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Latest Updates: Federal Government and Large Landscapes

By Eleanor Mahoney October 31, 2017
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 3.55.41 PM

It is getting harder and harder to keep track of all the news involving federal government action on landscape conservation issues. The past few weeks have been especially overwhelming with each day (and sometimes each hour!) bringing a new headline or controversy. Drilling in Alaska, new fees at National Park Service units, and potential changes to National Monument designations are just a few of the issues to catch our attention.

Half Earth: E.O. Wilson sparks the planet’s largest conservation effort

By Brenda Barrett October 30, 2017

On October 23, 2017 conservationists gathered at National Geographic Headquarters for an event called “Half Earth Day” held six months after Earth Day in April. The half theme was to highlight renowned biologist, naturalist, and author E.O. Wilson’s big idea that half the planet is the amount of protected marine and land habitats required to […]

Threats to the Conservation of U.S. Marine Landscapes

National Marine Sanctuaires 
Courtesey NOAA

Overshadowed by the controversy over shrinking the size of national monuments that protect large swaths of the United States’ western landscapes, is a parallel effort to change the protected status of the nation’s marine resources. While all eyes have been focused on Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce has been preparing its own report on the future of marine national monuments and national marine sanctuaries. The report is not yet public, but could impact a broad area of the nation’s off shore real estate.

Edward Abbey: Seer in the Desert

By Brenda Barrett September 27, 2017

Re-reading Edward Abbey’s 1968 classic Desert Solitaire, brought some new revelations beyond his lyric descriptions of the desert landscape and sketches of its memorable characters. The book offers some predictions and recommendations for the future of western rivers, National Parks and wilderness. So what were three of his most compelling observations?

The Future of the Bureau of Land Management’s Master Leasing Plans

By Brenda Barrett September 26, 2017
Zion National Park

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with 247 million acres of public land in its portfolio and a multiple use mission that includes leasing authority for grazing, mining, oil and gas drilling as well as recreational activities has a challenging job. And nowhere is the work of BLM more difficult than in making leasing decisions adjacent to our National Parks. To help reduce conflicts between BLM practices and the need to protect park resources, the agency had adopted a landscape scale approach to reviewing proposed leasing known as Master Leasing Plans. But today this strategy may be at risk.