Spokane Audubon Society
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MBTA Sample LTE.docx

          


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The Lands Council supports full funding of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Please join us in supporting WDFW and take a minute to send the following response to your elected officials:

Dear State Senator/Representative,

As someone who cares deeply about protecting our precious wildlife heritage and other natural resources, I am writing to urge you to support full funding of the budget request made the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This full funding, in excess of what the Governor included in his budget proposal, is essential.

WDFW plays a critical role in conserving the state’s fish and wildlife resources and providing sustainable fish and wildlife-related opportunities. On top of an existing budget shortfall, population growth and environmental pressures are making it even more difficult for the Department to address all aspects of its important mission. In 2017 the Legislature directed WDFW to look for efficiencies, assess its effectiveness and develop a long-term revenue plan. An independent assessment found that the WDFW is employing best practices in structure and staffing, and did not reveal any major cost savings to be found from improving efficiency. WDFW’s Budget and Policy Advisory Group (BPAG), which includes a broad set of conservation, hunting and angling, outdoor recreation and other organizations and businesses, has also reviewed the Department’s budget and operations and backs increased funding for the agency, supporting the fulfillment of its vital mission for our state’s wildlife heritage.

The vital work of WDFW pays for itself. When Washingtonians travel the state enjoying our wildlife, they spend money. This is how dollars flow from our wealthy urban centers out to the wilder regions of the state, and from there back to Olympia in sales taxes. For every general fund dollar the Legislature spent on WDFW over the past biennium, almost $3.50 came back in tax revenue.

The Governor’s proposed budget thankfully included much of the Department’s request. But where it fell short was noteworthy and unacceptable, as it left out almost all of the $12.9 million requested to enhance fish and wildlife conservation and $4.2 million for habitat improvements. These investments are essential, as the WDFW budget already shows great inequity in how it treats biodiversity and non-consumptive recreation, with these comprising under 4% of expenditures.

It’s time to give our state’s natural resources the level of care and investment they deserve, so that Washington may remain a place of great natural beauty and support lifestyles where people engage with and appreciate nature.

Thank you.




FAIR TRADE? CORN FOR FALCONS?


Across the border of 

Texas, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexicothere is a population of Aplomado Falcons, the last remnant of the larger population that extended northward and eastward into the U.S.   In the 1990s there were about 35 pair but a long drought reduced those to 25 pair by 2005.  When rains finally came they were ready for a comeback.  However, in 2006 farmers began buying up grassland from ranchers and converting them to irrigated cropland.  The push to grow corn for bio-fuel has created a sharp rise in the price thus a rush to convert native grassland to irrigated corn.  If the trend continues and the ranchers agree, the falcon population in Mexico will be lost altogether.  Tragically, the wells the farmers are drilling in the Tarabillas Valley are not sustainable over the long term according to studies by the Mexican government hydrologists.  By the time the wells run dry the falcons will long be gone.  All the more reason to support the Peregrine Fund’s Aplomado Falcon restoration sites in West Texas.  

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CANADIAN THREAT TO WHOOPING CRANES AND OTHER ENDANGERED SPECIES: 

Canada hopes to profit to the tune of $2.4 trillion between 2010 and 2030 by excavating their Albertatar sands which contain oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia . About half of our migratory birds fly north to nest in Canada ’s boreal forest which happens to lie above the tar sands.  The excavation of the tar sands could reduce the region’s migratory bird population by almost half, according to a study by U.S. and Canadian environmental groups.  They estimate that over 30 to 50 years the excavation will reduce bird populations by 6 million to 166 million, including several endangered and threatened species.  The world’s only natural breeding ground for whooping cranes lies north of the Alberta tar sands and the Athabasca River which feeds the cranes’ wetland habitat and flows north through the sands.  The president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers thinks the environmental groups misrepresent and exaggerate the environmental impacts.  The mining of the gooey crude oil destroys habitat, dries up and contaminates wetlands, creates large toxic tailing ponds that can entrap resting waterfowl.

 


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