Friday, March 17, 2017

Conservation Success Stories


I have taken up a new, positive social media practice and every Friday I am posting a conservation success story on my Facebook page.  Unfortunately, environmental protection has come under attack the last few years.  These stories are a reminder of what can be accomplished when creative and committed people apply on science, economics, and sound policy to conserve the natural world.

These are links to the success stories I have highlighted this year.

May 12 The DeVries Nature Conservancy was established over a decade ago as the legacy of Jack and Fran DeVries. The 135 acres along the Shiawassee River provide over 4 miles of trail and lots of ready opportunity for the exploration of nature. Get outside and take in wildflowers, abundant birds, and the children's playscape.  See a schedule of events and learn more here http://devriesnature.org

May 5 This week's conservation success story comes from the Great Lakes of Africa, where scientists from Michigan are--this week--working with colleagues from several nations to share their knowledge to help protect natural resources while providing development opportunities. Read more about The Great Lakes of Africa conference https://www.greatlakesofafrica.org/#  

For several years, The Nature Conservancy has been working in several villages on the shores of Lake Tanganyika https://www.nature.org/.../wherewework/tuungane-project.xml

April 29 A bi-partisan initiative to fight climate change is this week's conservation success story. Thirty-four members of congress (17 Rep. and 17 Dem.) have formed the Climate Solutions Caucus, another sign of the diverse, common sense responses to climate change supported by most Americans. I am looking forward to a Michigan legislator joining this group soon. Read more here

April 22 "Why I Am Marching for Science" my thoughts and blogpost on the March for Science and The Nature Conservancy

April 14 This week's success story highlights the work of the the US Geological Survey, one of several government science agencies that provides the knowledge and research necessary for conservation success. Among other important tasks, the USGS manages gauging stations that provide data on stream flow; in the case of the Shiawassee River they have collected data for 86 years at Owosso.  John Wesley Powell, second director of USGS, first explored the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…/United_States_Geological_Survey

April 7 Lake Onondaga teaches us much about clean water.  Fifty years ago, many bodies of water, including the Shiawassee were quite polluted.  The successful efforts to restore lakes and rivers has been long and expensive; we cannot afford to go backward. https://ensia.com/voices/onondaga-protect-environment/

March 31 The Final Floor highlights sustainable forestry in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Wood harvested in The Nature Conservancy's Two-Hearted Forest Reserve was used to construct the basketball floor used in this year's Final Four NCAA championship game.  Read more here. 

March 24 Sandhill Cranes have made an amazing comeback in Michigan and the rest of the Midwest thanks to restrictions on hunting and habitat preservation.  Read more here. 

March 17 The Clean Air Act has been one of our nation's most significant conservation success stories.  The changes in automobile technology and the fuel economy standards have not only been essential in improving public health, they have also reduced carbon emissions and spurred engineering advances in Michigan's automobile industry.   Mark Tercek has a clear and strong summary.

March 10 The Big Two Hearted River  in Michigan's UP has been improved thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  Many bridges, culverts, and other road-stream crossings throughout the watershed were upgraded to reduce erosion and facilitate fish passage.  Read more here

March 3  "Piper" is the short animated movie that won an Oscar, and appropriate for this World Wildlife Day.   It features sanderlings, the small sandpipers found on both coasts.  Read an account here of how Pixar folks became birdwatchers to make the movie; a short clip of the movie is included.

February 24  "The Accidentals," a relatively new band formed by three young people from Traverse City, performs a benefit concert on March 25 in Owosso.  They have had a big hit with their song "Michigan and Again." Read an interview here about their environmental roots and connection to the Great Lakes.

February 17   The Sage Grouse is the largest grouse in North America.  It is endangered, but not officially so.  Rather, there is a bold and comprehensive effort underway to protect its habitat in the western US.  This protects other plants and animals and the cowboy (and cowgirl) way of life. The Endangered Species Act spurred this effort, but the partnership of government agencies with local people helps ensure success.  Read more, and find many links, here.   Read here to learn "Five Things You Need to Know About the Greater Sage Grouse and the Endangered Species Act."

February 10  Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia was unknown to me until a birding trip I made there with an old friend recently.  It has everything: diverse habitats, interesting cultural history, and good birding.  There's now a move to make it a National Park, something the local community strongly supports because it would boost the local economy.  Read more here.

February 3 The Saginaw Bay RCPP effort of the Nature Conservancy is an innovative effort to use science and work with farmers, crop advisers, and others to reduce polluted runoff.  Read more and watch a video here.

January 27 Lake Erie Watersnake is a conservation success story because one person learned a lot of natural history (i.e. science) and then became inspired to take action.  Read more here.

January 20  Theodore Roosevelt is a conservation success story from history. Teddy was raised as a birdwatcher and naturalist, was redeemed from depression by a stint on a ranch in North Dakota (now a national park that bears his name), and, as President, passed the law to establish National Monuments, set aside national bird sanctuaries and created the US Forest Service.  Read some his still timely thoughts about conservation here.

January 13   Lake Ontario, the last (or first) of the Great Lakes is the site of a conservation success. A new management plan based on natural systems will restore 64,000 acres of wetlands and improve the health of the lake.  This, like many conservation efforts, requires good science and a solid governmental agency to balance both environmental and economic needs.  Read more here.

January 6  You can be a conservation success story.  Don't despair, take action, says Jon Foley, the smart engaging director of the California Academy of Sciences.  He offers easy, straightforward device on what you can do to meet global challenges.  Read more, and see some nice photos, here.

December 30  The Endangered Species Act was signed into law this week 10 years ago.  Here are 10 conservation success stories of animals saved by this federal legislation.

December 23   President Obama carried through on the bi-partisan tradition of all the Presidents back to Teddy Roosevelt.  All of them, Republican and Democrat have established national parks and national monuments.  Read more and watch a video here that recaps President Obama's legacy.

December 16  Sparks of Hope, 2016  There were many conservation success stories last year.  Read here about 12 signs of progress as reported by The Nature Conservancy.

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