Conservation Currents

In This Issue

League Victory: Dakota Grassland Conservation Area

Wetland with mallard duckLeague members scored a victory September 6th when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe approved establishment of the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area in portions of South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. With approval of this project, the Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners will be able to conserve up to 240,000 acres of wetlands and 1.7 million acres of grasslands in the prairie pothole region and priority species of wildlife, such as waterfowl and shorebirds. Significant loss of habitat in the past 25 years has led to widespread declines in grassland bird populations. League members have been vocal advocates for this project, which will allow purchase of critical wetland and grassland easements from willing landowners using the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

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Conservation Policies Update

2011 Conservation Policies bookletThe League's Conservation Policies Handbook is a compilation of nearly 90 years of League policies on a wide range of natural resource, conservation and outdoor recreation issues. The handbook has been updated to reflect resolutions adopted at the 2011 national convention and is now available on our Web site. The handbook is a great resource for new League members to learn about our policies and for all members to prepare for meetings with decisionmakers at the local, state, and national levels.

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IWLA Promotional Video

1923 ConventionThe League's new video – premiered at our national convention this summer – provides an overview of our mission, history, and conservation successes across the nation. A DVD was mailed to League leaders for use at public events, membership recruitment meetings, conservation projects – wherever you want to spread the word about the Izaak Walton League. You can also link to the video from your Web site. Visit the Izaak Walton League of America channel on YouTube for links. Haven't seen the video yet? Now is your chance!

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New Youth Resource: Creek Freaks Web Site

Creek Freaks Web siteThe League's new Creek Freaks Web site offers a wealth of educational information on streams and creeks and provides tools for sharing water quality data from across the nation. The project is tailored for youth ages 10-14. Whether you are looking for activities for your existing youth program or a vehicle for starting one, check out Creek Freaks – and start posting your own videos, photos, and water quality data today.

The Creek Freaks project and Web site were developed by the League in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Coastal Program; and U.S. Forest Service.

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Congress Resumes Budget Work

U.S. Capitol domeCongress returns to DC this week with a fall agenda dominated by funding and budget debates. The House and Senate have to act on annual spending bills that fund day-to-day government operations and many federal programs. In addition, a special Congressional committee will grapple with long-term budget issues tied to the debt ceiling agreement approved in early August.

Both debates have near- and long-term implications for conservation, public land management, environmental protection, and outdoor recreation. It will be important for League members and other Americans who hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors speak out on issues that are important to us. Please watch for updates from the League and take action. Share action alerts with your family and friends. Your voices will make a difference.

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Remarkable Values of Missouri River

Missouri RiverPaul Lepisto, the League's Missouri River Initiative Coordinator, was part of a group that met in August to define the Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) of the Missouri National Recreational River, a national park that includes two reaches of the Missouri as well as portions of the Niobrara River and Verdigre Creek. (Other members of the working group included staff from the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and other conservation and resource groups.) ORVs are rare, unique, or exemplary characteristics that qualify a river for inclusion in the national wild and scenic rivers system. Lepisto and other working group participants defined the ORVs within the recreational river and described current conditions, trends, threats, opportunities, and stakeholder interests.

This ORV process is a critical first step in developing long-term management priorities and strategies for the Missouri National Recreational River. The National Park Service will release a draft ORV statement for public comment later this year. Lepisto will continue to be involved in the effort.

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National Hunting and Fishing Day: September 24

HunterNational Hunting and Fishing Day encourages people from all walks of life to learn more about outdoor skills and conservation through hunting, shooting, fishing, archery, and more. Help make National Hunting and Fishing Day a success by hosting an event at your chapter or in your community, whether it's an archery event, a hunter education class, or a fishing tournament.

Need poles for a youth fishing derby? Your chapter can get youth fishing gear at a discount through the League's new partnership with Zebco. Visit the Chapters section of the League Web site to download an order form.

You can find a link to the National Hunting and Fishing Day Event Planning Guide, plus tips from the IWLA Chapter Manual, on the League Web site.

The Izaak Walton League of America is a proud sponsor of National Hunting and Fishing Day®.

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National Public Lands Day: September 24

Superior National ForestFrom local parks to national forests, Americans have access to the most extensive network of public lands in the world. National Public Lands Day is an annual event for people across the country to celebrate these lands and volunteer to maintain, restore, and enhance them. Last year, 170,000 people volunteered at more than 2,000 sites – it's a great opportunity to engage your community in a conservation project on land that everyone can enjoy.

The National Public Lands Day Web site is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities. You can also post your own public-lands project to the site.

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Recycling for Charity

Have an old cell phone, camera, laptop, iPod, or other gadget you're no longer using? You can keep these electronics out of a landfill and help the League in the process!

The Izaak Walton League of America is now part of the Recycling for Charities program. For each wireless electronic item donated, Recycling for Charities will contribute a minimum of one dollar (more depending on the item) to the League.

The process is easy. Visit the Recycling for Charities Donation page and select "Izaak Walton League of America" in the charity drop-down box. Print out a shipping label and tax donation form, affix the label to a box, and mail in your donated electronics. Your product donation is tax deductible, so that can help offset your mailing costs.

Want to do more? Hold an electronics recycling drive at your chapter or a community gathering spot. Together, we can conserve the environment and further the important work of the Izaak Walton League.

Support the Izaak Walton League Tax-Free Through Your IRA

If you're an IRA owner age 70½ or older, here's a great opportunity to support the conservation programs you care about: Through the end of 2011, you can make tax-free distributions of up to $100,000 from an IRA to qualified charitable organizations like the League! Visit our Web site for details.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions about this newsletter or other IWLA programs, please contact:

Dawn Merritt
Communications Director
707 Conservation Lane
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 548-0150 ext. 220

Founded in 1922, the
Izaak Walton League of America
protects America's outdoors through community-based conservation, education, and the promotion of outdoor recreation.

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