September 14, 2018

Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established by Congress in 1964 in an effort to protect our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage, as well as to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Since its inception, the LWCF has created 2.37 million acres of protected land and is arguably one of the most powerful and effective tools we have for protecting recreational areas, wildlife habitat, and national historical sites. On September 30, 2018, the LWCF will expire unless it is renewed by Congress. A bill has also been introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-CO) to permanently authorize the LWCF, which can be viewed here.  This legislation has received bipartisan support.  For more information, please visit the Department of the Interior or National Park Service.

 

Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries have proposed several changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that alter standards under which species and critical habitat designations are made, including removing language from the ESA that prohibits referencing potential economic impacts. Other changes include revising protections for threatened species and provisions related to interagency cooperation. These revisions would reduce the effectiveness of the ESA in protecting endangered and threatened species as well as the habitat upon which those species depend. The proposed rule changes are open to public comment until September 24th, 2018. Comments can be submitted electronically or via mail. Instructions for both methods are found on the websites for the proposed rule changes, as follows:

Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat

Revision of Regulations for Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants

Interagency Cooperation

 

Red Tide Emergency Continues

A severe red tide bloom continues to affect a significant portion of the Southwest Florida coast from Pinellas to Collier Counties.  This is the longest bloom in Southwest Florida in over a decade, and it is killing marine life and hurting businesses and tourism.  This bloom has killed larger marine life than is typical for a red tide bloom.  NOAA is also reporting a dead zone off the coast of Southwest Florida.  Over 2,000 tons of dead marine animals have been removed from the beach.