Conservation Currents

In This Issue


Congress Adjourns Without a New Farm Bill

Field rowsThe U.S. Senate and House of Representatives adjourned in September without passing a new Farm Bill. The League and many other conservation, hunting, angling, and agriculture groups have been pressing Congress to act on this legislation before adjourning. Unfortunately, the full House of Representatives failed to debate and vote on the Farm Bill – legislation that affects every aspect of farm and food policy in this country as well as conservation across tens of millions of acres of private land.

Without a new law, the 2008 Farm Bill expired on September 30. While most major conservation programs will continue operation in the short term, new enrollments in the Conservation Reserve, Wetlands Reserve, Grasslands Reserve, and Conservation Stewardship Programs will be frozen and an additional $350 million was slashed from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. At this point it remains unclear whether Congress will debate and pass a Farm Bill after it reconvenes in mid-November or wait until 2013 to take up the issue.

Want to learn more about the Farm Bill and how it affects you (even if you don't live in a farm state)? Visit the League's 2012 Farm Bill Web page.

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Sportsmen Want Clean Water Act Protections Restored

WetlandsIn a recently released poll, 79 percent of hunters and anglers expressed support for restoring Clean Water Act protections for streams, wetlands, and other waters. Nearly 60 percent of sportsmen said they strongly support taking these steps.

The League has persistently advocated for restoring these safeguards, which were badly weakened or removed by two U.S. Supreme Court decisions and flawed policies issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers in 2006 and 2008. Over the past 18 months, the League worked especially hard to build support for new, science-based EPA and Corps policy that would restore some – but far from all – protections for small streams, prairie pothole wetlands, and other waters. This poll, conducted for the National Wildlife Federation, demonstrates strong and ongoing support among sportsmen for restoring lost clean water protections.

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Clean Water Act Turns 40

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. Bi-partisan majorities in Congress passed this landmark law over President Nixon's veto on October 18, 1972. After decades of piecemeal efforts by the states to reduce pollution and improve water quality, the Clean Water Act set enforceable standards for water quality, created revolving funds to upgrade sewage and wastewater treatment systems across the country, and required permits to drain wetlands. Key components of the Clean Water Act are rooted in water pollution legislation crafted by the League as early as the 1930s.

Stream near Great LakesOver the past 40 years – thanks to Clean Water Act standards, federal funding, and state action – industrial water pollution has declined dramatically, more streams and lakes are safe for fishing and swimming, and the rate of wetland drainage has been reduced.

While we celebrate progress, we are also sobered by the challenges ahead. Fifty-three percent of streams and rivers today do not meet basic water quality standards. Runoff from lawns, fields, and parking lots is the single largest source of water pollution today. And wetland drainage is on the upswing in many parts of the country. The Clean Water Act remains a key tool for addressing these and other challenges in the years to come.

The Clean Water Act's 40th anniversary offers an opportunity for League members to strengthen our commitment to protecting water quality for future generations. The League's Save Our Streams (SOS) program offers an easy way for people to assess water quality in their own communities. Our Creek Freaks program uses local streams as living classrooms to connect children to the outdoors and conservation. These programs are just two of the many ways we can take action locally – actions that make a difference – to conserve and restore our most important natural resource.

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League Staff Appointed to Missouri River Committee

IWLA Regional Conservation Coordinator Paul Lepisto, who heads League efforts on the Missouri River, was re-appointed in September 2012 to the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC). The committee was established in 2008 to advise the Army Corps of Engineers as it develops a comprehensive plan for Missouri River recovery. Committee members represent a wide array of local, state, tribal, and federal interests. Lepisto is one of only two committee members representing conservation organizations.

With a seat on the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, the League is working to restore portions of the river, mitigate habitat loss, and recover threatened and endangered native fish and wildlife. The result will be cleaner water, self-sustaining fish and wildlife populations, enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities, and more vibrant local economies.

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90th Anniversary National Capital Gala: October 13

IWLA headquarters - october 2012We're capping off a year of 90th anniversary celebrations with a National Capital Gala. This exclusive event will take place Saturday, October 13, in the Great Hall at IWLA headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The event includes

  • Full-course dinner, dessert, and hors d'oeuvres by The Prime Choice caterers
  • Open bar with wine and beer
  • Silent and Live Auctions including rare conservation-themed art, hotel stays, photography services, sports tickets and memorabilia, outdoor recreation equipment, and much more
  • Raffle for a limited-edition IWLA 90th anniversary Henry Golden Boy rifle from Henry Repeating Arms
  • Commemorative program to honor 90 years of League victories in conserving outdoor America for future generations

Only 90 tickets are available for this event. For more information and to order tickets, visit our 90th Anniversary National Capital Gala Web page or contact Nathan Truitt at ntruitt@iwla.org or (301) 548-0150 x230.

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90th Anniversary Trap Shoot: October 28

ShooterShow off your trap skills at the IWLA National Capital Area 90th Anniversary Trap Shoot, hosted by the League's Arlington-Fairfax Chapter. Prizes (and bragging rights) will be awarded to the top five shooters, top team, and top youth and lady shooters. Registration fee includes event ammunition, targets, pre-shoot clinic, picnic lunch, and prizes. Don't miss the Annie Oakley side event and silent auction. We'll also have caps and tote bags for the first 90 registrants – just to thank you for your support!

Individual and team registration available. Register by October 15th for the early bird discount. Visit our 90th Anniversary Trap Shoot Web page for more information.

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Creek Freaks Trainings: Minnesota and California

Creek Freaks workshopWant to attract youth and families to your chapter and educate the next generation of conservation leaders? Creek Freaks provides you with tools to work with youth using streams as living classrooms. Hands-on workshops conducted by League staff will show you how.

Bloomington, Minnesota (near the Twin Cities)
October 6-7, 2012

9am – 5pm (both days)
Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Event page: http://creakfreaksminnesota.eventbrite.com

Oakland, California
October 15-16, 2012

9am – 5pm (15th), 9am – 4pm (16th)
Location: Oakland Zoo
Event page: http://creakfreakscalifornia.eventbrite.com

You will learn how to conduct fun, water-based activities for kids, and we'll show you how to upload data, photos, and videos to the Creek Freaks Web site. Whether you want to start a new youth program or expand a program already underway, Creek Freaks is an excellent opportunity to share your love of the outdoors with kids in your community.

This project was developed in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.

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Tiny Ikes: Fall Into Outdoor Learning in October

Girl with sunflowersEncourage 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're calling this program Tiny Ikes (or T'Ikes). Sessions will be held at the League's national headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Here's what we have in store for our T'Ikes this month:

October 11, Nature Explorers: From a babbling brook to bird calls, explore nature's sights, sounds, and smells on a walk through the woods. T'Ikes will then make a craft inspired by our nature adventure.

October 26, Spooktacular Nature Hike: From owls and bats to flying squirrels, a world of different animals comes out at night. Bring a flashlight to search for nocturnal animals on our own (non-scary) Halloween adventure.

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 rwadler@iwla.org.

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Ikes Explore Exelon Plant and Fish Repopulation Work

Alligator garExelon, a generous supporter of the Izaak Walton League's conservation work, invited a group of Ikes to visit the Quad Cities nuclear power plant September 25th. League members from throughout Minnesota gathered at the Exelon plant in Colona, Illinois, for a tour of the power plant and the company's fish hatchery, where biologists are working to restore populations of freshwater drum, striped bass, and alligator gar. For more on the tour, read the blog by IWLA Regional Conservation Coordinator Olivia Dorothy.

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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 members@iwla.org, or mail it to IWLA, Membership Department, 707 Conservation Lane, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. Your chapter's cooperation and participation is very much appreciated.

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Protect Outdoor America While You Work

Earthshare logo

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 develop@iwla.org.


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.

Not a League member yet? You can still create your own online account and sign up for our newsletters.


Resource of the Month:
90th Anniversary Edition Henry Rifle

90th Anniversary Edition Henry Rifle

Hunting season is coming up, and time is running out to order your Izaak Walton League 90th Anniversary edition rifle from the Henry Repeating Arms Company!

Get more details on how to order this limited-edition firearm.


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.


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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
dmerritt@iwla.org

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. Environmental Protection Agency (1), Izaak Walton League of America (4), Corbis-Fotosearch (4)


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