Friday, August 27, 2010

From the Inbox - NRDC's Biogems News

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Saving an Urban Wild Land

This Green LifeExplore this wildlife refuge in the heart of New York City in the latest issue of This Green Life.

Voices for the Wild
One BioGems Defender writes about "The Fox", another about their "Quiet Corner of Oregon."

Add your own story today!

BioGems Update

A big thank you to BioGems Defenders who recently sent more than 15,000 messages to protect Colorado's White River National Forest and 11,000 messages to end the Bush-era "no more wilderness" policy.

BioGems Defenders:

Action Messages Sent:

See the timeline of victories we've won

To Do Even More

You can support NRDC's BioGems campaign to save these and other threatened wild places.


Sandhill Crane
Take ActionPeace-Athabasca Delta Bird Nursery

Stop the Proposed Tar Sands Pipeline

In northeastern Alberta, the lush forests, sedge meadows and freshwater lakes of the Peace-Athabasca Delta attract more than a million birds every year. These undisturbed wetlands are critical nesting grounds for tundra swans, snow geese, whooping cranes and countless ducks, but they are slowly being poisoned by tar sands oil extraction taking place just south of the delta. Tar sands oil development has already contaminated rivers and lakes with toxic discharge, created vast waste ponds and worsened global warming pollution. Now, plans for a new trans-boundary pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast is moving forward, paving the way for additional mining and drilling in the boreal forest. Not only would the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline destroy even more habitat for millions of migratory birds, it would do nothing to lead the United States toward cleaner forms of energy production.

Call on President Obama to oppose the tar sands pipeline.

In the News

Photo: RedrocksNRDC and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance reached a historic agreement with the Bill Barrett Corporation, a Denver-based oil and gas company, to protect Utah's Desolation Canyon wilderness area from hundreds of new oil and gas wells. As part of the agreement, the Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River -- a popular rafting destination -- will be protected from the sight and sound of industrial development, although some natural gas drilling will still take place.

NRDC is also participating in similar negotiations with another corporation to protect Wyoming's Wild Cow Creek wilderness area. In Colorado, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would throw out an environmental analysis authorizing the drilling of oil and gas wells in Baca National Wildlife Refuge, citing too many flaws, while the Bureau of Land Management decided to close Vermilion Basin known for its extensive collection of archaeological artifacts -- to future oil and gas drilling. BioGems Defenders played an important role in protecting all of these western wildlands by sending tens of thousands of messages to government officials.


In July, NRDC released a groundbreaking report on the health of whitebark pine in the entire Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, showing that 82 percent of the whitebark pine forests in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana are dead or dying, while just five percent can be considered healthy. In the same month, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a positive finding in response to NRDC's petition to add white bark pine to the endangered species list, indicating that listing the tree may be warranted. White bark pines provide an important food source for many wildlife species -- most notably, Yellowstone's grizzly population -- and play a key role in the health of the overall ecosystem.


NRDC and a coalition of conservation groups intervened in a lawsuit to protect an endangered population of beluga whales found only in Alaska's Cook Inlet. In 2008, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed the Cook Inlet beluga whale as an endangered species; shortly thereafter, Alaska state officials submitted a notice of intent to sue and filed the lawsuit to challenge the listing in June 2010. According to estimates by wildlife biologists, only about 320 Cook Inlet beluga whales survive today, and their habitat is increasingly threatened by development. The coalition -- which includes the Center for Biological Diversity, Cook Inletkeeper and others -- argues that Alaska's lawsuit is without scientific basis. We'll be sure to keep you updated on the status of this case.

Action Insider

Photo: BisonLast month we called on BioGems Defenders to write letters in opposition to a risky remote vaccination plan for Yellowstone's bison. In response, more than 400 of you let us know that you mailed letters to the Park Service, urging them to scrap the plan, which calls for shooting bison with "bio-bullets" that contain an ineffective and costly vaccine against the disease brucellosis. The Park Service has since extended the deadline for comments on the proposal, so there's still time for you to take action.



As we all know, the Gulf Oil disaster has had devastating consequences for the region's wildlife. NRDC has teamed up with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to bring you up-to-date information on how birds in particular have been affected.


Sheryl explores the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and shares good news about the campaign to save this rare treasure in New York City.

Photo credits: sandhill crane © Tim Fitzharris, Minden Pictures; Redrock © Jim Kay; buffalo and calf © Art Wolfe

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