Contact: Collette Adkins – Center for Biological Diversity – November 18, 2015

The spotted turtle has been named one of the 10 U.S. species most threatened by habitat fragmentation in a new report released today by the Endangered Species Coalition. The report, No Room to Roam: 10 American Species in Need of Connectivity and Corridors, highlights 10 rare or endangered species that lack safe, navigable corridors to connect them to important habitat or other populations. The spotted turtle ranges across eastern United States, but local population extinctions have caused its range to contract and fragment. For full news release, click here.

Contact: Ciji Taylor – USDA NRCS – November 16, 2015

Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $350 million to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation. The funding is provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources. For full news release, click here.

By Christine Armario – AP The Big Story – November 18, 2015

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement Wednesday to join forces and protect the vast array of fish and corals they share as countries separated by just 90 miles (140 kilometers), the first environmental accord since announcing plans to renew diplomatic relations. The memorandum signed by U.S. and Cuban officials in Havana directs scientists with the Florida Keys and the Texas Flower Garden Banks national sanctuaries to collaborate with researchers at two similarly fragile and protected reserves: Guanahacabibes National Park and the Banco de San Antonio, located on the island's westernmost region. For full story, click here.

By Joshua Reichert – The Hill – November 20, 2015

One of America's greatest assets is our natural patrimony, with national parks and monuments, wildlife preserves, scenic rivers, and national forests containing some of the nation's most visited and treasured landscapes. However, beauty is not the only value of these places. They also provide significant and often overlooked economic benefits to surrounding communities and to the country at large. Data show that protected spaces put money in the coffers of U.S. businesses, municipalities, families and individuals — and that these gains are sustained over time. The Outdoor Industry Association's most recent report, in 2012, noted that consumers spent $646 billion on outdoor recreation, an economic sector that supports more than 6 million jobs. This includes gear, travel and costs associated with camping, snow sports, mountain biking and other activities, as well as professional guides for hunting, fishing and river trips. For full blog post, click here.

Winston-Salem Journal – November 18, 2015

North Carolina’s recent tactic of blocking citizens from challenging state permits for industrial polluters could result in a federal takeover of the state’s regulatory program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put state officials on notice that North Carolina’s strategy is putting the state at risk of losing its authority to regulate industrial water pollution and air pollution. Since receiving the warning two weeks ago, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is downplaying the incident as a misunderstanding. For full story, click here.