and promoting ocean stewardship through the use of science- based decision making.

Thursday
Aug252016

Happy Birthday National Park Service!

Wednesday
Aug242016

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

This week, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama designated the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument encompassing awe-inspiring mountain, forests and waters of north-central Maine
Wednesday
Aug102016

Tribal Leader Advocates for Public Lands

For James Holt, Nez Perce tribal member, #OurWild is his homeland. "People need those places. They need open spaces. We can't let it get shut off." Join the movement to protect #OurWild from privatization at www.wilderness.org/ourwild.

For additional information and expert resources on the public lands takeover please go to WILDERNESS.ORG.

Tuesday
Aug022016

CA Coastal National Monument Expansion

Today, we have the opportunity to add 6,200 acres to California Coastal National Monument, providing lasting protections to some of the California coast’s most exquisite coastal gems—and making more of the monument accessible to more people than ever.

If the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act is passed, these incredible coastal views, rolling grasslands, lush redwood forests and live oak groves—just outside of Santa Cruz and an hour’s drive from the Bay Area—would be open for all to enjoy.

Let’s give the California Coast the protection it deserves. Ask President Obama to expand the California Coastal National Monument now.

Monday
Jun272016

Time to Protect Bears Ears

In the southeast corner of Utah, the region known as “Bears Ears” covers nearly 2 million acres of dramatic mesas, canyons and arches (and the namesake sandstone-fringed buttes).

With more than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites, Bears Ears provides a unique connection to the ancient world. Perhaps nowhere in the United States are so many well-preserved cultural resources found within such a striking and relatively undeveloped natural landscape.

In July of 2015, leaders from five Tribes founded the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, representing a historic consortium of sovereign tribal nations united in the effort to conserve the Bears Ears cultural landscape. The five nations are committed to working together. A total of 26 Tribes have expressed support for protecting the Bear Ears region for future generations of Americans. Native American peoples are also seeking active engagement in future management of the area.

The members of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition are:

This vast stretch of wildland is arguably one of the most culturally significant places in the country, and one of the least protected. The rock art etched and painted into the steep-walled canyons and the ruins, kivas, and other artifacts—that still exist in their original context—don’t just tell a story of the ancient world, they also contribute to what makes Bears Ears a sacred place for Native American tribes to this day.

Despite its irreplaceable value, Bears Ears is under attack—threatened by looting, vandalism and development. Some politicians in Utah see this remarkable landscape as just a place to exploit, which could destroy a physical chronicle of millions of years of natural and human history.

Please ask President Obama to #ProtectBearsEarsNow

Friday
Jun242016

Announcing the Stonewall National Monument

On June 24, 2016 President Obama designated the site of the Stonewall uprising and birthplace of the modern LGBT civil rights movement the “Stonewall National Monument.” This new monument is a testament to the diversity, inclusiveness, and individual freedom that make America great.
"I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national parks system. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one." - President Barack Obama
Friday
Feb122016

New National Monuments in California

Americans and visitors from around the world have long been drawn to the stark beauty of the California desert, with its rocky peaks, amazing array of plants and wildlife and Native American archaeological sites. Now, thanks to President Barack Obama, more of this spectacular region is protected within three new national monuments.

Bridging the area between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails National Monument protects a stunning array of desert plant life and essential habitat for desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, eagles, falcons and a wide variety of reptiles. The monument includes 350,000 acres of previously designated wilderness, along with the Pisgah Lava Flow, Marble Mountain Fossil Beds and the most intact stretch of historic Route 66. 

The new Sand to Snow National Monument encompasses a tract of land between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest that stretches from the Sonoran Desert floor to Southern California's tallest alpine peak, Mount San Gorgonio. It includes rivers, wetlands, desert landscapes and Joshua tree woodlands, not to mention 100,000 acres of existing wilderness. It’s also home to the headwaters of the Santa Ana—Southern California's longest river, as well as the headwaters of the Whitewater River and its accompanying wetlands—providing habitat for migrating birds, including yellow-breasted chat and vermilion flycatchers. Mule deer, mountain lions and black bears also roam this region.

Castle Mountains National Monument protects habitat for golden eagles, bighorn sheep, bobcats, mule deer and other wildlife, in a landscape of native desert grasslands and rocky peaks. Joshua trees, pinion pine and juniper forests are permanently protected in the new monument, along with significant cultural features, including Native American archaeological sites and the remains of Hart, a short-lived gold mining town from the early 20th century. The area has also been identified as an ideal reintroduction site for pronghorn antelope, the second-fastest land mammal on earth.

Tuesday
Sep222015

Sage-grouse Conservation Announcement 

Once seen in great numbers across the West, greater sage-grouse have declined in number over the past century because of the loss of sagebrush habitats essential for their survival and had been candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners across 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage-grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse strategy is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history. The Fish and Wildlife Service decision validates efforts to advance large landscape conservation guided by science and honed by local knowledge. A  more detailed summary of the plans is forthcoming later this week, but the topline is clear. The federal plans will result in nearly 12 million acres of unwaivable protections and 23 million acres with stringent restrictions – that’s nearly 35 million acres of new conservation on federal lands through administrative designations and mineral withdrawals.

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