In the latest chapter of an ill-advised and politically unpopular effort to attack our shared natural heritage, a House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT) is corralling his anti-conservation allies in Congress to form a congressional working group aimed at finding ways to hand
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced Senate and House versions of the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, which would provide incentives for states to combat the trend of kids and families spending less time outside.
Deb Furry brings 30 years’ experience in workplace fundraising on both the local and national level. As the director of Community Works in Boston Massachusetts, she worked closely with Federal, State, and City campaign leadership to help implement fair and equitable campaigns for all participants. She also worked with over 50 private businesses and local universities to support their campaign activities.
As the director of the National Alliance for Choice in Giving, Deb supported networking, training, and resource sharing among the 32 local environmental, social justice and women’s federations as they worked together to build their capacity and a movement for broader workplace choice. As director of NACG, Deb coordinated the development of a training institute for new federation executives, which trained more than 110 key leaders.
Deb has served as a nonprofit consultant for the last 15 years, first through Technical Assistance for Community Services (now the Nonprofit Association of Oregon), and now through her own business. Deb works with organizations on strategic planning, resource development, board development, and a variety of other organizational issues. Her approach is to work with organizations to build their capacity to identify, develop and effectively use their resources through consultation, training, and coaching. Her client base includes organizations in the northwest as well as around the country.
Clients include the State of Oregon Employees Charitable Fund Drive, where Deb serves as Team Leader and is a key part of the management team implementing the employees’ campaign which raises approximately $1 million a year in support of 11 statewide funds and federations and 16 local United Way organizations. Deb has also provided strategic planning assistance to a number of the Community Shares federations and staffing support to Community Shares USA.
Deb has served on the board of EarthShare Oregon since 1999 and served six years as the board chair. She has served on the EarthShare board since 2003 and has been a member of the Affiliations Committee and Executive Committee.
One of the great opportunities for movement on energy priorities in Congress in the next two years lay in energy efficiency legislation. While bipartisan agreement is hard to come by these days, energy efficiency is an issue primed for progress.
Two new efforts to undermine ongoing planning efforts to conserve sage brush habitat and block protections that may be needed for the greater sage grouse have come out of Congress in the past two weeks.
[ Outdoor Recreation and Local Government Groups Urge Congress to Keep Trails Open in National Forests; Bipartisan bill would reduce maintenance backlog ]
The legislation was introduced today in the United States Senate by Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and is identical to a House version introduced earlier this year by Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN).
Top 10 Benefits of Wetlands
On Earth Day 2015, President Obama visited Everglades National Park in Florida. He went there to highlight the incalculable value of wetlands to our nation, and the threat that climate change poses to them.
In the US, we have destroyed or degraded 50% of our wetlands – to development, misguided engineering projects, agriculture, and fossil fuel development. In some places like California, that percentage is as high as 90%. We are just beginning to understand the vital services that wetlands provide, and making the case for restoring them. Here are top ten benefits of wetlands:
- Wildlife Nursery. Because of its unique location between water and land, salt and freshwater, wetlands shelter more than one-third of the country’s threatened and endangered species, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Without wetlands, a huge number of songbirds, waterfowl, shellfish, mammals just wouldn’t exist.
- Flood Control. Wetlands function like a sponge, soaking up water that comes in with the tides, or from periodically flooding rivers. In fact, they control floods much more effectively and efficiently than any floodwall.
- Pollution Filter. If trees are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are its kidneys. On the Rouge River near Detroit, Michigan, a wetland demonstration project showed significant reductions in nitrates, phosphorus, and heavy metals. Clean and plentiful drinking water depends on healthy wetlands.
- Storm Buffer. Scientists have estimated that every three miles of healthy wetlands could trim about one foot off a storm surge. For places like Louisiana, which have undergone tremendous erosion from oil and gas development and manmade levees, restoring and conserving wetlands is critical. In fact, wetlands provide $23.2 billion per year in storm protection services alone.
- Wind Buffer. A study co-authored by EarthShare member The Nature Conservancy showed that mangrove forests, which grow in wetlands and coastal areas, can reduce wind and swell waves, significantly; almost 100%, in fact, with 500 meters of forest!
- Fertile Farm Land. The staple diet of half the world’s population is rice, which grows in wetlands in many parts of the world. Many commercially important fish species, reeds and papyrus are also harvested in wetlands.
- Recreation and Tourism. Between bird watching, biking, hiking, and kayaking, wetlands provide people with many ways to enjoy nature. That’s why EarthShare California member Save the Bay is deploying thousands of volunteers to rehabilitate the wetlands around San Francisco.
- Carbon Sink. Because the soils found in wetlands can store carbon for hundreds of years, they play an important role in fighting climate change.
- Jobs Hub. US coastal regions provide 40% of the country’s employment: more than 69 million jobs in sectors like trade, hospitality, and commercial fishing. Restoring wetlands also provides many jobs. A study from the Center for American Progress found that for every $1 million invested in coastal restoration, 17.1 jobs were created.
- Sea Level Rise Mitigation. By 2100, New York City could witness sea level rise of up to six feet. For those living within this rapidly expanding flood zone, wetlands will provide a critical buffer. That’s why the city is supporting programs like MARSHES, a 68-acre “wetland mitigation bank” on Staten Island.
Wetlands Habitat Overview, World Wildlife Fund
Jobs and Dollars: Big Returns from Coastal Habitat Restoration, Restore America’s Estuaries
The Economic Values of the World’s Wetlands, World Wildlife Fund
Basic Facts About Wetlands, Defenders of Wildlife
Hurricanes and Wetlands, National Wildlife Federation
Last year, Americans made over 292 million visits to our beloved national parks. Many of these visits were families adventuring in our country’s most enjoyable places.
Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, touted the economic importance of Americans wildlands at a forum in Washington, D.C. last week.