Outdoor News Bulletin

Outdoor News Bulletin

July 2018 Edition | Volume 72, Issue 7 | Published since 1946

2018 Fish and Wildlife Business Summit Scheduled for Late August in Springfield, MO; Focus on Communicating the American System of Conservation Funding

The 2018 Fish and Wildlife Business Summit will be held August 27-29, 2018 at the White River Conference Center, adjacent to the Bass Pro Shops Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri. For the past 12 years, partners from state and federal wildlife agencies, industry, and conservation organizations have gathered annually to “sharpen the saw” on the excise tax program that provides a major source of funding for wildlife conservation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program is responsible for the collection and disbursement of federal excise taxes (FET) paid by industry and delivered to state fish and wildlife agencies for conservation programs.

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First Offshore Wind Energy Proposal in Great Lakes "Re-Commences" Review Process

A proposal for what would be the first freshwater wind farm in the Great Lakes is being considered by the State of Ohio’s Power Siting Board. This project, called Icebreaker Wind, would be only the second offshore wind project in the entire United States. The project was “paused” in 2017 to complete a review of the methodologies for baseline radar surveys of migratory birds and bats. On March 12, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided a draft Environmental Assessment and notified the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that the project poses limited risk of adverse impact to birds and bats, and is not likely to adversely affect any threatened or endangered species. In that same letter the Service found that Icebreaker’s proposal to use a large vessel as the radar platform had “the potential to contribute meaningfully to migratory bird and bat exposure data for the project.” A final environmental assessment is anticipated from federal officials in the next few months. A second local public hearing is set for July 19, 2018.

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WMI Hires Sara Sylte to Support Grizzly Bear Outreach in Montana

The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), with support from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Helena – Lewis & Clark National Forest (H-L&CNF), the Interagency-Agency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), and Vital Ground is expanding grizzly bear safety education and outreach in southwest Montana. WMI recently hired Sara Sylte to work in two areas that are vital to grizzly bear conservation: the lands between the Northern Continental Divide and Yellowstone ecosystems and along the southern Rocky Mountain Front. This new position will augment ongoing outreach in occupied grizzly bear range and focus on minimizing human-bear conflict in dispersal corridors and areas being recolonized by bears.

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Animations Encourage People to Help Bats

White-nose syndrome is a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. The fungus attacks the bare skin of hibernating bats and causes the bats to be more active and burn through fat storages that would normally help them survive the winter. There is high mortality associated with the disease, which has now been confirmed in 33 states and 7 Canadian provinces. Despite extensive press coverage of the disease and devastation to bats caused by White-Nose Syndrome, bats are still widely perceived by the public to be dangerous, when in fact they provide many benefits to ecosystems, biodiversity and people. New outreach tools have recently been created to help the public understand the critical role that bats play.

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Cooperative Research Unit Corner

Data Sources Matter - A Case Study of the Dwarf Seahorse

Seahorses are facing global population declines due to a combination of overfishing, habitat loss, and habitat degradation regularly occurring along densely inhabited coastal areas. However, conservation of these unique and charismatic species is often hindered by a poor understanding of their distribution and habitat requirements. Collaborators at the USGS Hawai’i Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Texas Tech University, and Texas Parks and Wildlife are assessing the status of Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) on the Texas coast. The goal of the research is to identify the locations of suitable habitat to target conservation efforts, and researchers have found that when conducting such work, data sources matter.

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