Friends of Blackwater supporters have been sending hundreds of letters and making dozens of calls to Congress to support the Endangered Species Act. And our voices are making a difference! Massive public support from across America for the ESA really paid off during negotiations for the Omnibus Spending Bill for 2018.
Several “poison pill” amendments opposed by environmental groups were left out of the Omnibus. These provisions would have reduced Endangered Species Act protections for wildlife, including gray wolves, lesser prairie chickens, and Preble’s meadow jumping mice.
We also can celebrate the defeat of the House Farm Bill, which threatened the integrity of the Act.
But the fight to protect the ESA and the rare creatures that it serves continues.
The Budget for 2019 is in the works, and we are likely to see a renewed effort to get a bad Farm Bill passed. Please check out our action alerts on these issues, and keep the pressure on.
Meanwhile, “Ginny” the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, is up for her 5-year review under the management plan begun in 2013. Unfortunately, the cooperating agencies, which include 2 National Forests, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, don’t seem to have done sufficient monitoring.
To understand how Ginny is doing, we are sending Freedom of Information Act requests to try to get hard data on squirrel numbers, and to ensure that these agencies follow the law. WVDNR records for the past 5 years show a downward trend in the number of squirrels monitored through nest box visits, with a low point being 5 squirrels caught in 2017. This is not good, and we expect more to protect these rare Highlands creatures and their mountain home.
We never forget that extinction is forever. FOB is working to protect the bedrock federal law that protects biodiversity in the Highlands. With your help, we can continue to be a voice for creatures at risk.