Recovering wildlife act gains more support

Support continues to build for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, most recently from tribal representatives from across the country, who urged Congress on Wednesday to support the legislation.

Representatives from the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, Eastern Band Cherokee Indians, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife met with members of Congress and held a press conference on Capitol Hill to highlight the bill and how it would invest $97.5 million in tribal-led wildlife conservation efforts.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which has more than 150 bipartisan co-sponsors, would accelerate efforts to reverse America’s wildlife crisis and recover 12,000 species considered in need, including the more than 1,600 U.S. species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The bill would direct $1.3 billion to states in addition to its investments in tribal-led wildlife conservation.

Here are some details about the funds and how they will help wildlife and people, according to the National Wildlife Federation:

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  • The House bill would provide $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, collaborative efforts by the states and tribes to recover wildlife species at risk.

  • The state agencies have identified 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of conservation assistance in their federally approved State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans would guide spending from the bill.

  • Tribal nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on tens of millions of acres of land.

  • At least 10% of the resources would be used to recover species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

  • A 2018 report, “Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis: Securing the Future of Our Fish and Wildlife,” found that one-third of America’s wildlife species are at increased risk of extinction. More than 150 U.S. species already have gone extinct. Nearly 500 additional species have not been seen in recent decades and are regarded as possibly extinct.

-- Herald staff report

Zebra mussels confirmed in Pimushe Lake

Careful monitoring by a county invasive species specialist has led to the confirmation of zebra mussels in Pimushe Lake in Beltrami County.

The Beltrami County aquatic invasive species staffer contacted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources after finding one adult zebra mussel on a settlement sampler hanging on a dock. Settlement samplers are solid surfaces placed in the water that people can regularly check for attached zebra mussels.

Pimushe Lake, at 1,230 acres, is just north of the Cass Lake chain of lakes, where zebra mussels were first confirmed in 2014.

The DNR continues to urge everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. For lake property owners and lake service provider businesses, that includes carefully checking boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when removing equipment for seasonal storage.

It is especially important to follow Minnesota’s law and keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water, the DNR said.

Anyone transporting a dock or lift from a shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit, to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

More info: mndnr.gov/ais.

-- Herald staff report

River Keepers receives trees award

Fargo-Moorhead’s River Keepers river advocacy group received the 2019 Volunteer Organization Trees Award from the North Dakota Forest Service for its Reforest the Red Project.

The Forest Service honored River Keepers for its efforts to coordinate over 550 volunteers to plant thousands of trees and shrubs along the Red River to create an improved riparian buffer that provides bank stability, habitat for wildlife, shade, increased recreation opportunities and improved water quality.

Reforest the Red project partners include the city of Fargo, Fargo Park District and Cass County Soil Conservation District.

-- Herald staff report