CONSERVATION CURRENTS MAY 2014

Conservation Currents
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In This Issue


National Convention: Don't Miss It!

It's almost summer – which means the League's national convention in California is right around the corner! You don't have to be an official delegate to attend the convention. It's open to EVERY League member! Visit the League Web site for registration forms.

Our national convention is a great place to:

  • Meet League members from across the country
  • Find our how other chapters are growing membership, engaging the community, and overcoming obstacles
  • Hear from nationally-recognized speakers on conservation and outdoor recreation topics
  • Vacation in the California sun!

Wednesday keynote speaker Prof. Marjorie Swann will offer new insights on our organization's namesake, Izaak Walton, and his relevance to conservation and angling today. Thursday keynote speaker Mark Damian Duda will provide practical advice on getting your community engaged in conservation.

We are also pleased to announce two new speakers to the convention lineup.

Chuck BonhamCharlton "Chuck" Bonham, Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (photo at right): Director Bonham will talk about the intersection of energy development and wildlife management – an issue faced by communities across the country.

Roderick "Rod" Nash, Professor Emeritus, University of California-Santa Barbara: In honor of the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act, America's foremost wilderness historian will speak to the League about the history – and future – of wilderness in America.

Thursday Workshops
Our convention also offers workshops for smaller groups where you can interact with speakers and gain practical skills:

  • Communicating Effectively About Conservation and Natural Resources: Highlights proven communications techniques that engage citizens, the media, and policymakers.
  • Starting a Save Our Stream Program: Find out more about tools and resources available from the League to help your chapter run successful stream monitoring and restoration programs.
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Your State and Community: Understand and influence local and state policy to benefit consumers, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities, and advance local conservation priorities.
  • Conservation Means a Lot of Things: If you have questions on how to get started or take your conservation efforts to the next level, this is the workshop for you!

Make plans now to spend part of your summer with fellow Ikes in sunny California and take advantage of nearby attractions, from the lights of Los Angeles and the thrills of Disney to the tranquility of saltwater fishing and bountiful parkland. Visit the League Web site to download your registration form today!

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Your Help Needed on Clean Water Rule

Our nation's streams and wetlands are at risk from draining, filling, and polluting. A new proposal would restore protections to many of these important waters – and it needs your support!

Water over rocksThe Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule on March 25 to clarify which waters of the United States are protected by the Clean Water Act. The draft rule is a great step toward restoring protections for streams and wetlands that were eliminated over the last decade due to confusing Supreme Court rulings and agency policy. However, it is being attacked by industries that don't want to take responsibility for the pollution and other problems they cause downstream.

The League has been working for the better part of decade to restore these protections – and this proposal is the most meaningful step to date toward that goal. It's science-based, common-sense policy that will protect streams that flow to larger waters and wetlands that provide vital habitat for fish and wildlife and help protect our communities from flooding.

We need hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts to speak out in support of the proposed rule. Opponents are organized, vocal, and relentless. Our voices need to be equally strong. Comments are due by July 21. Visit the League's online Advocacy Web page to take a stand. Thank you!

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A Carbon Diet for Power Plants

On June 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a Clean Power Plan – a nationwide proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants. The Izaak Walton League has worked for decades to reduce power plant pollution and welcomes this common-sense, flexible proposal. The proposed guidelines put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, which generate approximately one-third of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar panelsThe draft standards would provide states with considerable flexibility to reduce statewide emissions. The League appreciates that states have many options to draft their own carbon reduction plans, including promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technology or joining with other states in regional emission reduction efforts to meet reduction targets.

This proposal advances policies adopted by League members at the 2013 national convention supporting 100% energy production from renewable sources and reduced coal ash pollution. The emissions reductions under this proposal will protect our air, lakes, streams, and rivers for future generations by reducing traditional pollutants as well as lowering risks associated with climate change. The League looks forward to crafting common-sense, reasonable, and pragmatic solutions that further innovation and put the country on a clean energy path. Much of the League's energy work in Minnesota now serves as an example for how other states can reduce their carbon emissions while remaining economically competitive.

The proposal is open for public comment for the next 120 days. The League will craft sample comments and provide those to members and supporters nationwide.

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Webinar on Soil Health

Tilling soilJoin us Thursday, June 26, as we bring together emerging perspectives from farming, soil science, and public health in "The Soil that Feeds Us: Cultivating healthier food and a healthier environment on the farm" – a FREE webinar from the Izaak Walton League!

Our panel of presenters:

  • Bill Wenzel, Agriculture Program Director for the Izaak Walton League
  • Christine McCullum-Gomez, PhD, registered dietitian and a nationally recognized expert on food, nutrition, and environmental health
  • Dr. David Wallinga, MD, MPA, Founder/Director of Healthy Food Action, a national network of health professionals advocating for a healthier food systems

These experts will discuss how a broad constituency from farming, public health, and the food movement can influence federal conservation programs for conventional and non-conventional growers. Register today!

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Congress Passes New Water Resources Development Act

 Missouri -  Gavins Point DamThe Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) finally passed in both the U.S. House and Senate and is awaiting President Obama's signature. WRRDA is the main way Congress authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to build locks, dams, and other water resource projects on our major rivers. WRRDA also authorizes river and lake restoration programs to offset some of the environmental damage caused by dams, locks, dredging, and channeling.

The bill authorizes $12.3 billion in new federal projects, including many projects that will cause significant environmental harm, and increases subsidies for the already heavily-subsidized navigation industry. This bill cuts public participation in and oversight of these projects too – something the League vocally opposed. However, thanks to strong opposition, the cuts were not as drastic as originally proposed. The legislation finally closes the Upper St. Anthony's Falls Lock and Dam to protect the upper reaches of the Mississippi River watershed from Asian carp and other invasive species and also reauthorizes the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration Program.

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New Online Tools To Manage Chapter Membership

Part of the League's new strategic plan is modernizing technology to work more effectively with chapters and members. Our latest online tool provides chapters with real-time access to membership information and will help them communicate more quickly with members.

Membership officers and newsletter editors can now download up-to-date, real-time rosters of chapter and division members through the IWLA Web site. They can use these lists to verify member status; run a mailing list; and update address, e-mail, and phone information for individual members. Every League member can also access his or her own record through our Web site to update contact information and preferences, such as which electronic communications to receive.

This data may be used ONLY for official League business – no other use is authorized. Need help getting started? Check out these tip sheets or follow along with IWLA Member Programs Director Mary Rubin in a recorded webinar:

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Ikes in the News

Here are a few places the League recently appeared in the press:

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Support the League: Shop Online

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

Make it a habit to visit iGive.com any time you're ready for a little online shopping. It's a great way to do something good without doing anything extra.


Resource of the Month: Zebco "Family Fishing" Rods and Reels

Through Zebco, Izaak Walton League chapters and divisions can purchase discounted rods and reels as part of their efforts to engage youth and families in fishing activities. NOTE: Purchased Zebco items must be used for an Izaak Walton League chapter's fishing event or given as prizes at such events. Order your rods and reels using this form (PDF).


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

When forwarding Conservation Currents to others, remove the "Manage Your League Subscriptions" link at the bottom so others don't have access to your League e-mail preferences. Contact Dawn Merritt at the e-mail address above for other distribution options. If you are not receiving this newsletter directly from the League, sign up here.

Read previous issues of Conservation Currents.


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

Mission Statement: To conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources, including soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.


PHOTO CREDITS: IStock (3), Chuck Bonham (1), Lushpix (1), Paul Lepisto (1)

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