By Curtis Tate – McClatchyDC February 3, 2016

An ongoing cultural battle between coal mining and environmental groups played out in a Senate hearing Wednesday over an Obama administration proposal to mitigate the impacts of coal mining activity on streams. The hearing, in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, afforded an opportunity for mining interests and their mostly Republican supporters to hammer administration officials over the Stream Protection Rule, though the proposed rule itself isn’t to blame for coal’s troubles. In return, Democrats who support environmental groups got a chance to hit back using the recent water contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., though the lead-tainted water there was not the result of coal mining. For full story, click here.

By Scott Dance The Baltimore Sun - B'More Green – February 2, 2016

Multistate efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay are starting to pay off, with a surge in blue crab populations, growth of underwater grasses and improvements in water quality, according to a bay report card released Tuesday. There were 101 million female blue crabs in the bay last year, 50 percent more than in 2014, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s annual “Bay Barometer.” Underwater grasses covered nearly 76,000 acres in 2014, 41 percent more than in 2013, the report found, and officials estimate that nitrogen pollution flowing into the bay fell by 6 percent between 2009 and 2014. The program’s leader said the improvements are the result of broad efforts to clean up the bay, including a 2010 directive from the Environmental Protection Agency limiting nitrogen runoff and a 2014 agreement between six states and the District of Columbia across the bay watershed to set goals for bay health measures. For full blog post, click here.

By Joel Lefevre – iNews990 – January 31, 2016

More than a billion people make a living from it and it’s something groups like Ducks Unlimited are committed to preserving. Tuesday is World Wetlands Day where the aim is raise awareness on the importance of protecting coastlines, providing natural sponges against river flooding and storing carbon dioxide to regulate climate change. For full story, click here.

 

Contact: Office of Communications – USDA – January 28, 2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the establishment of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. Through the program, NRCS will provide $9 million to help states, local governments or other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks that restore, create, or enhance wetland ecosystems, broadening the conservation options available to farmers and ranchers so they can maintain eligibility for other USDA programs. For full news release, go here.

Conservation Finance Network January 15, 2016

We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Conservation Finance Network (CFN) website. This fresh site represents a new partnership between the CFN program at Island Press, Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), and The Conservation Fund (TCF). It will bring together news, training opportunities, and a professional community for conservation finance. To visit website, click here.