CONSERVATION CURRENTS OCTOBER 2013
In This Issue
IWLA Strategic Plan: Moving Forward
IWLA Strategic Plan: Moving Forward
Have you had a chance to review the League's new five-year strategic plan? You can find it on the League's Web site in both a text-only version and a presentation format that's ready to share.
Before the end of this year, we will be asking League chapters to help establish baselines – a starting point – from which the League can measure progress toward our goals, such as restoring fish and wildlife habitat and connecting youth and adults to hunting, fishing, shooting sports, and other outdoor recreation. Sample questions will be available soon to help chapters start putting together their data, and an online questionnaire will be sent out to chapter leaders by the end of the year. This information will not only help us measure progress, it will also help raise our visibility with the public, policy-makers, and funders.
Hunters Shut Out by Government Shutdown
Those of us who planned to fish or hunt this fall on national wildlife refuges or waterfowl production areas (WPAs) were shut out by Congress on October 1st. As hunting season was ramping up, Congress was shutting down the federal government, including agencies that manage a variety of public lands.
In some parts of the country, there are not many public places to hunt other than wildlife refuges, particularly for waterfowl. National parks, monuments, recreation areas, and historic sites are closed to visitors until the government re-opens, so you may have to cancel that camping trip or paddling excursion you had planned. Folks who live near or have visits planned to national forests or Bureau of Land Management lands can still generally hunt and enjoy other outdoor recreation there, although you may find campgrounds and roads closed.
In addition to outdoor recreation impacts, important conservation work – such as stream restoration projects to reduce pollution and rebuild fish populations – has been put on hold as Congress haggles about the budget. If more members of Congress were outdoorsmen and women, they might have thought differently about shutting down the federal government in the middle of hunting season.
Want to drop your members of Congress a note about the shutdown? You can use our Advocacy Web page to write to them (scroll down to "Compose Your Own Message" under the Archived Alerts green bar).
League Opposes House Efforts To Defund Conservation
League Opposes House Efforts To Defund Conservation
The Izaak Walton League – our national office plus 19 state divisions and local chapters – joined with more than 1,600 conservation and outdoor recreation groups to urge Congress to restore funding for fish and wildlife conservation grant programs. The letter was in response to efforts by the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate all funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – which helps make public lands available for us to hunt, hike, and enjoy – and four other key conservation programs. This unprecedented step would undermine not only conservation efforts but America's outdoor recreation economy as well. You can learn more about this issue and read the full text of our letter on the League Web site.
League Comments Against Power Plant Water Pollution
In September, the League joined a coalition of groups concerned about water pollution to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to eliminate almost all toxic discharges from power plants. This effort would reduce pollution by more than 5 billion pounds per year. Steam electric power plants are responsible for at least 50 to 60 percent of the toxic pollutants discharged into U.S. waters – more than the other top nine polluting industries combined.
This action comes in response to a resolution passed by delegates to the League's 2013 national convention calling for EPA to finalize "the most protective Power Plant Effluent Limitation Guidelines requiring, where applicable, zero discharge of heavy metals in coal ash to waters of the United States." The technologies needed to accomplish this are readily available and affordable to industry.
Without stronger standards, water quality across the country will continue to deteriorate. According to EPA, failure to set pollution discharge limits for steam electric power plants has resulted in more than 160 U.S. water bodies not meeting state water quality standards, 185 fish consumption advisories being issued, and almost 400 waterways that provide drinking water to Americans being degraded. Read more about the threats to our waters – and how stronger standards will help – on the League Web site.
League Supports Native Wildlife on Sheldon Refuge
League members recognized years ago that feral horses and burros are not native to North America and can out-compete native wildlife and destroy habitat and native vegetation. League members adopted a policy that "feral horses and burros must be held to population levels that protect native wildlife species and the productive capacity of the range" and endorsed removal of the horses, where necessary, by humane means to meet this goal.
The League recently joined The Wildlife Society, National Wildlife Refuge Association, Safari Club International, and other colleagues in a letter supporting Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge managers in their efforts to remove feral horses. The refuge, which protects more than 50,000 acres in northwest Nevada, provides habitat for sage grouse, migratory pronghorn antelope, California bighorn sheep, and other wildlife. This sage-brush steppe habitat is quickly destroyed by horses.
Refuge managers developed a science-based plan for removing feral horses from the refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff are working with private organizations to find homes for removed horses.
Last Call for Officer Report Forms
Attention IWLA Chapter Leaders: 2012-2013 Officer Report Forms are due to the national office by October 31. These forms are used to create the annual League directory and let us know whom to contact for important League issues. You can find a copy of the Officer Report Form on the League's Chapter Tools Web page.
Fax your completed form to (301) 548-0146, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to IWLA, Membership Department, 707 Conservation Lane, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. Your chapter's cooperation and participation is very much appreciated.
Tiny Ikes: Fall Into Outdoor Learning in October
Encourage children to love the outdoors and they'll love it for life – and lead a healthier lifestyle. League staff are piloting an outdoor education program for children ages 2-5 to help them celebrate the wonders of nature, from wiggly worms to nocturnal animals. We call this program Tiny Ikes (or T'Ikes). Sessions are held at the League's national headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Here's what we have in store for our T'Ikes this month:
October 16: Autumn Art
October 30: Halloween Spooktacular
For more information about scheduled events, visit www.iwla.org/tikes. For more information about conservation education for youth, contact Rebecca Wadler, IWLA Conservation Education Associate, at email@example.com.
Save Our Stream Workshop: October 26
Do you wonder if it's safe for children and pets to play in the stream near your house? Would you like to help test the water quality and make sure the information gets to people who can clean it up? Save Our Streams is a fun and easy way to test water quality by collecting and identifying underwater insects.
The League's Lois Green-Sligo Chapter is hosting a Save Our Streams Workshop at the chapter's property. The session includes classroom training and field training in a nearby stream, so dress for the outdoors and the weather!
Date: Saturday, October 26
Please bring your own brown bag lunch. Drinks will be provided. The workshop can accommodate up to 30 adults (high school students permitted with prior approval from the IWLA national staff). Register online today – space is limited!
Creek Freaks Teachers Workshop in Maryland: November 2-3
Maryland Teachers and Environmental Educators: Join us for a Creek Freaks Workshop to learn how you can use this program to connect children with nature – and meet Maryland Environmental Curriculum requirements.
We'll provide all the tools you need for indoor and outdoor activities that teach youth the concepts of stream ecology, how to monitor water quality, tracking stream data on the Creek Freaks Web site, ways to extend environmental concepts to other subjects, and much more.
Date: November 2-3, 2013
This program is best suited to teachers of grades 4-8 and to non-formal environmental educators and volunteers interested in connecting children with nature. Register online today.
Protect Outdoor America While You Work
Check CFC #10620 on your workplace giving form if you are a federal employee. Or look for EarthShare in your workplace giving campaign materials if you work for a private corporation or local government agency. It's one of the easiest ways to conserve outdoor America for the future generations!
For more information or to start a workplace campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop for a Cause
Buy your outdoor gear at ProGuideDirect.com and receive $25 off your purchase of $100 or more. Enter the code IWLA13 at checkout. Your purchase will also help support the League! Shop ProGuideDirect.com/IWLA.
Resource of the Month: Henry Repeating Arms Rifles
These special-edition rifles can be purchased at a discount by IWLA chapters/divisions and their members to support charitable and educational efforts and to enhance fundraising activities. Get more details on the League Web site.
Log Into the League
Did you know that you can manage your membership information and subscriptions preferences right on the League Web site? Grab your membership card and visit our home page. Click the "Login" button on the left-hand side and use your membership number to create a personalized login. It's the easiest way to stay in touch with the League.
If you have any questions about this newsletter or other IWLA programs, please contact:
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America protects America's outdoors through community-based conservation, education, and the promotion of outdoor recreation.
PHOTO CREDITS: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Superior National Forest (1), Izaak Walton League of America (5), National Wildlife Refuge System (1), National Park Service (1), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1), Famartin (1)