Conservation Currents

In This Issue

League Releases 2012 Farm Bill Report

2012 Farm Bill Report coverNational conservation efforts and the natural resources they were intended to protect are in jeopardy. In our 2012 Farm Bill Report: Stewardship, Prosperity, and Fairness, the Izaak Walton League has identified focused, cost-effective policy actions that will continue the long-term modernization of national farm policy that sustains our farms, our lands, and our people:

  • Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance: Re-establish the connection between subsidies for federal crop insurance premiums and basic conservation provisions to protect wetlands and sensitive soils.
  • Sodsaver Initiative: Enact a nationwide Sodsaver provision to prohibit federal farm program and crop insurance subsidies for native land converted to crop production.
  • Conservation Investments: Maintain the unique functions of current Farm Bill conservation programs, establish continuing baseline budgets for core conservation functions, and oppose funding cuts for mandatory conservation programs in annual appropriations bills.

The Farm Bill affects all of us. Download the full Farm Bill Report from the League Web site to learn more.

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Sodsaver Legislation Gains Momentum

Momentum continues to build for including a Sodsaver provision in the 2012 Farm Bill. On May 31st, the Protect Our Prairies Act (HR 5879) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bi-partisan bill is identical to provisions included in the Farm Bill approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee in late April.

Switchgrass in southern IowaU.S. Representatives Kristi Noem (SD) and Tim Walz (MN) introduced the Protect Our Prairies Act, highlighting Sodsaver's potential cost savings – as much as $200 million over 10 years – and the conservation benefits of stemming the loss of native grasslands and other native lands that have never been converted to crop production.

The League and a broad cross-section of conservation, hunting, angling, and taxpayer groups strongly support Sodsaver. The goal over the next few weeks is to build support for this measure among members of the House Agriculture Committee, which could begin debating its version of the 2012 Farm Bill as early as the week of June 18.

Stay tuned for Action Alerts from the League, and please contact your U.S. Representative in support of this common-sense legislation. (Not on the League's Action Alert e-mail list? E-mail to be added.)

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U.S. House Rejects Clean Water Protections

On June 1st, U.S. Representatives had the opportunity to make a very clear choice for clean water when debating the budget bill for the Army Corps of Engineers. That bill currently includes a provision that would block the Corps from offering new guidance to its staff on waters covered by the Clean Water Act. The Corps proposed new guidance because the guidelines created under the previous administration artificially limit the application of well-established scientific principles concerning the connections between waters. An amendment offered by Representatives Jim Moran (VA) and John Dingell (MI) would have struck this provision and allowed the Corps to issue new guidance.

Stream in southern IdahoMembers who voted the Moran-Dingell amendment were supporting efforts by the Corps and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore some lost protections for streams, wetlands, and other waters. A vote against the amendment would block any progress in any future year. On this critical vote, 152 members of Congress voted for the amendment and for moving forward with science-based Clean Water Act guidance. Unfortunately, 237 members voted against the amendment. To see how your U.S. Representative voted, visit the Roll Call page on the Moran amendment.

The League and other national hunting, angling, and conservation groups strongly supported the Moran-Dingell amendment. You can read more about our position in a June 1st press release. Although this vote is disappointing, there is nothing blocking the Obama administration from finalizing and implementing Clean Water Act guidance for the Corps and EPA this year. The League is working with partner groups to coordinate outreach to the administration – and we need your help. Please watch for Action Alerts on this issue.

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IWLA Releases New Wetlands Video

Mallards on Swan Lake - MissouriAmerica's wetlands are at risk – and with them waterfowl populations and other wildlife. Find out more from Dave Zentner (an avid hunter, angler, and conservationist from Minnesota) on a visit to America's prairie pothole region and learn why it is important for hunters to speak up for wetland conservation.

For more information on what you can do to help conserve America's wetlands, visit our Protecting Clean Water Web page.

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Ikes Raise Awareness of Aquatic Invasive Species

Invasive species threaten the health of waters across the nation. To raise awareness among boaters and anglers of the threat posed by aquatic invasive species, the League coordinates an annual Clean Boat Event on the Missouri River above and below Gavins Point Dam.

Missouri River Clean Boats event 2012Asian Carp and Zebra Mussels are present in the river below the dam but have not been found above the dam in Lewis and Clark Lake – a popular recreation area. Both of these species are voracious feeders. They disrupt the food chain and habitats of native species in rivers and lakes.

To educate the public and protect the Missouri River's world class fishing and recreational opportunities, the League and partner groups – including the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Corps of Engineers, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks – distributes information to boaters and staff talk with boaters and anglers one-on-one.

Boaters can take three simple steps to prevent spreading invasive species:

  1. Clean all vegetation and mud from equipment.
  2. Drain all water from the boat before leaving the ramp.
  3. Dry your equipment thoroughly before launching again.

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League Joins "1 Mississippi"

Hastings Bridge over Mississippi RiverIn May, the Izaak Walton League became a partner in the Mississippi River Network's "1 Mississippi" campaign. The Mississippi River Network is a group of about 40 organizations working to improve the environment on the Mississippi River and engage citizens in volunteer activities. The group promotes environmental education, clean water policy, sustainable agriculture, smart infrastructure development, wetlands protection, and reducing storm water runoff – all of which are part of the League's mission too.

We encourage League members to sign up to be a River Citizen on the 1 Mississippi Web site to receive information on campaign activities. Volunteer opportunities are also available on the site.

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Make Plans for Pollinator Week: June 18-24

Bee on flowerEach year, the last week in June is dedicated to pollinators – bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles. The Izaak Walton League has partnered with the Pollinator Partnership to promote the health of pollinators – which are critical to our food supply and ecosystems – through conservation and education outreach.

How can you help protect our pollinators? Plant a pollinator garden. Visit the League Web site for a How-To article on creating pollinator gardens – this will help you get started on gardens small and large.

A series of "Selecting Plants for Pollinators" guides from the Pollinator Partnership provide details on different pollinators and what types of flowers they prefer – from color to flower shape. Each guide offers a chart with the botanical and common names of pollinator-friendly plants as well as when they flower and in what color(s). Search by Zip code to find the correct guide for your region. You can even download the guides through a free app for your phone.

If you plan to start a pollinator garden at your chapter or a public location, you can post information about it on the Pollinator Week Event Guide. (Need an incentive to talk about pollinators? Check out the "Chocolate's Sweet Little Secret" fact sheet!)

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EPA Launches "Water Is Worth It" Video Project

Great LakesThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the law that protects our country's most precious natural resource. To help commemorate the occasion, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking people to send in a 15-second video clip about the important role that water plays in their lives. Each video should include the phrase "Water Is Worth It." EPA will post selected videos on its Web site and Facebook page.

To learn more, visit EPA's Water Is Worth It Web site. To submit your video, fill out an online entry form and visit the Water Is Worth It page on YouTube. Video submissions must be received by September 14, 2012. This is a great project for League youth programs, Save Our Streams and Creek Freaks volunteers, and anyone who cares about water quality.

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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.

Snapshots in Conservation booklet

Your contribution will also support the League's national conservation work. Please visit the League Web site for more information.

Resource of the Month: Flags and Banners

IWLA flag

Brighten up your space and advertise the League by displaying an IWLA flag or banner at your facility, chapter house, or meeting place.

Download an order form (PDF) to order yours today!

Support the League: Shop Online

You can support the Izaak Walton League just by doing your everyday shopping at the online shopping village. The amount contributed varies among participating companies but is clearly indicated on the Web site. stores include the brand-name products you already use from leading online retailers.

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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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