Tries to Block Effort to Protect Condors, Eagles From Toxic Lead
National Rifle Association filed legal motions July 31 to block the
Environmental Protection Agency from protecting wildlife and people from
toxic lead hunting ammunition left in the wild. Lead fragments
needlessly poison and kill millions of birds each year, including bald
eagles, swans and endangered California condors. The NRA moved to
intervene in a suit
filed by conservationists seeking a public process for EPA to consider
regulating toxic lead in hunting ammunition. A similar petition filed
earlier this year was supported by nearly 150 public-interest groups in
NRA, joined by Safari Club International, filed its motion to intervene
in the pending suit The Trumpeter
Swan Society v. EPA, filed on June 6 in the D.C. District Court. The
case was filed under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which grants the
EPA the authority to regulate toxic substances, including lead bullets
and shot contained in ammunition. The suit is aimed at common-sense
regulations for lead hunting ammunition, since there are plenty of
nontoxic alternatives available on the market and in use in many states.
The NRA has also championed legislation to strip the EPA’s authority to regulate toxic lead in ammunition and fishing equipment under the Toxic Substances Control Act, even though effective nontoxic alternatives exist for lead ammunition and sinkers for all hunting and fishing activities.
Wolves in the Western Great Lakes
Save Idaho Wolves
Formed to Educate on Hazards of Lead
new Iowa nonprofit group has been formed to educate people about the
hazards of lead poisoning for the health of both humans and wildlife.
The “Lead is Poison Coalition” includes individuals and groups from
the fields of conservation, human health, and community action.
coalition formed after a recent decision to allow lead-based ammunition
in hunting mourning doves. Iowa’s first-ever dove season began on
September 1, 2011. The Iowa Natural Resources Commission, after
extensive review of the evidence of the harmful effects of lead-based
ammunition, voted to require non-toxic shot for hunting doves. However,
implementation of this rule was delayed by the Iowa Legislature’s
Administrative Rules Committee. The Legislature is expected to debate
the ammunition issue again in 2012.
a potent neurotoxin, has in recent years been banned for most commercial
uses, including gasoline, paint, solder, and wheel weights. Federal law
has required non-toxic shot in waterfowl hunting since 1991, to reduce
the poisoning of ducks and geese that ingested lead pellets while
feeding in shallow marshes.
the use of non-toxic ammunition for hunting other game, however, has
proved difficult. Guns-rights groups defending “traditional
ammunition” interpret attempts to regulate lead ammunition as an
attack on the sport of hunting, and downplay the poisonous nature of
scientific evidence is growing, however, on the negative health and
environmental effects of lead ammunition. For Iowa wildlife, lead
poisoning each year kills dozens of bald eagles and other scavengers
that consume animal carcasses containing lead. Lead contamination is
also a rising problem at shooting ranges and other places that
accumulate large amounts of spent shot. Doves and other ground feeders
can ingest this shot mistaking shot for seed.
humans, ingesting game meat harvested with lead ammunition is not
lethal; however, those persons consuming more wild game do show higher
blood lead levels. This is because not all shot and bullet fragments can
reliably be cleaned from the meat.
lead is a proven neurotoxin, there is no safe level of exposure.
Children and pregnant women are most at risk from ingested lead, which
mimics calcium. Growing bodies have a high calcium demand and will
absorb lead at a higher rate than adults. Extensive research proves
beyond a shadow of a doubt that lead exposure can impact brain
development, causing attention deficit and learning disorders and
a registered nurse, I am concerned about the long-term health of both
children and adults who consume wild game hunted with lead
ammunition,” stated Cynthia Hansen, LIP-C Manager. “As a nature
lover, it concerns me that more and more wildlife are being
unnecessarily poisoned by exposure to lead ammunition either through
direct ingestion or by ingesting animal carcasses containing lead. As a
lifelong Iowan, I have always been proud that we have been good stewards
of our land and all its natural resources. It only makes sense to remove
lead ammunition from use in an effort to protect our families and our
alternatives are available for lead-based ammunition. Steel shot can be
used for game birds, and copper slugs and bullets for deer hunting.
more information, go to www.leadispoison.com
America’s Natural Economy
America’s public lands include some of our most treasured places, icons from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone. A wide swath of the American public-- from outdoor equipment manufacturers and retailers, to engineers and construction workers-- all benefit from the value of conserving our public lands. In addition, farmers, ranchers and city dwellers all rely on services such as clean air and clean water that protected places provide. America’s ability to thrive and safeguard jobs in the conservation economy depends upon maintaining strong federal conservation programs at every level.
AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Highlights Two Proposed Projects in Iowa to Promote Outdoor Recreation, Conservation
Projects Will Be Part of 50-State Report
Just days before the release of a 50-state report outlining some of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the natural world, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently highlighted two projects in the state of Iowa that will be included in the final report — representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.
Conservation of the Loess Hills and establishment of a proposed new national wildlife refuge in the Southern Prairie Pothole region are among 100 projects nationwide that will be highlighted in next week’s report — two in every state — as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to establish a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.
The report is a result of 50 meetings with governors and stakeholders held by Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on how to best implement AGO in their states. These projects were identified for their potential to conserve important lands and build recreation opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities as part of close engagement with Gov. Terry E. Branstad and the state of Iowa, as well as private landowners, local- and tribal-elected officials, community organizations and outdoor-recreation and conservation stakeholders. The full 50-state report will be released in the coming weeks.
“Under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we are listening to the people of Iowa and communities across America and working with them on locally-based projects that will conserve the beauty and health of our land and water and open up more opportunities for people to enjoy them,” Salazar said. “My staff and I have been asking each governor for the most promising projects to support in their states, and we will do all we can to help move them forward.”
The two projects in Iowa highlighted by Salazar in the forthcoming report are:
This 650,000-acre region is considered to be the best example of “loess” topography in the world, a rare geologic formation that provides habitat to 49 species of rare plants and animals. Hawks and other raptors are a common sight in this major migration corridor, and the area is also home to rare, native prairie grasses that are quickly disappearing. The region also contains numerous cultural and historic landmarks.
The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, which runs through prairie, woodland, and farmland at the heart of the region, is one of that nation’s “10 most outstanding byways,” a reflection of the landscape’s natural beauty and scenic value. Thirty thousand acres of the Loess Hills are currently protected, mostly through conservation easements and inclusion in the Loess Hill State Forest. This area provides opportunities for youth engagement and recreation in seven counties. Furthermore, the Loess Hills area is within reach of Council Bluffs and Sioux City, the two urban areas in western Iowa and eastern South Dakota.
A strong foundation for advancing this project has been laid with conservation organizations like the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to work with willing sellers of working lands to conserve the few remaining relatively undisturbed areas.
Southern Prairie Pothole National Wildlife Refuge
Glacially formed prairie potholes and their surrounding wetlands in north central Iowa provide critical habitat for more than 90 species of birds. They produce at least 50 percent of the North American continental duck population each year. This wetland landscape is also an important resource for flood control, water quality, and aquifer recharging. To protect this unique landscape, the state of Iowa, local leaders, and nonprofit organizations seek to expand the existing Dunbar Slough/Willow Creek wetland complex by 5,000 acres and to establish the area as a national wildlife refuge. These partners also aim to develop a youth conservation education pilot program.
In addition, this project would complement the Northern Plains Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative — a new USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service initiative designed to enhance migratory-bird habitat and improve the water quality and the health of grasslands in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Northern Plains. The Northern Plains Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative provides technical and financial assistance for restoring wetlands drained for agricultural uses; managing farmed wetlands in ways that reduce impacts on wildlife and water quality; and keeping unaltered wetlands in their current condition.
The report will also include potential actions by Interior and its bureaus to support the projects identified. In Iowa, for example, the Department could provide technical and financial assistance in expanding the Dunbar Slough/Willow Creek Wetland Complex and establish the Southern Prairie Pothole National Wildlife Refuge.
The Department could also provide financial support for strategic land protection, including acquisition of conservation easements on working lands and for communities to better conserve and manage the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Loess Hills. There may be potential to explore the designation of the area as a national preserve.
The Department of the Interior will work with each of its key bureaus — including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — to direct available resources and personnel to make these projects a reality.
“The America’s Great Outdoors Initiative turns the conventional wisdom about the federal government’s role in conservation on its head,” Salazar said. “Rather than dictate policies or conservation strategies from Washington, it supports grassroots, locally driven initiatives.”
For more information on the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, click here.
To view a map of the projects already announced, click here.
Protect the Gray Wolf
Iowans Support Water and Land Legacy Amendment
By a clear and overwhelming majority Iowans declared their support for the values behind Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy amendment – clean water, soil conservation, and restoration of wetlands to help prevent future floods.
percent of Iowa voters approved the amendment that establishes the Natural
Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.
Trust funds can be used to support only voluntary
initiatives, and not regulatory or enforcement actions. See
the formula for
distribution of funds. In the
future, if the
Lead for Shot, Bullets, and Fishing Sinkers
are dying from lead poisoning, the result of eating deer carcasses shot
with lead ammunition. Deer hunters can protect bald eagles from lead
poisoning by switching to non-lead
The Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club developed a brochure detailing the
plight of the Bald Eagle and an accompanying poster. The brochures
and the posters will be sent to ammunition retailers encouraging their
customers to choose alternative ammunition. The materials are also
available for organizations for their use.
National Ban on Lead-based Ammunition, Fishing Tackle
Sought to End Wildlife Poisoning
A coalition of conservation, hunting and veterinary groups
recently filed a formal petition
with the Environmental Protection Agency requesting a ban on the use of
toxic lead in hunting ammunition and fishing tackle. Major efforts to
reduce lead exposure to people have greatly reduced the amount of lead
in the environment, but toxic lead is still a widespread killer in the
wild, harming bald eagles, trumpeter swans, endangered California
condors and other wildlife.
An estimated 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals
die each year from lead poisoning in the United States. This occurs when
animals scavenge on carcasses shot and contaminated with lead bullet
fragments, or pick up and eat spent lead-shot pellets or lost fishing
weights, mistaking them for food or grit. Some animals die a painful
death from lead poisoning while others suffer for years from its
American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity,
Association of Avian Veterinarians, Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility, and the hunters’ group Project Gutpile are asking for
the ban under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which regulates
dangerous chemicals in the United States.
The petition references nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific
studies that starkly illustrate the widespread dangers from lead
ammunition and fishing tackle. Lead is an extremely toxic substance that
is dangerous to people and wildlife even at low levels.
Lead ammunition also poses health risks to people. Lead
bullets explode and fragment into minute particles in shot game and can
spread throughout meat that humans eat. Studies using radiographs show
that numerous, imperceptible, dust-sized particles of lead can infect
meat up to a foot and a half away from the bullet wound, causing a
greater health risk to humans who consume lead-shot game than previously
thought. A recent study found that up to 87 percent of cooked game
killed by lead ammunition can contain unsafe levels of lead. State
health agencies have had to recall venison donated to feed the hungry
because of lead contamination from lead bullet fragments. Nearly 10
million hunters, their families and low-income beneficiaries of venison
donations may be at risk.
Kevin Timoney, an ecologist whose paper was published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology, says birds likely are dying in oil sands tailings ponds at least 30 times the rate suggested by industry and government. Read more from the Toronto Star here.
Effigy Mounds, one of only two sites in Iowa operated by
the National Park Service (NPS) have been threatened by construction
conducted by the NPS. Read more here...
Support America's Red Rock Wilderness Act
The red rock canyonlands of southern
America's Red Rock Wilderness Act would give wilderness designation to more than 9 million acres of our federal public land in southern Utah, protecting this landscape forever.
Find out more here...
National Parks Conservation Association recently released its report "Dark
Horizons: 10 National Parks Most Threatened by New Coal-Fired Power
Plants." The 10 parks include Badlands (South
Dakota), Capitol Reef (Utah), Great Basin (Nevada), Great Smoky
Mountains (Tennessee and North Carolina), Mammoth Cave (Kentucky), Mesa
Verde (Colorado), Shenandoah (Virginia), Theodore Roosevelt (North
Dakota), Wind Cave (South Dakota) and Zion (Utah). Read the report
Endangered Species Petition to Add the Mountain Lion to
the list of Threatened and Endangered Species Rejected
In June 2005, the Natural Resources Commission rejected a
petition to add the mountain lion to Iowa's list of threatened and
endangered species. Read the Department of Natural Resources
report and recommendation here...
and Endangered Species Lists
to know what species are included in Iowa's list of threatened and
endangered species? Find
A list of all endangered or threatened plants and animals
in the United States can be found here...
Last updated 09.12.12
Watch the family of Bald Eagles, including three eaglets, in their nest from the Decorah Eagle Cam. See it live.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, has set up two cameras showing a nest of Great Blue Herons. Watch now.
UPDATE: Gov. Terry Branstad issued Executive Order 77 on May 11 "to correct a Senate failure" for not debating the resolution that would rescind the lead ammunition ban on hunting Mourning Doves. Branstad's order indicates that "...the Iowa rule banning use of traditional shot by hunters because the determination of whether hunters should be forced to stop using traditional lead shot is the role of the legislature, not an unelected NRC [Natural Resource Commission]." Read the Executive Order.
Rep. Richard Arnold (R-Lucas) filed an amendment to a raccoon hunting bill that completely gutted references to raccoons and completely replaced the language prior to adoption to hunt mourning doves. Read what happened and see how the House voted.
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved at its April 2011 meeting adding Mourning Doves to Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 97 covering hunting seasons. The rule went out for public comment which ended May 24, 2011. The rule will come back to the NRC for final approval at a future meeting.
The Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee heard a briefing from the DNR about a dove hunting season on May 10.
DNR to plant “food plots” to lure doves for hunters -- Radio Iowa, 5/11/11.
DNR wants legislators to call the shots on new hunting restriction -- Radio Iowa, 5/11/11.
State officials urged to ban lead shot ammo for dove hunting -- The Des Moines Register, 5/11/11.
Proposed Sept. 1 Iowa dove hunting season remains on track -- Cedar Rapids Gazette, 5/11/11.
A recent study by PLoS ONE in the United Kingdom shows that game birds that have been shot with lead shot and cooked for food have above the allowable level of lead. Read the study "Exposure to Lead in Game."
Save Our Avian Raptors videotaped a Bald Eagle showing common symptoms of lead poisoning. The eagle's blood tested high for lead. Watch the video.
report of the 100 most threatened animals, plants and fungi from
around the world.
Compiled by 8,000
scientists for the Zoological Society of London and the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
(9.3 MB pdf)
Sir David Attenborough narrated a commercial for the British Broadcasting Company that reminds us how fragile our planet Earth really is. See the two-minute video.
Watch footage of birds and wildlife from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The three-minute video shows birds and wildlife from around the world.