MuirNet

Subscribe to MuirNet feed
Multiple Use Information Resource Network - A link between the outdoor recreation community and federal and state agencies on matters of land use, conservation and administrative action that affect motorized recreation.
Updated: 1 day 36 min ago

Surveys of endangered Mount Graham red squirrel show decline due to impacts from the Frye Fire

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:02
Mount Graham Red Squirrel

PHOENIX — An annual survey of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel showed a significant decline due to the effects of the lightning caused Frye Fire in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeastern Arizona. 

The annual survey, conducted jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Coronado National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Center for Nature Conservation – Phoenix Zoo, and the University of Arizona, resulted in an estimate of only 35 squirrels. This is a significant decrease from the 252 squirrels estimated in 2016. Evidence of the Frye Fire was observed in 95% of the surveyed locations, 80% showed at least some habitat loss, and 44% were completely burned. 

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Restore the Antiquities Act’s Noble Vision

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:16
House Committee on Natural Resources

By: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources
October 11, 2017

In a Tuesday op-ed, I explained the constitutional threat posed by the Antiquities Act, and why its repeated abuse is inconsistent with the constitutional pillars of the rule of law and checks and balances. As it turns out, there's a reason the Founders chose these principles as the basis of our government: arbitrary rule has no incentive to be accountable to the people that policies affect. Without that accountability, political and ideological manipulation corrodes the balance of power.  

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Antiquities Act is a Menace to Constitutional Government

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:59
House Committee on Natural Resources

By: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources

You heard it in your high school civics class: America has "a government of laws and not of men." The rule of law is the basis of the constitutional order erected by the Founders. "A government with unpredictable and arbitrary laws poisons the blessings of liberty itself." The first axiom is from John Adams, the second is from James Madison. Their sentiments were universal in the founding generation and ought to continue today. Checks and balances have no teeth when our leaders can disregard the laws and rule according to their whims.  

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

FWS Report Underscores Importance of Public Lands

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:25
New 5-Year Report Shows 101.6 Million Americans Participated in Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Activities - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Preliminary Findings Show Importance of Increasing Access to Public Lands

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching.

The survey illustrates gains in wildlife watching—particularly around the home—and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion—the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage. As a kid who grew up hunting and fishing on public lands who later took my own kids out on the same land, I know how important it is to expand access for future generations. Many folks east of the Mississippi River rely on friends with large acreages or pay high rates for hunting and fishing clubs. This makes access to wildlife refuges and other public lands more important.”

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and fishing tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers and wildlife watchers.

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments that call for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish and hike and experience the joy and beauty of these special places.

The survey, the 13th in a series conducted nearly every five years since 1955, shows that the most substantial increases in participation involve wildlife-watching—observing, feeding and photographing wildlife. The report indicates these activities surged 20 percent from 2011 to 2016, from 71.8 million to 86 million participants during that time. Expenditures by wildlife watchers also rose sharply—28 percent—between 2011 and 2016, from $59.1 billion to $75.9 billion. Around-the-home wildlife-watching increased 18 percent from 2011, from 68.6 million in 2011 to 81.1 million participants in 2016. More modest gains were made for away-from-home wildlife watchers: 5 percent increase from 2011 to 2016, from 22.5 million to 23 million participants.

More Americans also went fishing. The report indicates an 8 percent increase in angling participation since 2011, from 33.1 million anglers to 35.8 million in 2016. The greatest increases in participation—10 percent—were seen in the Great Lakes area. Total expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.

Hunting participation dropped by about 2 million participants but still remained strong at 11.5 million hunters. Total expenditures by hunters declined 29 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $36.3 billion to $25.6 billion. However, expenditures for related items such as taxidermy and camping equipment experienced a 27-percent uptick, and hunting trip-related expenses increased 15 percent.?

Regarding the decrease in participation in hunting, Zinke said: “Hunters and anglers are at the backbone of American conservation, so the more sportsmen and women we have, the better off our wildlife will be. Some of our wildlife refuges have great mentored hunting programs. I'd like to see these programs replicated and expanded across the country and reach into areas where kids don't traditionally get the opportunity to hunt, fish and? ?connect with wildlife. Some of my best family time growing up and raising my own kids was hunting an elk, enjoying a pheasant, or reeling in a rainbow. These are the memories and traditions I want to share with future generations.”

“No one does more for our wildlife and or wild places than hunters. Any decline in hunting numbers, real or perceived, is of great concern since hunting provides the lion’s share of funding for nationwide conservation work thanks to excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment that garner more than $1.6 annually,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The RMEF remains committed to growing and ensuring the future of our hunting heritage as well as elk, other wildlife and their habitat.”

This year’s survey also gathered two new categories of data: archery and target shooting. Findings show there are more than 32 million target shooters using firearms and 12.4 million people engaged in archery, not including hunting.

“Hunters and anglers form the foundation of wildlife conservation in the United States, consistently generating more funding for habitat and wildlife management than any other source,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “Industry, federal and state fish and wildlife agency initiatives that focus on hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation are crucial to sustaining these conservation dollars and ensuring the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity, access and awareness to pursue these time-honored American traditions.”

“I praise Secretary Zinke for his support of hunting and land access. The hunting and shooting sports community is grateful for an administration that recognizes the economic, recreational and traditional values of hunting and target shooting," said John Frampton, President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. "Although the numbers of hunters have declined, we are optimistic they will rebound as a result of Secretary Zinke's leadership, state wildlife agencies, non-government organizations and industries working together. Hunting in this country is not only part of our national heritage, it is an important to our country’s economy, as indicated by the expenditures in the survey.”

As a partnership effort with states and national conservation organizations, the survey has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. Federal, state and private organizations use this detailed information to manage wildlife, market products, and look for trends. Conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the survey is based on a 22,416-household sample surveyed through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews. 

For more information about the survey and to view the preliminary report, please visit https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/National_Survey.htm

Categories: Legislation

Bees are Critically Important to Humans, So Construct a Garden they Will Love

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:42
(Photo via Pixabay)

Honey bees are the greatest pollinators that farmers have, according to The Nature Conservancy. Unfortunately, bee colonies have been rapidly disappearing, and humans should know that they can do their part to create a bee haven in their own yard. There are many reasons – most of them largely speculative – as to why bee colonies are being abandoned by their inhabitants. But methods for preserving the bee population are proven. If certain measures are taken in gardening practices, we can help ensure that bees continue the pollination process so critical to man’s food supply.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

EPA’s Top Tips for Breathing Easier in Hot, Smoky Conditions

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 14:33

Seattle (September 7, 2017) - Doctors and researchers agree: the biggest health threat posed by breathing smoke is from the fine particles, which can lodge deep in your lungs, making it difficult or impossible for your lungs to expel them naturally over time. These microscopic particles - 2.5 microns or smaller - can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause health problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, persistent coughing and can aggravate illnesses like asthma and bronchitis.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

30 Years of Nitrogen Fertilization in Spruce-Fir Forest

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:20
High-elevation species still struggling

Rocks and sediments bind up almost 98 percent of all nitrogen. The remaining 2 percent is in motion, part of a global chemical cycle that includes humans, bacteria, plants, and the atmosphere.

“Plants need nitrogen to grow,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Steve McNulty. “However, excess nitrogen can harm plants.”

Nitrogen and sulfur can combine with oxygen to form nitrogen or sulfur oxides. These compounds become part of the atmosphere, where they react with water vapor and other elements. Eventually, the nitrogen and sulfur – now in the form of nitric and sulfuric acid – fall to the ground with the rain drops.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Public invited to release of California Condors

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:16
California CondorPublic invited to release of California Condors on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument  

VERMILION CLIFFS, Ariz. – California Condors will be released to the wild in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. The public is welcome to observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes will be set up and project personnel will be available to answer questions.  

The release coincides with National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance America’s public lands. National Public Lands Day involves the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, along with state and local governments and private groups.  

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation

Volunteer for National Public Lands Day

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 12:40
Volunteers cleaning up

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Held every year on the last Saturday of September, National Public Lands Day brings together hundreds of thousands of individual, student and organizational volunteers to help maintain and restore America’s treasured places.

Read More ...

Categories: Legislation