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Positive Steps for Wildlife as House Natural Resource Committee Passes Protection Bills

Some Bills Include Bipartisan Co-sponsorship

Washington, D.C.—Today, the House Natural Resource Committee voted in favor of protecting wildlife, nature, and America’s legacy for future generations.

We are in the sixth mass extinction event—the first caused by humans. One million species could be threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, pollution, invasive species and climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. This report indicates that we have time to stem the crisis, but not without immediate action to protect wildlife and plants, especially imperiled species. The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Grijalva (D-NM), passed several bills today that will help us take immediate action to protect America’s web of life.

One bill overturns new rules issued by the Trump Administration that severely weaken the Endangered Species Act. H.R. 4348, Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish In Need of Conservation (PAW and FIN) Act of 2019, will terminate those new rules and restore the primacy of science, not politics, in wildlife decision-making.

In addition, two important pieces of legislation will help safeguard wildlife (and in many cases people) via the creation and support of wildlife corridors. H.R. 2795,“Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act,”  will establish National Wildlife Corridors to provide for the protection of habitats and migration routes of native fish, wildlife, and plant species on federal public land. H.R. 5179, “Tribal Wildlife and Corridors Act” support wildlife corridors on tribal lands.

Other bills that advance responsible stewardship of our natural resources address extreme weather and climate change on wildlife, plants and fisheries; protect habitat by establishing a new wildlife refuge in California; and address nutria, a very harmful invasive species.

“This is a great day for wildlife and for all Americans who wish to be free to experience our country’s natural heritage. Millions of Americans have asked Congress to address the biodiversity crisis, and today Members of Congress took a significant step forward. The bills passed in the US House Natural Resource Committee can help restore and create protections for threatened and endangered species across the country. We applaud the committee members and will continue to work to ensure these bills are soon passed by Congress,” stated Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition.     

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Contact: Leda Huta, lhuta@endangered.org, (202) 320-6467

Our House is On Fire

VOTE – SPEAK – ACT!

Every day we see more examples of wildlife being hurt and killed by climate change.  In Australia, more than a billion native species have burned to death, including kangaroos and koalas. Fires in the rain forests of Malaysia and Brazil contribute to global warming and kill endangered orangutans and giant armadillos. Plants and animals are taking the horrific brunt of human excess and greed. 

Sometimes I feel alone in my understanding of how terrible this crisis really is and how urgently we must act.  People often seem apathetic and behave as though someone else will solve the problem. 

But I am not alone. We are not alone. 

Firedrill Friday

Jane and Corry being arrested. Photo by Karen Ramsey

In response to the crisis, Endangered Species Coalition has been participating in Fire Drill Fridays in Washington DC.  Fire Drill Fridays were created by Jane Fonda, in order to support the efforts of Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists, to demand real climate action and a Green New Deal.  The events included educational webinars, inspirational speakers and civil action and disobedience.  

Hundreds of brave souls were arrested.  Jane Fonda was arrested four times and spent one night in jail. I was arrested twice.   

Getting arrested is scary. Fire Drill Fridays provided training on civil disobedience and the process of getting arrested. They warned us that we would be in painful handcuffs for hours, it would be very cold, and the bathroom situation was not ideal. 

When laws are created to protect corporations that hurt and kill people and animals, and our government defends those laws and corporations and not its citizens and voters, it’s time to challenge the law and engage in civil, non-violent disobedience.  

We have spent decades in court, published scientific reports, created petitions and action alerts and politely asked elected officials to do the right thing. Many of us have engaged in Get Out the Vote activities and vote in every election.  It has not been enough. Decision-makers are not listening. For some, it’s time for civil disobedience. 

Fire Drill Fridays started on Friday, October 11 and ended (in Washington DC) on Friday, January 10.   They are now moving to Los Angeles, California – and beyond.  

Greenpeace, an ESC member group, was the lead conservation organization helping Jane Fonda and will be coordinating Fire Drill Fridays throughout the country moving forward. 

Fire Drill Fridays’ specific topics included climate change and: the Green New Deal; oceans; women; war & military; environmental justice; water; food-justice-agriculture; justice and immigrant rights; jobs & communities; health; forests; and holding fossil fuel companies accountable.  

We most definitely are not alone!  Thousands of people joined the rallies, even on rainy and cold days. It was very inspiring. And the rallies had amazing speakers, experts, and celebrities who raised their voices and were arrested to call attention to the climate crisis! 

Endangered Species Coalition at Fire Drill Friday

Over the course of three months, the speakers on Thursday night webinars and Friday Capitol Hill rallies included: Abigail Leedy (Sunrise Movement), Jasilyn Charger (Indigenous Environmental Protector), Matt Nelson (Presente.org), Whitney Crowder, Jennifer Jacquet, (NYU), Denise Patel (GAIA), John Hocevar (Greenpeace), Rachel Carmona (Women’s March), Asali Devan Ecclisiates, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK), Krystal Two Bulls (Veterans Against the War), Ben and Jerry, Phyllis Bennis, Ciarra Taylor, Robert Kennedy Jr., Khadlja Khokar, Abigail Disney, Mark Magana (Green Latinos), Yvette Arellano, Von Hernandez (Break Free from Plastics), Nick Brana (Extinction Rebellion), Garett Reppenhagen (Veterans for Peace), Mary Grant (Food and Water Watch), Kallan Benson, Gail Taylor, Ricardo Salvador (UCS), Lindsey Allen (Rainforest Action), Jim Goodman (Farm Activist), Sarah Schumann (Commercial Fisherman), Joel Alejandro Salazar (Resilience Force), Rev Dousa, Rabbi Devorah Lynn, Rabbi Shneyer, Joshua Alvarez (Sunrise Movement), Claudi Quinonez (United we Dream), Rev Anderson, Imam Saffett Cadov, Liz Butler (FOE), Diamonte Brown (Teachers Union), Winona Laduke (Economist, author), Gloria Steinem, Roshi Joan Halifax, Laura Seydel, Dolores Huerta (labor activist), Al-Jen Poo, Rev. Barber, Rolando Navarro (CIEL), Veronica Coptis (Center for Coalfield Justice),  Kat Taylor (Beneficial State Bank), Annie Leonard, Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Indigenous Climate Action) and Bill McKibben.  

Celebrities included Sam Waterston, Ted Danson, Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Diane Lane, Piper Perabo, Manny Jacinto, Amber Valletta, Paul Scheer, Ian Armitage, Maura Tierney, Kyra Sedgewick, Taylor Schilling, Sally Field, Casey Wilson, Lily Tomlin, Josh Fox, Ian Armitage, Naomi Klein, Martin Sheen, Joaquin Phoenix and Amber Valletta.

We must not relent.  We must keep demanding real climate action now. Please create or join a Fire Drill Friday in your community! To get involved and plan a Fire Drill Friday in your community text 877877 or go to firedrillfridays.com.

How to help wildlife victims of fires in Australia

The deadly brush fires are burning in Australia have scorched nearly 18 million acres of land and caused massive devastation. Undeveloped areas such as forests and national parks have been particularly hard-hit and have caused great suffering and loss of wildlife.

Scientists estimate that 480 million animals may have already perished and expect that that number is likely to be much higher. While the situation is catastrophic, there is work being done on the ground to provide aid to or otherwise assist the many animals that have been affected by this tragedy.

In the immediate term, you can help by donating to organizations that are working to provide this aid and assist Australia’s wildlife.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and organizations that are working along with it have created a Gofundme page to raise needed funds to set up drinking stations for animals that remain in burned areas and to create a koala breeding program to recover this species.

WIRES Australia is rescuing and caring for victims of the fires and drought and reports that it attended more than 3,000 rescues in December.

The Minny Kitty Commune is accepting donations to organize emergency food and water delivery.

Animals Australia is providing support to wildlife veterinarians that are providing medial care to surviving animals.

The New South Wales RSPCA is working at evacuation centers to treat affected animals and is going into cleared areas to search and provide aid.

The New York Times has compiled an additional list of organizations working to respond to these fires. Please comment below if there are organizations doing direct service in Australia that you are supporting.

‘Chasing Presidents’ Urges Candidates to Support Endangered Species Act

Candidate Questionnaire Asks Presidential Candidates to Strengthen Protections for Imperiled Wildlife

Washington, D.C. – On the eve of the 46th birthday of the Endangered Species Act, a wildlife conservation group is asking all presidential candidates to strengthen our legacy of protecting imperiled fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Unveiled today by the Endangered Species Coalition and 13 of its member groups, Chasing Presidents is a new voter education project that asks each candidate for President of the United States to answer eight questions on imperiled wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. The questionnaire was sent to every candidate, regardless of party affiliation. 

Citing the recent weakening of the Endangered Species Act by the Trump Administration and a global assessment foretelling the extinction of one million species, the questionnaire asks candidates if they will commit to reversing these damaging rules, and if they will support robust funding for protecting imperiled wildlife.  

The Endangered Species Act is our safety for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction,” said Corry Westbrook, Senior Grassroots and Policy Advisor for the Endangered Species Coalition. “Our members and the voting public deserve to know where the candidates stand on protecting imperiled wildlife and the special places they call home.” 

The Trump Administration’s rules weakening the Endangered Species Act were issued in August by Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt. The regulations were finalized despite the overwhelming opposition of American citizens—more than 866,000 submitted comments opposing the new regulations. A decade of polling has consistently shown that the American public strongly supports the Endangered Species Act—90 percent in the most recent poll. And in 2017, more than 420 conservation organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing any weakening of the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, Secretary Bernhardt has come under fire for ethical issues and for hiding his lobbying against protections for an endangered fish.

The Endangered Species Act has a 99% success rate. Species such as the bald eagle, American alligator, humpback whale, Santa Cruz island fox, Tennessee purple coneflower and many more have recovered thanks to the Act. Hundreds more species have seen an incredible resurgence including the grey wolf, Grizzly bear, black-footed ferret, and Whooping crane.

Candidates must return the questionnaires by January 31. Responses will be posed online at www.endangered.org/chasing-presidents. 


Contact: Corry Westbrook, cwestbrook@endangered.org (202) 841-6371

Leda Huta, lhuta@endangered.org, (202) 320-6467

Your 2019 Holiday Shopping List is Here!

The holiday season can be pretty tough on the planet. The miles of saran wrap, tissue and wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, and garland are just a few of the single-use products that permeate our winter festivities. To make matters worse, picking out presents for our loved ones can be stressful. 

There are so many things to consider: Will they like it? Use it? Return it? Then there’s the environmental impact. Does the gift contain plastics? Or palm oil?

If you’re like me, you want your gifts to be thoughtful, useful, and good for the planet. But this isn’t always an easy task. That’s why we’ve put together a list of products and businesses to help make your yuletide decision-making a little easier!

First, let me say gifting experiences can be a powerful alternative to buying more stuff. Avoid the clutter and environmental impact by gifting your busy mom a massage. Or treat your BFF to a cooking class or a day at the natural history museum. There’s nothing like a no-waste gift that the recipient won’t soon forget! 

Or get crafty! Homemade gifts are often the most cherished. Here’s an amazing bat box DIY!

But in case that’s not your style, here’s a list of businesses and products, at a variety of different price points, that you can feel good about!

For the kiddos (and the young at heart):

 

For those that wear their hearts on their sleeves:

  • The “Save the Act” shirt from Jim Morris Environmental T-shirt Company

    We love supporting local businesses- especially locally businesses with a cause! Jim’s t-shirt company has donated over $180,000 and counting to environmental and wildlife groups. And they designed this shirt just for us! For every “Save the Act” shirt sold, they’ll donated $2 to our work!

  • The Endangered Species Coalition official merchandise from Bonfire 

    Show your love for wolves, wildlife, and grassroots engagement by sporting this (my personal favorite) Endangered Species Coalition t-shirt! Please note that these shirts are made to order, so shipping won’t start until December 27th. The proceeds help us continue to be a united and powerful voice for wildlife!

For the art lover:

  • Endangered Species Art Prints

    These are beautiful artistic renditions of endangered species from around the world. The original pieces were created by K-12 students in our Youth Endangered Species Art Contest. Those featured on the Ziggie website are finalists and semifinalists. We believe in the power of art and creativity to instill lasting change for the benefit of our wildlife. And as we look past our own generation to those of our children and grandchildren, we also believe that it is our young people that will lead us to a healthier future. Please support this program by sharing the gift of art with someone you love.

For the health nut:

  • Bluebird Botanicals

    Bluebird Botanicals is a CBD herbal supplement company and partner of the Endangered Species Coalition. We’ve done some great work together, including habitat restoration for the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse! Plus, they were just awarded their B-corp Certification! And that’s something you can definitely feel good about.

For the crafter:

  • eQuilter

    eQuilter.com has the largest online selection of high quality quilt fabrics and related products on the interwebs. What’s better? They LOVE wildlife and have raised over $1.6 MILLION for charitable organizations. And omg I cannot get enough of their beautiful wildlife panels.

For the outdoor-sy type:

  • Backpacker’s Pantry

    When you’re camping, one of the heavier things you have to deal with is the food. And when you’re walking long distances in the backcountry, that’s not exactly ideal. The rugged adventurers in your life will appreciate a few freeze-dried meals to lighten their load. They have great vegan and vegetarian options and an awesome packaging recycling program, so you can further reduce waste. Plus, they are a partner and supporter of the Endangered Species Coalition!

  • Fishpond 

    Here’s an awesome company whose founder goes above and beyond for healthy wildlife and waterways. Not only do they have super cool and sustainable products, their founder, John Land Le Coq, is a vocal Endangered Species Coalition activist!

But maybe you already have something in mind for that certain someone. If you’ll be shopping on Amazon.com, remember to choose the Endangered Species Coalition as your Amazon Smile charity!

We wish you all a happy, safe, and wildlife-friendly holiday! 

Hailey Hawkins

PS. If you are a business and would like to support endangered species and the Endangered Species Act, sign our letter here!

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Ornament photo credit NPS

Trump administration again reauthorizes wildlife-killing ‘cyanide bombs’ despite strong opposition

Via Western Environmental Law Center

The Trump administration today announced it will reauthorize use of sodium cyanide in wildlife-killing devices called M-44s. These “cyanide bombs” have received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency despite inhumanely and indiscriminately killing thousands of animals every year. They have also injured people.

“While it is encouraging that the EPA is taking at least some minimal action to protect the public from deadly M-44s, updating a few use restrictions –– nearly impossible to enforce and commonly ignored –– fails to meaningfully address the problem,” said Kelly Nokes, Shared Earth wildlife attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “EPA is blatantly ignoring its fundamental duty to protect the public, our pets, and native wildlife from the cruel, lethal impacts of cyanide bombs lurking on our public lands. We will continue to hold our federal government accountable to the law, and will continue our fight for a ban on M-44s once and for all.”

The EPA allows use of the devices by Wildlife Services, the animal-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The EPA also authorizes M-44 use by state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas.

In August, the EPA issued an interim decision renewing sodium cyanide registration. Then a week later, it withdrew that interim decision for more discussions with Wildlife Services. Today’s announcement again reauthorizes use of the devices.

More than 99.9 percent of people commenting on the proposal asked the EPA to ban M-44s, according to analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity and Western Environmental Law Center.

In response to concerns raised by the wildlife advocacy groups and others, EPA added some modest restrictions. For example, the devices cannot be placed within 300 feet of a public road or pathway, increased from 100 feet. Two elevated warning signs must be placed within 15 feet of each device, decreased from 25 feet. And no devices can be placed within 600 feet of a residence unless the landowner gives permission.

None of the restrictions will prevent killing of nontarget wildlife, however.

“This appalling decision leaves cyanide traps lurking in our wild places to threaten people, pets and imperiled animals,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA imposed a few minor restrictions, but these deadly devices have just wreaked too much havoc to remain in use. To truly protect humans and wildlife from these poisonous contraptions, we need a nationwide ban.”

“Tightening up use restrictions is turning a blind eye to the reality of M-44s,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “In my 25 years working with M-44 victims I’ve learned that Wildlife Services’ agents frequently do not follow the use restrictions.  And warning signs will not prevent more dogs, wild animals and potentially children from being killed. They cannot read them. M-44s are a safety menace and must be banned.”

“EPA’s minor revisions do little to reduce the risks sodium cyanide bombs pose to people, fail entirely to address risks to wildlife, including endangered species, and make clear the agency is prioritizing livestock interests over human safety and the environment,” said Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute. “The simple solution to preventing further tragedies caused by these inherently dangerous devices is a nationwide ban.”

“USDA’s rampant, well-documented noncompliance with existing use restrictions has made clear that additional restrictions will not adequately protect the public, pets and wildlife from these deadly cyanide bombs,” said Carson Barylak, Campaigns Manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

“Cyanide bombs randomly kill wildlife and place children and pets in danger,” said Tara Thornton, deputy director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “There is no place for them on the landscape.”

“The EPA restrictions are actually weaker than those that were already in place in Idaho when Canyon Mansfield and his dog were poisoned in 2017,” said Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project. “It is absolutely appalling that the livestock industry, which is supposed to be regulated by the EPA, is instead dictating the agency’s policy to extend the use of deadly M-44 cyanide bombs and their lethal effects on native wildlife, families, and their pets.”

“New Mexico is a hotbed for sodium cyanide bombs and will continue to be with this announcement,” said Chris Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “The only real solution to the problem of poison bombs on the landscape is to remove them entirely – they are ineffective, indiscriminate, cruel, and do not belong.”

According to Wildlife Services’ own data, M-44s killed 6,579 animals, mostly coyotes and foxes, in 2018, down from 13,232 animals in 2017. Of these, more than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including a bear, foxes, opossums, raccoons and skunks. These numbers are likely a significant undercount of the true death toll, as Wildlife Services is notorious for poor data collection and an entrenched “shoot, shovel, shut up” mentality.

Background

The devices spray deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes and other carnivores lured by smelly bait. Anything or anyone that pulls on the baited M-44 device can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray.

In response to a 2017 lawsuit brought by the Center and its allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to analyze impacts of M-44s on endangered wildlife by the end of 2021. Another 2017 lawsuit by the wildlife advocates prompted Wildlife Services in Colorado to temporarily halt the use of M-44s while it completes a new environmental analysis on its wildlife-killing program.

Last year, EPA denied a 2017 petition authored by the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians that asked for a nationwide ban on M-44s.

M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two incidents in Idaho and Wyoming in 2017. A wolf was also accidentally killed by an M-44 set in Oregon that year. In response, Idaho instituted an ongoing moratorium on M-44 use on public lands, and Oregon this year passed legislation banning them in the state.

Contacts:

Kelly Nokes, Western Environmental Law Center, (575) 613-8051, gro.walnretsew@sekon

Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, gro.ytisrevidlacigoloib@snikdac

Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003, gro.esnefedrotaderp@skoorb

Bethany Cotton, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2148, gro.enilnoiwa@ynahteb

Congress can protect endangered species by passing the PAW and FIN Act

Countless species, such as New Mexico’s native Mexican Gray Wolf, are edging closer to extinction. Despite a growing biodiversity emergency, the Trump Administration has launched numerous regulatory changes that critically undermine the Endangered Species Act and the imperiled plants and animals that need it to evade extinction.

Among other changes, these revisions bias listing decisions with unreliable economic analysis and make it much more difficult to protect species impacted by climate change. We simply cannot afford to go backward by weakening the Endangered Species Act and the protections it provides to the most imperiled species.

The PAW and FIN Conservation Act, introduced by Senator Tom Udal and House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva, would fully reinstate the protections of the Endangered Species Act and direct the administration to follow this law as written.

The PAW and FIN Conservation Act would block the Trump extinction plan and undo the damage this administration did with its rollbacks to the Endangered Species Act–but it needs to be passed into law first. An encouraging 18 senators and 79 representatives  have co-sponsored this legislation. Now we need to do our part to make sure more in Congress co-sponsor this critical legislation to restore the Endangered Species Act. On behalf of all the imperiled species that do not have a voice in our political process, please make a call today.

Call your U.S. Senator today by calling the Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

My name is ______ and I’m from _____. As a concerned constituent, I strongly urge the senator to cosponsor S. 2491, Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation Act. As you know, the Trump administration announced destructive regulation changes to the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act – severely weakening one of our nation’s most important conservation laws. These new regulations roll back protections for threatened species and prevent the consideration of climate change impacts when listing. These regulations also allow economic factors to be considered in decisions on the survival of species.

Given that biodiversity is declining at a rapid rate, we need strong and effective laws protecting our nation’s most imperiled species. The PAW and FIN ACT would protect the Endangered Species Act by reversing these disastrous regulations. I urge the senator to co-sponsor the PAW and FIN Act (S.2491) and restore the ESA today.

Thank you for your time!

Please click here to tell us you called.

Native Milkweed for Monarch Conservation

Diane Jones, owner of Draggin’ Wing High Desert Nursery

and Jeanne Dodds, ESC Creative Engagement Director

Growing up in Idaho, I recall late afternoons watching Monarch butterflies winging through the garden, their orange patterning matching the striking summer light as they flew through the yard. It was thrilling and awe inspiring to observe a tiny part of their long journey. I knew that Monarchs were the state insect of Idaho and connected with these beautiful butterflies as a symbol of home. Over the years, visits by Monarchs grew fewer and fewer until, in past seasons, people in Idaho and other Western states describe whole summers passing by without seeing a single Monarch. 

Swallowtail butterflies on A.speciosa Image credit Jeanne Dodds

We know that Western Monarchs are in a state of crisis. Recent studies including those reflected in Xerces Society Western Monarch Call to Action indicate that since the 1980’s, Western Monarch populations have declined precipitously, falling by over 99%. Among the factors contributing to Monarch declines are the loss of milkweed habitat and the planting of non-native, tropical milkweed.  Monarchs are an iconic species and a beneficial pollinator; urgent actions are required to ensure the survival of this species.

Monarch egg milkweed leaf Draggin Wing High Desert Nursery Image credit Jeanne Dodds

The Endangered Species Coalition’s Pollinator Protectors project emphasizes the use of native milkweed and native nectaring plants for planting projects across the United States. We focus on partnering with local native plant nurseries to source plant materials providing the greatest benefit to Monarchs and other pollinators. One native plant nursery, Draggin’ Wing High Desert Nursery in Boise Idaho, has partnered with ESC since 2016 to provide plant material for habitat restoration at water catchment sites managed by the Ada County Highway District. I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Diane Jones, owner of Draggin’ Wing High Desert Nursery to explore the significance of native plants for Monarch conservation.

Jeanne Dodds Why is propagating and planting native plants important?

Diane Jones One important reason is to help stop the decline of insect populations by creating habitat that supports the native insects which have co-evolved with these plants over millennia. Beyond that, I think that working with native plants can be an educational experience that heightens our appreciation for the natural landscape of our region. When people understand and appreciate the environment they are more likely to protect it.

Beetle at nursery Image Credit Jeanne Dodds

JD How does the process of wild milkweed seed collection and propagation benefit Monarch butterflies and other species? 

DJ Monarch butterflies co-evolved with Milkweed to the point that their caterpillars are entirely dependent on the leaves of Milkweed plants for food as they grow. Monarchs lay their eggs only on Milkweeds. But in addition, the flowers of Milkweed plants provide nectar and pollen for a wide variety of bees, butterflies and other insects, so their ecological benefits go well beyond supporting Monarchs.

Asclepias seeds image credit Diane Jones

JD How does your nursery raise the profile of native plants and encourage people to grow native species for pollinator conservation? 

DJ We plant out all of our native species in display gardens so that people can see for themselves what these plants look like and how they can function in a home landscape. Our hope is that these gardens can serve as an inspiration for folks to re-imagine what a home garden can be. As our gardens have matured over the years they have become a haven for a wide variety of pollinators and visitors can see this. We also offer encouragement and advice based on our years of experience working with native plants. 

Asclepias fascicularis Image credit Diane Jones

JD Do you have any observations to share regarding the presence or absence of Monarchs in Idaho?

DJ It has been very discouraging lately, as Monarch sightings in our area are few and far between. At the same time, more and more people are planting Milkweeds, so there is some hope that if Monarchs start to return, they will be able to find places to lay their eggs. 


To learn more about Draggin’ Wing High Desert Nursery, including native plants and resources for pollinator conservation, visit https://waterthriftyplants.com/

Interested in becoming a participating planting site for the Endangered Species Coalition’s Pollinator Protectors Project? Contact Jeanne Dodds, ESC Creative Engagement Director jdodds@endangered.org

Help ESC plant native milkweed and native nectaring plants for Monarch butterflies and other pollinators by making a donation.

Poisoned: New Report Highlights 10 Species Threatened by Pesticides

Contact: Leda Huta, lhuta@endangered.org, (202) 320-6467
Derek Goldman, dgoldman@endangered.org, (406) 721-3218

Washington, D.C. – Chemical pesticides applied to lawns, gardens, and industrial agriculture operations are a major threat to imperiled wildlife, according to a new report released today. “Poisoned: 10 American Species Imperiled by Pesticides” details how domestic and commercial pesticides—including herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides—are contributing to the decline of many common and lesser known species of wildlife.

“Pesticides are toxic chemicals that persist for days, months and even years in our environment—poisoning all life forms, from bees and fish to mammals—and they are linked to a range of serious illnesses and diseases in humans,” said Dr. Jan Randall, Coalition board member and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee. “We owe it to future generations to protect our air, water and wildlife from these poisonous chemicals.”

In the U.S. alone, we spend nearly $9 billion annually on pesticides, toxic chemicals that end up contaminating the drinking water for as many as 50 million people, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A 2017 report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that just two commonly used pesticides (malathion and chlorpyrifos) were so toxic that they jeopardize more than 1,200 endangered species. That report, however, was blocked by political appointees at the Department of Interior, including Secretary David Bernhardt, who now oversees the department. The Trump Administration then overruled Environmental Protection Agency experts and rejected a ban on chlorpyrifos, which is also linked to brain damage in children.

With their continued widespread use, pesticide impacts are felt across the web of life—from insects to mammals. The monarch butterfly, for instance, has declined by nearly 80 percent in the last two decades, largely due to eradication by herbicides of milkweed—the only food source for monarch caterpillars. Similarly, the Crotch’s bumblebee has paralleled the decline of many other native bees as a result of the use of neonicotinoids—a widely used but highly toxic insecticide. Native bees are important pollinators, not only for wild plants, but for agricultural crops, as well.

“Southern Resident killer whales are apex predators and therefore they are ingesting high levels of toxicants in their prey, primarily Chinook salmon,” said Dr. Deborah Giles, resident scientist at the University of Washington. “We must do everything possible to stop toxicants from entering the food web and ensure abundant high quality Chinook for the whales.”

Poisoned: 10 American Species Imperiled by Pesticides:

California red-legged frog Monarch butterfly
Indiana bat Northern spotted owl
Pink mucket pearly mussel Streaked horned lark
San Joaquin kit fox Salado salamander
Chinook salmon Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Staff Pick)
Crotch’s bumble bee  

Endangered Species Coalition’s member groups nominated species for the report. A committee of distinguished scientists reviewed the nominations and chose the finalists. The full report, along with photos can be viewed and downloaded at http://endangered.org/poisoned. The Endangered Species Coalition produces a Top 10 report annually, focusing on a different theme each year. Previous years’ reports are also available on the Coalition’s website.

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Background info:

 

The Endangered Species Act was a landmark conservation law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support: 92-0 in the Senate, and 394-4 in the House, and signed by President Richard Nixon 45 years ago on December 28. In 2017, more than 400 organizations signed a letter to members of Congress opposing efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act, noting the law has a success rate of more than 90 percent, including some of the country’s most exciting wildlife recoveries, like the bald eagles, humpback whales, American alligators, Channel Island foxes, Tennessee purple coneflowers, and more.

Although the Administration and some members of Congress have been seeking to weaken the Act, public opinion research indicates that the law continues to maintain broad, bipartisan, public support. A 2015 poll conducted by Tulchin Research found that 90 percent of American voters across all political, regional and demographic lines support the Endangered Species Act.

Statement on Bills to Block Trump ESA Rollback:

Today, leaders in the U.S House and Senate introduced bills to block the Trump Administration’s recent rules weakening the Endangered Species Act – our most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. The bill. H.R. 4348, is called the ‘‘Protect America’s Wildlife and Fish in Need of Conservation  Act of 2019’’ or the ‘PAW and FIN Conservation Act of 2019 (H.R. 4348)’’ (House cosponsors and Senate cosponsors).  Here is our statement supporting these critical efforts by Congressional leaders: 

“The ‘Trump Extinction Plan’ issued last month makes it harder to protect our nation’s imperiled wildlife, such as the monarch butterfly, sea turtles, and wolverines,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “We know Americans strongly support wildlife and the Endangered Species Act, and we are heartened to see that support reflected in the bills introduced today by Representative Grijalva and Senator Udall and co-sponsored by 29 additional Members of Congress.” 

Background

On August 27th, the Trump Administration published its final Endangered Species Act regulations, which have been widely condemned by conservationists and scientists in the United States. Approved by embattled Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt, these regulations will have real-world negative impacts for the country’s most imperiled plants and wildlife, such as the monarch butterfly, sea turtles, manatees, wolverines, and hundreds more. 

The new regulations will make it more difficult to protect wildlife, fish and plants on the brink of extinction, while weakening critical habitat protections for species designated as “threatened.” The regulations were finalized despite the overwhelming opposition of American citizens–more than 866,000 submitted comments opposing the new regulations. A decade of polling has consistently shown that the American public strongly supports the Endangered Species Act–90 percent in the most recent poll. And in 2017, more than 420 conservation organizations signed a letter to Congress opposing any weakening of the Endangered Species Act.

The Act has a 99% success rate. Species such as bald eagles, American alligator, humpback whale, Santa Cruz island fox, Tennessee purple coneflower and many more have recovered thanks to the Act. Hundreds more species have seen an  incredible resurgence including the grey wolf, Grizzly bear, black-footed ferret, and Whooping crane.

The Endangered Species Act was a landmark conservation law that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support: 92-0 in the Senate, and 394-4 in the House. In 2017, more than 400 organizations signed a letter to members of Congress opposing efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act, noting the law has a 99 percent success rate, including some of the country’s most exciting wildlife recoveries, like the bald eagles, humpback whales, American alligators, Channel Island foxes, Tennessee purple coneflowers, and more.