Rio Grande Waterkeeper launch draws river enthusiasts
More than a hundred supporters turned out to celebrate the launch of Rio Grande Waterkeeper—a partnership between Guardians and Waterkeeper Alliance to revive the disappearing Rio Grande—in New Mexico this month. Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., spoke to a packed house in Albuquerque on Monday, October 9. The following day, river advocates took to the Rio for a literal program “launch”—a float down the river. Thank you to all who attended these events and all who join us in expecting great things from this purposeful partnership. For more information, follow Rio Grande Waterkeeper on Facebook and visit our beautiful new website, riograndewaterkeeper.org.
See photos from the float »
Testifying against threats to National Monuments Act
On October 11, we submitted testimony against H.R. 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act. The bill, which purports to “restore” the “original intent” of the National Monuments Act, instead distorts and undermines it. Under its narrow scope of what constitutes a national monument, Theodore Roosevelt would have been unable to designate Devils Tower the nation’s first national monument, nor could he have protected the Grand Canyon. The bill also imposes arbitrary size limits on new national monuments—something Congress declined to do when creating the National Monuments Act—and allows states, local jurisdictions, and even private landowners to overrule the president’s designations. Look for an email from us with ways to take action once this disgraceful attempt to undermine the Antiquities Act comes before the full House.
Read our testimony »
Confronting new coal mining in Wyoming
We’re speaking out against the Trump administration’s latest attempt to prop up the dying coal industry. The “West Antelope III” coal lease would give away 441 million tons of publicly owned coal to Cloud Peak Energy, allowing the company to expand its massive Antelope strip mine in Wyoming and giving the mine a whopping 10 more years to worsen the climate crisis. While Cloud Peak pads its pockets, snapping up coal for less than $1 per ton, taxpayers are left in the (coal) dust. In addition to submitting comments against this proposal, we also publicly called out the Bureau of Land Management for its failures at a hearing in Wyoming last month—because Trump and Zinke’s corrupt coal practices are something everyone needs to hear about.
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Standing in support of grizzlies and Tribal heritage
We stood alongside Rep. Raul Grijalva and Tribal leaders in Washington, D.C., on October 3 to introduce and support the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act (H.R. 3894). The Act will restore protections to grizzly bears in the aftermath of the Department of the Interior’s flawed decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections from grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It will also ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears on our public lands and guarantee Tribes a role in conserving and managing the species, which many consider sacred. We applaud this attempt to restore this culturally and ecologically significant species.
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Guardians and volunteers lend a hand on NPLD
On National Public Lands Day (September 30), Guardians staff and volunteers chipped in to mend fence on the Gila National Forest. The project will help keep cows off a cattle grazing allotment we retired, thereby protecting critical Mexican wolf habitat and restoring the health of our public lands. Check out our Instagram post for photos of our staff (and dogs) in the field.
See photos »
New resource offers insight into rewilding efforts
Our rewilding team is hard at work in 10 states and counting, healing landscapes by ridding them of unneeded roads that degrade water quality, fragment wildlife habitat, prevent fish passage, and invite human disturbance. Now we’ve introduced an easy way for supporters to find out where we’re working and what we’re working on: our rewilding storyboard. Click on the link below for an explanation of the rewilding campaign and a comprehensive map of current activities.
Visit the storyboard »
Guardians launches “transparency blitz” against Trump, BLM
The Bureau of Land Management is working with anti-public-lands activists to hide its activities from the American public. How? By limiting the amount of Freedom of Information Act requests the public can file to gain more information about what the agency is up to. This is a declaration of war on transparency and democracy, and so we’re pushing back by kicking our own transparency efforts into an even higher gear. We’ve filed a request for records under the Freedom of Information Act each day this month, and everything we learn will be available to the public—as it should be.
Read more »
City of Rio Rancho wants more water from Rio Grande, threatening flows
Our rivers program continues to file protests with the New Mexico State Engineer seeking to limit the City of Rio Rancho’s attempts to divert water from the Rio Grande. The city seeks to move water from central New Mexico farms to its well field in Sandoval County, even though it concedes it has no current use for the water. The city’s applications could diminish flows in 50 to 100 miles of river and further imperil native fish and wildlife. We will continue to fight for every last drop of water in the Rio Grande by pursuing policies that will ensure a living river.
Read more »
Defending Utah national monuments, climate from fracking
Visitors to Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument—an area renowned for its dark night skies, petroglyphs, and dinosaur fossils—could soon be gazing at lands riddled with fracking rigs and breathing polluted air unless we have our say. A new plan by President Trump and the Bureau of Land Management would auction off more than 94,000 acres of public lands in Utah’s Green River Valley for fracking this December; four parcels scheduled for the auction are within view of Dinosaur’s entrance. We filed an appeal urging the BLM to account for the impacts this auction would have on the monument and on our climate.
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Endangered turtle receives needed protections
After two decades of waiting, the Sonoyta mud turtle finally received the Endangered Species Act protections it deserves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the turtle as “endangered” in September, thanks in part to a landmark settlement between the Service and Guardians. As part of the settlement, the Service made “yes” or “no” decisions on 252 species on the Endangered Species Act candidate list, including the Sonoyta mud turtle. The turtle’s U.S. range is limited to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. It can live up to 25 years and inhabits spring-fed ponds and streams. Protecting these turtles means protecting the springs and streams on which they depend, which, in turn, helps ensure a healthy ecosystem for all who share their habitat.
Read more »
Rare dolphins, fish receive needed Endangered Species Act protections
In other good news for imperiled species, protections were finalized for an endangered fish and two subspecies of dolphin under the Endangered Species Act after our advocacy. The 2011 settlement between Guardians and the Fish and Wildlife Service led to the listing of the pearl darter, a small fish found in Mississippi’s Pascagoula River drainage threatened by pollution, urbanization, sand and gravel mining and proposed dams. The South Island Hector’s dolphin and Maui dolphin, which are endemic to New Zealand, received protections in response to a petition we submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service in July 2013.
Read more about the darter »
Read more about the dolphins »
Battle for fracking-plagued Greater Chaco continues
With the Bureau of Land Management threatening to lease another 4,800 acres in the Greater Chaco Region to frackers next year—and with Navajo Nation and Pueblo tribes increasingly speaking out against the attacks on this sacred region—our Greater Chaco campaign is more relevant than ever. Our senior climate and energy campaigner, Rebecca Sobel, gave us an update on what the future holds for Chaco and the campaign, and why we remain hopeful.
Hear the update »
photo credits: (Left column) Rio Grande float—Jackson Buscher. Devils Tower—David Kingham, Flickr. Antelope Mine from above—WildEarth Guardians. Kelly and Allies—WildEarth Guardians. Chris and Maddie repairing fence—WildEarth Guardians. Damaged road—WildEarth Guardians. Coal machines—BLM Flickr. Rio Grande—Jen Pelz. Petroglyphs—Mark Byzewski. Researcher holding turtle—NPS. Maui dolphins—Oregon State University Flickr. Fracking signs—WildEarth Guardians. (Right column) Emily Obermiller—Emily Obermiller. Gala tables—WildEarth Guardians. Stock Market rise—WildEarth Guardians.
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Emily Obermiller served as a legal intern this summer in our Missoula office. She is a third-year law student at the University of Washington and helped support our Wildlife and Wild Places programs. She appreciated the opportunity to return to her home state to protect the wild lands and abundant wildlife she enjoyed while growing up in Montana. Outside of work, Emily loves to climb, fly fish, and backcountry ski. Thank you to Emily and to all of the summer legal interns we profiled in Frontline these past months!
November 14 at 7 p.m. - Guardians is working to end the U.S. Department of Agriculture's secretive wildlife killing program, ironically named “Wildlife Services,” in Doña Ana and Grant counties. Please join us and our allies at the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico (275 North Main Street) to learn more about how you can help End the War on Wildlife.
December 7 - Albuquerque Treehugger Bash. Greg Dyson, our Wild Places Program Director, will talk with us about protecting the wild Gila bioregion, the streams being restored on the Valles Caldera, and the charismatic New Mexico meadow jumping mouse and Mexican spotted owl. Plus, our local monuments! Tickets are $35 per person or $25 for monthly donors.
February 2, 2018 - Telluride Mountainfilm Festival
So, How'd it go...
The 14th annual Guardians Gala in Santa Fe was a wild success. Two hundred people attended, (email Carol if you are not in New Mexico but would like to be invited next year), enjoyed great conversation and a delicious vegan dinner, and heard Noppadol Paothong and John Horning speak about our challenges and victories in 2017. We raised $130,000 for the wild and generally had a super evening. We have 50 of Noppadol’s newest photography book; be one of the first to email and we will send you a copy.
5,549 supporters signed our letter to secure funding for the Legacy Roads and Trails Program, which provides the funds to erase roads that are no longer needed on our public lands; maintain those that are needed; reconnect habitat; restore fish passage; and more. Thank you for helping us champion this integral program!
Between now and the end of the year Guardians still needs to raise over $1 million in order to sustain and expand our fight for the wild in 2018. Will you join us by investing in our vision and work again? Please consider giving as best you can, whether that’s becoming a monthly donor, making a year-end gift of $5, $50, $500 or more, making a gift of appreciated stock, or including us in your legacy plans. Contact Kevin Gaither-Banchoff for more information.