Conservation

Wildfires have been increasingly burning through acres of forested land, as well as state budgets across the United States.

Since April, environmental groups in Colorado have been working to gather signatures for two statewide initiatives that would amend the state constitution to increase regulatory control on energy industries. Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development submitted two measures, Initiatives 75 and 78, that would grant local governments the authority to regulate energy industry development and establish that facilities be at least 2,500 feet from an occupied structure.

On July 19, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the Lesser Prairie Chicken from the endangered species list, on which the species was listed as threatened (one step below endangered) beginning in April 2014.

This move followed the September 2015 holding by Judge Robert Junnell of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas that vacated the agency’s listing of the species under the Endangered Species Act for failure to properly evaluate the states’ conservation plans already in place.

The...

Since 2009, several states throughout the nation have begun to restrict the use of felt-soled wader and wading boots. States are changing standards in an attempt to decrease the spread of invasive species that the boots cause.

On June 15, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed two pieces of legislation that would, if signed into law, transfer control of large swaths of federally managed public lands from the Department of the Interior to individual states.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 131st anniversary of America’s first state park at Niagara Falls. Park visitation has become more popular than ever, with 2015 being a record-breaking year for visitors to national parks as well as state parks in Michigan, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

During a recent CSG eCademy webcast, “Improving Species Conservation in the West,” Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said the Endangered Species Act needs revision because the finish line—recovering species and removing them from the endangered species list—is often unreachable for states.

Mead is leading an initiative, as chairman of the Western Governors’ Association, to improve the Endangered Species Act and species conservation efforts. He wants to send a message to Congress that the initiative is a bipartisan effort and species are not only important to the West but also to the country as a whole.

Recent conservation efforts to reduce threats facing the greater sage-grouse in its 11-state range and to avoid its listing as a protected species under the Endangered Species Act have garnered attention as a success story for federal and state agencies and private stakeholders. But the greater sage-grouse isn’t alone. As chair of the Western Governors Association, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has initiated a process through facilitated stakeholder meetings, webinars and outreach to a broad audience of stakeholders to build on recent successes and find ways to improve species conservation activities in the West. This FREE CSG eCademy, presented by CSG West, explores the themes highlighted from the effort and the next steps in the process.

In Sturgeon v. Frost the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Ninth Circuit’s conclusion that per Section 103(c) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), National Park Service (NPS) regulations that apply nationally apply to nonpublic land in Alaska contained in an ANILCA “conservation unit.”

ANILCA federally protects 104 million acres of land in Alaska. Contained in these conservation units are over 18 million acres of state, Native American, and privately owned land. NPS rangers informed moose hunter John Sturgeon that he could not operate his hovercraft on a river in one of Alaska’s ANILCA conservation units per a NPS regulation banning hovercrafts in national parks. Sturgeon objected pointing out that Alaska owns the river.  

Imagine yourself (if you can) on an Alaska moose hunting trip riding along in your hovercraft. Oh no your hovercraft has just broken down! While you are repairing it, three National Park Service (NPS) law enforcement officers inform you that you cannot operate it here because of an NPS regulation banning hovercrafts.

You are shocked because you know that while the portion of the Nation River you are on is contained in a national park, Alaska owns (at least) the land under the Nation River.

So what would you do? John Sturgeon sued.   

Pages