In This Issue
IWLA Convention Delegates Adopt National Conservation Policies
IWLA Convention Delegates Adopt National Conservation Policies
Over 90 years, League members have developed conservation policies on a wide range of natural resource, fish and wildlife, and conservation issues by adopting resolutions at the League's national convention. Policies proposed and adopted by our members guide the League's conservation and advocacy work at the state, regional, and national levels.
At this year's convention, members adopted resolutions concerning mining for silica sand, linking conservation compliance and crop insurance in the Farm Bill, reporting wetland and grassland acres converted to crop production, and on-shore oil and natural gas drilling. For the full text of each resolution, visit the League Web site. These new policies will be incorporated into the League's "Conservation Policies Handbook," which will be available online this fall.
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to adjourn for its August recess without acting on the 2012 Farm Bill. Instead, it will consider a drought relief package only. The League and many other conservation, hunting and angling, and agriculture groups have been urging the House to vote on the 2012 Farm Bill before the recess.
Although the full House did not act on a comprehensive 2012 Farm Bill, the House Agriculture Committee approved its version of this legislation on July 12. Compared with the Senate bill, the House measure has numerous short-comings. First, it does not include a nationwide Sodsaver provision, which would conserve native grasslands and save taxpayers money. Instead, the committee scaled back the Sodsaver provision to cover only the prairie pothole region of the northern plains. That just doesn't make sense. Native grassland across the country is being tilled under. And under such a regional program, grasslands in neighboring states and even in neighboring counties would be treated differently.
You can help to address this problem. Please contact your U.S. Representative today and urge him or her to co-sponsor the Protect Our Prairies Act (HR 5879), which would implement a nationwide Sodsaver program. The League and other organizations are working hard to build support for this bill. With more Representatives signed on as co-sponsors, we'll be in a stronger position to push a national Sodsaver amendment when the full House considers the Farm Bill.
Second, the House Agriculture Committee bill does not reconnect conservation compliance with crop insurance premium subsidies. It is critically important to ensure that taxpayers receive basic conservation benefits in return for billions of dollars in payments underwriting crop insurance premiums. Unless conservation compliance is tied to crop insurance premium payments, taxpayers will pay billions of dollars more for Farm Bill programs and receive fewer conservation benefits in return.
In mid-July, the Corps of Engineers announced that it is beginning the process of developing a Missouri River Water Storage Reallocation Report, which will determine whether changes to water storage use are warranted and what effects such changes would have on the river's other authorized purposes. The study will encompass the area from the headwaters of Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana to St Louis, Missouri, evaluating the current and future long-term Missouri River water storage needs.
The 1944 Flood Control Act directs the Corps to allocate water in the Missouri among eight authorized purposes: fish and wildlife, flood control, irrigation, navigation, hydropower, recreation, water quality, and water supply. Although water supply is an authorized purpose, no allocation of water storage has ever been made for "Municipal and Industrial" use. Demand for "Municipal and Industrial" water has increased and the Corps has received numerous requests for intakes and permission to withdraw water from the Missouri River. Depending on the outcome of this study, the Corps could allow non-federal entities to acquire long-term or permanent water rights to stored water. (Typically water rights are limited to states.)
Your voice is needed at the start of this process. It is important that the Corps consider a range of questions and issues as it develops this report, including how withdrawals could affect fish and wildlife, recreation, and other interests throughout the basin. A series of public meetings will be held on this issue, including August 20 in Nebraska City, NE; August 23 in Sioux City, IA; and August 27 in Pierre, SD. For more information about the meetings and a list of questions to pose, e-mail Paul Lepisto, IWLA Regional Conservation Coordinator for the Missouri River.
The League's annual convention – held this year in Lincoln, Nebraska – offered a robust schedule of conservation speakers who delighted and inspired members from across the country.
Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, provided insights into America's most famous conservation president. In the face of personal tragedy, Roosevelt headed west to clear his head. Traveling through North Dakota's Badlands, he had an epiphany when he went hunting for buffalo – and couldn't find one for a week due to massive over-hunting of buffalo across the plains.
Bob Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and conservation editor for Field & Stream magazine, discussed political challenges that threaten to undo decades of conservation work that supports the world's best public outdoor experiences. "One out of five voice votes in the U.S. House of Representatives last year was to weaken environmental protections," Marshall reported. According to many in Congress, Marshall quipped, "Our air is too clean, our water is too pure, and we just have too many public lands."
Conservation Luncheon speaker Michael Forsberg, an award-winning photographer and Nebraska native, delighted conference attendees with dynamic images from the Great Plains and stories about the wildlife that abound. "At first glance, it looks like there's nothing out there. But if you watch and wait, the plains come alive." From burrowing owls to colorful fish that would be at home on a coral reef, from Sandhill cranes with social traits quite similar to our own to an encounter with an elusive bobcat, Forsberg's stories inspired a renewed passion for conservation on this endangered ecosystem.
Scott Kovarovics, IWLA Conservation Director, rounded out the convention line-up with a brief history of the League's conservation successes and ongoing challenges. Kovarovics explained that America's conservation challenges "have evolved, not been solved," and encouraged League members to collaborate at all levels of the organization to ensure continued conservation success.
Look for complete convention coverage in the next issue of the Izaak Walton League's Outdoor America magazine.
At the League's national convention, we had the pleasure of recognizing individuals and organizations from across the country who make a difference in conserving outdoor America – today and for future generations. National awards were presented to conservation leaders throughout the organization. From Save Our Streams and Outdoor Ethics to the Hall of Fame and 54 Founders Awards, League volunteers were honored for their dedication and outstanding work. Non-members were also recognized for their contributions.
To acknowledge our most outstanding chapters, the League presents Defenders Chapter Achievement Awards, named for the League's motto, "Defenders of soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife." To receive the award, chapters must meet criteria in five of six areas: membership, contributions, education, conservation, youth involvement, and communications. Thirty-two chapters received the award in 2012 for their accomplishments in 2011. These groups showcase the depth of the conservation commitment among Izaak Walton League chapters.
What's the best way to celebrate the League's 90th anniversary? Throw a party for the Ikes! League members and supporters in Minnesota and Iowa are hosting events to commemorate not just the League's anniversary but also conservation successes at the regional, state, and local levels. And they need your support. Please consider joining in one of these celebrations:
Saturday, August 25 Saturday, September 15
Saturday, September 15
Donate Your Vehicle to the League
Before trading in your older model for a 2013 one this fall, consider donating your used car, truck, motorcycle, RV, boat, personal watercraft, or snowmobile – running or not – to the League through DonationLine.com. It costs you nothing, you'll get a tax deduction, and the League will get a portion of the sale proceeds.
90 Years of Defending Outdoor America
To commemorate the League's 90th anniversary, we are proud to announce our "$90 for 90" campaign. Donate $90 or more to the League, and you will receive our limited-edition Snapshots in Conservation anthology.
Your contribution will also support the League's national conservation work. Please visit the League Web site for more information.
Resource of the Month: Promotional Video
Show the League's promotional DVD at public events to let others know who the League is and what it stands for. (Click image above to view the video on YouTube.) Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a DVD.
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